The original (brand-name) medicines are most often products with a new active ingredient, for which the applicant must do clinical and non clinical studies to obtain a marketing authorisation and have full documentation. Generic drugs contain an already known active substance and have the same efficacy, quality and safety as the original drug.
We explored and compared the consumption and expenditure of original and generic medicines in Slovenia from 2010 to 2017. Data on consumption and expenditure were drawn from the aggregated ZZZS database on drug use, we also added data on consumption and expenditure for costly hospital medicines. We classified medicinal products as original or generic according to the definition of the JAZMP in determining the maximum allowed price of medicines. Analyses were made according to national drug codes, brand names and active substance contained.
The results showed that to the burden of compulsory health insurance throughout the analysed period, 50 % of all prescribed drugs based on national drug codes were original, 40 % generic, 1 % of biosimilars, the rest were medical devices, galenical products, food supplements, vaccines.
In 2017 the majority of medicines were issued from a group of medicinal products with a function on the nervous system (similar ratio of original and generic medicines), medicines for cardiovascular diseases (similar ratio of original and generic medicines) and antineoplastic and immunomodulating agents (dominated by original medicines); together they represent about half of all ATC groups.
The total expenditure for original medicinines is increasing after 2014, for generic medicines the expenditure does not change much throughout the period. In 2017 the value of expenditure for all medicinal products is more than EUR 350 million, 69 million of this amount are for costly hospital medicines. Original medicines represent 85% of total expenditure. The number of issued drug boxes in 2017 is more than 38 million and unlike expenditure, the original medicines represent a smaller 48% share. We conclude that for original medicines, the expenditure in 2017 is almost 1x larger (85%) than their consumption in boxes (48%), which means they are consumed less than generic drugs and much more expensive.