Budeprion XL 300 mg, a generic version of the widely-prescribed Wellbutrin XL 300 mg, appears to not perform as well in the lab as the original name-brand version, according to Consumer Lab.com. You can read the full story on MSNBC.

Generic drugs are supposed to be the same formulation as the name-brand drug, and are usually offered at significant price breaks, making them very attractive to consumers. However, in recent years, more and more reports have surfaced about whether generic versions of drugs offer the same level of quality control on ingredients to ensure people are receiving the same medication. Because the only real difference in the drugs is not how they are manufactured, but by whom (and what type of quality assurance procedures they use versus the original manufacturer).

Marc Goshko, executive director of legal affairs at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which sells Budeprion XL 300 mg, says the drug met all requirements of the Food and Drug Administration, including showing that the drug performed similarly to the brand in the lab and also was released into the bloodstream of healthy volunteers at the same rate. He did not cite specifics of that research.

Of course, at any one particular moment in time, a manufacturing plant may very well produce the exact same formulation of a drug. However, since drug companies are not required to keep showing the FDA that the drug is still just as effective 3 years or 8 years into production, it’s easy to look for ways to cut costs. One of those areas is often quality assurance. Instead of checking 10 of every 1,000 pills, a manufacturer might check only 10 of every 10,000 pills.

My mom used to work in manufacturing at a well-known company that produced medical supplies, including certain drugs. What she saw in her decades working there would not surprise anyone who’s ever actually worked in a manufacturing plant. While these things are supposed to be well-regulated, they tend not to be in practice.