Exploring what patients know about generic medications
Galbreath, Kyeana Chenelle
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There is considerable literature about the perceptions of generic medications, benefits of generic substitution, and the importance of communication among health care providers and patients during the prescription choice process. However, there is limited literature assessing what facts patients know about generic medications. Furthermore, there is limited literature assessing if patients are provided education about generic medications. This study explored the knowledge and perceptions of generic medications and their equivalence to brand named medications in two groups of participants with self-reported chronic conditions: one group with participants who had a formal healthcare education background and/or had worked in a health-care related occupation; and, a second group with participants who did not have a formal healthcare education background and/or had not worked in a health-care related occupation. A mixed methods research approach was used to collect the data. An applied thematic analysis of the focus-group data and an examination of findings from a post focus-group survey revealed four recurring themes regarding perceptions and knowledge of generic medication and generic medication equivalence: Equivalency, Cost, Information, and Awareness of Substitution. An assessment of these themes indicates a lack of knowledge and differing perceptions of generic equivalency to brand named medications and a greater need for patient-prescriber discussions regarding generic substitution during the medication decision making process.