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Generic substitution of antiretroviral drugs in Ireland: healthcare provider views Posted 02/06/2017

A survey conducted in Ireland shows that most healthcare providers consider the generic substitution of antiretroviral drugs acceptable, although concerns remain about dosing frequency [1].

This study reports the findings of a survey sent to a range of healthcare providers in Ireland, including specialist physicians, doctors-in-training, nurses and pharmacists. In total, 30 healthcare professionals responded to the survey, most of whom (66%) had been working in HIV medicine for over five years.

Knowledge of generics was generally good among respondents, with over half being aware of the term generic medicine. Furthermore, the clear majority of respondents agreed that generics were just as effective and safe as their branded counterparts.

However, the survey identified several concerns about generic antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, including the supply chain, possible loss of fixed dose combinations and reductions in patient adherence. Seventy-six per cent of the surveyed healthcare practitioners said that an increase in dosing frequency would affect their willingness to prescribe a generic ARV drug. However, respondents clearly valued the financial advantages of generics, and 30% said they would be willing to prescribe generic ARV drugs if they became available with a further 43% stating they would be willing to prescribe them in some cases.

Awareness of cost issues was good, with almost 80% of respondents correctly stating the monthly cost per prescription for ARV drugs. Seventy-seven per cent said they would be agreeable to generics substitution if it halved the cost of ARV drugs, while over 90% said they would prescribe generics if the money saved was reinvested into HIV care.

Overall, this study suggests that generic substitution of ARV drugs is acceptable to most patients and healthcare professionals. However, the study also highlighted concerns and misunderstandings, leading the authors to recommend education initiatives to alleviate worries about generics substitution. They conclude that a commitment to reinvest any savings generated from the use of generics into HIV services could help to promote a successful generic substitution programme for ARV drugs.

Conflict of interest
The authors of the research paper [1] declared no conflict of interest.

Editor’s comment
Readers interested to learn more about patient perspectives on generics substitution are invited to visit www.gabi-journal.net to view the following manuscripts published in GaBI Journal:

A review of patient perspectives on generics substitution: what are the challenges for optimal drug use

The implementation of generics in France

GaBI Journal is indexed in Embase, Scopus, Thomson Reuters’ ESCI, and more.

Readers interested in contributing a research or perspective paper to GaBI Journal – an independent, peer reviewed academic journal – please send us your submission here.

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Patients’ and physicians’ perceptions of HIV generics

1. Kieran JA, O’Reilly E, O’Dea S, Bergin C, O’Leary A. Generic substitution of antiretrovirals: patients’ and health care providers’ opinions. Int J STD AIDS. 2017;0(0):1-8. doi:10.1155/2017/5646858

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