Generic drugs are the bioequivalent of brand name drugs. This includes dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use. Generic equivalents are chemically identical to the brand name drug.
New prescription drugs are developed under patent protection, protecting the brand name manufacturer's investment in the development by giving them the exclusive right to sell the drug while the patent is in effect. When the patent expires, other manufacturers can then apply to the Food and Drug Administration to sell a generic version of the same drug. Generic drugs are held to the same rigid standards as the brand name drug, as dictated by the FDA.
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