While drug advertising aimed directly at consumers has developed name recognition among patients, often they can be won over to generics fairly easily if there is a financial incentive, Kirking said. They might ask for the brand-name drug but they will switch to the generic if they find the brand-name version will cost them more out of pocket.
If the switch to generics is part of a program implemented by a pharmacy benefits manager, these conversations can happen quickly. Kirking said that when well-known anti-depressant Prozac went off patent in early August, movement to the use of the generic product occurred even faster than the typical generic penetration rate of about 75 percent in six months.
The Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association published U-M articles in July/August on the historical issues of generics and on the economic and structural trends in the generic market. This issue has articles about the issues and concerns of patients, physicians and pharmacists. The series will conclude with articles in the November/December publication about the scientific and regulatory environment of generic pharmaceuticals and the legal issues of whether pharmacists should dispense generics.
Also involved in the project are Frank Ascione, professor of social and administrative sciences and associate dean for academic affairs; Caroline Gaither, associate professor, social and administrative sciences; and Lynda Welage, associate professor, clinical sciences, all at the U-M College of Pharmacy. In addition, Welage serves as a clinical pharmacist for U-M's University Hospitals, and Ascione holds an appointment as a faculty associate at the U-M Institute of Gerontology.