Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Prescribing Generic Medications

Best practice advice from ACP

The Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians (ACP) has issued best practice advice indicating that clinicians should prescribe generic medications, if possible, rather than more-expensive brand-name drugs. The guideline is based on a review of 5 questions about generic medications and aims to improve adherence to therapy and clinical outcomes while containing costs. Guideline highlights include:

• Evidence for prescribing generic vs brand-name medications

• Barriers to evidence-based practice

• Strategies to increase the use of generic medications

• Talking points for clinicians when discussing medications with patients

Citation: Choudhry NK, Denberg TD, Qaseem A, et al. Improving adherence to therapy and clinical outcomes while contain costs: opportunities from the greater use of generic medications: best practice advice from the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians. [Published online ahead of print November 24, 2015]. Ann Intern Med. doi: 10.7326/M14-2427.

Commentary: Clearly, attention to generic substitution or the use of equivalent therapeutic medications that are in the same class, but are generic versions of branded medications present an important opportunity for cost savings for the health care system. It is important to understand that in order to be FDA approved as a generic medication, the medication must be proven to be bioequivalent to the brand-name medication, meaning it must achieve similar serum levels. Attention to generic prescribing is straightforward and clearly recommended in the ACP guideline. —Neil Skolnik, MD