Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Brand-name Drugs Not Superior for Treating Cardiovascular Diseases

"The problem of rising prescription drug costs has emerged as a critical policy issue, straining the budgets of patients and public/private insurers and directly contributing to adverse health outcomes by reducing adherence to important medications. The primary drivers of elevated drug costs are brand-name drugs, which are sold at high prices during a period of patent protection and market exclusivity after approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)," the authors write.

The researchers also reported, "...we identified numerous studies that evaluated differences in clinical outcomes with generic and brand-name medications. Our results suggest that it is reasonable for physicians and patients to rely on FDA bioequivalence rating as a proxy for clinical equivalence among a number of important cardiovascular drugs, even in higher-risk contexts such as the NTI drug warfarin.

To limit unfounded distrust of generic medications, popular media and scientific journals could choose to be more selective about publishing perspective pieces based on anecdotal evidence of diminished clinical efficacy or greater risk of adverse effects with generic medications.
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