Generic drugs


What are generic drugs?

Generic drugs are medicines with the same active ingredient, the same amount of active ingredient and the same dispense method (pill, tablet, lozenge, capsule, liquid, spray etc.) as drugs already known.

They just have a different name and different price, the effect is the same.


Why do generic drugs have the same effect as the original products?

The effect of a drug in the body depends mainly on five criteria:

  • How much active ingredient does the drug contain?
  • How well and how slowly/fast is the active ingredient released from its coating?
  • How fully is the active ingredient absorbed into the body?
  • How high is the active ingredient’s concentration in his “target organ” in the body?
  • How is the active ingredient processed or broken down in the body and how fast/slowly is it excreted?

Generic drugs are only approved for sale by the drug authorities if their producer can prove by means of scientific studies that the drugs can be used interchangeably with the original drugs.


Why are generic drugs cheaper than the original products?

Generics can be sold at a lower price as there are no further costs for research and development of a new active ingredient.

For this reason, generics can be produced at only a fraction of the cost of the original drug. The pricing mechanism of the Austrian Social Insurance System requires also original drugs to have competitive prices after a certain period of time. 


What advantages do generic drugs have for insured persons?

Generic drugs have many benefits:

  • Generic drugs are only brought to market once the active ingredient has long proven itself and the medical benefit has been clearly established.
  • Many generic drugs have additional benefits, such as tablets that are smaller or can be split more easily, or a number of pills per packet that fits the therapy more closely.
  • Generics are significantly cheaper, as they cost at least 30 percent less than the original drug, and are therefore a major instrument to ensure the financial soundness of the social insurance system. This makes it possible to give the insured persons faster access to other expensive and innovative forms of therapy.

By using generic drugs, insured persons can benefit themselves and actively help to ensure that the excellent Austrian health system can be maintained in the future.