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April 1, 1988

Generic Drug Substitution

Author Affiliations

Southfield, Mich

Southfield, Mich

JAMA. 1988;259(13):1945. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720130023016

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To the Editor.  —We reviewed the labeling of 20 consecutive generic L-thyroxine prescription bottles brought in by our patients. Although all the bottles contained generic products, the trade name Synthroid appeared on 19 of 20 whereas the name of the generic company was listed on only 12. The generic drug name (L-thyroxine) was given on 15 of 20 of the labels; only seven of the labels bore reference to the fact that there was a generic product within the container, six by the cryptic designation "GEQ" and one by the letters "gen." All generic L-thyroxine products were similar in size, color, and shape to Synthroid. Eighteen of the 20 patients were unaware that they were taking a generic product until we informed them.We suggest that states consider legislation that would mandate generic drug labels to be more informative and that these regulations be enforced. We suggest the following: (1)