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Q: What’s the difference between name-brand medication and a generic counterpart?
A: Brand-name medication is manufactured by the company that developed and marketed the drug when new. This company has the exclusive right to sell the drug as long as its patent is in effect. Once the patent is close to expiration, other companies can apply to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permission to make and sell generic versions of the drug. The FDA inspects the manufacturing of that generic and approves or disapproves it. If approved, the generic company can usually afford to make and market the generic at a lower price because it does not have startup costs for research and development. The FDA applies the same standards to both brand name and generic medications manufactured in the United States or imported by licensed importers. They do not have any authority over any drugs mailed or brought into the United States by unauthorized importers.
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