Generic Drugs Selected by 81% of US Consumers

February 5, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | CPG & FMCG | Pharma & Healthcare | Retail & E-Commerce

A decisive majority of American consumers (81%) say they now prefer generic prescription medications to brand-name drugs, an increase of 13 percentage points since October 2006, when only 68% said they choose generic, finds a Harris Poll.


The survey also found that in a period of just more than two years, the number of people who would more often choose branded medications has almost halved, down from 32% to only 19%.

Shopping Habits Changing

Moreover consumers have been shopping more often for their drugs in discount stores like Wal-Mart, Target or Sam’s Club (up from 13% to 17%), or shopping online or by mailorder (up from 11% to 15%).


The number of those shopping at chain drug stores such as Walgreens, CVS or Eckerd is down from 39% to 33% and the number of consumers using local independent pharmacies has decreased from 12% to 8%, the survey found.

Harris notes that it has been observing these purchasing trends for the past several years, but this recent research suggests things have accelerated because of the economic crisis and consumers’ redoubled efforts to save money.

The amount of money people say they are willing to pay out-of-pocket for a 30-day supply of generic prescription drugs has declined since 2006. Two years ago, 56% of adults said they were willing to spend more than $10; now only 48% say they would do so.

About the poll: This Harris Poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive within the US between December 9 -15, 2008 among 2,388 adults (ages 18+). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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