Objective: As population increase, Healthcare resources are stretched and the need to reduce prescription drug spending becomes obvious. The aim of this study was to evaluate the levels of generic prescribing in place of their branded counterparts among type 2 diabetic and hypertensive outpatients in Eastern region of Saudi Arabia. Method: A cross section of 13 Hospitals and 17 Community Pharmacies located in Al Ahsa, Dhahran, Khobar and Dammam (both Government and private) were visited. Out of which 58 Physicians and Pharmacists were interviewed with a structured questionnaire. Reasons for prescribing and serving either generic or branded were also ascertained. Patients’ prescriptions were also examined at the various hospital and community pharmacies. Our focus was on prescription drugs for type 2 diabetic and hypertensive patients only and the study lasted for 6 months. Results: Findings revealed that only 26.9% generic medications were prescribed for both type 2 diabetic and hypertensive patients in the 13 hospitals sampled. It was also observed that while Government hospital prescribed 33.3% generics, private hospitals had 28.6% for same patient category. In the Community Pharmacies, only 23.5% generic were served for diabetics and 11.8% for hypertensive patients. Overall Hospitals branded prescription were 73.1% whereas in community Pharmacies, they represented 82.4% served medications. Conclusion: Levels of generic medication usage appeared to be significantly low. Majority of the Physicians and Pharmacists were of the belief that branded medications give better outcome to patients and this attitude could potentially render Government policies on the use of generic medication ineffective.
Key words: Branded medication, Clinical equivalence, Community Pharmacies, Generics, Hospitals, Physicians.