The Implications of Choice: prescribing generic or preferred pharmaceuticals improves medication adherence for chronic conditions

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Archives of Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 17.33). 02/2006; 166(3):332-7. DOI: 10.1001/archinte.166.3.332
Source: PubMed


A large proportion of Americans are enrolled in 3-tier pharmacy benefit plans. We studied whether patients enrolled in such plans who receive generic or preferred brand-name agents when initiating chronic therapy were more adherent to treatment than those who received nonpreferred brand-name medications.
We analyzed pharmacy claims filled between October 1, 2001, and October 1, 2003, from a large health plan for 6 classes of chronic medications: 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, oral contraceptives, orally inhaled corticosteroids, angiotensin receptor blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. We measured adherence as the proportion of days covered (PDC) in each drug class during the first year of therapy. We evaluated how the formulary status of the initial prescription (generic, preferred, or nonpreferred) influenced PDC and adequate adherence, defined as PDC greater than 80%, over the subsequent year.
A total of 7532 new prescriptions were filled in 1 of the classes evaluated: 1747 (23.2%) for nonpreferred medications, 4376 (58.1%) for preferred drugs, and 1409 (18.7%) for generic drugs. After controlling for patient sociodemographic characteristics and drug class, PDC was 12.6% greater for patients initiated on generic medications vs nonpreferred medications (58.8% vs 52.2%; P<.001). The PDC was 8.8% greater for patients initiated on preferred vs nonpreferred medications (56.8% vs 52.2%; P<.001). Patients initiated on generic and preferred medications had 62% and 30% greater odds, respectively, of achieving adequate adherence compared with those who received nonpreferred medications.
In 3-tier pharmacy benefit plans, prescribing generic or preferred medications within a therapeutic class is associated with improvements in adherence to therapy.

Download full-text


Available from: Peter A Glassman, Dec 17, 2013
  • Source
    • "Conflicting results exist on the effects of generic statins on treatment adherence [11] [12] [13] [14]. Similar uncertainty concerns clinical equivalence of generics and brand-name products used for cardiovascular (CV) diseases . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Use of generic drugs can help contain drug spending. However, there is concern among patients and physicians that generic drugs may be clinically inferior to brand-name ones. This study aimed to compare patients treated with generic and brand-name statins in terms of therapeutic interruption and cardiovascular (CV) outcomes. Methods 13,799 beneficiaries of the health care system of Lombardy, Italy, aged 40 years or older who were newly treated with generic or brand-name simvastatin during 2008, were followed until 2011 for the occurrence of two outcomes: 1) therapeutic discontinuation and 2) hospitalization for CV events. Hazard ratios (HR) associated with use of generic or brand-name at starting therapy (intention-to-treat analysis) and during follow-up (as-treated analysis) were estimated by fitting proportional hazard Cox models. A Monte-Carlo sensitivity analysis was performed to account for unmeasured confounders. Results Patients who started on generic did not experience a different risk of discontinuation (HR: 0.98; 95% CI 0.94 to 1.02) nor of CV outcomes (HR: 0.98; 95% CI 0.79 to 1.22) from those starting on brand-name. Patients who spent > 75% of time of follow-up with statin available on generics did not experience a different risk of discontinuation (HR: 0.94; 95% CI 0.87 to 1.01), nor of CV outcomes (HR: 1.06; 95% CI 0.83 to 1.34), compared with those who mainly or only used brand-name statin. Conclusions Our findings do not support the notion that in the real world clinical practice brand-name statins are superior to generics for keeping therapy and preventing CV outcomes.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · European Journal of Internal Medicine
  • Source
    • "Also, another area of concern was the lower proportion of drugs prescribed as generics (only 29.27%). There are several benefits of prescribing drugs as generics such as increased patient compliance and lower cost of drug therapy [12, 13]. American Academy of Family Physicians recommends prescribing drugs in generic forms as a strategy to avoid high cost of drug therapy [14]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective. To generate data on the drug utilization pattern and cost of drug treatment and to determine the rationality of prescriptions. Methods. A retrospective cross-sectional drug utilization study was conducted in the medical emergency unit of our hospital. Patient case records were reviewed to extract data on the pattern of drug use. Cost of drug treatment for the emergency visit was calculated by referring to the cost mentioned in Monthly Index of Medical Specialties and the rationality of prescriptions was evaluated using WHO core indicators of drug utilization. Results. 1100 case records were reviewed. Majority of patients received proton pump inhibitors followed by multivitamins. The median cost per prescription was 119.23$ (7.32$-7663.46$). Majority (49.9%) of drug cost was driven by antibiotics alone. An average of 4.9 drugs was prescribed per prescription. There were 14.89% encounters with antibiotics. 75.17% of the drugs were given as injectables and only 29.27% of the drugs were prescribed as generics. Conclusion. There is need to rationalize the drug therapy in terms of increasing prescribing of drugs by generic name and to avoid overuse of PPIs and multivitamins in emergency unit. Also the hospital pharmacy should be encouraged to procure more cost effective alternative antibiotics in future.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · International Journal of Emergency Medicine
  • Source
    • "Moreover, pharmacists in Germany have no economic incentive in moving to generic substitution, because rebate contracts are negotiated between manufacturers and health insurance funds. In addition, reduced out-of-pocket costs of patients in the U.S. may be advantageous for ensuring patient adherence after generic substitution (Shrank et al. 2006), whereas in Germany, patients' out-of-pocket costs contribute only to a small financial incentive for patients. Hence, the setting of generic substitution differs based on the economic interests of healthcare providers and patients involved. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Generic substitution of narrow therapeutic index drugs can have unintended consequences. Generic switching is often driven by cost incentives, regulations and supply, but may raise concerns about equal bioavailability, therapeutic equivalence and about possible confusion for the patient. Integrated systems of care with active management of patient behaviors, including adherence, may minimize the impact of switching. This article is intended to present policy drivers and potential consequences of generic switching and the role of pharmacist education in minimizing patient risk using warfarin and the pharmaceutical distribution systems of the United States and Germany as examples.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Pharmazie
Show more