When it comes to medication, we all battle the fight between generic and brand-name drugs. The truth is brand-name medications, just like any other brand-driven business, spend millions of dollars, making sure that you choose their brands over their competitors. For drugs, this means they want to make sure you always turn to the brand-label versus a generic offer. Are you brand-influenced without noticing it? Take the quiz and find out.
Branding Changes How We See Medications
From an early stage, pharmaceutical companies recognized the importance of having a strong brand presence. Through marketing and branding, pharmaceutical companies could establish brands that can prolong their commercial life once the drug’s patent expires. All with the hopes of developing brand awareness and loyalty among consumers and physicians prescribing the medication.
The concept of brand influence on medications isn’t new. One large study looking at the perception of generic drugs versus branded medication proved some of these concepts, finding that:
- 97% of respondents mention Tylenol when asked about cold medicines.
- 25% of respondents knew that Pfizer manufactured viagra.
- Most of the respondents were very likely to buy the same brands they have historically purchased.
- Most of the respondents gave more importance to choosing brand names when purchasing over-the-counter medications versus prescriptions.
It’s All About Perception
The issue of our brand influence on medications comes down to perception. Similarly, to how we’re driven to specific brands at the supermarket, the same happens at the pharmacy. The perception the media and pharmaceutical companies have created around brand-name and generics is what makes us brand-influenced.
For example, a report by the CDC in a rural community found that people resisted buying generics, even when they were strapped for cash. Most people believed using generics would “result in more side effects” or “require higher doses.” Some are even quoted saying that generics are only helpful for “minor but not serious illnesses.”
One could argue the battle between brand-name and generics can be solved with education.
Well, one study looked at how healthcare workers buy medications. The study found that most healthcare workers tend to purchase generics. Looking at headache remedies, the study found that around 71% of average consumers chose generics, while almost 90% of pharmacists picked generic brands.
The Confusion around Generics
When it comes to finding the differences between brand-name and generic drugs, most people cannot pinpoint them. After all, these are things that pharmaceutical companies don’t advertise. The truth is that generics could make medication safer and much easier to understand for consumers.
There can be up to 15 different brands available for the same medication. All of these different brands can confuse patients. So, for example, a patient can believe they’re not taking aspirin, yet they take Anacin, which is a brand-name for an aspirin medication. Around 25% of medication errors are the result of name confusion.
What Can You Do?
If you realized you’re brand-influenced, the first step into making any change is by educating yourself. Read more on the differences between generic and brand-name medications. Ask your doctor to explain the differences. Make sure whenever you get a new prescription to ask for the potential names, you could find this medication under – including the generic name.
While there’s nothing wrong with choosing brand names over generics, there’s an issue in making uneducated decisions about your health.