Want to save a buck with a generic Frontline Plus brand flea medication?
Providing your cats and dogs with monthly flea and tick prevention medicine is expensive and many people think they might be able to cut some corners by buying another brand that claims to be the generic Fronline Plus equivalent.
I’ll be honest — I am kind of a tight-ass. So, I don’t blame you for trying to save a few bucks whenever possible. While I can’t speak for you and make a definitive statement about other brands claiming to be generic forms of Frontline Plus, I will give you some reasons why you may or may not want to go that route.
First and foremost, you have to understand the difference between the marketing pitch and reality. And the only way we can get to that point is if you understand what a generic drug really means.
What makes a generic drug a generic?
The simplest and easiest way to explain what makes a generic drug a true generic is by looking at the active ingredients of the products. A generic must have the same active ingredient composition as the original.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research and development of drugs and treatments. Our economic system promotes this research and development by giving these companies proprietary and exclusive use of these drugs for a period of time by way of patents. When these patents expire, any other company can use the same drug(s) and create their version of the product and compete against them. But there are rules:
By law, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can approve generic versions of brand-name drugs without requiring that research be conducted to prove them safe and effective. However, compared with a brand-name drug, a generic drug must demonstrate that it (a) contains the same active ingredients; (b) is identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration; (c) is bioequivalent; (d) has the same clinical use indications; (e) meets the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality; and (f) is manufactured according to the same FDA regulations. The most important aspect of generic drug development are the concepts of bioavailability and bioequivalence. According to the concept of bioequivalence, if a drug product contains an active ingredient that is chemically identical and is delivered to the site of action at the same rate and extent as another drug product, then it is considered to be clinically equivalent and can be substituted for that drug product.
So, in conclusion, any product claiming to be generic Frontline Plus must have the same active ingredients, have the same strength and be delivered to the patient or pet in the same way. Therefore, any product claiming to be generic Frontline Plus must contain at a minimum, the active ingredients of fipronil and (S)-methoprene.
What is the difference between generic and non-generic medication?
This has been covered at length a few different places at Flea Bites 101 and will only briefly discuss it here. The difference between generics and non-generics is the composition of the inactive ingredients. These ingredients perform various functions such as flavoring and coloring, as well as the time-release of the medication. It is quite possible that two people will react differently to the same generic drug, but actually respond identically to the name brand product. For more detailed coverage of this topic please see the following pages:
Generic Frontline Plus – Who are the pretenders?
Since Frontline Plus is arguably the world’s best-selling brand of cat and dog flea and tick medication, a lot of copycats are out there pretending to be Frontline Plus or trying to sound like they are Frontline Plus. This is done through their naming, marketing strategies, and the way they package and label their products.
For example, Parastar Plus contains the word “Plus” in its name and trumpets their use of fipronil as an active ingredient in their packaging. Frontline lost its exclusive right to use fipronil in its products and so you now see some products like Sentry Fiproguard implying they are the generic equivalent of Frontline. Prominently displayed on the packaging of Sentry Fiproguard is the following text:
“Contains Fipronil – the active ingredient in Frontline Top Spot for dogs”
When you investigate Sentry further and take a look at their line of products, including Fiproguard Max, you will see that they have a page on their website devoted to comparing their product specifically to Frontline. Notice how they do not compare their products to Frontline Plus — but instead to just “Frontline”. As I mentioned on our page discussing Frontline vs. Frontline Plus, there is no longer a product in the marketplace that is just called Frontline.
So, essentially, Sentry Fiproguard has creatively positioned its products against the Frontline “family” of products because they all contain fipronil. What they conveniently forget to mention is that the Frontline Plus product also contains a second ingredient that theirs lacks.
Verdict: Generic Frontline Plus: Accept no substitutes!
If you are looking for a true generic Frontline Plus formula, there isn’t one on the marketplace. So, do not fall for any marketing gimmicks trying to convince you otherwise. I am not saying you should not try these other brands. That is your decision to make. I am merely cautioning you against trying another product under the guise that it is the generic equivalent of Frontline Plus – because it most assuredly is not.