Americans know little about generics

July 13, 2009

Study finds that Americans have limited understanding when it comes to the cost and effectiveness of generic drugs.

Many Americans still have limited understanding when it comes to the cost, ingredients and effectiveness of generic drugs. The current economic crisis is also affecting consumer prescription drug use, according to a study conducted by Opinion Research Corp. on behalf of Prescription Solutions.

“Unfortunately, studies have shown that people aren’t always taking medications as prescribed and high cost can be a factor,” says Brian Solow, MD, vice president and medical director, clinical programs for Prescription Solutions.

“Medication compliance is important to ensure the good health of employees and health plan members and to manage costs associated with noncompliance such as ER visits and cascading illnesses,” Dr. Solow adds.

Key findings of the survey include:
• Nearly one-third of Americans don’t know or believe that generics have the same active ingredients and effectiveness as brand-name drugs.
• Two-thirds do not understand the true cost differences between brand-name drugs and generics.
• 71% of consumers remain concerned about drug costs-with more than one in four (27%) having either delayed filling, not filled, or not taken as directed a prescription drug in order to save funny. Further, 21% say they have talked to their doctor recently about switching to a less-expensive drug.
• 57% say they take prescription drugs on a weekly basis. Of those who do so, 83% take generics. Further, among those who take generics, 82% say they do so because of the lower cost.
• Of those who do not take generics on a weekly basis, 58% say it is because there is no generic available for the drug they need.
• 64% say their doctor recommended generics, and 43% say their pharmacist recommended them.
• Of those who do not take generics on a weekly basis, 58% say they would if their pharmacist brought a generic to their attention as a less-expensive, identical substitute; and 52% say their doctor would have to recommend it.

“From both experience and clinical research we know that affordable generics help people manage diseases from diabetes to high blood pressure by remaining compliant with prescribed medications,” Dr. Solow adds.

The study included 1,000 adults (500 men and 500 women), 18 years of age and older, and living in private households in the continental United States.