Generic drug prescriptions following hospital discharge: A prospective study in France.
Eur J Intern Med. 2011 Oct;22(5):e45-9
Authors: Chu C, Rudant E, Bonvalet M, Agostini H, Cavalié P, Bonhomme-Faivre L, Frenkiel J, Taillandier J, Boissonnas A, Vittecoq D, Wyplosz B
AIMS: Systematic generic prescription at discharge could reduce confusion on drug-name usage, decrease commercial influence on medicine, and reduce drug-related expenditures. This study aimed to analyze generic drug prescriptions at discharge from hospital and to estimate the potential savings associated with a total substitution policy (substitution of every substitutable drug for its cheapest generic counterpart).
METHODS: Drug prescriptions before admission and at discharge of all patients from three medical units of a university hospital were prospectively collected for five weeks without informing prescribers.
RESULTS: Prescriptions from 85 patients were analyzed. On admission, 68 patients (80%) received 413 drugs; 141 were substitutable brand-name drugs and 23 (16%), which were directly prescribed as generics. At discharge, 488 drugs were prescribed to the 85 patients; 180 were substitutable drugs but only 5 (2.8%) were written as generics on prescription pads, a decrease of 78% (p<0.0001) compared to admission. In average, generics were 18% less expensive than brand-name drugs. Some common therapeutic classes offered even greater price difference, such as proton-pump inhibitors (42%), statins (32%), or antihypertensive agents (28%). Potential savings from a total substitution policy at discharge were estimated to €1512 per 1000 patients per week; for lifetime drugs, savings amounted to €18,960 per 1000 patients per year.
CONCLUSIONS: Very few drugs are written as generics on medical forms at discharge in France. Hospital practitioners should be encouraged to prescribe generics, particularly in chronic diseases. A broad generic prescription policy at hospital discharge would result in substantial savings for health insurance.
PMID: 21925042 [PubMed - in process]