Definition of Medication, generic

Medication, generic: The term "generic" has several meanings as regards medications (drugs):

  1. The chemical name of a drug.
  2. A term referring to the chemical makeup of a drug rather than to the advertised brand name under which the drug is sold.
  3. A term referring to any drug marketed under its chemical name without advertising.

"Diazepam" is an example of the chemical (generic) name of a sedative. It is marketed by some companies under its generic name and by other companies under brand names such as Valium or Vazepam.

Generic drugs marketed without brand names are less expensive than brand-name drugs even though they are chemically identical to brand-name drugs and meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for safety, purity and effectiveness.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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