Why would you ever buy branded painkillers?

I saw this shared on Facebook today…

It’s wise advice. But it assumes you’re getting free prescriptions, which most people don’t. Of course, even then, it’s still good advice but can be extended more generally – always check the ‘over the counter’ cost of anything you’re getting on prescription, as it may be cheaper to buy it yourself.

However, this post is not actually about this but about comments that often come about as a result of this kind of discussion.

Why would anybody want to buy branded paracetamol when you can it buy them from Home Bargain for 16p?

There are actually three reasons…

Reason 1 – They’re easier to swallow

Branded painkillers often have better coatings on them so, for those who struggle with swallowing tablets, these can be particularly beneficial. My mum, for example, can only swallow a particular version of Nurofen, for just this reason.

Reason 2 – They work quicker

The branded painkillers will often work their way into your bloodstream quicker, due to better quality of ingredients.

Reason 3 – You’re supporting future research

Let’s take Nurofen, as an example. The company behind it discovered Ibuprofen and then cost millions, if not billions, to bring to market. Now, anybody can create Ibuprofen, with none of the overheads and sell the results for pence. The reality is that those cheap, non-branded products wouldn’t exist without the branded companies creating it in the first place.

The same goes for so many other things, particularly in the health and beauty market. The supermarket own-brands of items such as shampoos and shower gels are cheaper because the company that makes them has had to do none of the research and development, just ripping off other companies hard work.

The problem is, we seem to be a world now where, possibly due to jealousy, spending more money than is deemed to be necessary is seen as an awful thing to do. I remember reading comments when the Dyson hairdryer was announced – it’s expensive but a very, very good product. It’s 10 times the price of most other hairdryers but I’m sure it’s not 10 times better. But that’s the way with most things – is my mobile phone 5 times better than my wife’s, as it’s 5 times the price? No. Is that Sony TV in a living room many times better than the supermarket branded cheap version? Probably not. But, as is often the case, incremental improvements often cost proportionally more. And let’s not forget that cheaper products are often made to a poorer quality – do you think that supermarket TV is going to last as long? I predict not.

But, going back to health and beauty, the same applies here. Many years ago, when Boots was under attack in the media about how pricey their products were compared to elsewhere, they did a study to make a point about why. They took cod liver oil capsules from Wilkos, costing a lot, lot less than their own, and their own brand and had them independently tested. Not only did the Boots version have more cod liver oil in them but the quality of it was better – you have to get the oil from very specific parts of the liver to get the best benefits. So, yeah, pay less but get a far inferior product.

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