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Review: brand-name drugs are not more effective than generic versions for treating cardiovascular disease

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Are generic drugs as effective as brand-name drugs for treating cardiovascular disease?


Included studies compared 1 brand-name drug with ⩾1 generic version for treating cardiovascular disease (ie, any condition affecting the heart or blood vessels) and reported ⩾1 clinical efficacy or safety end point. Biologic products were excluded. Outcomes included vital signs (eg, heart rate, blood pressure, and urine output), clinical laboratory studies (eg, international normalised ratio, low-density lipoprotein, and urine electrolytes), patient morbidity or mortality, and health system use.


Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1984 to Aug 2008) were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies published in English. Case studies, qualitative analyses, pharmacoeconomic evaluations, and surveys were excluded. 47 studies (38 RCTs) were included. RCT quality was assessed …

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  • Source of funding: Attorney General Prescriber and Consumer Education Grant.