This study aimed to understand the general public’s perception of the definition and equivalence of generic medicines, and to identify factors associated with the perception. We conducted a nationwide survey of the general public who are currently taking prescription drugs for chronic conditions or who filled at least one prescription in the prior 3 months. A total of 2,026 people were included in the analysis. Of the respondents, 21.0% knew the definition of generic medicines. Less than half of respondents considered generic medicines to be as effective (42.8%) as their original counterparts, and to have same side effects (37.1%) and same quality (35.0%). Also, respondents who were men, taking prescription drugs, and those of higher income or higher levels of education were more likely to know the definition of generic drugs. Higher trust in pharmaceutical equivalence of generic medicines were associated with being male, higher education and knowing the definition of generic medicines. This result implies that consumers having more ability to acquire information tend to have more knowledge on generic medicines. Consumers’ trust in generic medicines seems to build from their knowledge rather than experience of using generic medicines. Information should be given to consumers more effectively in order to enhance their knowledge and perceptions on generic medicine.
Conflict of Interest