Changing Understanding, Perceptions, Pain Relief of and Preference for Generic Medicines with Patient Education: An Experimental Intervention Study
Background: Generic medicines have been associated with less perceived efficacy and more side effects compared to brand name drugs. Educational interventions to improve individuals’ negative perceptions of generic medicines show contradictory effects. Objective: This study investigated whether an interventional video that informs about the approval process of releasing medicines has better effects on outcomes related to perceptions and effectiveness of generic medicines in participants with headaches, in comparison with another interventional video that addresses bioequivalence between brand name and generic drugs or a control video. Methods: Participants with frequent tension headaches were randomized to one of three groups (one of two interventional videos or the control video). One of the interventional videos explained the process of approval of generic medicines (n = 34), the other one explained the bioequivalence between brand name and generic drugs (n = 35). The control video informed participants about the epidemiology and etiology of headaches (n = 34). After watching the video, participants treated their next two consecutive episodes of headache with a brand name and a generic analgesic in randomized order. Main outcomes measures: Self-report measures of understanding and perceptions of and preference for medicines, pain severity and side effects. Results: Linear mixed models showed that both interventional videos improved participants’ understanding of generic medicines. The generic drug approval process video enhanced the perceived effectiveness, safety and quality of generic drugs. The bioequivalence video positively influenced the preference for generic drugs. The brand name and generic drug were equally effective in relieving pain in participants who watched either the generic drug approval process or the bioequivalence video. Conclusions: Information about both, approving a switch from brand name medicines to generic counterparts and bioequivalence, can be important and should be addressed in future educational interventions.