Increase in pharmacies offering generic drugs


There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people being offered generic branded medicines when they attend a pharmacy to fill a prescription, according to new research.

The survey also found a third of adults had never taken generic medicines.

The cost of medicines in Ireland is among the highest in the world. Minister for Health James Reilly has advocated an increase in the use of generic medicines, which contain the same active ingredients as branded off-patent medicines, in an attempt to reduce the State’s €1.9 billion annual spend on drugs.

The Cost of Medicines Index 2012 survey, prepared by Behaviour Attitudes researchers for generic drug company Teva Pharmaceuticals, found 71 per cent of respondents were offered a generic alternative when they went to their pharmacist to fill a prescription. The figure had increased from 39 per cent in 2008.

And 96 per cent of people said they would accept a generic drug if offered it by a pharmacist.

Pharmacists were also three times more likely to recommend generic medicines than doctors.

Almost all of those surveyed said they would support measures to reduce medicines prices, but only a third knew of any Government initiatives to do so.

Some 85 per cent of the 1,001 who took part in the online survey believed the cost of medicines was too high and more than 90 per cent said the State should increase its usage of generic medicines to reduce costs.