Recommendations for mature generic medicines markets

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The Sustaining Generic Medicines Markets in Europe report (April 2006), produced by the Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Care and Pharmaco-economics and authored by Professor Steven Simoens and Ms Sandra De Coster, offers a country-by-country analysis of generics markets in Europe and discusses factors both hindering and aiding the development of generics markets.


In the report, countries are grouped according to the status of their generics market, as being either developing or mature. Mature markets are those where generics substitution by pharmacists is common, physicians look favourably upon generics, and/or policy exists supporting a generics trade. For the purposes of grouping, however, the authors use the criterion of a generics market share exceeding 40% as the critical factor meriting inclusion in the mature generic medicines markets.

Country-specific recommendations to aid the development of mature generic medicines markets are presented below.

Denmark – Reduce the administrative burden for running the reference pricing system, or eliminate it altogether. Educate physicians and patients about the substitutability of generic for originator medicines.

Germany – As with Denmark, reduce the administrative burden for running the reference pricing system, or eliminate it altogether. Provide pharmacist incentives or regulations for generic substitution and dispensing and eliminate the financial disincentives. Impose sanctions against physicians who do not prescribe generic medicines.

The Netherlands – Generic medicines companies should be empowered through appropriate regulations to compete with each other on the basis of prices and the practice of discounting should be abolished. Augment the fixed dispensing fee per prescription to compensate pharmacists for the financial loss as a result of banning discounts.

Poland – Prohibit discounting to serve as a stimulus for price competition, increase market transparency, and stimulate patient demand for generic medicines. Increase physician incentives to prescribe generic medicines, such as budgetary incentives, and make it easier through such means as electronic prescribing systems, medicine databases, feedback on prescribing data, prescribing guidelines, formularies, and substitution lists. Remove the financial disincentive for pharmacist to dispense generic medicines.

United Kingdom – Strengthen prescribing by INN with electronic prescribing systems, incentive schemes within primary care trusts, prescribing guidelines, and formularies. Increase incentives for patients to demand generic medicines.

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Simoens S, De Coster S. Sustaining Generic Medicines Markets in Europe. April 2006.

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