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Academia and the Profession |

Allergic to Generics

Troyen A. Brennan, MD; and Thomas H. Lee, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From Brigham and Women's Hospital, Partners Community Healthcare, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.


Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Troyen A. Brennan, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115; e-mail, tabrennan@partners.org.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Brennan: Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115.

Dr. Lee: Partners Community Healthcare, Inc., Prudential Tower, 11th Floor, 800 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199.


Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(2):126-130. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-141-2-200407200-00011
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A 69-year-old woman with several medical problems believes that she is allergic to generic medications. She frequently conflicts with her long-time primary care physician, who, as required by the patient's insurance coverage, refuses to prescribe brand-name drugs when generic alternatives are available. This conflict intensifies to a crisis when the patient develops life-threatening problems and still will not take prescribed generic medications. The presentation of this real case is accompanied by a discussion of the ethical dilemmas of the patient's physician, who must weigh the interests of a patient who clings to beliefs that the physician thinks are unfounded against the interests of a just rationing program and the broader population it serves.

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Allergic to generics. Ann Intern Med 2004;141(2):126-30.

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