3. When not to prescribe generically


Generic prescribing, rather than brand name is universally regarded as good practice. It can improve cost-effectiveness and is encouraged.

However, there are some circumstances in which continuity of the same brand is important for patient safety and brand-name prescribing preferred. These include:

  • Where there is a difference in bioavailability between brands of the same medicine, particularly if the medicine has a narrow therapeutic index.
  • Where modified release preparations are not interchangeable.
  • Where products contain multiple ingredients and brand name prescribing aids identification.
  • Where there are important differences in formulation between brands of the same medicine.
  • Where administration devices (e.g. inhaler or self-injection) have different instructions for use and patient familiarity with one product is important.
  • Where the product is a biological rather than chemical entity.


Where it is appropriate to prescribe by brand, the formulary entry is stated as the brand name to assist in prescribing and avoid confusion.

For more information, see link  

Q&A 247.3 Which medicines shouldbe considered for brand-name prescribing in primary care? Prepared by UK Medicines Information (UKMI) pharmacists

Last updated by: Dupe Fagbenro on 18-04-2018 15:49