Sixty percent of Americans suffer from a chronic disease, making the need for affordable treatment options critical. Even with health insurance, sufferers struggle to manage their condition as prescription costs continue to rise and shift to the patient. The repercussions of this trend cascade through the patient-provider relationship, which now includes insurance and pharmaceutical companies.
Market Strategies International recently conducted a study of more than 1,000 adults age 18 and older to understand the impact of rising prescription costs in three key areas:
- Intentional prescription non-compliance
- Consumer attitudes towards healthcare providers, health insurance providers and pharmaceutical companies
- Consumer awareness and enrollment in patient assistance programs (PAPs)
What we found is a huge gap between needs and value as well as a strong indication that PAPs may be the panacea for improving compliance and attitudes towards pharmaceutical companies.
“Generic medications are not as good as branded medications.”
“If it costs more, it must be better.”
“If I switch from a branded drug to its generic version, I risk treatment failure.”
With 7 in 10 US adults taking at least one prescription medication, and where 8 out of 10 prescriptions written are for generic drugs, it has been common to hear these comments from patients and even healthcare professionals. Until now. According to new independent research from Market Strategies International, these prevalent myths appear to be dying out, and Americans now feel right at home in a world dominated by generics.
Improved Perception of Generic Drugs
According to our study, the majority of US adults now believe that generic medications are just as good as branded medications. Consider these statistics:
I can still remember as a kid when my mom would pull into the driveway from the grocery store. Being the oldest child, I would help unpack the grocery bags. With great anticipation, I would search for the cereal …did she finally buy us the “real deal”? To my disappointment, the answer was always no. There I would stand, staring at the A&P generic brand of Cheerios or, worse yet, generic Fruit Loops!
We’ve all had experience with generic food in our lifetime, and I believe our weariness of generics in consumables bled over to the drug arena. How many people still buy Advil instead of ibuprofen?
This weariness played out in the physician world, too. It wasn’t until 1984 that generic medications became available. Initially, these new, cheaper drugs were met with scrutiny and uptake by physicians was slow. In fact, until the past several years, many physicians required pharmacies to fill only the branded prescription drug. Then the insurance companies stepped in and began dictating the use of generics (for cost savings). Today, most of us take a generic drug when it is available. With this shift, I believe most physicians are now comfortable with generics and agree they are equivalent to a brand. But, it was a slow process whereby outside payer groups had an influence.
Enter biosimilars, the generics of biological medications. In a time when cost savings is critical and biologics are expensive, many companies are feverishly developing biosimilars.