Generic medicines: Greek physicians' perceptions and prescribing practices
P>Background and objective: The penetration of generic drugs in the Greek pharmaceutical market is placed among the weakest in the EU. The Greek regulatory framework does not systematically support the development of this subsector and physicians are not provided with incentives for prescribing generics. The aim of this study was to investigate the prescribing profile of physicians in Greece with a focus on the factors that influence their decision on generics prescribing. Methods: A structured questionnaire was sent by mail to a random national sample of 1463 physicians, stratified by sex, specialty and geographical region. Results and discussion: The response rate was 82 center dot 3%. Greek physicians have a positive view on generics but they prefer to prescribe the original products. According to our analysis, physician's age and their opinion on generics' efficacy and effectiveness are identified as important determinants of their prescribing decision. The primary reason that could make them change their prescribing habits is the appearance of side-effects. Patients' insurance coverage and income, as well as the drug cost are also referred as factors that influence their prescribing decision. Despite the fact that they do not usually prescribe generics in their clinical practice, they are willing to substitute an original drug by a generic product. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that Greek physicians could be persuaded to prescribe generic medicines, if a generic promotion policy was introduced in the country. To develop such a policy, a set of supply side and demand-side measures should be implemented along with provision of information on generics to physicians during their education and clinical practice.