Generics Test Well Compared To Name-Brand Drugs

According to government regulations, generic versions of brand-name drugs must demonstrate "biological equivalence" -- meaning they have the same effects in the body.

Still, generic drugs can differ by method of manufacturing, and thus some physicians prefer to stick to the name brands they -- and their patients -- recognize.

But a comprehensive review of drugs used to treat heart disease finds that generics are just as good at controlling blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and preventing heart attacks.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital compared results from 47 head-to-head studies of generic and brand-name heart drugs.

They found that the generic versions of heart rhythm medications such as Toprol and Coreg were just as safe and effective. Brand-name Zocor was no better for lowering cholesterol than its generic counterpart.

Results were similar for all the drugs examined. However, researchers found that physicians commenting on the studies were often not convinced by the findings.