Data from a study published in JAMA concluded that evidence "does not support the notion that brand-name drugs used in cardiovascular disease are superior to generic drugs," despite numerous editorials that "counsel against the interchangeability of generic drugs," according to the study authors.
Researchers analysed the results of 47 studies conducted from January 1984 to August 2008, of which 81 percent were randomised controlled trials, comparing nine subclasses of cardiovascular medications to their generic counterparts. The results showed that in the randomised trials, brand-name beta blockers, antiplatelet agents, statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, alpha blockers, antiarrhythmic agents and warfarin showed 100-percent clinical equivalence to the generic versions. In addition, the clinical equivalence between brand-name and generic treatments was 91 percent for diuretics and 71 percent for calcium channel blockers.
Furthermore, the investigators examined 43 editorials from medical journals and newspapers, and found that 53 percent expressed a negative view of generic substitution. The researchers also noted that brand-name manufacturers have suggested that generic products may be less effective and less safe.
In response to the study, PhRMA senior vice president Ken Johnson stated that “PhRMA has always supported patients receiving the medicines that are best for them, including both brand-name medicines and generic drugs." The executive added that "the contention that brand-name medicines drive up the cost of health care is fatally flawed. Without today's innovative brand-name drugs to legally copy, there would be no generic drug industry."
Meanwhile, GPhA CEO Kathleen Jaeger remarked that the research confirms that generic drugs provide the same active ingredients with similar clinical effects at a substantial cost savings. "As everyone is grappling with how to increase access and reduce costs, we know that generics are part of the solution," she stated.