The pharmacies and also many doctors will tell us that the generic and brand are the same thing. When tested by various independent labs, apparently this is not always the case. The testing found multiple inactive ingredients not found in TOPROL XL. This can have serious side effects for many who are sensitive to these ingredients. Also, a pills content may be 7% over or 7% under the stated content. The FDA requires that any approved drug be effective within a 20% range of the original patented or brand name drug. This means that the effectiveness may be 20% greater or 20% less effective than the brand name so that two generic drugs could contain as much as a 40% difference from each other. Numerous alerts were posted for Tetracycline, not having the proper ingredients. This means infections can get worse and continue to spread. The generic drug Tegretol was causing seizures. Until recently over 80 % of drug ingredients came from plants throughout Europe. According to the New York Times, generics are being made much more cheaply with ingredients coming from Korea, India and China. According to the National Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers only a small handfull of these plants meet FDA standards.
I checked the price of generic ATENOLOL on my Pharmacy mail order site, The cost for 90 pills of the generic was $4.17 and the cost for the brand for ATENOLOL (TENORMIN) 90 pills was $127.60. If my copay is 25.00 which pill will the pharmacy dispense? You guessed right, the cheapest pill he can give me. That's why pharmacies insist that the generics are the same as brand.
As I see it, the danger with these generic substitutions (which the pharmacies have the legal right to substitute without notifying the doctor or the patient) is that heart and blood pressure medications have to be manufactured to precise standards and dosing. This is the main reason that new brand drugs and manufacturing standards are scrutinized by the FDA for the proper placebo studies and the millions of dollars in costs to the pharmaceutical companies to get these drugs properly tested and approved. The generic drugs "do not" have to perform these studies to sell and market their pills. The FDA is very happy about all this because it keeps pill prices lower and more affordable. Besides, you can't prove that the seizures, strokes and spread of infections are due to the pills. The sad thing is that many of us are required to take these pills for life. Which reminds me, I need to take my medicine.....
P.S. I did some heavy research on this. Unfortunately, most insurance plans will only cover generic pills. If you are having problems with your new generic pills, with side effects not experienced before, tell your doctor. When he fills your new prescription you can have him specify "DAW" (Dispense As Written) which requires the pharmacy to prescribe only the brand drug. The good news is that many brand drugs are much cheaper and affordable because of the generic competition. The generic TOPROL XL is about $50.00 and the brand is about $75.00 (for most doses) Tell your doctor to prescribe a higher dosage and you can split it in half.