OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the Malaysian community pharmacists' views on generic medicines.
SETTING: A sample of 1419 Malaysian community pharmacies with resident pharmacists.
METHOD: A cross-sectional nationwide survey using a self-completed mailing questionnaire.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Pharmacists' views on generic medicines including issues surrounding efficacy, safety, quality and bioequivalence.
RESULTS: Responses were received from 219 pharmacies (response rate 15.4%). Only 50.2% of the surveyed pharmacists agreed that all products that are approved as generic equivalents can be considered therapeutically equivalent with the innovator medicines. Around 76% of respondents indicated that generic substitution of narrow therapeutic index medicines is inappropriate. The majority of the pharmacists understood that a generic medicine must contain the same amount of active ingredient (84.5%) and must be in the same dosage form as the innovator brand (71.7%). About 21% of respondents though that generic medicines are of inferior quality compared to innovator medicines. Most of the pharmacists (61.6%) disagreed that generic medicines produce more side-effects than innovator brand. Pharmacists graduated from Malaysian universities, twinning program and overseas universities were not differed significantly in their views on generic medicines. Additionally, the respondents appeared to have difficulty in ascertaining the bioequivalent status of the marketed generic products in Malaysia.
CONCLUSION: The Malaysian pharmacists' have lack of information and/or trust in the generic manufacturing and/or approval system in Malaysia. This issue should be addressed by pharmacy educators and relevant government agencies.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.