A survey of a national sample of family physicians was undertaken to investigate several aspects of attitudes and prescribing patterns related to generic drugs. Questionnaires were returned by 317 of 501 eligible respondents for a response rate of 63.3 percent. Of the respondents, 62.5 percent said they had enough confidence in generic drugs to prescribe them in their practices, but only 26.9 percent said they actually prescribed mostly generics. Respondents were also asked to indicate the relative importance of several potential sources of information on new drugs and to test their ability to recognize a list of generic and trade name drugs. Several associations were identified between physicians' sources of drug information and generic drug recognition, attitudes, and prescription patterns. The habit of prescribing mostly generic drugs, for example, was found to be more common among family physicians who were residency trained, who relied least on drug company representatives, and who were regular readers of the New England Journal of Medicine. The ability to recognize all ten generic names was found to be highest among these same groups of physicians and also among those who relied least on journal advertisements and those who were regular readers of The Medical Letter.