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Health Team

Pharmacist: Brand has 'nothing to do' with quality of medication

Posted August 12, 2010 11:33 a.m. EDT
Updated August 12, 2010 6:58 p.m. EDT

— Some parents may have noticed a lot of familiar child's pain relievers are hard to find. Over the past six to eight months manufacturers of Tylenol and Motrin products have voluntarily pulled most of the medications from shelves due to quality-control issues.

There are still options available that are cheaper than and just as good as the brand names.

Generic store brands are plentiful, but Compounding Pharmacist Rikesh Patel with Brier Creek Pharmacy says some people think cheaper price means cheaper quality.

"I guess you're paying for the brand and the name most of the time. That has nothing to do with the quality, just because it's an inexpensive medication,” Patel said.

Some child's Motrin and Tylenol products are still available because they were made at different facilities than other recalled products. Some of those brand name products, even with the higher price, had concentration issues.

“Some medications were stronger than what was recorded on the label. Some were actually weaker,” Patel said.

Even if generic brands were in short supply, Patel is a compounding pharmacist who's specially trained to formulate medications for customers, even pediatric pain relievers.

“We can make them taste better or dye-free in a lot of cases. A lot of kids are allergic to certain dyes and things like that,” Patel said.

When parents shop for over-the-counter medications, the decision has become more complicated. There have been several dosage changes over the past year or two because many parents gave medications to their infant that weren't intended for them, so seek out your pharmacist.

“And I'd encourage parents not to just buy off the shelf. I'd encourage them to come out and at least have a conversation with the pharmacist any time their child is sick,” Patel said.

Parents should be careful using multi-symptom pain relievers, which often contain medications for symptoms their child may not have. Your pharmacist can recommend the best combination of medications for you or your child.