The underuse of generic medications is an important example of a situation where unnecessarily expensive therapies are used when less costly, equally effective options are available. In this best practice advice paper, the American College of Physicians recommends that clinicians prescribe generic medications, if possible, rather than more expensive brand-name medications. Review the recent Annals article, Improving Adherence to Therapy and Clinical Outcomes While Containing Costs: Opportunities From the Greater Use of Generic Medications: Best Practice Advice From the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians.
Use this paper to consider the following:
- What's the difference is between “generic substitution” and “therapeutic interchange” (the authors review this on page 42)?
- Have you ever heard a patient say that a generic drug did not work as well for them, or that it caused problems? How would you respond?
- Are there any situations in which you feel you should prescribe a brand-name formulation of a drug when a less expensive, generic version is available?
- Role-play with your classmates: pretend to be a patient who believes that a generic medicine was “not as strong” or “did not work as well for me.” Perhaps express fear that the “generic medicine” is not as good. What do you think you should say, and how should you say it?