Background: Generic drugs (Generics) are low cost, equal efficacy alternatives to the branded drugs. Generics are medicines on which patents have expired. They are sold either as branded products or as unbranded products under generic names. These generic names are internationally agreed short names called International Non-Proprietary Names. Due to its low cost, it reduces the overall expenditure for patient care. Government of India (GOI) has been pushing to increase the prescription practice of doctors for generics and acceptability of generic in the community. Present study assesses the current opinion of patients about the generics and documents factors affecting the knowledge, perception and opinion about the generics. Objectives: Present study was designed to investigate about the opinion of patients about the generics and to document different factors associated with their perceptions. Materials and Methods: A pre-validated pre-tested questionnaire was used to collect the data from patients attending various outpatients in a Tertiary Care hospital in Jodhpur. Trained Research Associate visited various Out Patient Department (OPD) of different specialties for two consecutive days to seek consent and collected data from the patients visiting the OPD and consented to participate. Patient’s knowledge, prior experience of use and general opinion about the generics was gathered. Descriptive statistics was used in the form of frequency and percentages. Results: Out of the 643 patients, 147 (22.9%) had heard about the generics. Out of the different sociodemographic predictors, age with a class intervals 45 years-55 years (OR – 2.52), 55 years -65 years (OR – 3.26) and > 65 years (OR –3.09) and educational qualifications namely higher secondary (OR – 3.07) and graduation (OR – 5.98) were found to be the statistically significant predictors for the opinion on generics; however, gender, marital status, family income and occupation were not significant statistically. Out of the 147 patients who had heard about the generics only 38% had used them in last six months, 65.8% agreed that generics are safe and 36.7% opined that generics are as effective as branded drugs. Around 44% of the patients disagreed that generics have more side effects. On inquiring about the most common reason for no usage of the generic drug, distrust on the efficacy was found to be the most common one. Conclusion: Majority of patients had never heard about the generic drugs. Age and Education were the positive predictors for better awareness about the generic drugs. Patients perception for generics can be changed with better advocacy as well as informed prescription by the treating physicians.
Key words: Generic Drugs, Brand Drugs, Opinion, Patients, Physicians, India.