The Formulary Files

Cost being equal, consumers prefer older drugs

Seven out of 10 consumers would prefer a drug that had been on the market for 10 years or more, compared to a newer drug, even if the copayments were equal. Further, 31 percent believe newer drugs are less safe than older drugs, according to the Medco Monitor, a nationwide household survey. The report surveyed 1,092 insured adults.

Formulary decision makers take heart: This could be a sign that consumers are more inclined to start using generic medications.

Ann Smith, a spokeswoman for Medco Health Solutions, says, "Just the idea that these older medications have been on the market for some time — they're tried and proven in the consumer's mind. They see the safety profile and effectiveness. And then you factor in the [usually] lower cost of an older drug. Consumers see that older may be better, or at least safer. If there's a cost savings, they are comfortable choosing an older drug."

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Only 11 percent of adults over age 59 felt that newer drugs were safer than older drugs.
  • One third of respondents felt that newer drugs were more effective than drugs that have been on the market for 10 years or more.
  • Women reported greater knowledge about generic drugs (63 percent) than men (54 percent), and were 20 percent more likely than men to have chosen a generic drug to save money in the past year.
  • Women were more likely than men to question the safety of newer drugs, and were more likely than men to believe that newer drugs were less effective than older drugs.
Would you prefer to take a prescription drug that is new to the market
or one that has been on the market for 10 or more years?
Not sure 16%
New to market 16%
On the market for more than 10 years 68%

Source: The Medco Monitor

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