This study aimed to assess Malaysian consumers’ awareness of generic medicines, their willingness to use them and the reasons behind their choice.
A survey of consumers who had just visited a community pharmacy was undertaken using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. The survey consisted of 26 questions including questions about knowledge of generic medicines, past experience of generic medicines, willingness to try generic medicines and reasons behind this choice.
In total, 203 consumers were surveyed in 10 pharmacies in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, Malaysia. Overall, 137 consumers (67.5%) did not know what generic medicines were. Among the 86 consumers who had used generics before, most of them (79.0%) felt that generics worked well. For those who had not used generics or were unsure if they had, the majority felt that they would be unwilling to use them as they felt that they were not as effective or as safe as brand name products.
Awareness of generic medicines is lacking in Malaysian consumers although past experience with generic medicines may help form a favourable opinion of them. Development of consumer education on generics is required to support the implementation of the generic medicines policy in Malaysia.