Healthcare

Generic drugs recommend 

The American College of Physicians (ACP) says that prescribing generic medications whenever possible can improve adherence to therapy, improve outcomes, and reduce costs for patients and the health care system. ACP’s best practice advice paper is published in Annals of Internal Medicine. 

Generic medications represent an opportunity for reducing the high costs associated with prescription drugs. ACP reviewed available evidence to determine how often brand name drugs are used when generic versions are available, how the use of generics influences adherence, whether brand names and generics have similar clinical effects, the barriers to increasing the use of generics, and strategies that can be used to promote greater use of generics. 

 

The evidence shows that generics are significantly underused despite the fact that their use could motivate better long-term adherence, as prescriptions for expensive branded drugs are twice as likely to go unfilled. Some of the underuse of generic medications is likely the result of patient and physician perceptions about the safety and a perceived lack of efficacy of the lower cost options, but the evidence shows that generic drugs are as effective as their branded counterparts regarding clinical outcomes. 

Differences in the physical appearance of generics and their brand name counterparts might also cause confusion among patient. The authors suggest programs to educate physicians and patients about the benefits of generics. 

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2 replies »

  1. There is a serious problem with the quality of the generic drugs manufactured overseas (where most of them are manufactured).

    From the February 14, 2014 NYTimes online:
    “NEW DELHI — India, the second-largest exporter of over-the-counter and prescription drugs to the United States, is coming under increased scrutiny by American regulators for safety lapses, falsified drug test results and selling fake medicines.

    Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, arrived in India this week to express her growing unease with the safety of Indian medicines because of “recent lapses in quality at a handful of pharmaceutical firms.”

    India’s pharmaceutical industry supplies 40 percent of over-the-counter and generic prescription drugs consumed in the United States, so the increased scrutiny could have profound implications for American consumers.”

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    • Many of the drugs shipped from India are manufactured elsewhere such as England. Many of the brand drugs are actually manufactured outside the US . Bottom line is that the vast majority of drugs are safe (at least not contaminated). Safe is relevant to the risk of taking any drug.

      Via consumerreports.com

      Are generic drugs made overseas safe?

      Yes, or at least as safe as brand-name drugs made overseas. Eighty percent of the active ingredients in all U.S. drugs—generic and branded—are now made in foreign countries. In fact, most brand-name drugs are produced in the same countries and often the same factories as their generic counterparts. There have been concerns about generic drugs made overseas, but there have been reports of problems with brand-name drugs, too. For example, in 2009 the FDA took action against a generic drugmaker for falsifying data and test results at one of its facilities in India. The previous year, an FDA investigation found that the active ingredient in branded versions of the blood thinner heparin, made in China, had been contaminated. The agency has not had have sufficient resources or access to inspect foreign facilities as often as it does domestic ones.

      “That potentially affects both brand-name and generic drugs, and we need to be vigilant about it,” Kesselheim says. “But so far, it appears that counterfeit or adulterated drugs are extremely rare in the U.S.”

      The FDA has recently taken steps to increase overseas inspections, and some U.S. drugmakers inspect their foreign facilities. The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act of 2012, signed by President Obama in July, provides additional resources for inspections of manufacturing facilities overseas.

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