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Attitude of general practitioners towards generics in Pakistan Posted 24/08/2012

The second of a series of three articles reports on a survey aimed at exploring the knowledge, perception and attitude of general practitioners towards generic medicines in Karachi, Pakistan [1].

This exploratory, descriptive study was conducted on a sample of 289 randomly selected General Practitioners (GPs) who were dispensing at their private clinics in Karachi, Pakistan. The questionnaires were distributed and collected by hand. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17 was used to perform statistics. The first part of the survey collected demographic data about the doctors, the second part tested their basic understanding of generic versus brand medicines; the third part addressed GPs’ perceptions of generic medicines while lastly their attitude towards prescribing generic medicines was assessed.  A response rate of 71.3% correctly filled in questionnaires was considered acceptable.

Statements testing basic understanding

Correct answer
n (%)

Incorrect answer
n (%)

Generic medicines must be in the same dosage form such as tablet, capsule; as brand-name medicines

156 (75.7)

  50 (24.3)

Generic medicines are manufactured after the originator/innovator patent has expired

88 (42.7)

118 (57.3)

Close to three quarters of respondents (n = 148; 71.8%) answered ‘yes’ that generic medicines are a copy of the brand name medicine and they are interchangeable with brand-name medicines.

Statements testing perceptions

Agree
n (%)

Neutral
n (%)

Disagree
n (%)

I believe that multinational products are of better quality than local company products

123
(59.7)

49
(23.8)

34
(16.5)

I believe that not all the local companies in Pakistan are following Good Manufacturing Practices  guidelines like multinationals

111
(53.9)

59
(28.6)

36
(17.5)

Fourteen statements were included on the views about safety, quality and efficacy of generic medicines and the reputation of local manufacturers and their low-cost brands. In terms of quality, more than half of the respondents viewed multinational products as being of better quality than local company products (n = 123; 59.7%) and this correlated significantly with gender (p = 0.034) and years of practice (p = 0.021).

Statements testing attitude

Agree
n (%)

Neutral
n (%)

Disagree
n (%)

I wish to prescribe low cost medicines in my practice

157
(76.2)

20
(9.7)

29
(14.1)

I feel that medical representatives are a good source of information for me

158
(76.6)

24
(11.7)

24
(11.7)

Twelve statements assessed prescribing attitude in light of the socio-economic condition of the patient, patients’ demands, influence of medical representatives, as well as quality in local manufacturers’ brands. Information provided by a medical representative and doctors’ own experience in practice were rated highly.

Conclusion
General Practitioners are pulled in different directions by a desire to help the less affluent patients, the theoretical knowledge that generics are equivalent, but practical experience that local brands may not be of such good quality as international brands.

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Compliance with generic drug use among Pakistani immigrants

Perception of generic drugs as fake among Pakistani immigrants

Pakistani immigrants may confuse generics with counterfeit drugs

References

1.  Jamshed SQ, Ibrahim MIM, Hassali MA, Masood I, Low BY, Shafie AA, et al. Perception and attitude of general practitioners regarding generic medicines in Karachi, Pakistan: a questionnaire based study. Southern Med Review. 2012;5(1):22-30. 

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