Blacks, Hispanics more likely to perceive generics as inferior

Study examines perceptions of generic drugs' safety, efficacy compared to branded drugs

NEW YORK — Negative perceptions of generic drugs are more likely among blacks and Hispanics, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Ethnicity & Disease, found that negative perceptions of generic drugs were more widespread among ethnic minorities than among whites.

The researchers found no significant differences by race or ethnicity in the use of generic drug discount programs, and about 75% of participants agreed that generics are equal in quality or just as safe or effective as branded drugs, but negative perceptions about the potential for side effects and about inferiority of generics were more pronounced among minority group members than among whites. Blacks and Hispanics were 10 times more likely than whites to agree that generic drugs had more side effects than branded drugs and four times more likely than whites to agree that generics were inferior to branded drugs, though the perceptions did not prevent minorities from using generics.

The researchers conducted a survey of Houston residents with incomes less than $30,000 per year with a chronic condition requiring a prescription drug or a family member with such a condition; 67% of respondents were African-American; and 77% were couple.

"A lot of people can't afford their medicine; they end up in the [emergency room] for something preventable," Kellogg Health Scholars researcher and lead study author Anthony Omojasola said. "We wanted to see if people were aware of generic drug discount programs and, if they were aware, why they would or would not participate."

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