A branded medicine is the original product that has been developed by a pharmaceutical company. When a company develops a new medicine, their product must undergo and pass rigorous tests and evaluations to ensure that it is both effective in curing the condition it claims to treat and safe for human use.
The brand name is the name given to a medicine by the pharmaceutical company that makes it. This is also called the proprietary name.

Why choose the branded medicine?
For many people, substituting a brand name medicine for a generic copy is safe. However, you should not substitute the brand of medication you are taking if any of the following situations apply to you:
1. You do not understand the change and feel anxious;
2. Your doctor specifically tells you that substitution for your condition is associated with risks;
3. You have dementia, a mental illness, or are taking multiple medications and are likely to get mixed up if a new medicine replaces one of them.

Brand substitution
In 1994, a brand substitution policy was introduced to Australia. This policy states that it is possible to substitute the prescribed brand at the time of purchase, in the pharmacy. This means that when your pharmacist assesses your script, you may be asked if you would like to swap to the generic brand (as opposed to your doctor asking you at the time the prescription is given to you).

Brand substitution is accepted as long as:
1. The person receiving the medicine understands and accepts the substitution;
2. The doctor did not specifically state on the prescription that brand substitution was not to take place; and
3. The specific substitution is permitted in the state or territory in which it was prescribed and dispensed.

Other important reasons for the lower use of generic medications amongst people are the prescribing patterns of doctors and limited knowledge of generic medicines amongst consumers. Unlike in Australia where doctors use a brand name when writing a prescription, doctors in the UK use the name of the active ingredient when writing a prescription.

Consumers also report not wanting to use generic medicines because they trust their doctor to prescribe the correct medicine. They also say that they do not use generic substitutes because they do not trust them to be safe and effective, indicating those brand-name medicines and their substitutes are not viewed as equivalent products by many, despite the rigorous testing they must undergo.
Many medications have two names because more than one version of the medicine may be available.

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