Interventions promoting the acceptance and uptake of generic medicines: A narrative review of the literature

Z. U.D. Babar, S. W. Kan, S. Scahill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The objective of this paper was to undertake a narrative review of the literature regarding strategies and interventions promoting the acceptance and uptake of generic medicines. Method: A literature search was performed between November 2011 and January 2012 to identify published full text original research articles documenting interventions to promote the use of generic medicines. Keywords used were: "generic medicine", "generic drug", "intervention", "promotion", "acceptance", "uptake", "generic/therapeutic substitution" and their related root words. The electronic databases comprised of Embase (1980 - present), Google, Google Scholar, Medline (1948 - present), PubMed, Science Direct, Scopus, Springer Link and The Cochrane Library. An interpretative narrative synthesis was undertaken and emergent themes analysed and reported. Results: Eighteen studies were included in the final analysis. There were seven main themes which including; education, financial incentives, advertising to promote generic medicines, free generic medicine trials, administrative forms and medicines use review (MUR). These themes were further classified into subthemes. Education was subdivided into consumer and physician education. Financial incentives included the influence of financial incentives on both consumers and physicians. The subthemes in the financial incentives category included the changes in co-payment for consumers, reward payment for physicians and fund-holding schemes. Advertising included the sub-themes of print media and the use of anthropomorphic images, while free generic medicines trial was made up of free vouchers for generic medicines and generic medicines sampling system. Conclusions: The studies have mixed results; some interventions in some settings were useful, while others were not. Not all interventions consistently improved the uptake of generic medicines. There was limited literature available and further work is required to develop a range of interventions to support the uptake of generic medicines within and across different countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-296
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number3
Early online date14 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


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