Background: Prescribing generic medicine is still a debatable issue among prescribers and the issues of bioequivalence, quality, and safety remain problem areas. The perception that generic medicines are inferior to brand medicine can be eradicated by educating medical students who are the future prescribers.
Aim and Objective: The correct knowledge of generic medicine among students will enhance the prescribing of low cost and effective medicines. Therefore, this study was conducted to analyze the knowledge and perception of generic medicines among undergraduates (UG), interns, and postgraduate (PG) students in a medical teaching institute.
Materials and Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 230 medical students (145 UG, 50 interns, and 35 PG) in Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences, Saifai, to assess knowledge and attitude of students for generic medicines. Chi-square test was used to analyze results.
Results: About 98% of UG and interns and 100% of PG students were aware of generic medicines. Awareness of Jan Aushadhi Scheme is substantially poor in UG students as compared to interns and PG (P < 0.001). About 86% of student considered generic medicine of low cost, less effective (30%), poor quality (34%), and having more side effects (38%) as compared to branded medicine. Students believe product bonuses (28%) and advertisement (38%) by pharmaceuticals will alter their prescribing patterns in the future. About 71% of students (P < 0.001) consider that it is easier to remember a generic name and 89% of students (P < 0.001) wish to have further information regarding generic medicine in their medical curriculum.
Conclusion: Medical students lack comprehensive knowledge and carry erroneous impressions for generic medicine. There is a need for more emphasis regarding generic medicine in UG medical curriculum. This will augment rational prescribing and cost-effective use of generic medicine in the future.
Key words: Bioequivalence; Brand Medicine; Cost-Effective; Generic Medicine; Rational Prescribing