-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, May 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors often
recommend brand-name drugs for acid reflux and chronic constipation
instead of cheaper store brands, costing patients more money, a new
The survey included more than 800 gastroenterologists across the
United States who were asked about their drug recommendations for
patients with the two digestive conditions. The study was funded by
generic drug maker Perrigo.
The study found that 63 percent of the doctors would recommend
an over-the-counter (OTC) drug, rather than a prescription
medicine, to treat acid reflux.
However, while three-quarters of the doctors felt that OTC
brand-name and store-brand proton pump inhibitor drugs were equally
effective, 54 percent of them recommended brand-name drugs to
patients at least one-third of the time.
For chronic constipation, 95 percent of the gastroenterologists
said they would suggest OTC treatments such as fiber supplements,
osmotics and stool softeners. If those therapies failed, 70 percent
of the doctors said they would still recommend an OTC treatment as
a second option. Few said they would suggest a prescription
"Despite feeling that name-brand and store-brand laxatives are equally effective, the majority of gastroenterologists surveyed continued to recommend name-brand laxatives and underestimate the cost savings associated with buying store brands," study author and gastroenterologist Dr. William Chey, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Health System, said in a university news release.
Chey and his colleagues found that less than one-third of the
doctors in the study knew that generic drugs could be more than 20
percent cheaper than brand-name medicines. Doctors who had been in
practice 20 years or more were more likely to suggest generics than
The study was to be presented Saturday during the Digestive
Diseases Week meeting in Chicago.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about
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