Quality of prescribing in community-dwelling elderly patients in France: an observational study in community pharmacies
International Non-proprietary Name (INN) prescribing is the use of the name of the active ingredient(s) instead of the brand name for prescribing. In Belgium, INN prescribing began in 2005 and a major policy change occurred in 2012. The aim was to explore the opinions of Dutch-speaking general practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists. An electronic questionnaire with 39 five-point Likert scale statements and one open question was administered in 2013. Multivariate analysis was performed with multiple linear regression on a sum score for benefit statements and for drawback statements. Answers to the open question were qualitatively analysed. We received 745 valid responses with a representable sample for both subgroups. Participants perceived the motives to introduce INN prescribing as purely economic (to reduce pharmaceutical expenditures for the government and the patient). Participants accepted the concept of INN prescribing, but 88% stressed the importance of guaranteed treatment continuity, especially in older, chronic patients, to prevent patient confusion, medication non-adherence and erroneous drug use. In conclusion, the current way in which INN prescribing is applied in Belgium leads to many concerns among primary health professionals about patient confusion and medication adherence. Slightly adapting the current concept of INN prescribing to these concerns can turn INN prescribing into one of the major policies in Belgium to reduce pharmaceutical expenditures and to stimulate rational drug prescribing.