What’s in a name? Brand name confusion and generic medicines

Shane L Carney, Madlen Gazarian, Justin T Denholm, David M Reith, Robert K Penhall, Christine R Jenkins, Kay A Wilhelm, Paul A Komesaroff, Mary M Osborn and Richard O Day
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja10.10968
Published online: 12 December 2011

We need an urgent review of medicines labelling in Australia and New Zealand

Almost 25% of patients admitted to hospital a decade ago received inappropriately prescribed medicines.1 As 40% of patients aged over 70 years receive more than five medicines, they are increasingly vulnerable to medication errors.1 Increasing brand substitution due to the proliferation of generic medicines adds to the potential for consumer and practitioner confusion and the likelihood of medication misadventure.2

  • 1 John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, NSW.
  • 2 University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 4 Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
  • 5 Department of Geriatric and Rehabilitation Medicine, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA.
  • 6 Concord Hospital, Sydney, NSW.
  • 7 St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW.
  • 8 Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

Shane Carney is a member of the Generic Medicines Industry Association of Australia Code of Conduct Committee. Robert Penhall received a grant from Novartis for the International CARE study (a 24-week multi-centre open-label evaluation of compliance and tolerability of once-daily 10 cm2 Exelon patch formulation in patients with probable Alzheimer disease) in 2008 and received travel assistance from Servier for the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society Meeting, Sydney, 2009. Christine Jenkins has received payments from the pharmaceutical industry for membership of advisory boards and speaker's fees in the past 3 years, but not from any entities mentioned in this articles. Richard Day is a board member of the Drug Information Association; has been on advisory boards for Reckitt Benckiser; GlaxoSmithKline, Abbott Australasia, and the data and safety monitoring board for CBio and Progen; and is an independent member of the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct Committee nominated by the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists.

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