/Generics: a campaign to restore confidence

Generics: a campaign to restore confidence

The Ministry of Health has just launched an information campaign to encourage the French and health professionals to favor generic drugs. Safe and effective drugs which represent an important source of savings for Social Security.

In twenty years, the generic medicines have imposed themselves in the daily life of the French to treat mild illnesses as well as the most serious illnesses. Nearly eight in ten French people use them and 93% are satisfied with them. But France is still lagging behind its European neighbors: in our country, less than one in three reimbursed medicine boxes is a generic box, compared to three in four in Germany and the United Kingdom.

“Becoming generic has to be earned”

To strengthen the use of these drugs, the Ministry of Health is launching a national information campaign, in partnership with theHealth Insurance and theNational Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM). With the slogan “Becoming generic, you have to earn it”, this campaign aims to erase the feeling of mistrust. “The generic drug is just a drug, it is a drug that heals as well, without side effects and like other drugs“, Insists Marisol Touraine, the Minister of Health.

An identical valuation method

A generic drug has the same qualitative and quantitative composition in active ingredients (substances at the origin of the drug’s effect) and the same pharmaceutical form (tablet, capsule, syrup, etc.) as the originator drug. To obtain a marketing authorization (MA), the laboratory wishing to market a generic drug must demonstrate its bioequivalence with the reference drug, i.e. provide proof that it behaves in the same way in the body in terms of absorption, distribution and elimination.

The MA for generic drugs is based on the same evaluation method as that applied to all drugs and any drug must be used for ten years before it can be generic.

The name of the molecule on the box

And if patients are sometimes reluctant, it is also necessary to act on the prescription habits of health professionals. Some advocate encouraging doctors to write the name of the molecule on prescriptions rather than the brand name of the drug in order to make substitution easier.

According to the Ministry of Health, the use of generic drugs has saved seven billion euros in five years. The issue of better information is therefore also economic.