European patients trust generic medicines

Generics/Research | Posted 02/02/2010 post-comment0 Post your comment

In total 2,800 patients participated in the European Health study by InSites Consulting. Seven out of ten participants indicated the ability to differentiate generic medicines from brand medicines. While generic medicines contain the same active ingredients as patented brands, we still discovered that 44% of patients who claim to be familiar with generic medicines do not believe this. However this does not detract from the effectiveness patients ascribe to ‘white products’. Eighty three per cent believe that generic medicines are equally effective as the original formula.


The research data are the results of a study set up by InSites Consulting – Health. The study was carried out early 2009 in seven European countries, namely in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. An online survey was used as research method. Over 1,000 registrations (of illnesses) were made per country and over 2,800 patients filled in the questionnaire.

The study revealed that 71% of patients claim to know the difference between generic medicines and brand medicines. Those able to differentiate generic medicines from brand medicines are – in comparison to the general population – on average slightly higher educated. The 45+ age group is also more familiar with generic alternatives than younger patients, and men more so than women.

“What is surprising is that in those countries where generic medicines are highly established – for example in Germany - fewer patients report the ability to differentiate brand medicines from generic medicines. This would at first glance appear to be a contradiction, though these figures do possibly suggest that some generic products have simply become a ‘brand’ for many consumers”, says Magali Geens, Director Health Research at InSites Consulting.

Of those people familiar with generic medicines, 9 out of 10 also have experience with these medicines. Simply being aware of the alternatives therefore appears to be sufficient for patients to use generic medicines. It was found that 83% believe that generic medicines are as effective as the original formulas.

Opinions are strongly divided on the question whether generic medicines contain the same active components as brand products. It was found that 56% believe this is the case, while 44% have doubts. “Fact is that generic medicines must contain the same active component as the original product”, explains Ms Geens. “The formula may however deviate somewhat from the original brand formula. The extent to which deviations are permitted is of course strictly regulated”.


Patiënten vertrouwen generische geneesmiddelen. ApothekersNieuws. 2010 January 5.

Patients trust generic medicines. InSites Consulting Press Release. 4 January 2010.

Source: ApothekersNieuws; InSites Consulting Press Release

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