Expensive drugs vs. generics

If you’ve ever been to a pharmacy, you might have noticed that some drugs are expensive, while others, especially generics, are cheap. Neuroscientists found that the price of a drug itself is able to heal a patient, as well as to kill her or him.

Here is an example. Substance A suppresses the activity of one enzyme, thus reducing inflammation, while substance B inhibits the activity of another enzyme, therefore helping to relax smooth muscles. Substance A is Aspirin, and substance B is tadalafil that is a part of Cialis, one of the most popular remedies for erectile dysfunction. Do you have any idea why substance A costs so much less than substance B? Me not.

However, let me surprise you!

According to the recent work of neuroscientists, any drug’s affect on a patient directly depends on its price. Most of us are sure that brand name drugs are better than generics for no particular reason.

When you taste expensive wine, knowing how much it costs, special zones in the prefrontal cortex are activated in your brain. But if you drink the same wine in a blind tasting, these zones are silent.

The same zones glow in those patients who take placebo, tablets without any active ingredient, if they think the pills may heal them. As a result, sometimes so-called “placebo effect” occurs, when a patient really feels better. By the way, this effect is much more noticeable if the patient is informed that the pills that are given to him are unique and very expensive.

Alexandra’s case

Moreover, Alexandra Tinnermann from Hamburg found out that side effects also depend on the price.

She designed two boxes with ointment for skin itching. One she named Solestan®Creme, and it looked expensive and prestigious. Another, named Imitadil Leni-Farma, alluded to a penny generic. In fact, both tubes contained an ordinary petrolatum. No need to say that participants of the experiment complained about more serious side effects with the second substance.

So, generics or money spent?

Modern drugs for cancer and antibiotics have much in common. First of all, they are very, very expensive. Also, their side effects are diverse and often severe.

Apparently, knowing mentioned above, doctors may manage side effects quite easily. How? Just by not telling their patients the price of the medication.


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