Our expert says:
Firstly - regarding generic medications. For a generic drug to get MCC approval the company needs to demonstrate that the amount of drug reaching the bloodstream is within a certain range as compared to the original drug. For this they need to give the original drug to 12 healthy volunteers and take blood samples to measure the concentration of the generic drug. The original drug is given later to the same 12 volunteers and concentration levels are determined again. For the generic to get approval, the concentration may be 20% less or 25% higher than the original drug. Depending on the quality control in the company making the generic drug, you may get a tablet with 20% less of the active ingredient one month, and 25% more the next.
Generic drugs are cheaper and there is a place for them, but in my personal experience in clinical practice not all are equal to the original drug.
Are you on a medical aid? Remember, bipolar disorder is a Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB) condition and most medical aids fund the costs of drugs that they have approved in their treatment protocol.
Furthermore, some original drugs prescribed in bipolar disorder are available in Government Health Clinics.
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