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Ann Saudi Med. 2009 Jan-Feb;29(1):24-9.

Generic drug prescribing in central Saudi Arabia: perceptions and attitudes of physicians.

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Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine, Qassim University, Buraidah, Saudi Arabia.



Physicians play a key role in generic drug prescribing, but their behavior is affected by many determinants. We examined physician practices and attitudes and other factors influencing the prescription of generic drugs.


A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information from a random sample of physicians from different settings in central Saudi Arabia. Data were analyzed to describe all variables and test any significant difference between groups of physicians.


The study included 772 physicians from different affiliations. The majority of physicians (n=741, 96%) reported that they knew enough about the therapeutic value of generic drugs. The majority (75%) reported that they knew the price differences, and this knowledge helped 72% of them to switch to generic prescription medication. Most physicians (79%) support generic substitution, but they indicated that there are certain clinical situations where they prefer to use brand name drugs. Physicians reported receiving visits and samples more frequently from representatives of brand name companies. Physicians did not report a significant difference in pressure from patients to prescribe either generic or brand drugs. Most physicians had a positive attitude towards the government role in assuring the quality of local drug products (80%) and in enforcing physicians to prescribe generic drugs (85%).


Physicians face competing forces to prescribe either brand name or generic drugs. The majority support generic drug substitution. There are multiple factors that support prescription of generic drugs.

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