Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Health Services Research and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Research article

A price and use comparison of generic versus originator cardiovascular medicines: a hospital study in Chongqing, China

Wenjie Zeng

Author Affiliations

School of Management, Chongqing Jiaotong University, No.66 Xuefu Road, Nan’an District, Chongqing 400074, China

BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:390  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-390

Published: 5 October 2013



Developed countries use generic competition to contain pharmaceutical expenditure. China, as a developing and transitional country, has not yet deemed an increase in the use of generic products as important; otherwise, much effort has been made to decrease the drug prices. This paper aims to explore dynamically the price and use comparison of generic and originator drugs in China, and estimate the potential savings of patients from switching originator drugs to generics.


A typical hospital in Chongqing, China, was selected to examine the price and use comparisons of 12 cardiovascular drugs from 2006 to 2011.


The market share of the 12 generic medicines studied in this paper was 34.37% for volume and 31.33% for value in the second half of 2011. The price ratio of generic to originator drugs was between 0.34 and 0.98, and the volume price index of originators to generics was 1.63. The potential savings of patients from switching originator drugs to generics is 65%.


The market share of the generics was lowering and the weighted mean price kept increasing in face of the strict price control. Under the background of hospitals both prescribing and dispensing medicines, China’s comprehensive healthcare policy makers should take measures from supply and demand sides to promote the consumption of generic medicines.

China; Generic medicine; Price comparison; Pharmaceutical expenditure