Brand vs. Generic: Physicians Weigh In

Dec 01, 2013

The costs of keeping people healthy, or at least alive and out of the hospital, continue to grow. Whether it's another percentage point of GDP, another out-of-pocket catastrophe for a patient, or simply a rise in monthly health insurance premiums, everyone gets stuck with the bill.



Surely generic utilization is an important element of any cost-saving scheme, since patients get the same medicine for a fraction of the price. Developed nations as a whole – defined by IMS Health as the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, UK, Canada and South Korea – reduced their medicine spending for the first time in 2012, in part due to stronger regulatory rules promoting generic substitution, according to a recent IMS Health report.

In a separate report published last month, ProPublica authors Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber wondered why US Medicare is "wasting hundreds of millions of dollars a year by failing to look into doctors who disproportionately prescribe brand-name drugs." To find out why generics sometimes aren't being prescribed when they're available, Ornstein and Weber asked the prescribers themselves. Below is a selection of those responses, published by the authors' permission.








Ben Comer is Pharmaceutical Executive's senior editor. He can be reached at