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Original Article

Factors Influencing Consumer Purchasing Patterns of Generic Versus Brand Name Over-the-Counter Drugs

Erol Kohli, MD, MPH, Allison Buller, MS
Volume: 106 Issue: 2 February, 2013

Abstract:

Objectives: US consumers spend more than $20 billion/year on over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Although generic and brand name OTC drugs share the same active ingredients and undergo the same rigorous Food and Drug Administration approval process, brand name formulations continue to lead the OTC drug market with a higher market share. There is a limited amount of publicly available information regarding consumer perceptions and awareness about generic and brand name OTC drugs. The main objective of this research was to understand what factors influence US consumers to purchase generic versus brand name OTC drugs.


Methods: The researchers used a 20-question, self-administered, multiple-choice survey to collect data on the factors influencing consumers’ preferences for generic versus brand name OTC drugs.


Results: Results revealed that the single most influential factor for participants when purchasing OTC drugs was lower cost.


Conclusions: Although economic factors play an important role in influencing consumers to choose generic formulations, a variety of other factors including advertisements, duration of the OTC effectiveness, severity of sickness, preferable form of OTC medication, safety of the OTC, relief of multiple symptoms, and preferred company will persuade others to pay more for brand name drugs. Ultimately, increased awareness and use of generic OTC drugs may result in substantial cost savings for consumers.

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CME:

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