Make generics look like brand drugs for safety

Boston researchers are suggesting that generic drugs be made to look like their branded counterparts. Doing so would increase patient adherence, reduce the complexity of medical regimens, reduce medication error and encourage the rational use of bioequivalent generic drugs, they say.

The researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital wrote earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine that so-called "trade dress" rules--those governing aspects of a product's packaging and appearance that distinguish it from the competition--are no longer appropriate given growth of the generics business.

They recommended that intellectual property laws and FDA regulations be amended to permit generic pills and capsules to look like their brand-name counterparts.

"The existence of generic drugs that look different from the brand-name version can have negative effects on patient outcomes in three key areas," the write: prescription error, medication adherence and contribution of the placebo effect.

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