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Benefits of generics called into question

The benefits associated with generic prescription drugs have been called into question in an article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) [1].

Epilepsy: medical concerns of prescribing generics

Generic economics

Generic medications are generally cheaper than their branded product counterparts and so prescribing these is encouraged as a cost-containment strategy in the management of healthcare resources. Encouraging the use of generic drugs is widely considered to be the most simple and effective way of reducing medication expenditure.

Perception of generic drugs as fake among Pakistani immigrants

Pakistani immigrants in Norway may confuse generic drugs with counterfeit drugs, according to research carried out by Norwegian researchers [1].

Generic warfarin as safe and effective as brand name

In a literature study by Dr Francesco Dentali and colleagues found that generic warfarin was as safe as brand name warfarin (Coumadin) [1].

Pakistani immigrants may confuse generics with counterfeit drugs

A study by Norwegian researchers showed that generics substitution may lead to lack of compliance in Pakistani immigrants in Norway, due to misconceptions and confusion with counterfeit drugs [1].

Influence these two factors and the use of generics will increase

According to Assistant Professor William Shrank of Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, we may be able to increase the use of generic alternatives over brand-name medications if we influence the following two factors: communication about generics between patients and their physicians or pharmacists and the patients’ comfort with generic substitution.

Factors that influence generic drug use

Increasing efforts to influence both the prescriber and patient factors involved in determining the type of initial prescription may benefit everyone involved in paying for medications to get the most cost-effective treatment for their condition.

Savings to be made and compliance with generic antidepressants

Vlahiotis A et al. compared discontinuation rates and healthcare utilisation costs among patients using brand-name versus generic antidepressants.

No difference between generic and brand-name antidepressants

Patients who start treatment for depression with generic drugs benefit from significantly lower costs and are just as likely to keep taking their medication as those who start on brand-name medicines new research suggests.

The ‘Wise List’ - a Swedish drug formulary

Research carried out by Lars Gustafsson and et al. [1] into the use and acceptance of a drug formulary used in Stockholm, Sweden, found that adherence to the ‘Wise List’ resulted in substantial cost savings due to increased use of cheaper generic drugs.