Use of Generic Cardiovascular Medications by Elderly Medicare Beneficiaries Receiving Generalist or Cardiologist Care

Researchers explored the relationship between use of generic medication by older patients and physician specialty in the present article. A nationally representative sample of 1,828 adults age 66 and older comprised the study sample. Study participants had a history of coronary artery disease (CAD), congestive heart failure (CHF), or hypertension and had received care from a cardiologist or generalist. Data was taken from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS).

Key Findings:

  • A substantial majority of participants (80%) used at least one generic cardiovascular medication from at least one of five drug classes.
  • Individuals under cardiologist care were less likely to use generic cardiovascular medication than were individuals who received care from generalists only.
  • In the sample, generic thiazides were the drug class used most often (92%) with generic alpha-blockers used least often (47.7%).
  • Study participants receiving cardiologist care used generic calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors and alpha-blockers less frequently (34%, 22% and 8%, respectively), than participants under generalist-only care.
  • Physicians in all specialties could increase cost-conscious prescription with the use of generic medications.