Purchasing over the counter drugs in the UK.

  spuds 09:57 15 Dec 2015
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A few years ago, I started to check details on packages, of over the counter drugs available from quite a number of outlets, including Chemist outlets. This was based on information that I received, about pricing on some regular products, that had different advertising, yet the contents might have been the same.

A simple check, like looking for a PL number is all that is required. From my own findings, a regular used item like Paracetamol, can differ in price from 19p to £1.09p for 16 tablets, depending where purchased, yet the item inside the container is exactly the same, according to the PL number.

The remarkable thing about this, is on occasions, I have pointed this out to people, yet the will insist, that the higher price item is the far better product.

This case might highlight what I have suspected for quite a long time. click here

  Forum Editor 10:15 15 Dec 2015

I think it is a well-known fact that generic BP medications are cheaper than branded ones - it has been that way for many years. All you have to do is look along the supermarket shelves - the evidence is there, for all to see.

The specific case in your link relates to possible false advertising claims, which is a different matter altogether.

  spuds 10:36 15 Dec 2015

"All you have to do is look along the supermarket shelves - the evidence is there, for all to see."

Yes I agree, but like I stated, many people purchase on brand names and marketing, without the knowledge that there are the same but far cheaper products available.

"The specific case in your link relates to possible false advertising claims, which is a different matter altogether."

And the "to possible false advertising claims", is what I am highlighting in this post, or at least attempting to do that.

  BT 12:54 15 Dec 2015

I'm not allowed Ibuprofen, generic or otherwise. I was reminded of this today when I attended the Renal Clinic for my 6 monthly check up. It can affect your Kidney Function which in my case is already compromised. Pity as its much more effective for my Sciatica when combined with Codeine, than Paracetamol.

  spuds 13:59 15 Dec 2015

BT

While the link refers to Ibuprofen, the point that I was attempting to make, was how some manufacturer's are suggesting that one product in their own range might be better than another described product, when both are the same or very similar, yet the price is totally different.

Many people, or those I have observed, just simply take a product off the shelf, because its a brand they know and possibly trust, or for quickness. I have tried on a few occasions to point out the cheaper product, might be identical to the dearer product, with no difference in content.

But on occasions, sadly, some people do not want to accept this advice,and I accept the choice is their own, at the end of the day. But having said that, I was in a well known pharmacy the other week, and while the shelf had many samples of an 'headache' remedy, the assistant chose the most dearest, which the person bought, possibly thinking this was the best!.

  Belatucadrus 15:32 15 Dec 2015

Thirty odd years ago I had some stomach trouble and was prescribed a new wonder drug called Zantac, so expensive they would only let me have one strip, not the whole box. Now available under the generic name Ranatidine over the counter for next to nothing from your local supermarket.

  BT 17:29 15 Dec 2015

spuds

I get your point. I always buy generic where possible, and you're right people buy Brand Names because they think they're better whereas they are exactly the same as Generic. People swear by Panadol which is just 500mg paracetamol.

Belatucadrus

I had a similar situation many years ago with Nurofen (when I was allowed to use it). It was still under Patent protection and a generic version wasn't available so you had no choice but to pay the wildly expensive drug company price. Now Nurofen is still expensive and generic Ibuprofen is available out of Patent for 30p/16 tablets.

  lotvic 20:46 15 Dec 2015

I also buy the generic as they are cheaper and have identical content to the expensive brands. Also for those items that 'generic' is not available I buy the 'own brand' of whichever chemist store I'm in as they're also a lot cheaper.

  Forum Editor 22:54 15 Dec 2015

lotvic

Sales evidence suggests that large numbers of us do exactly the same thing - we buy generic or own-brand pharmaceuticals in huge quantities. Most people understand that branded goods are generally no different or better than unbranded ones.

  oresome 09:27 16 Dec 2015

Most people understand that branded goods are generally no different or better than unbranded ones.

If you changed the most to some, I'd go along with the statement, but I think you underestimate the power of branding, packaging and advertising.

Companies spend millions on marketing because it works.

  Forum Editor 11:16 16 Dec 2015

oresome

"I think you underestimate the power of branding, packaging and advertising."

As someone who has been advising clients on marketing matters for many years, I think I understand it reasonably well. The fact remains that - as any marketing expert will tell you - consumers are hugely influenced by price, and that's where generic medicines score heavily.

Perhaps I was wrong to use 'most' instead of many, however.

Companies spend millions on marketing because they have to - over the counter pharmaceuticals is a huge and highly competitive market sector.

There is no paracetamol manufacturing in Europe these days. The paracetamol that we buy in our pharmacies is all made in China (mainly) and India. It costs roughly £2.66 to make a kilo of paracetamol, and from that you can make 2000 500mg tablets. The raw paracetamol in a 16x500mg generic pack costs less than 2p. Add the cost of pressing the tablets and packaging and distribution, and you can see why supermarkets and pharmacies can sell the product so cheaply and still make a profit.

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