Generic Name vs. Brand Name

Generic Name

  • Medications are licenced and approved under a pharmaceutical names also known as the ‘Generic Name’
  • No matter what the brand, the generic name is based on the drugs main ingredients
  • Medication will always be prescribed using the generic name and the brand will change depending on the local formulary or the suppliers preference
  • Other terms used to signify the generic name are approved, non-proprietary or pharmaceutical name


Brand Name

  • Pharmaceutical companies take out a patent (exclusive rights) for each new medicine they discover. This patent lasts for up to 20 years, during which time the medicine is studied in clinical trials and then approved for sale by expert committees, such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). When the medicine becomes available, only the pharmaceutical company that discovered it is able to sell it using their brand name, until the patent runs out.
  • The brand name is a chosen name for the product by the company that makes its
  • Brufen, Calprofen and Ibuleve are brand names of ibuprofen
  • The brand name is usually the clearest name of a medication box



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