Perceptions of and Barriers to Use of Generic Medications in a Rural African American Population, Alabama, 2011
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 9.
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Health Status Disparities
Patient Acceptance Of Health Care
Using generic medications for chronic diseases provides efficacy similar to that of brand-name medication use, but at a lower price, potentially enhancing adherence. However, previous studies show that disadvantaged people, who may particularly benefit from cost savings, have low trust of generics and increased reluctance to switch to generics. The rural South includes areas of high poverty and minority communities whose members are at high risk for poor health outcomes; however, whether such beliefs exist in these communities has not been reported. We sought to obtain qualitative insight into beliefs about generic medication use among African Americans in the rural South.
Investigators conducted 4 focus groups with 30 community members from Alabama’s Black Belt area. Transcribed discussions were analyzed and common themes identified.
Participants were primarily unemployed middle-aged women, one-fourth of whom were uninsured and more than half of whom had a high school education or less. Barriers to generic medication use included perceptions that generics are less potent than brand-name medications, require higher doses, and, therefore, result in more side effects; generics are not “real” medicine; generics are for minor but not serious illnesses; the medical system cannot be trusted; and poor people are forced to “settle” for generics.
Although education about generics could rectify misinformation, overcoming views such as mistrust of the medical system and the sense of having to settle for generics because of poverty may be more challenging. Policy makers and providers should consider these perspectives when working to increase generic drug use in these populations.
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