Thursday 18 January 2018

More have lost ‘traditional distrust’ of generic medicines - survey

Eilish O’Regan Health Correspondent

EIGHT in ten people say they would accept a generic medicine if offered one by their doctor or pharmacist, according to a new survey.

Generic medicines are the equivalent of branded versions which no longer have an exclusive patent and are usually cheaper.

The survey by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) found Irish people are losing their traditional distrust of generic medicines which led to many to believe they were not as effective as the branded equivalent.

It found that 92pc of those who had personally used generic medicines said that they had a positive experience overall.

Three quarters said the are  familiar with the term “generic medicine” while 64pc trusted their doctor’s guidance on drugs.

New legislation has recently been passed which will allow for more substitution of branded drugs with generic versions although reliable lists have yet to be drawn up by the IMB.

IMB chief executive Pat O’ Mahony said:  “Generic medicines meet exactly the same standards of quality and safety and have the same effect as the original branded medicines.

“Our research results indicate that this is well understood by patients and other members of the public. This is confirmed by the willingness of over 80pc of those surveyed to accept and use generic medicines. It is noteworthy that this figure increases to over 90pc among those people most familiar with generics.

“The survey findings show that the main reason cited by those who would not accept a generic medicine is their lack of understanding of generic medicines. The increased focus on generics that is accompanying the introduction of the new legislation will help to address this.

“To assist people to be better informed on this topic, the IMB has published an information leaflet which covers common questions and gives impartial advice. We would advise anyone with any queries about generic medicines to discuss them with their doctor or pharmacist.”

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