268178 Socio-economic determinants of generic drug selection of uninsured patients in the US

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Jose Laborde, PHD , Economics Department, Social Science School at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus, San Juan, PR
John Rizzo, PhD , Department of Economics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Introduction: Health care costs have been increasing drastically in recent decades. The U.S. Census bureau estimates almost 50 million Americans without health insurance. One of the largest components of these rising costs are prescription drugs. While not all of these drugs have a generic counterpart many of them do. In spite of this, many drugs are still bought in their more expensive brand name formulation. This paper will explore the socioeconomic determinants of this prescription drug choice for uninsured patients.

Methodology: Data was obtained from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey's prescription drug and consolidated files for adults 18 and over from 2006-2008. Five top selling generic-brand drug pairs were selected and all observations from uninsured patients in the data set were included for a total of 7,502. Logistic regressions were performed and dichotomous variables were included to control for drug type and geographic region.

Results: Age, gender, and income variables were significant at a 5% level. Older, poorer and female patients were more likely to purchase the generic form of these drugs. Education and race did not have much impact on the decision. Evidence suggested that people are more likely of obtaining generics in metropolitan areas and over time.

Conclusions: With health care costs and disparities being of such high importance in today's America, it is important to assess what type of individuals purchase generic drugs. This paper provides empirical evidence of groups who are under-utilizing these cost saving drugs and provides direction for future public policy decisions.

Learning Areas:
Biostatistics, economics
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Identify the socioeconomic characteristics that determine generic prescription drug use in uninsured Americans. Assess on what groups public policy should focus to allow use of these cost-saving drugs.

Keywords: Prescription Drug Use Patterns, Pharmacies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Ph.D. in health economics. I have done my dissertation and other research in pharmaceutical economics. I am a professor of health economics in the University of Puerto Rico. I am a co-author of this paper.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.