Kids,  Shopping

Ditch the brands to save £100+ a year on medicines!

Branded vs. Generic medicines?

Why pay for branded over the counter medicines when you can save a lot of money buying generic drugs also known as supermarket branded drugs

We all have been unwell with minor illnesses at some point and bought over the counter (OTC) drugs that don’t need a prescription to treat ourselves or family member. However, have you ever thought what the difference in branded vs. non-branded drugs was? I used to buy branded drugs only, until I learnt that there isn’t a difference between the generic and the branded medicines. Now I want to help you save money, when you need to restock your medicine cabinet!

Let me fill you in; I’ve read on our National Health Services (NHS) website, that medicines tend to have 2 names. One being the branded name such as Nurofen, which is the trademarked name created by the pharmaceutical company, who invented the drug. The generic name is the name of the active ingredient of the medicine such as Ibuprofen. So, all Nurofen is, is Ibuprofen in a branded package with a 5 times higher price tag for the same drug in a unbranded or supermarkets own brand packaging.  I will compare the prices of the branded drug with the generic equivalent for you, so that you can see how much money you could save for yourself. I will make a comparison table for adult drugs, as well as children’s drugs as I know some of you are parents like myself.

I am a regular migraine sufferer, have an allergic reaction to insect bites and suffer severe hay fever. As well as that I have a young daughter, who also suffers from bad hay fever and catches the general illnesses being a school aged kid.  I have also calculated how much it would cost me to buy branded OTC medicines only versus generic drugs only. The table of comparison is further below.

Adults over the counter drugs price comparison

Branded MedicineCheapest Price Found (GBP/ £)Generic Equivalent (Active Ingredient)Cheapest Price Found (GBP/ £)Difference in Price you can save (GBP/ £)
Nurofen (16)B&M 1.89Ibuprofen (16)Asda 0.351.54
Clarityn (30)Tesco 9.65Loratadine (30)B&M 1.008.65
Anadin Paracetamol (16)Morrisons 1.25Paracetamol (16)B&M 0.191.06
Nurofen Joint and Back Pain Gel 40gAsda 6.97Ibuprofen Gel 50gPoundland 1.005.97
Piriteze (30)Asda 9.00Cetirizine (30)Boots 2.496.51
Night Nurse 160mlBoots 7.99Boots Night & Cold Relieve 200mlBoots 6.491.50
Sudafed Sinus Max Strength (16)Asda 3.50Paracetamol, Caffeine & Phenylephrine (16)B&M 0.892.61
Imodium Original (6)Asda 2.49Leoperamide (6)B&M 1.001.49
Vicks Sinex Micromist 15mlB&M 2.69Blocked Nose Oxymetazoline HCl Spray 15mlB&M 1.001.69
Corsodyl Mouthwash 300mlAsda 4.50Chlorhexidine 300mlAsda 2.002.50
Nurofen Migraine (12)Asda 3.00Ibuprofen Lysine (12)Tesco 2.001.00
Lemsip Max Sachets (10)B&M 3.39Paracetamol & Phenylephrine Cold & Flu Sachets (10)Asda 1.751.64
Vicks Vapour rub 100gTesco 4.00Vapour rub 50gB&M 0.89×2=1.782.22
Zovirax Cold Sore Relief Cream 2gAsda 4.85Aciclorvir 2gB&M 1.003.85
Optrex Multiaction Eye Wash 300mlSainsburys 6.50Eye Wash 300mlSavers 2.504.00
4Head Stick 3.6gAsda 4.50Head Soothe 3.6gSavers 1.493.01
Deep Freeze Pain Relief Gel 100gBoots 4.69Freeze Gel 100gBoots 3.990.70
Gaviscon Original Aniseed Relief Oral Suspension 300mlWilko 6.25Heartburn & Indigestion Liquid   500mlAsda 4.501.7     and 200ml more
Rennie Peppermint Tablets (48)B&M 2.69Indigestion Relief Tablets (48)Tesco 2.200.49
AnuSol Suppositories (24)Boots 6.99Haemorrhoid Relief Suppositories (24)Boots 4.992.00
Hc45 Hydrocortisone Cream 15gSuperdrug 4.49Hydrocortisone Cream 15gAsda 1.902.59
Deep Heat Pain Relief Patch (4)Wilko 5.25Self Adhesive Heat Pads (1)Poundland £1 x4= £41.25
Bonjela 15gB&M 3.49Mouth Ulcer Gel 15gBoots 2.990.50
Strepsils Throat Pain Honey & Lemon (24)B&M 2.49Honey &Lemon Antiseptic Lozenges (24)Tesco 1.550.94
CanesOasis Cystitis Relief Cranberry Flavour Oral Solution (6)Wilko 4.45Sodium Citrate Cystitis Relief Cranberry Flavour (6)Wilko 1.203.25

Kids medicine

Branded MedicineCheapest Price FoundGeneric Equivalent (Active Ingredient)Cheapest Price FoundDifference in Price you can save
Piriton Syrup 150mlBoots 4.99Chlorphenamine Maleate 150mlBoots 3.991.00
Calpol Infant 2mths+ 100mlB&M 2.98Children’s Paracetamol Suspension 100mlPoundland 1.001.98
Nurofen Kids 100mlSainsburys 3.50Ibuprofen 3mths+ 100mlPoundland 1.002.50
Calpol 6+ Suspension 200mlMorrisons 2.85Paracetmol 6 years +Asda 1.950.90

 Here is a list of medicines I buy yearly and an estimate of how much of it I buy. I have calculated what it would cost me, if I went for branded only and how much it would save me in total per year if I only buy generic over the counter meds. As you can see, buying generic drugs only, would save me approximately £113.63 a year.

Estimate yearly cost of drugs branded vs. non-branded

Medicine and amountBranded Total PriceGeneric Total Price
Nurofen x23.780.70
Clarityn x438.64.00
Night Nurse x17.996.49
Anadin Paracetamol x45.000.76
Vicks Vaporub x14.001.78
Optrex Eye wash x852.0020.00
4head stick x627.008.94
Hydrocortisone x14.491.90
Strepsils x12.491.55
Piriton Syrup x314.9711.97
Calpol 6+ x617.1011.70
Nurofen kids x27.002.00
Total cost184.4270.79

I hope this was helpful and helped you save some money on your over the counter meds. If it is, share this with your friends and family, so that they also can save some money stocking up their medicine cabinet. If you know of any other regular brands that have a generic, I’d love to hear about it.