Generic pet drugs hit the market

POSTED: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - 4:52pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

BRYAN -- A lot of us will chose the generic drug over a name-brand drug to save some cash but what about your pet's medicines?

That's one question a lot of vets and pet owners are starting to ask.

As patents expire for branded pet drugs, more companies are coming up with generic versions, meaning pet owners can start saving big.

Dr. James Baggs of the West Villa Maria Veterinary Clinic said, "Generally one would expect to see at least a five to maybe 50 percent decrease in the overall cost depending on the drug used."

The Brazos Animal Shelter typically uses name brand drugs but going generic could be the better option.

"We want to make sure we get the best bang for our buck and with the way the industry goes and they start taking products and turning them into generics, those are the times that we'll start talking to people and asking their opinions," said Melissa Ball, acting executive director of the shelter.

So what's the difference? The chemical makeup of generic and name-brand drugs are the same, it's the mode of delivery that's different.

Dr. Baggs said, "It may be chalkier, dryer, or bitter tasting. A lot of times your name brand drugs will have a beef-coat flavoring, or they'll be encapsulated or maybe a bit of a sugar flavor coating and of course that's one of the issues that makes up the cost difference."

Generic drugs may be cheaper, but Dr. Baggs says it's not always the best choice for you pet.

"Many times generics can be used and they're used quite extensively in veterinary practice but there are some occasions where a name brand medication may be more applicable to your pet and their specific needs."

And the Brazos County Animal Shelter agrees. Ball said, "Sometimes cost isn't the only factor. It's making sure that the product you're using is good product."

Dr. Baggs says always consult your veterinarian first before switching to a generic drug.


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