Knowledge and perceptions of recent pharmacy graduates about generic medicines

Authors

  • Mohamed Azm Hassali Department of Pharmacy Practice, Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University, 381 Royal Parade, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia, and Discipline of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Minden, Penang, Malaysia
  • David C. M. Kong Department of Pharmacy Practice, Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University, 381 Royal Parade, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
  • Kay Stewart Department of Pharmacy Practice, Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University, 381 Royal Parade, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia

Abstract

The ever-rising price of prescription medicines is a phenomenon that affects nearly every developed country across the globe. An effective strategy to contain escalating costs is by using cheaper generic medicines. Within this context, most policy makers are encouraging healthcare professionals to prescribe or substitute generic medicines whenever possible. Whichever policy—generic prescribing or generic substitution—is adopted, the main challenge is how to maintain the confidence of patients and carers in using generics. This is where the role of the pharmacist becomes vital. The availability of different brands of the same drug at the same strength and in the same dosage form poses a special challenge to healthcare professionals, making these issues very relevant to pharmacists in all practice settings. To date in Australia and elsewhere, no studies have been conducted to assess the knowledge and perceptions of recent pharmacy graduates with regard to generic medicines and generic substitution. Therefore, a national web-based survey was undertaken to evaluate pharmacy pre-registrants’ perceptions and knowledge of generic medicines. More than 80% of study participants thought that generic medicines are inferior, less effective and produce more side effects compared to brand name medicines. These findings highlight that pharmacy pre-registrants need a better understanding of the principles and concepts of bioavailability and bioequivalence if they are to contribute appropriately to generic medicine use.

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Research Article