A comparison between senior medical students' and pharmacy pre-registrants' knowledge and perceptions of generic medicines

Mohamed Azmi Hassali, David Chee Ming Kong, Kay Stewart

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OBJECTIVE: To ascertain any differences in knowledge and perceptions of generic medicines between senior (final year) medical students and pharmacy pre-registrants in Australia. METHODS: National web-based surveys containing 16 common questions were administered to each group. Responses were compared using Mann-Whitney U-test. RESULTS: Responses were received from 400 medical students (response rate 26.7 ) and 289 pharmacy pre-registrants (response rate 30.5 ). Both groups scored poorly on the allowable bioequivalence limits when comparing a brand-name medicine with a generic medicine, with pharmacy pre-registrants scoring better (P <0.001). Pharmacy pre-registrants were more likely (P <0.001) to report having been introduced to bioequivalence during their courses, and less likely (P <0.001) to desire more information on bioequivalence testing. Both groups correctly agreed that generic medicines are bioequivalent to corresponding brand-name medicines but not necessarily to each other, and that generic medicines are cheaper. Pharmacy pre-registrants were more aware that generic medicines must be in the same dosage form (P <0.001) and contain the same dose (P <0.001) as the comparator brand-name medicine. Both groups incorrectly believed that generic medicines are required to meet higher safety standards, are inferior in quality, are less effective and produce more side-effects. Both groups agreed that it is easier to recognise a drug s therapeutic class from its generic name and that they needed more information about the safety and efficacy of generic medicines, with medical students feeling more strongly about this (P <0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Although there were some differences in responses, both groups had knowledge deficits about the quality, safety and effectiveness of generic medicines, which need to be addressed by educators in order to increase the future use of generic medicines in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703 - 710
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Education
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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