Policymakers tend to focus on improving patented drug policies because they are under pressure from patients, physicians, and manufacturers to increase access to novel therapies. The success of pharmaceutical innovation over the last few decades has led to the availability of many off-patent drugs to treat disease areas with the greatest public health need. Therefore, the success of public health programs in improving the health status of the total population is highly dependent on the efficiency of generic drug policies. The objective of this article was to explore factors influencing the true efficiency of generic prescription drug policies in supporting public health initiatives in the developed world. Health care decision makers often assess the efficiency of generic drug policies by the level of price erosion and market share of generics. Drug quality, bioequivalence, in some cases drug formulations, supply reliability, medical adherence and persistence, health outcomes, and nondrug costs, however, are also attributes of success for generic drug policies. Further methodological research is needed to measure and improve the efficiency of generic drug policies. This also requires extension of the evidence base of the impact of generic drugs, partly based on real-world evidence. Multicriteria decision analysis may assist policymakers and researchers to evaluate the true value of generic drugs.
Keywords: adherence; drug policies; generic drug; multicriteria decision analysis; price erosion; real-world evidence.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.