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Study: Generics just as good as branded heart disease drugs


NEW YORK Generic drugs for treating heart disease work as well as branded drugs, according to a new study.

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was based on 47 studies of nine drugs published in journals such as Medline and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts between January 1984 and August 2008. The researchers, from Harvard Medical School, found no difference in how well patients did when given branded drugs or generic equivalents for cholesterol, hypertension or prevention of heart attacks.

Generic drugs can cost between 30 and 80 percent less than branded drugs. The Food and Drug Administration received authority to approve generic drugs in 1984, with the passage of the Hatch-Waxman Act, though it does not have a way to approve drugs that mimic the effects of biotech medications.

"Today's article in the respected medical journal JAMA confirms that generic medicines are as safe and effective as their brand-name counterparts," Generic Pharmaceutical Association president and chief executive Kathleen Jaeger said in a statement Wednesday. "This scientific review is the latest in a growing number of authoritative statements from the FDA and others proving that it is safe to substitute an FDA-approved generic medicine for a brand-name product."

This year, Jaeger said, legislatures in 33 state have introduced "carve-out" bills designed to place limits on when generic drugs may be used.

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