The Washington Post

Letters: Generics are not identical to brand-name drugs, legally or medically

ADHD illustration (Jon Krause/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
Generics: the real thing?

I was very interested in the article about generic drugs, “Giving you just what the doctor ordered” [July 12]. The Supreme Court recently threw out the suit of a woman seeking damages for adverse effects she suffered from taking a generic version of a prescription drug. According to The Post, the court said she could have sued the manufacturer (the holder of the original patent) for damages if she had taken the original version of the drug, but she could not sue the manufacturer of the generic. Seems to me this has important ramifications for those of us taking maintenance prescription medications.

I realize that all drugs are chemicals with a potential for side effects and that doctors and patients have to weigh the benefits against the risks of less than desirable side effects, but it seems rather worrisome and scary to be left with no recourse if one is taking a generic form and suffers some bad side effects.

Joyce Freund, Woodstock, Va.

As a clinical psychologist, I have often had the following experience: A patient has been doing very well but suddenly comes in much more depressed, and the depression doesn’t go away. I ask, “Has anything happened in your life” to cause the bad mood? No, everything’s going great. “Are you still taking the same dose of your medicine at the same time of day?” Yes, no change at all. “Are you taking a different brand of buproprion [generic Wellbutrin]?” Oh! yes, they switched me to a generic a couple weeks ago, but that shouldn’t make any difference, should it? Patient gets doctor to prescribe brand-name Wellbutrin; mood quickly returns to normal. Over and over I have seen this. I’ve also seen plenty of people respond very well to generic buproprion. I presume they’re identical in most respects but they aren’t identical in all clinically important respects.

Katherine Whipple, Kensington

ADHD story hits home

Molly Zametkin’s article “My label, my self,” [June 28] hit home for me like a tornado; I’m a 17-year-old girl living with ADD, familiar with all the symptoms that Molly discussed, minus the hyperactivity. I’m glad that this article was printed where so many who don’t understand the nature of ADHD can read it. I’m also glad it was written by such an eloquent, relatable, accomplished young woman who didn’t let a label hold her back.

Molly’s story is especially inspirational to those, myself included, who feel hindered and misunderstood as a result of having this disorder. Molly wrote that underachievement wasn’t an issue for her in her high school career, but it has colored many young people’s lives and threatens to limit a lot of opportunities for me.

Unlike Molly, I don’t need to worry about Internet articles about me and the disorder, but what she said about accepting your past and accepting yourself and persevering was greatly needed and appreciated.

Samantha Kobor, Great Falls



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