RxList provides a list of some common medications showing both their generic and brand names, such as fluoxetine and Prozac; omeprazole and Prilosec; and acetaminophen and Tylenol. Others include sildenafil and Viagra; loratadine and Claritin; and diazepam and Valium.
While most common medications have a generic equivalent that is just as effective as the brand name version, this was not always the case in the United States, explains U.S. Pharmacist. It wasn't until 1906, when Congress passed the Federal Food and Drugs Act, that the government first started to take pharmaceutical regulation into its hands. This new act required strict product labeling on all medications and enabled the government to take legal action in the case of an injury or death sustained by a faulty drug. This was the first step in establishing what is now known as the FDA: the Food & Drug Administration.
In 1938, Congress took pharmaceutical regulation a step further by passing the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, states U.S. Pharmacist. The FDCA requires all new drugs to undergo rigorous manufacturer testing and receive FDA approval to ensure safety and efficacy before they can be sold on the market. Currently, generic drugs account for more than half of the total prescriptions filled in the United States.