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Generic Medication & Reference Pricing


Did you know that there are savings to be made by requesting generic medication in the pharmacy?

Below is some more information or download the information leaflet from the Irish Medicines Board


What is a generic medicine?

A generic medicine is a medicine that is similar to an original, brand name medicine. It:

  • has the same active ingredient as the original medicine, and
  • is made to the same standard to make sure it is safe and effective.


How do generic medicines become available?

When a pharmaceutical company develops a new original medicine, it takes out a patent. The patent is a legal agreement that prevents other companies from making or selling the same medicine for a number of years.

The new medicine usually has a unique name or brand. It can also be called a ‘proprietary’, a ‘reference’ or an ‘originator’ medicine. When a patent’s time period comes to an end, other pharmaceutical companies can make a similar version – a generic – of the original medicine.


Why are generic medicines used?

Generic medicines can save money for patients and the health service. Generic medicines usually cost less than the original branded product. This is because manufacturers do not need to invest as much money in research, development and marketing as they would if they were producing an original medicine from scratch.

If your doctor or our pharmacist has prescribed or dispensed a generic medicine, you can be sure it is as safe and effective as the original product.


Saving money - Reference pricing

Previously, when a specific brand of medicine was prescribed for a patient, a pharmacist could only supply that particular brand, even when less expensive generic versions of the same medicine were available. The Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act permits pharmacists to substitute medicines prescribed, provided that they have been designated as safely interchangeable by the Irish Medicines Board. HSE leaflet on generic medicines and reference pricing


Want to know more?

Discuss your requirements with the Pharmacists and we can guide and advise you with regard to switching from branded products to generic medicines and help you to save money. Contact us today.