Are Older Drugs Safer? Survey Says Yes

Published Online: Wednesday, June 1, 2005

A nationwide survey has revealed that patients prefer older medicines, equating "older with safer." Recent issues surrounding the safety of such drugs as the cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors and antidepressants have caused concern for patients.

Conducted by The Medco Monitor, the survey involved 1092 insured adults. The purpose of the survey was to assess patient perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors related to health care and prescription drug coverage.

The findings indicated that 7 out of 10 American patients would prefer a drug that has been available for 10 years or more, compared with newer drugs on the market, even when copays are equal. Although many patients believe that older and newer drugs are equally effective, 1 individual in 3 (31%) feels that newer drugs are less safe than older drugs. Furthermore, women are more apt to question the safety of newer drugs and more likely to perceive that newer drugs are less effective than older drugs, compared with men.

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