The price of a course of ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic used the world over to treat a range of bacterial infections, varies enormously. The cost depends on where the pills are bought, and whether they are sold under a brand name (such as Ciloxan or Cipro) or as a generic version. According to data collected by Health Action International, an NGO, branded pills sell for an average of $101 a course in America, while the generic variant is available for $9.25. In Britain, branded versions cost only about half as much as in America, perhaps reflecting the bargaining power of the country’s National Health Service. In India, large drug companies compete to cater to poor consumers, ensuring that even branded ciprofloxacin costs less than $2.50 per course. And Brazilians pay about the same for branded and more for generic ciprofloxacin than even much wealthier Americans. Differences in national health-care systems mean that consumers typically shell out different proportions of the full cost of pills, because many countries subsidise medicine. (via The price of pills: Drug money | The Economist)

So a drug is an actual chemical compound with a very defined chemical structure. The chemical structure is what the FDA approves. That’s what makes it a certain drug. A different chemical structure is a different drug.

Therefore, there is no difference at all between a branded medication and a generic medication. There is no difference between Cipro the brand and ciprofloxacin the generic. It’s just marketing. Ask your neighborhood pharmacist. They get ciprofloxacin for about 7 cents a pill.

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