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Generic Heart Drugs as Good as Brand-Name Counterparts
Date:12/2/2008

urers may produce the same drug as a generic.

"There are a number of studies out there saying that generic drugs should be an important part of a physicians prescribing treatment, that they're able to reduce costs and improve patient adherence which can lead to better patient outcomes," Kesselheim said. "Generic drugs are available for nearly every condition but generally are underused in the marketplace, and one of the reasons they're underused is that there is a perception out there among physicians and patients that brand-name drugs are better than generic drugs."

Kesselheim and his colleagues decided to investigate the data to see if brand-name drugs really were superior.

They searched for articles comparing the clinical efficacy of brand-name and generic cardiovascular drugs published between January 1984 and August 2008.

All of the studies involving beta blockers, antiplatelet agents, statins, ACE inhibitors and alpha-blockers showed clinical equivalence, while 91 percent of randomized controlled trials showed clinical equivalence for diuretics, and 71 percent showed the same for calcium-channel blockers.

Yet 53 percent of 43 editorials had a negative take on substituting generic drugs.

"We found no evidence that a brand-name drug is clinically superior," Kesselheim said.

Almost half of the trials and nearly all of the editorial and commentaries failed to identify funding sources.

"The key is, are the drugs therapeutically equivalent. In other words, do you get the same result," said Robert Stanberry, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy at Kingsville. "I would tend to agree, that's mostly true."

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on generic drugs.


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