Perceptions of the population regarding generic drugs in Brazil: a nationwide survey
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BACKGROUND: Generic drugs (GDs) offer a way to reduce health spending without sacrificing quality. Despite this, there are doubts as to their acceptance by the population. This work aims to assess perceptions of GDs among the Brazilian population. METHODS: We conducted a national household survey face-to-face between April and May 2013, with 5000 individuals aged over 15 years. The questions explored socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, the use of GDs, and perceptions about GDs as compared to brand drugs (BDs). The chi-square test was used to examine the associations between the perceptions and the characteristics of the population. RESULTS: Of the 5000 participants, 51.3% were women, 40.2% were white, 48.6% were between 15 and 34 years of age, and 52.3% had income of less than two minimum wages (US$627.78). In terms of the use of GDs, 44.6% of the participants were taking or had taken GDs in the past three months, with the highest figures among the elderly (61.1%) and female (49.2%) populations. Regarding perceptions, 30.4% of the respondents considered GDs less effective than BDs; provided the same price, 59% would prefer BD, and 45.8% agreed that physicians prefer to prescribe GDs. The most negative perceptions about GDs were observed among lower income, elderly and nonwhite populations. CONCLUSION: The findings provide a better understanding of Brazilians' perceptions regarding GDs. This should be considered when formulating healthcare policies aiming at improving access to effective and quality drugs, and reduction of health costs.
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