Generic substitution policy implementation: A pharmacists' perspective survey
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© SAGE Publications. Objective Pharmaceutical expenditures have increasingly grown in the past decades, prompting policy makers to pay more and more attention to developing such strategies as generic substitution to deal with this challenging issue. Community pharmacists whose recommendations have a strong influence on consumers' decisions can play a pivotal role in the success of the strategy of dispensing generic medicines. Considering the aforementioned issue, it is imperative to evaluate pharmacists' perception of generic substitution alongside their perception of the roles of patients, physicians, and government in this regard. Methods A cross-sectional descriptive study involving pharmacists working in Tehran community pharmacies (2000) was performed, using a self-administrated anonymous questionnaire. Key findings A total of 1208 questionnaires were returned, which provides a response rate of 60%. According to responses, 43% of the participants believed that generic medicines are bioequivalent to branded medicines, and the majority of the respondents (71.6%) stated that they do substitution if generic medicine is available. However, more than half of the respondents do not believe in the efficacy of generic medicines. In addition, they think that patients, physicians, and government have important roles in generic substitution. The government in particular plays a pivotal role as far as implementing different pharmaceutical policies are concerned. Conclusions The results indicated that Iranian pharmacists have good insights regarding the implementation and promotion of a generic substitution strategy; thus, they need the support of patients, physicians, and government to increase the utilization of generic medicines.