Drugs & Therapy Perspectives

, Volume 34, Issue 10, pp 478–483 | Cite as

Characteristics of individuals who prefer branded innovator over generic medicines: a New Zealand general population survey

  • Maria KleinstäuberEmail author
  • Kate MacKrill
  • Keith J. Petrie
Short Communication



Although generic medicines provide a safe and economical treatment for many illnesses, negative attitudes towards generics are common and branded innovator drugs are often preferred to generic drugs.


The current study examined differences between individuals preferring branded innovator drugs compared with individuals preferring generic drugs or having no preference. We investigated differences in terms of demographics, perceived sensitivity to medicines, symptom burden, and other clinical variables.


A representative general population sample (n = 1000) was recruited using random digit dialling. In a telephone interview, participants were asked about their preferences for and attitudes toward innovator versus generic drugs, perceived sensitivity to medicines, recent symptoms, and other clinical variables, such as the number of general practitioner (GP) visits, and medicine-related information-seeking behaviour.


Univariate logistic regression analyses showed that individuals preferring branded innovator medicines reported lower levels of education, more negative attitudes toward generic medicines, higher perceived sensitivity to medicines, a greater symptom burden and more frequent GP visits. There were no between-group differences in whether participants were currently prescribed drugs, or in participants’ medicine-related information-seeking behaviour. Entering all variables into a multivariate logistic regression model confirmed the findings of the univariate models, apart from perceived sensitivity of medicine and symptom burden. The multivariate analysis also confirmed non-European NZ ethnicity and having no current medication prescription to be significantly associated with a preference for branded medicines.


Clinicians should be especially aware that the preference for a branded innovator medicine is higher in patients with lower education, higher perceived sensitivity to medicines, higher levels of symptom burden, higher levels of healthcare utilization and not currently taking any prescription medication.


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Maria Kleinstäuber, Kate MacKrill and Keith J. Petrie declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethics statement

Participants provided verbal informed consent. This research was approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (reference number 9294).


This research was funded by PHARMAC (the New Zealand Government’s Pharmaceutical Management Agency). The sources of funding for this study played no role in the study’s design, conduct or reporting.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health SciencesUniversity of Auckland, Auckland City HospitalAucklandNew Zealand

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