As soon as patent protection for a medicinal product has expired
(after ten years), other manufacturers may also produce the product
without being required to present clinical or preclinical
references. These medicinal products are known as
generic (unbranded) medicinal products.
It is important that a generic medicinal product is exactly
equivalent to the original medicinal product, also known as the
innovator product. The generic medicinal product contains the same
active substances at the same concentration as the original
medicinal product. It also has the same pharmaceutical form (e.g.
tablet, capsule or injection fluid). The generic medicinal product
has the same therapeutic efficacy and safety as the original
medicinal product. Biological medicinal products also have generic
variants, the so-called
A generic medicinal product may differ from the original product
in terms of shape and colour. Generic medicinal products are
regularly marketed under the generic name of the active substance.
The generic medicinal product often contains other excipients. As
with all other medicinal products, warnings about excipients are
listed on the packaging and in the package leaflet.
Pharmacists and generic medicinal products
Doctors in the Netherlands frequently use the generic name of
the active substance to prescribe medicinal products. Pharmacists
then use the generic name of the active substance to find the
medicinal product the doctors have prescribed. This can create a
situation where pharmacists supply a generic medicinal product
instead of the (original) innovator product. This is in fact
correct as the generic medicinal product contains the same
ingredients and has the same
effect and safety as the original.
The pharmacist can provide you with additional information. If you
experience any problems after switching from a branded medicinal
product to a generic product or the other way round, it is
important to discuss this with your pharmacist. The product may
contain other excipients. Ask your pharmacist if you would like
more details about generic medicinal products.