Generic medicines

Generic medicines contain the same active substance and have the same therapeutic effect as branded medicines. Their price is at least between 54% and 65% lower than the original price of the branded medicine. Generic medicines allow more patients to be better treated.

Importance for access to healthcare  

All over the world, generic medicines are the perfect medium to make medicines widely available to patients. They break through the patent on the branded medicine and create competition on the pharmaceutical market, causing prices to fall. Because of this, generic medicines marketed in Belgium are at least between 54% and 65% cheaper than the initial price of the corresponding branded medicines. In practice, this can sometimes be as much as 80% or more. On top of that the average price of generic medicines falls each year. Over the past 10 years this price decrease has amounted to 33% in total. In this way both the patient and healthcare insurers can make significant savings on their medicine expenditure. For INAMI/RIZIV (NIHDI) this amounts to EUR 1.9 billion per year. These resources can now be used to make more new and often very expensive therapies accessible to patients and/or to treat patients who, before the entry of the generic competition on the market, did not receive optimum access to existing medicines.

Generic medicines Belgium price erosion

Stimulate innovation

But there is more. Due to the competition of generic medicines, manufacturers of branded medicines are constantly encouraged to improve existing products or introduce new molecules to the market. If this incentive was lacking, the reward for innovation would be much less.

There are also more and more pharmaceutical companies who, in one way or another, are present in both the innovative and generic segment. In this context, we often talk about hybrid companies.

Cost-effective treatment for more than 8 out of 10 illnesses

There are currently 299 molecules on the Belgian market for which there is a generic medicine available. Generic medicines can be used for more than 80% of treatments.

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Looking for more information about the use of generic medicines in Belgium?

->  Click Facts & Figures Generic medicines in Belgium

->   Watch again the Generic medicines day webinar of 17 September 2020 (below - in French and Dutch only)


Video: Generic medicines day - 17 September 2020