Journal of Public Health

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 11–19 | Cite as

Patients’ perspectives on generic substitution among statin users in Japan

  • Eriko KobayashiEmail author
  • Chiemi Abe
  • Nobunori Satoh
Original Article



The study was undertaken to reveal the differences in statin users’ characteristics, the views on generic drugs between brand-name statin users and generic statin users, and the factors associated with being generic statin users.

Subjects and methods

A questionnaire survey was conducted on patients visiting community pharmacies in order to have their prescriptions including statins dispensed. Respondents answered their views on the questionnaire items using a 5-point Likert-type scale, then answers were dichotomized. Odds ratios were calculated to analyze respondent’s views and respondents’ characteristics associated with being generic users.


In total, 122 patients agreed to participate in the survey; with regard to respondent’s views associated with being generic statin users, those agreeing “I have a concern in switching any currently taken drugs to generic drugs” were less likely to be generic statin users [OR (95% CI): 0.13, (0.05–0.35)]. Respondents agreeing “generic drugs are less expensive than brand-name drugs” were more likely to be generic users [4.55, (1.77–11.67)]. No respondent’s characteristics were associated with being generic statin users. The majority of respondents agreed “I don’t mind taking the generic drugs that my physician prescribe”. With regard to how much cost savings would encourage them to substitute, 1000–1999 Japanese Yen per pharmacy visit was most often indicated by the respondents.


A certain level of cost saving is necessary for patients to substitute. Physician-initiated substitution reduce patients’ concerns in switching. The introduction of a kind of policy to widen the price difference between brand-name drugs and generic drugs should be considered as one of the policy options.


Generic substitution Pharmaceutical policy Patient medication knowledge Questionnaire survey 



The authors thank all of the patients who participated in the survey. The authors also thank the two pharmacies collaborating with our research.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Eriko Kobayashi has no conflict of interest. Chiemi Abe has no conflict of interest. Nobunori Satoh has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Patients’ consent to participate was indicated by returning the completed questionnaire.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Pharmacy, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical SciencesChiba UniversityChiba-ShiJapan
  2. 2.Department of PharmacyTokyo Metropolitan Tama Medical CenterFuchu-shiJapan

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