Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 590–594 | Cite as

People’s views on the level of agreement of generic medicines for different illnesses

  • Maria João FigueirasEmail author
  • Dália Marcelino
  • Maria Armanda Cortes
Research Article


Objectives The present study aims to investigate (1) what is the influence of illness labels (flu, asthma and angina pectoris) upon the level of agreement with the prescription of generic medicines, and (2) the influence of socio-demographic factors on lay beliefs about generic medicines, in general, and for different illness labels. Method This was a cross-sectional design in which the participants were Portuguese, men and women, aged over 18 years old, and recruited from the general population (non-patients). The participants completed an anonymous self-administered questionnaire which included measures of lay beliefs about generic medicines in general (GMS), level of agreement with the prescription of a generic medicines for different illnesses, and socio-demographic factors. Main outcome measure Level of agreement with the use of generic medicines for flu, asthma and angina pectoris. Results Participants seemed to have well-defined beliefs about generics concerning their efficacy and similarity with brand medicines. Beliefs about the efficacy of generic medicines were significantly different according to the three age groups (18–25 years, mean = 3.84 (0.56); 26–37 years, mean = 3.80 (0.61); >38 years, mean = 3.72 (0.66); F = 4.4; P = 0.01), and level of education attained (9 years, mean = 3.60 (0.69); 12 years, mean = 3.78 (0.57); graduate, mean = 3.93 (0.54); F = 32.2; P = 0.000). Although participants have a moderate level of agreement with the prescription of generic medicines for the three different illnesses, their agreement significantly decreased when the illness was perceived as more serious. The lay beliefs about generics seemed to moderate the level of agreement with the prescription of a generic medicine. Conclusions Lay beliefs about generic medicines may influence the level of agreement with the prescription of a generic medicine in a general population sample. These results raise important questions concerning the need to consider illness perceptions of lay people and their relationship with perceptions of treatment for different conditions.


Generic medicines Illness labels Lay beliefs Portugal 



We would like to thank Professor J. Weinman for the suggestions made in the preparation of this manuscript.

Financial support for the study

Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Programa Operacional Ciência e Inovação 2010 (POCI 2010) and Fundo Comunitário Europeu FEDER - Ref.: POCI/PSI/60745/2004.

Possible conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria João Figueiras
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dália Marcelino
    • 1
  • Maria Armanda Cortes
    • 1
  1. 1.Unidade de Investigação em Psicologia da Saúde, Instituto Piaget—Campus Universitário de AlmadaAlmadaPortugal

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