View Full Version : Painkillers - is it worth buying branded products?

9th Mar 2006, 12:48
If you compare the ingredients of a supermarket painkiller against a more expensive branded product, the list is usually identical, e.g. some combination of:


You can pay up to 5 for the branded version, whereas the supermarket version is between 50p - 1. Is this just a rip-off, or can you get different qualities or grades of the various drugs?


9th Mar 2006, 12:52
If the ingredients are BP or (I think) Ph.Eur then they are exactly the same. The rest is packaging and marketing.

Anyone who doesn't buy generic or own-label stuff is just throwing money away.

From the Tesco website:

16 Nurofen 200 mg UKP 1.59
16 Tesco Ibuprofen 200 mg UKP 0.35

i.e. the own label is 78% cheaper than the brand, for the same stuff.

9th Mar 2006, 12:53
Rip off Britain - they are exactly the same - that's what the "bp" on them means - they are made to an approved "recipie". If you Doctor prescribes Pain Killers for you (Solphadol type medicine) just look at the strengths and buy them over the counter and "add up" the right strength (OTC are usually weaker so you may have to take 2 or 3 tablets to make up the prescribed strength). Presciption Cost £6.50, OTC cost £1.02 in my case.

9th Mar 2006, 12:58
Cherokee Driver said,
Rip off Britain
Hang on a minute. Stop the Britain bashing, this goes on in other countries too!

9th Mar 2006, 13:03
The more expensive ones are specifically targeted at the part of the brain suffering from the headache their TV ad. gave you.

9th Mar 2006, 13:07
Even then....

Zantac 75mg 4.50 for 12 or 37.5p each.
Tesco Ranitidine 1.89 for 12 or 16p each
online pharmacy generic ranitidine 21.99 for 250 or 0.08p each

9th Mar 2006, 13:52
But isn't the supermarket version "branded" anyway?! I mean it's still Tescos or whatever selling the stuff... :confused:

9th Mar 2006, 14:57
It would pain me to pay more than the cheapest.

Double reverse whammy (?), then. :cool:

9th Mar 2006, 17:49
You need to be confident that the company can afford the pay out when your spouse sues.

9th Mar 2006, 17:59
I think Tesco qualifies there!

tony draper
9th Mar 2006, 19:08
Give it another ten years or so and Tesco's will be selling cocaine and heroin over the counter
Dunno why we don't just admit defeat on the war on drugs now.

9th Mar 2006, 20:52
But only for the well to do tony same as it was in the old days before it was illegal.

Nick Riviera
10th Mar 2006, 20:14
The reason behind it is because the drug companies need to recoup their R&D costs. So, company X creates Ibuprofen after years of research and cost. They are then granted sole selling rights for, I think, 5 years. After this every supermarket dives in with it's cheap generic brand. The drug company hopes that the brand loyalty it has built up in the preceeding years will continue and most people will still buy their product, and people do. Trust me, if not enough people brought the branded product then the price would come down. Me, I buy generic, seems stupid not to.

10th Mar 2006, 21:10
I'm with you Nick.

The dosage per pill may differ somewhat ( still waiting for the Super-dooper-ultra-can't-feel-yer-legs-kill-that-bad-boy-hangover-without-screwing-up-my-stomach strength painkiller), but they is the same thing

10th Mar 2006, 21:20
Yeh, costs an absolute fortune to get a drug to market, and most don't make it, and that has to be paid for. A pharma company may only survive because one drug makes it every ten years, and it's a blockbuster.

It's not unusual for a really good drug which has made it to market, at great cost, so be withdrawn because it kills a few people. It might help millions, but it kills a few hundred, so that's the end of that. No drug company is going to risk financial ruin because somebody got unlucky, the drug killed them, and the relatives sue and get a billion dollars damages. If the consumer wants that sort of protection, it's going to add cost to the next drug.

The pharma companies know this and are trying their best to use technology to identify good drugs early, and reduce the cost of getting those drugs to market, but it aint easy and the consumer still wants their drugs to go through huge amounts of testing and that costs money.

Of course the real reason drugs cost a lot of money is because of shareholders demanding bigger dividends, those expensive dinners they take the doctors to at conferences, and the business class tickets their employees fly around the world on. And long may it continue :)

Me, I buy generics if at all available.

tony draper
10th Mar 2006, 21:28
One once installed some kit at a vast chemical plant who's sole function was to manufacture Ibuprophen pills, interestingly at some point in the manufacturing process Mustard gas (Phosgene) is used, a single fifty gallon drum of it to arrive under great security once a month,one installed a camera in the air and gas proof room where it was handled by robots,to keep toot on the process, one had to wear a space suit to enter,and would you care to hazard a guess at which camera was very fond of going tits up?

11th Mar 2006, 01:27
Sorry Tony, mustard gas and phosgene ain't the same thing. Both unpleasant but in different ways.