Are branded drugs always better?

5 May 2023
Spring 2023

How do clinicians choose between generic and branded drugs, balancing the need for patient safety against cost? Kathy Oxtoby takes a look.

Domains covered

Communication Clinical practice Specialty CPD (IP)

In today’s turbulent economic climate, and with the NHS experiencing some of the most severe pressures in its history, there is a pressing need for clinicians to cut costs. 

“When prescribing, we have a duty to avoid unnecessary cost burdens being imposed on the NHS system, as well as a duty of care to patients, to ensure that they get the treatment they need. That means keeping costs down, such as by prescribing generic rather than branded drugs,” says Kirsty Redden MCOptom, a senior optometrist and independent prescriber (IP) at Duncan and Todd Opticians and Hearing Care in Aberdeenshire.

For the 1,400 or so registered IP optometrists across the UK (General Optical Council, 2023), there are important decisions to be made as they balance the growing pressure to cut costs with the need for patients’ safety and wellbeing.

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Related further reading

This online therapeutics peer review session is open to College members who are qualified independent prescribers or studying for an IP qualification.