Survey of Midwestern ophthalmologists identifies reasons for wariness of generics.
Ophthalmologists prescribe a larger percentage of brand-name medications relative to generics than other specialty, according to an analysis of Medicare Part D claims data published in 2018.
Results of a survey of 92-board certified ophthalmologists in Midwest shed some light on why generics may be underutilized in ophthalmology. Published online yesterday on the website for the journal of Ophthalmology and Therapy, the results show that about a fifth (21.7%) of the respondents believe that generics have additives that vary from batch to batch and about a third (32.6%) believe that generics get switched based on pharmacy contracts and “there is variation between generics that makes me uncomfortable for inconsistent treatment.”
Overall, a little bit more than half (55%) of the respondents had no reservations about prescribing a generic drug and a little bit less (44%) had at least one qualm.
The research team led by Jamie Dietze, M.D., at the West Virginia University Medicine said in their paper that their analysis of the survey results identified four variables that tracked with reluctance to prescribe a generic:
The survey also found that a sizable fraction of the ophthalmologists felt they didn’t know much about the price differences between generics and brand-name drugs.
“Our study suggests there may be value in performing randomized clinical trials comparing generics to brand-name medications,” wrote Dietze and her colleagues. “Such trials may help alleviate the concern that brand-name drugs are more efficacious.”
Five state ophthalmology societies (Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin) and eight private practice group distributed the survey to practicing ophthalmologists for Dietze and her colleagues. All the respondents graduated from residency programs between 1973 and 2018, and they were, on average, 49-years-old.