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Health Policy. 2011 Jan;99(1):60-5. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2010.07.006. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

Patients' attitudes towards generic drug substitution in Japan.

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Department of Drug Information and Communication, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba-shi, 260-8675 Chiba, Japan.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the understanding and attitude of Japanese patients towards generic drug substitutions.


The subjects were male and female patients, who purchased their prescription medications at a pharmacy. A questionnaire was created to assess their attitudes towards generic drugs.


Of 1215 respondents, 68.4% knew the term "generic drugs." The majority of them had the correct understanding only on the following two points: generic drugs are less expensive than the brand name drugs (86.0%) and generic drugs contain the same active ingredients as brand name drugs (71.1%). However, their understanding was poor in other aspects of generic substitution: the availability and accessibility of generic drugs, etc. Only the experience of a previous generic drug substitution was significantly associated with the increased willingness for generic substitution (OR=2.93, CI 1.93-4.44). The main reasons for accepting generic substitutions were recommendations by physicians (48.6%) and by pharmacists (33.1%).


The public awareness program on generic drugs should be expanded to include more detailed information so that patients obtain the correct understanding of generic substitution. It is critical that physicians and pharmacists have the proper understanding of generic drug substitution and provide the correct information to patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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