Novartis' Sandoz spotlights importance of generic drugs in new social campaign

A social media ad from Sandoz reminds people about the affordability of generic drugs, as part of the "Ask for Generics" campaign. (Sandoz)

Did you know that 90% of prescriptions are written for generic drugs? Novartis’ Sandoz is spreading the word about generic medicine with such facts in its recently launched “Ask for Generics” campaign.

It's Sandoz’s first major education and awareness campaign on social media to promote the value of generics. The target audience is key stakeholders—patients, clinicians, policymakers and payers—with messages running on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Sandoz plans to run the campaign through the end of the first quarter, possibly longer, depending on results. It’s already working on a second phase that will shift focus to biosimilar versions of branded biologic drugs.

With the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting fractures in the healthcare system, Sandoz believes the message is especially important now.

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“Generics are playing a really important role, and I think it’s perfect timing now to talk about the important role generics play in a well-functioning healthcare system,” said Carol Lynch, Sandoz's U.S. president and head of North America.

Besides highlighting the ubiquity of generics, the social media posts tout their affordability and their status as closely regulated products—as safe and effective as their brand-name counterparts.

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The affordability and safety messages are important, along with the overall reminder of the competition generics provide in the marketplace. The copies of costlier branded drugs help to create “a healthy competitive market that’s led to patients having increased access to the medicines they need,” Lynch said.

Generic drugs saved the U.S. healthcare system $313 billion last year, according to the 2020 annual report of generic and biosimilar access and savings in the U.S. from the Association for Accessible Medicines, a generics industry trade group.