Each week we will aim to bring out a concise email that provides 4-5 key pieces of information addressing a specific issue in clinical therapeutics.
This week: Generic medicines (part 2)
At one stage primarily used in hospitals as a result to tendering in procurement processes, generic medication products are now widespread in the aged care sector, and indeed in the general community. Consumer choice may be a driving factor, as people strive to achieve best value for money when purchasing pharmaceuticals.
- As different generic brands of medication may look and be packaged in very different ways, consumers and their families may become confused by apparent changes that are not communicated clearly. For example, a person living independently in the community may be admitted to a hospital where a different brand of a medication is in use, and discharged to an aged care facility where yet another brand of the same drug is in use. Unless there is clear communication, concerns may arise.
- A community pharmacy supplying medications supplying medications for a nursing home may negotiate to purchase a particular brand of generic medicine for a competitive price – the savings are passed on to consumers. Before proceeding down this path, the pharmacy will take appropriate steps to be sure that the brand selected is of a high standard of safety and quality. The packing equipment used in the pharmacy may require specific adjustment to accommodate the characteristics of a specific brand, meaning that it is undesirable to switch between brands frequently.
- In some cases generic brand alternatives may not be available, meaning that the originator brand of the medicine is the only brand available for use in Australia (other brands may exist overseas, but may not be available on the Australian market).
Please consider these issues when preparing or interpreting RMMR reports or education sessions. Contributions of content or suggested topics are welcome and should be sent directly to email@example.com.