Evaluating community pharmacists' perspectives and practices concerning generic medicines substitution in Saudi Arabia: a cross-sectional study

Fahad S Alkhuzaee, Hamdan M Almalki, Ammar Y Attar, Shoeab I Althubiani, Wassam Ali Almuallim, Ejaz Cheema, Muhammad Abdul Hadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To assess the community pharmacists' knowledge, attitude, perception and current practices towards generic medicines substitution in Saudi Arabia.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted between February and March 2016 in the Makkah region, Saudi Arabia. A 25-item, structured, validated, pilot-tested and self-completed questionnaire was used to achieve study objectives. A 4-step systematic sampling technique was used to recruit community pharmacists. Data were analysed using SPSS version 20.

RESULTS: Of 128 community pharmacists approached, 121 participated in the study (response rate=95%). Majority of the participants (n=108; 89.3%) had graduated from Egypt, were working as staff pharmacists (n=85; 70%) and had BPharm degree (97; 80.2%). Only 26 (22%) of the participants correctly answered all knowledge questions accurately. No statistically significant difference in total knowledge score was observed across different sociodemographic characteristics of participants (all P>0.05).Two-thirds of the respondents (83; 68.2%) supported the use of generic substitution. Medicines cost and patients' request were the most commonly cited reasons for performing generic substitution. Country of graduation (P=0.01) and number of years of practicing in Saudi Arabia (P=0.02) was associated with the pharmacists' support towards generic substitution.

CONCLUSION: The community pharmacists had clear knowledge deficits about generic medicines and their substitution which may partly explain low consumption of generic medicines in Saudi Arabia. Healthcare policy makers need to improve awareness about the safety and efficacy of generic medicines and promote their use in order to cut down cost of medicines and overall healthcare expenditure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1412-1419
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number12
Early online date11 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Substitution/economics
  • Drugs, Generic/therapeutic use
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Pharmacies
  • Pharmacists/psychology
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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