Patients Looking for Lower Cost Prescriptions--February 2009

Poll finds more patients are choosing generic over brand name drugs and shopping for them at discount stores and online.

A poll by Harris Interactive reveals a change in the drugs individuals buy and how and where they buy them. Over the period October 2006 to December 2008, the proportion of adults who would choose generic drugs over brand name ones has increased from 68% to 81%, the market researcher reports. In addition, those who would choose branded drugs more often has declined from 32% to 19%.

The poll also found patients purchasing their prescriptions more often at discount stores like Walmart and Target (up from 13% to 17% over the 2-year period) or buying them online or by mail order (up 11% to 15%). The survey found that the largest percentage of respondents continue to purchase their prescriptions from chain drugstores; however, that number has declined—from 39% in 2006 to 33% in 2008.

The nationwide online poll of 2388 adults was conducted between December 9 and 15, 2008. The pollster suggests that the prescription purchasing trends probably have accelerated because patients are looking to save money during a troubled economy. In its 2006 report on the topic, however, Harris predicted that “low-priced generics [are] likely to attract a large share of prescription drug sales.”

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) said the results of the Harris Poll demonstrate the confidence patients have in the safety, effectiveness, and sameness of generics. “For 25 years, generic medicines have been helping to dramatically reduce health care costs for consumers and federal and state governments alike. As members of Congress and the Obama administration search for ways to reduce health care costs while increasing access to quality care, this new poll clearly shows that Americans believe that generics are the right choice for better health,” noted GPhA President and Chief Executive Office Kathleen Jaeger.

For other articles in this issue, see:

Restrictions on Rx Narcotics Are Coming

Pharmacist Follow-up Decreases Rehospitalization

Counterfeit Drugs Present a Growing Threat

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