Choice of generic versus brand-name antidepressants in a regulated prescription drug market: evidence from Taiwan

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: A health care system in which there is no separation between prescription and dispensation, combined with a regulated prescription drug market, leads to various generic substitution mechanisms for antidepressants.

AIMS OF THE STUDY: We investigated the determinants of generic versus brand-name antidepressant choices in a regulated prescription market where physicians both prescribe and dispense drugs.

METHODS: Using data from a sample of one million individuals selected randomly from the registry of National Health Insurance beneficiaries in 2010, and all claims for these one million enrollees between January 1997 and December 2011, we employed logistic regression to examine the choice of generic versus brand-name antidepressants in the Taiwanese prescription drug market.

RESULTS: Access to various antidepressant brands varies according to the accreditation level and type of ownership of the healthcare provider. Private healthcare providers and those with lower accreditation levels were more likely to prescribe generic antidepressants compared to their brand-name counterparts. The diversity of products and competition in the molecule market was positively associated with the probability of prescribing generic antidepressants.

DISCUSSION: In a regulated prescription drug market with no separation between prescription and dispensation, the substitution of generic antidepressant prescriptions in place of brand-name prescriptions is likely driven by drug and provider market characteristics, rather than by lowering costs.

IMPLICATIONS FOR HEALTHCARE PROVISION: The allocation of different types of ownership and accreditation levels of healthcare providers may lead to unequal access to various brands of antidepressants.

IMPLICATIONS FOR HEALTH POLICIES: Policies for improving the treatment of depression should take into account the structure of molecule and provider markets as important factors in determining the choice and utilization of antidepressants, in a healthcare system where physicians both prescribe and dispense drugs.

IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH: Other psychotropic drug classes should be investigated to explore the effect of molecule and provider characteristics on the utilization of various classes of medication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-172
Number of pages10
JournalThe journal of mental health policy and economics
Volume17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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