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Anaesth Intensive Care. 2009 Jul;37(4):624-9.

The ability of anaesthetists to identify generic medications from trade names.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Royal Melbourne and Western Hospitals, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


The recent proliferation of brand names for prescription medications has made the clinician's task of identifying the corresponding generic drug substances more difficult. A survey of 86 anaesthetists and anaesthetic trainees at two Melbourne hospitals was conducted to measure the extent to which this was perceived to be a clinical problem. In addition, a theoretical test was administered to examine the ability of these anaesthetists to correctly identify generic drugs and therapeutic groups when only the brand name is provided. The results indicated this is perceived to be a genuine clinical problem, with more than 80% of respondents encountering unfamiliar trade names 'often' or 'always' and the test revealing that fewer than one third of commonly prescribed brand names were identified correctly.

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