Brand-name drugs no better than generics: study

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is no evidence that brand-name drugs given to treat heart and other cardiovascular conditions work any better than their cheaper generic counterparts, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

The findings run counter to the perception by some doctors and patients that pricier brand-name drugs are clinically superior, said Dr. Aaron Kesselheim of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, who led the study.

Kesselheim and colleagues combined the results of 30 studies done since 1984 comparing nine sub-classes of cardiovascular drugs to generic counterparts.

The brand-name drugs did not offer any advantage for patients’ clinical outcomes in those studies, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Brand-name drugs for cardiovascular disease can be as much as a few dollars a pill, whereas generic drugs might be as little as a few cents a pill,” Kesselheim said.

“If a patient is prescribed a generic drug because that’s what’s appropriate for their condition, then they should feel confident taking that drug. And physicians themselves should also feel confident prescribing generic drugs where appropriate,” Kesselheim said in a telephone interview.

He said rising costs of brand-name prescription drugs strain the budgets of patients as well as public and private health insurers. Overall U.S. prescription drug sales hit $286.5 billion in 2007.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS

Pharmaceutical companies retain exclusive rights to drugs they develop for a certain number of years, after which others can sell generic versions that are chemically equivalent. The active ingredient is the same, but the color and shape may differ and they may have different inert binders and fillers.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration must approve a generic version of a drug before it can be sold.

Kesselheim said cardiovascular drugs to treat conditions of the heart and blood vessels are the most commonly prescribed category.

The study covered beta-blockers, diuretics, calcium-channel blockers, statins, antiplatelet agents, ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers, anti-arrhythmic agents and warfarin.

The researchers said brand-name manufacturers have suggested generic drugs may be less effective and less safe. They also found that many editorials in medical journals questioned whether generic drugs were as good.

Generic medications represent 66 percent of the total prescriptions in the United States, but less than 15 percent of the money spent on prescription drugs, according to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association industry group.

Kathleen Jaeger, who heads the pharmaceutical group, said the research reconfirms that FDA-approved generics provide the same medicine with the same clinical effects at a substantial cost savings.  Continued…

Source

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Related Posts:


By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Older adults in the United States are popping prescription pills, over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements in record numbers, and in combinations that could be deadly, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. They said more than half of U.S. adults aged 57 to 85 are using five or more prescription or non-prescription drugs,

Full Post: Dangerous drug combos pose risk for U.S. elderly
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans spent $2.2 trillion on healthcare in 2007, or $7,421 per person, according to a U.S. government report released on Tuesday. The 6.1 percent rate of growth over 2006 was the lowest since 1998, mostly because growth in spending on drugs slowed, the team at the Centers

Full Post: U.S. health spending hits $2.2 trillion in 2007
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Prescription painkillers account for most fatal overdoses from legal drugs in West Virginia and contribute to an exploding problem of overdoses across the United States that is most pronounced in rural areas, U.S. government researchers said on Tuesday. They said two-thirds of people who died from overdoses of legal pills in

Full Post: Abuse of pain pills fueling deaths in West Virginia
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Imposing European-style price controls on prescription drugs in the United States would result in modest cost savings that would be more than offset by shortened life spans as the pace of drug innovation slows, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. They said lowering insurance co-payments would be a better way of attacking

Full Post: Drug price controls may shorten lives: report
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Walgreen Co said on Wednesday that it is marketing a combination of its clinics, pharmacies and other services to businesses looking to save on employee healthcare costs. Walgreen, best known for the thousands of drugstores it has across the United States, also runs hundreds of health clinics in stores and at corporate offices. The

Full Post: Walgreen offers health program for businesses

Site Navigation

Most Read

Search