Generic Drug Makers Must Close ‘Knowledge Gap’ To Overcome Doctors’ Brand Loyalty: GlobalData

London: Generic drugs feature the exact same active ingredient, strength and dosing regimen as their brand-name predecessors, but, if it weren’t for their typically lower prices, they still wouldn’t be many doctors’ first choice.

That’s according to a recent GlobalData survey of nearly 300 healthcare professionals around the world. Almost 40% of those surveyed said they’d stick with brand-name drugs if generics’ cost savings were taken out of the equation.

Doctors in Japan, Spain and Italy were most likely to prefer branded drugs to generics, with 57%, 50% and 45%, respectively, saying they’d prescribe the brand-name treatment if pricing weren’t an issue. Meanwhile, those who would opt for generics edged out brand loyalists in the U.S. and France; U.S. doctors were found to already be prescribing generics at the highest rate of all countries represented, with Italy at the bottom of the list.

Overall, however, a plurality of doctors in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany said taking out cost concerns wouldn’t make a difference in whether they prescribe brand names or generics.

The reluctance to prescribe generics found among many of the doctors surveyed may come in part from their wariness toward generics’ composition, according to GlobalData. Echoing the above findings, more than 40% of doctors in Japan, Spain and Italy agreed that “more bioequivalence studies are needed to assess the suitability of generic drugs,” said Urte Jakimaviciute, senior director of market research for the data analytics firm.

Brand-name drugs, in comparison, may seem more reliable due to the extensive development process they go through before achieving regulatory approval. From there, promotional materials build name recognition and, ultimately, brand loyalty among both doctors and patients.

“Brand loyalty plays a crucial role in the pharmaceutical industry, as it impacts the generation of sales and revenue, as well as acts as an entry barrier to competitors once patent protection expires,” Jakimaviciute said in the release. “Positive experience with branded drugs tends to shape physicians’ and patients’ preferences, making them more reluctant to start using a new generic alternative.”

Indeed, the doctors surveyed said they believe that their patients prefer brand names over generics, and they also suggested that patients should be able to choose whether they’re prescribed a branded drug or its generic equivalent.

“To enhance confidence in efficacy and reliability of generic drugs addressing knowledge gap is a must,” Jakimaviciute said. “Patient and physician education can lead to increased utilization and significant cost savings for patients and healthcare systems alike.”

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