Despite Knowledge of Generics Benefit, Some Prefer Brand Name

Published Online: Thursday, September 13, 2012
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Although many women enrolled in one state’s Medicaid program noted that generics were less expensive than brand-name medications, only half of participants preferred the cheaper drugs to their brand-name counterparts, according to the results of a study published online February 21, 2012, in Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy.

In addition, providers, including both physicians and pharmacists, did not often discuss generic substitution, the study reported.

Researchers from the University of Tennessee, Oregon Health and Sciences University, and Ohio State University aimed to evaluate perceptions about generic medications among women enrolled in TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid system.

Researchers recruited 172 women of child-bearing age from primary care, gynecology, and health clinic locations, and administered a 25-item oral questionnaire on their sociodemographic background and their opinions on the efficacy, safety, cost, and preferences regarding generic and brand-name medicines.

Participants’ average age was 28.8 years (±6.4 years), and most subjects were identified as being white and married. Approximately 20% had not completed high school, the study authors stated.

Although 97.6% of participants believed that generic medications were less expensive, and 60.5% believed they were a better value than brand-name medicines, only 45.3% preferred taking the drugs, the authors found.

In addition, 23.3% believed that brand-name medications were more effective than generics, and 13.4% believed that generics caused more side effects. Only 35.5% of women reported a consultation with their pharmacist about generic drugs, and 29.7% reported a similar consultation with their physician.

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