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It takes several years, costly scientific development and many clinical studies to get a drug approved. Manufacturers of new brand name drugs (also called “pioneer drugs”) usually take on the research and development costs for new medications. These research and development costs, along with marketing costs, account for most of the higher prices we pay for most brand name drugs.

In contrast, generic drugs have less research and development costs since the original manufacturer has already done many studies to make sure the drug is safe. These savings are passed on to the consumer.However, while the brand name form is still protected by its patent, no generics can be produced. And, if a brand name drug has only just recently lost its patent, there may only be one generic form available. Usually, when there’s only one generic option available, it will be more expensive.

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