Are Generic Drugs Used in Cardiology as Effective and Safe as their Brand-name Counterparts? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

BACKGROUND: Previous systematic reviews (2008; 2016) concluded similarity in outcomes between brand-name and generic drugs in cardiology, but they included ≥ 50% comparative bioavailability studies, not designed or powered to detect a difference in efficacy or safety between drug types. We aimed to summarise best-evidence regarding the effectiveness and safety of generic versus brand-name drugs used in cardiology. METHODS: For this systematic review of the literature, scientific databases (MEDLINE and EMBASE) were searched from January 1984 to October 2018. Original research reports comparing the clinical impact of brand-name versus generic cardiovascular drugs on humans treated in a real-life setting, were selected. Meta-analyses and subgroup analyses were performed. Heterogeneity (I2) and risk of bias were tested. RESULTS: Among the 3148 screened abstracts, 72 met the inclusion criteria (n ≥ 1,000,000 patients, mean age 65 ± 10 years; 42% women). A total of 60% of studies showed no difference between drug types, while 26% concluded that the brand-name drug was more effective or safe, 13% were inconclusive and only 1% concluded that generics did better. The overall crude risk ratio of all-cause hospital visits for generic versus brand-name drug was 1.14 (95% confidence interval: 1.06-1.23; I2: 98%), while it was 1.05 (0.98-1.14; I2: 68%) for cardiovascular hospital visits. The crude risk ratio was not statistically significant for randomised controlled trials only (n = 4; 0.92 [0.63-1.34], I2: 35%). CONCLUSION: The crude risk of hospital visits was higher for patients exposed to generic compared to brand-name cardiovascular drugs. However, the evidence is insufficient and too heterogeneous to draw any firm conclusion regarding the effectiveness and safety of generic drugs in cardiology.
Auteurs (Zotero)
Leclerc, Jacinthe; Thibault, Magalie; Midiani Gonella, Jennifer; Beaudoin, Claudia; Sampalis, John
Date de publication (Zotero)
avril, 2020