SIXTY-two percent of Australians
would prefer a brand name over the
generic if the out-of-pocket expense
was the same, according to a
Public Perceptions of Generics
Study released this morning.
The study was conducted by
Galaxy Research in Oct after being
commissioned by Nycomed
Australia, and found that nine out
of ten Australians who required a
prescription in the past two years
were offered a generic substitution,
with 42% of patients accepting the
offer every time, and 32% accepting
the offer “most of the time”.
“The issue of generic substitution
has been misrepresented by
Australia’s pharmacy industry,” said
pharmacist, Gerald Quigley.
“Many pharmacists and
pharmacy assistants are offering
generics to their patients based on
a price difference which might not
exist, and as a result, are sending
confused messages to their
patients,” he added.
The study’s findings follow a
2009 Medicines Australia report
which found that around 68% of
branded medicines do not have a
brand price premium.
21% of Australians, according to
the Perceptions Study, also worry
that generic substitution could lead
to them receiving the wrong
medication, whilst 24% of 18-34
year olds also reported confusion
over the medication variety.
In addition, 21% of Australians
do not approve of pharmacists
offering generic substitutions.
This disapproval was put down to
patients’ trust that their doctor
prescribed the right medicine, as well
as a belief that a branded medication
will work better than a generic.
In addition, 69% of older
Australians said they prefer
branded medications, whilst 16% of
18 to 34 year olds said they “don’t
know” their preference.
A recent Originators vs Generics
online poll of 101 GPs mirrored the
general ambivalence regarding
generic and branded medications,
with 64% of GPs saying they did not
feel confident pharmacists would
dispense scripts as per directions if
a prescription strictly forbade
Responding to the release this
morning, NPS Australia ceo Lynn
Weekes told PD “some of the
findings of this survey reaffirm
what we already knew, but there
are clear biases in how this
information is being presented,
which we must be careful interpreting”.
“For NPS, the issue is not
whether the medicine is an
innovator brand or a generic
brand, but whether consumers
understand their medicine choices
and take their medicines safely,”
Responding to the point that
pharmacists are offering generics
over brands based on non-existent
price differences Weekes also said
“this highlights the need for
individuals to be medicinewise and
understand what questions to ask
about their medicines to be able to
make their own informed decisions.
“If a pharmacist was misrepresenting
prices it would be a matter for the
Pharmacy Board,” she added.
MEANWHILE Weekes confirmed
that NPS would launch another
awareness campaign focusing on
generic medicines in April this year.
The promotion “will address what
people need to know about brand
substitution to make the right
medicines decisions for
themselves,” she said.The above article was sent to subscribers in Pharmacy Daily's issue from 28 Jan 11 To see the full newsletter, see the embedded issue below or CLICK HERE to download Pharmacy Daily from 28 Jan 11