The Patient - Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 499–510 | Cite as

What Do Users of Generic Medicines Think of Them? A Systematic Review of Consumers’ and Patients’ Perceptions of, and Experiences with, Generic Medicines

  • Suzanne S. DunneEmail author
Systematic Review


Background and Objective

Considerable emphasis is placed on the use of generic medicines because of the potential economic benefits associated with their use. The objective of this systematic review is to compile and collate published research regarding patient/consumer perceptions and attitudes in relation to generic medicines, aiming to describe such views and detail patient experiences with generic medicines.


Literature published between 2005 and July 2015, indexed in PubMed, Scopus and EMBASE, on the topic of consumer or patient opinions of generic medicines were collated, using systematic searches, and appraised.


A total of 59 papers were reviewed. Familiarity and trust in brand names appears to be a substantial barrier to the increased use of generics, with patients also appearing to hold the view that if a product is cheaper, then it must not be as good. Some publications report positive views of generics, with positively inclined consumers stating that they did not perceive any difference between a generic and the proprietary medicine. Acceptance of generics appears to be higher in consumers with higher levels of education while patients from lower socioeconomic demographic groups tend to have greater mistrust of generics.


The provision of information to consumers that dispels myths about generics may improve confidence in generic medicines. As patients demonstrate a high degree of trust in physicians, their opinions can impact on patient/consumer opinions. Therefore, enhancing the perceptions of generics held by physicians is likely to have a positive impact on patient/consumer opinions of, and trust in, generic medications.


Generic Medication Generic Medicine Generic Drug MeSH Term Generic Substitution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest. No funding was received to perform this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Interventions in Infection, Inflammation and Immunity (4i) and Graduate Entry Medical SchoolUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland

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