Don’t judge that generic pill by its color

Identifying Prescription MedicinesIt’s not the color, but what’s inside that counts when it comes to medication. However, doctors suspect that’s not exactly how patients see it.

According to a study published Monday in the medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine, changes in pill color significantly increase the odds that a patient will fail to take their medication as prescribed by their doctor.

First, the basics

Generic drugs are approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Office of Generic Drugs.  These off-brand alternatives must be “bioequivalent” to the brand-name version, meaning they must be identical in terms of dosage form, strength, route of administration, quality, intended use, and clinical efficacy. But the FDA does not require that the two versions look alike.

Generics are big business worldwide.  In America, they account for more than 70% of prescriptions dispensed, but only 16% of spending. Generic prescriptions are expected to increase even more, as top-selling brand-name medications reach the end of their market  – and profit – exclusivity and go “off patent.”  In the United States, drug patents offer 20 years of protection for the pharmaceutical company, but they are applied for before clinical trials begin, so the effective life of a drug patent tends to be somewhere around 7-12 years.

Full story of identifying medications at CNN Health

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

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Will Savage

Quantum Units Continuing Education provides online CEU training's to licensed professional mental health therapists, counselors, social workers and nurses. Our blog provides updates in the field of news and research related to mental health and substance abuse treatment.