The Consequences of Requesting "Dispense as Written"

Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
The American journal of medicine (Impact Factor: 5). 04/2011; 124(4):309-17. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2010.11.020
Source: PubMed


All US states have adopted generic substitution laws to reduce medication costs. However, physicians may override these regulations by prescribing branded drugs and requesting that they are dispensed as written. Patients also can make these requests. Little is known about the frequency and correlates of dispense as written requests or their association with medication filling.
We identified beneficiaries of a large pharmacy benefits manager who submitted a prescription claim from any pharmacy in January 2009. We categorized claims as a physician-assigned dispense as written, patient-assigned dispense as written, or no dispense as written. We described rates of these requests and used generalized estimating equations to evaluate physician, patient, treatment, and pharmacy characteristics associated with dispense as written requests. We also used generalized estimating equations to assess the relationship between dispense as written designation and rates prescriptions are not filled by patients.
Our sample included 5.6 million prescriptions for more than 2 million patients. More than 2.7% were designated as dispense as written by physicians, and 2.0% were designated as dispense as written by patients. Substantial variation in dispense as written requests were seen by medication class, patient and physician age, and geographic region. The odds of requesting dispense as written was 78.5% greater for specialists than generalists (P<;.001). When chronic prescriptions were initiated, physician dispense as written (odds ratio 1.50, P<;.001) and patient dispense as written (odds ratio 1.60, P<;.001) were associated with greater odds that patients did not fill the prescription.
Dispense as written requests were common and associated with decreased rates of prescription filling. Options to reduce rates of dispense as written requests may reduce costs and improve medication adherence.

7 Reads
  • Source
    • "The bioequivalence of generic and brand medications coupled with substantially lower cost make increasing generic medication use, especially for people with chronic diseases, a health care priority (1-4). Lowering cost can improve adherence; nevertheless, generic medications are underused (1,4). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Using generic medications for chronic diseases provides efficacy similar to that of brand-name medication use, but at a lower price, potentially enhancing adherence. However, previous studies show that disadvantaged people, who may particularly benefit from cost savings, have low trust of generics and increased reluctance to switch to generics. The rural South includes areas of high poverty and minority communities whose members are at high risk for poor health outcomes; however, whether such beliefs exist in these communities has not been reported. We sought to obtain qualitative insight into beliefs about generic medication use among African Americans in the rural South. Investigators conducted 4 focus groups with 30 community members from Alabama's Black Belt area. Transcribed discussions were analyzed and common themes identified. Participants were primarily unemployed middle-aged women, one-fourth of whom were uninsured and more than half of whom had a high school education or less. Barriers to generic medication use included perceptions that generics are less potent than brand-name medications, require higher doses, and, therefore, result in more side effects; generics are not "real" medicine; generics are for minor but not serious illnesses; the medical system cannot be trusted; and poor people are forced to "settle" for generics. Although education about generics could rectify misinformation, overcoming views such as mistrust of the medical system and the sense of having to settle for generics because of poverty may be more challenging. Policy makers and providers should consider these perspectives when working to increase generic drug use in these populations.
    Preventing chronic disease 08/2012; 9:E142. DOI:10.5888/pcd9.120010 · 2.12 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Generic substitution means that one medicinal product is replaced by another product containing the same active substance. It is strictly regulated with respect to its bioequivalence, and all products must have undergone appropriate studies. Although generic substitution is widely implemented, it still remains to be answered how generic switch influences persistence to long-term treatment, and if it is modified by patients' concerns about medicine and views on generic medicine. This study focuses on users of antidepressants and antiepileptics, and their experience of generic switching. The study was an observational cohort study. By use of a prescription database, we identified patients who had redeemed prescriptions on generically substitutable drugs, and a questionnaire was mailed to them. We analyzed predictors of discontinuation in relation to generic switch and patients' attitudes towards generic medicines and concerns about their medicine. Patients who experience their first-time switch of a specific drug were at higher risk of non-persistence, Hazard Ratio 2.98, 95% CI (1.81;4.89) versus those who have never switched, and 35.7% became non-persistent during the first year of follow-up. Generic switching did not influence persistence considerably in those having previous experience with generic switching of the specific drug. Stratified analyses on users of antidepressants and antiepileptics underpin the results, showing higher risk of non-persistence for first-time switchers for both drug categories. In conclusion, patients who are first-time switchers of a specific drug were at higher risk of non-persistence compared to never switchers and those having experienced previous generic switching.
    PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0119688. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0119688 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this article we highlight the important role that medication therapy can play in preventing disease and controlling costs. Focusing on coronary artery disease, we demonstrate that prevention, with the appropriate use of generic medications, appears far more cost-effective than previously documented, and it may even save on costs. For example, an earlier study estimated that reducing blood pressure to widely established clinical guidelines in nondiabetic patients cost an estimated $52,983 per quality-adjusted life-year if a brand-name drug was used. However, we estimate that the cost is just $7,753 per quality-adjusted life-year at generic medication prices. As the nation attempts to find strategies to improve population health without adding to the unsustainably high cost of care, policy makers should focus on ensuring that patients have access to essential generic medications.
    Health Affairs 07/2011; 30(7):1351-7. DOI:10.1377/hlthaff.2010.0431 · 4.97 Impact Factor
Show more