Background In Japan in 2014 the market share for generic drugs was 50%, lower than that of Western nations, but the reasons why the patients themselves turn down the opportunity to switch to a generic drug when asked at the pharmacy are not clear. In addition, the use of bio-similar drugs became possible in Japan in 2015, but the degree of knowledge that patients have regarding them is unknown.
Objectives Therefore we carried out a patient survey about generic and bio-similar drugs, and at the same time, we also conducted a questionnaire for doctors who prescribed them, and conducted a comparative study of patient's and doctor's awareness regarding these drugs.
Methods The survey was carried out amongst 4151 patients being treated at 20 research group member facilities. It was an anonymous written survey. After the section on patient background (age, gender, disease history) was completed, patients were asked their impressions of generic drugs, their attitudes towards changing to a generic, whether or not they had ever experienced an adverse effect with a generic drug, what knowledge they had regarding bio-similar drugs, and if they had any interest in or experience with using bio-similar drugs.We also asked 32 physicians about permissions and restrictions on GE use, negative experience of GE, problems of GE, experience of BIO-S and future plans for use, conditions of BIO-S usage, etc.
Results The group was 78% female, the majority of whom were in their 60's, and most had disease history of more than 10 years. Those with a good impression of GE drugs comprised 41%, those with a bad impression 9.4%. 34% of patients had switched to GE drugs, those who would not or could not were 24%. Those who reported a bad experience (lessening of effectiveness, or an adverse effect) were 8%.Meanwhile, in GE survey of doctors, about 65% partially restricted the use of GE, and about 70% had experiences of weakening of effects and occurrence of adverse events when using GE. Regarding patient knowledge of BIO-S, 13% knew of them, and 44% replied that they had no interest in them, even after being shown explanatory materials about the drugs. 63% of patients said they would rely on their physicians's judgement regarding choosing BIO-S drugs, with 10% stating they would choose BIO-S based on cost benefits. On the other hand, approximately 40% of physicians have experience using BIO - S, while about 60% have experience explaining them to patients. About 60% replied that they plan to use BIO-Ss to be released in the future but on the condition of regular and detailed provision of safety information.
Conclusions Due to experience in using GE, physicians wish to receive detailed information on individual drugs, and desire it even more in the case of BIO-S drugs. RA patients with RA have received little information on BIO-S, and this can be thought to be a direct result of lack of information for prescribing physicians.
Disclosure of Interest None declared