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Generics just as effective as branded medicines

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(Vienna, 12 May 2020) Generics for treating hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes are just as effective as branded medicines. This is the finding of a MedUni Vienna study, which investigated the effectiveness of drugs among the entire Austrian population covered by health insurance.

Generics are cheaper than branded medicines and offer the potential for substantial cost savings within healthcare systems.
As part of a retrospective observational study, Georg Heinze from MedUni Vienna's Institute of Clinical Biometrics and Yuxi Tian (University of California, Los Angeles) and colleagues studied 17 drugs for treating hypertension and heart failure, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes. For the purposes of the study, the Umbrella Organisation of Austrian Social Security Institutions (“Dachverband”) provided the data for everyone in Austria who had health insurance (total: 9,413,620).

Innovative statistical methods were used in the analysis to maximise the scientific evidence provided by the study. The methodologic excellence led to a high level of comparability between the treatment groups (generics vs. branded medicines), very similar to that of a randomised study.

"Because so many patients were included in the study, we were able to obtain very accurate results," explains Georg Heinze, "As it turns out, generics are at least as effective as branded substances in terms of preventing cardiovascular events and reducing mortality. In an earlier study, we had already calculated the cost-saving potential of prescribing generics within the Austrian healthcare system and this now completes the picture."

The study was funded by the Confederation of Austrian Social Insurance Companies, the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) and the European Union.

Service: Scientific Reports
Tian Y, Reichardt B, Dunkler D, Hronsky M, Winkelmayer WC, Bucsics A, Strohmaier S, Heinze G. Comparative effectiveness of branded vs. generic versions of antihypertensive, lipid-lowering and hypoglycemic substances: a population-wide cohort study. Scientific Reports (2020) 10:5964 (;