Access to unauthorized hepatitis C generics: Perception and knowledge of physicians, pharmacists, patients and non-healthcare professionals

Autoři: Amandine Garcia aff001;  Sascha Moore Boffi aff002;  Angèle Gayet-Ageron aff003;  Nathalie Vernaz aff004
Působiště autorů: Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland aff001;  Groupe Sida Genève, Geneva, Switzerland aff002;  Medical Directorate, Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland aff003;  Medical Directorate, Finance Directorate, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva University, Geneva, Switzerland aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes both acute and chronic infection, which can potentially develop into cirrhosis and liver cancer. Healthcare systems are struggling to finance costly direct-acting antiviral agents through public funding for uninsured patients, despite the unprecedented high cure rates of these agents. Vulnerable populations are at higher risk of HCV infection. The personal importation scheme is based on the legal right to import any unauthorized generics for personal use. This study was designed to assess the knowledge and perceptions of stakeholders on unauthorized generics.


We conducted an anonymous online survey based on the fictitious situation of a patient diagnosed with HCV who lacked mandatory health insurance and personal financial resources.


We obtained a sample of 781 respondents: 445 physicians, 77 pharmacists, 51 patients and 207 non-healthcare professionals. We found that only 36% and 58% of respondents believe that the quality and efficacy, respectively, of unauthorized generics are equivalent to their corresponding brand. An overwhelming majority (98%) favoured quality control upon arrival, and 31% felt they could recognize fraudulent websites. A total of 79% expressed support for financial assistance for vulnerable patients, and support among physicians was 83%.


Overall, the limited knowledge of the efficacy and quality of unauthorized generics, despite evidence in peer-reviewed literature, contrasts with the overwhelmingly positive attitudes toward financial assistance for personal import. This finding emphasizes the need for clearer information on imported generics and the potential safety provided by buyers’ club schemes to complete the WHO agenda of eradicating viral hepatitis by 2030 within otherwise excluded vulnerable populations.

Klíčová slova:

Drug screening – Finance – Hepatitis C virus – Internet – Patients – Pharmacists – Physicians – Quality control


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2019 Číslo 10
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