Branded prescription medicines account for 95% of the total cost of the NHS pharmaceutical service, and 74% of all prescriptions written by general practitioners employ the brand name. This predominance of branded preparations reflects the fact that 96% of the leading medicines prescribed in 1969 had been first introduced since 1949. These are the products of modern pharmaceutical research, typically introduced under their brand name.
Potential savings, if generic names were used instead of brand names in prescribing, are very small because it is only in exceptional cases that cheaper alternatives exist with the same active ingredients as the original branded preparation.
The paper suggests that since general practitioners appear so overwhelmingly to favour the use of brand names it would be logical to introduce their use into medical teaching.
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