Quarterly scientific journal

Investigating the factors that affect the attitude of patients and doctors about substituting original drugs with generic

Sofia Sotiria Xanthopoulou , Korina Katsaliaki

Abstract

Substituting original drugs with generic constitutes a highly controversial issue and is often met with suspicion both by patients and health care professionals. Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the factors that affect patients’ and doctors’ attitudes about substituting original drugs with generic. Method: In this study, which was conducted with the use of questionnaires from February to April 2015 and its data were statistically analyzed with SPSS, participated 242 patients and 85 doctors of different specialties. Results: Only 43% of the patients, who took part in the research, believed that generic drugs are as safe and effective as the original and the main factor that affected them positively about the substitution of their anticancer drug was the recommendation of their doctor. 54,5% of the respondents agreed with the view that some doctors are opposed to generic prescribing due to clientelistic relationships with the pharmaceutical companies. Statistically significant correlations were observed between patients’ demographic characteristics (gender, age, level of education and annual income) and their attitudes about generic substitution (p≤0,05). From the side of the doctors, who took part in the research, 68,2% of the respondents agreed that generic drugs are bioequivalent with the original and 67,8% of them believed that are safe and effective. Statistically significant correlations were also observed between doctors’ demographic characteristics (gender, age, years of profession, annual income, internship and sector of specialty) and their attitudes about generic substitution (p≤0,05). Conclusions: The Greek government has to support the promotion policies of generic drugs in order to remove patients’ and doctors’ reservations about the issues of bioequivalence and implementation of substitution in clinical practice. This will increase their prescriptions and will provide important economic benefits for the country, especially during this period of ongoing financial crisis

Keywords: Generic drugs, substitution, patients’ attitudes, doctors’ attitudes, anticancer hospital

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