A generic drug is one that is manufactured by a different pharmaceutical company to the company that invented the medicine.
Generic drugs are widely used in all countries.
In the UK for example, about 70% to 85% of all NHS prescriptions are for generic drugs. These include medicines for heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, statins to lower cholesterol, pain relief, cancer and now HIV.
Generic medicines contain the same active ingredients as the original drugs.
Generic combination pills are also widely used in low income countries, even when patents are still in place in high-income countries.
For example, generic versions of Atripla include the same active ingredients – efavirenz plus emtricitabine plus tenofovir-DF.
Widely used generic versions of Atripla include:
|Commercial drug name||Generic manufacturer|
All these combination pills contain the same active ingredients as Atripla and are just as safe and effective.
Generic versions of Atripla that use lamivudine (3TC) instead of emtricitabine (FTC) include: Tenarenz (Aspen Pharma), Telura (Mylan Pharma), and Eflaten.
Generic versions of Truvada include Tenvir-EM (made by Cipla) and Ricovir-EM (made by Mylan). These medicines contain tenofovir-DF plus emtricitabine and are used as PrEP by HIV negative people to protect against HIV infection. It is legal in the UK to import generic medicines for personal use, even if the patent on the brand medicine has not yet expired.