Name brands vs generic store brands

A few weeks ago I had a plugged ear. It wasn’t infected but I could barely hear anything out of it.

As doctors do, sometimes they prescribe a medicine that works, and sometimes they don’t. Mine wanted to rule out any seasonal allergies so they wrote a prescription for Claritin D.

I got to my local pharmacy, and even though I already knew this on some level, I still got hit with sticker shock… Drugs are insanely expensive and overpriced.

So I started actually taking a closer look on the shelf, and compared prices and the quantity I needed.

There were 2 types of drugs. There was the major name brand drug, and then there was the generic store brand drug.
Given a choice, the majority of people will hands down pick the name brand drug, even if it’s grossly more expensive. This is for a few reasons:

  • Big pharma companies hold the product patents, so they get a head-start on selling drugs first
  • That means they advertise first and get brand recognition over time
  • Not to mention the slick candy-like packaging

And even though it’s been proven that generic brands have the same strength, dosage and results as their name-brand cousins, most people can’t help but resist the invisible tractor-beam pull of the bigger name.

And when my doc handed me my script, she told me to buy over-the-counter Claritin D, which is a lot more memorable than an over-the-counter antihistamine, which is what the drug really is.

But the secret of the name-brand stuff is really the social aspect. The majority of name brands don’t have to pay to advertise as much because most people do it for them in everyday conversation.

And we do this with tons of stuff. We just don’t realize it…

  • Coke instead of Cola
  • Clorox wipes instead of Cleaning wipes
  • Tylenol instead of Acetaminophen
  • Vasoline instead of Petroleum Jelly
  • The pink bottle Pepto Bismol is a doozer, Bismuth subsalicylate

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even talked about breakfast cereals or canned vegetables.

Even though in my mind, I knew it was the exact same drug, I could still feel the powerful pull of the name brand drug. It was like the dark side of the force calling to me. I had to overcome years of Claritin D’s name brand recognition in my head to save some dough. But ultimately I overcame its dark Sith Lord mind-games, and bought the store brand.

But it was a fight. I had to overcome years of corporate brainwashing.

If you think the brand name is bigger, so it must be better, then that’s just not the case. Bigger brands are just better marketers.

John