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Effects of hospital generic drug substitution on diabetes therapy

Authors Chen H, Chang H, Lang H, Lin H, Chiu Y

Received 24 September 2013

Accepted for publication 13 November 2013

Published 29 January 2014 Volume 2014:8 Pages 127—133


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Hui-Yin Chen,1 Hui-Ru Chang,2 Hui-Chu Lang3

1Department of Auditing, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan; 2Department of Social Insurance, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taipei, Taiwan; 3Institute of Hospital and Health Care Administration, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

Objectives: To evaluate the effects on physicians’ prescribing behavior and on the therapeutic outcome of non-insulin-dependent diabetes patients of substituting different generic brands of metformin.
Methods: We adopt a retrospective cohort study involving 280 type-2 diabetes patients who regularly used the outpatient services of one medical center and who had changed metformin brands five times between 2003 and 2008. The aim was to examine the effects of switching brands. The generalized estimating equation was used to determine whether drug brand switching affected patient glycated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, their prescribed daily dose, or their adherence to medication with metformin.
Results: HbA1c levels increased from 7.91 to 8.34 throughout the study period, although it was found that brand switching did not adversely affect HbA1c levels after controlling for patient characteristics and the time course of the study. Furthermore, the prescribed daily dose of metformin was stable throughout the study period, and was approximately 0.8 of the defined daily dose. Finally, although adherence was significantly higher with the original metformin than with the four generic brands, patients still maintained high levels of adherence of >0.8.
Conclusion: Although switching between different brands of metformin slightly affected the prescribing behavior of the physicians, there was no unfavorable effect on patient HbA1c levels. Thus, the policy of substituting between different generic brands of metformin is a good cost-effective approach that does not adversely affect the quality of diabetes patient care.

Keywords: metformin, generic substitution, glycemic control, prescribing behavior, adherence

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