Some of our patients are concerned about changing to generic chemotherapy drugs. Are these as effective as the brand name drugs? — Name withheld on request

Generic medications contain the same active ingredient as the respective brand name products. Stringent testing is required to prove that the generic drug is absorbed into the systemic circulation to the same extent and at the same rate as the brand name drug. They must also meet the same standards for purity, quality, and strength as the brand name product. Generic medications that meet these standards are listed in the Orange Book. Generic chemotherapy drugs must also meet the same strict standards.

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Generic medications generally cost less than brand name products as costs to develop the drug are lower and competition between multiple manufacturers of the same product is greater. These reduced costs frequently benefit patients in the form of reduced copays for generic drugs compared with brand name drugs.