Generic Medicines

The names of medicines can often be confusing, as the same medicine can sometimes be called different things.

Many medicines have two names:

  • the brand name – this is given to a medicine by the pharmaceutical company it is developed by
  • the scientific or generic name – named for the active ingredient of the medicine, which is decided by an expert committee.

If your prescriber changes your regular prescription from a branded medicine to a generic version, they should tell you about the change before you collect your prescription.

This is to ensure you understand that although your medicine may have a different name, it will still contain the same active ingredient. Your pharmacist can also be a helpful source of information and advice when this happens.

When you pick up your prescription, the medicine may look different and there will be a different name on the label. However, it will contain the same active ingredient as the medicine you used before.

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