Don’t use costly drugs when low-cost generics with the same composition are available and try to convey a correct information to citizens on this point.

Type of practice


Generic drugs have the same composition as branded drugs and possess similar effectiveness, but their cost is 30 to 70% lower. In Italy, the increased use of generics from 2010 al 2014 (+55% as DDD/1000 inhabitants/day) has determined a saving in the pharmaceutical expenditure of our NHS of about 2 billion Euros, that has allowed us to increase the overall access to reimbursed medicines. For example, for every percentage point of increased use of generic angiotensin receptor blockers, the pharmaceutical expenditure of our NHS would be reduced by 6 million Euros per year.


1. L’uso dei farmaci in Italia. Rapporto nazionale 2014. Osservatorio Nazionale sull’impiego dei medicinali. Agenzia Italiana del farmaco. Luglio 2015.
2. Mohler, PJ. New drugs: how to decide which ones to prescribe. Fam Pract Manag. 2006 Jun;13(6):33-5.
3. Kesselheim AS et al. Clinical equivalence of generic and brand-name drugs used in cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA 2008; 300:2514-26. Facts about generic drugs [Internet].
4. Silver Spring (MD): U.S. Food and Drug Administration; 2012 [updated 2012 Sep 19; cited 2014 Dec 5]. Available from:

Attention. Please note that these items are provided only for information and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a clinician. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their clinician.