August 23, 2013

Physicians shed light on patient attitudes toward generics

Written by
While generic medications often cost less than name-brand drugs, some patients may be reluctant to take them as prescribed, which presents a problem for patients with chronic illnesses. Now physicians across Alabama and Mississippi are helping to shape a solution through UAB’s Deep South Continuing Medical Education Network.

The network provides practice-focused educational opportunities and resources to support doctors as they care for patients, along with CME credit, while at the same time allowing them to participate in vital UAB research. In this case, physicians are completing a survey on their understanding of patient attitudes and misperceptions about generic medications. Preliminary findings reveal some surprises, says Kristin Whitely, a third-year School of Medicine student conducting the study with Monika Safford, M.D., professor in the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine. So far, only “about 43 percent of providers correctly estimated the prevalence of patient beliefs about generic medications,” Whitely says. “In particular, providers underestimated patient willingness to take generics for mild to moderate illnesses, like headaches or diabetes.”

Physicians are welcome to participate in the survey until July 30, 2015. The resulting data will help UAB “design future interventions aimed at increasing the utilization of generic medications among patients with chronic diseases, thereby alleviating cost as a barrier to medication adherence,” Whitely says. “It also will help the providers participating in the survey by helping them to address common misperceptions when discussing generic medications with their patients.”

This story, written by Charles Buchanan, first appeared in the Summer 2013 edition of UAB Medicine Magazine.