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Recently, according to a recent New York Times article, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was scrutinizing the manufacture of extended-release drugs after it discovered a generic extended release drug did not function as well as its brand name alternative. Before this, the FDA has always maintained generic drugs are the same and act in the same way as brand name drugs. The current investigation marks a departure in the FDA’s basic premise. The generic drug for the brand product Wellbutrin XL, an antidepressant, was implicated as "not as effective" as its brand name alternative. The issue came to light after patients complained their depression returned when they were began using the generic drug.

The FDA is now examining techniques generic drug makers use to form extended-release drugs. Generic drugs are now the majority of medicines prescribed in the United States, and their price tag is more affordable to patients. Extended release drugs make up a large portion of generic drugs prescribed and the way in which generic extended release drugs act may vary. Critics of generic equivalency to brand name drugs say generic drug companies "have been reluctant to acknowledge that sometimes generics don’t work as well as the brand-name originals."

I have often wondered about this very thing. Who is inspecting the products of the generic manufacturers? If so, how often? I wonder how many generics are nothing more than a placebo, or a watered down version of the original – to save money for the manufacturer?

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