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An evaluation of consumers’ knowledge, perceptions and attitudes regarding generic medicines in Auckland

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Objectives The aim of this project was to evaluate the perceptions, knowledge and attitudes regarding generic medicines. Methods A cross-sectional study, with self administered questionnaires, was conducted to survey consumers visiting pharmacies in four regions of Auckland (North Shore, Waitakere, Central Auckland and South Auckland). Through stratified random sampling, approximately 10% of pharmacies from each region were selected, which turn out to be 30 pharmacies. Every alternate customer coming to the pharmacy, who was eligible to participate in the study, was asked by the researchers to complete the questionnaire. Results A total of 441 questionnaires were included in the analysis. Different response rates were obtained in different regions of Auckland. Of all respondents, 51.6% had previous knowledge of generic medicines. Pharmacists were the main source of information regarding generic medicines followed by doctors and media. A higher level of education had a direct relationship with having correct knowledge of generics (P = .002). Attitude of participants toward the use of generic medicines was determined by their knowledge of generics, whether it was recommended by a pharmacist and their type of illness. Participants were more prepared to change to a generic for a minor illness (79%) than for a major illness (58.7%). Those who had better knowledge were more likely than those with poor knowledge to say they would to use a generic in major illness (P = .001) as well as minor illness (P < .0001). Previous positive experiences with generics also determined consumers’ willingness to use generics. Conclusion Many consumers have misconceptions regarding generic medicines. Having knowledge about generics and the advice by doctors and pharmacists are key indicators to improve the quality use of generic medicines.

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We would like to say thanks to Ms Rachelle Reber and the two anonymous reviewers.


The researchers’ travelling expenses were paid by the School of Pharmacy, University of Auckland.

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Correspondence to Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar.

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Babar, ZUD., Stewart, J., Reddy, S. et al. An evaluation of consumers’ knowledge, perceptions and attitudes regarding generic medicines in Auckland. Pharm World Sci 32, 440–448 (2010).

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