In a new report released by economists from Tilburg University and The University of Chicago, the choice of branded versus generic (store brand) was examined. The study looked at data from 77 million shopping trips from 125,000 households. When it comes to aspirin, it states that 9 times out of 10, physicians and pharmacists will choose the generic version of aspirin over a branded version like Bayer. The paper goes on to explain that education level tends to play a role in which is chosen – the more education a person has, the more likely they are to buy the generic aspirin. The researchers expanded their study to grocery stores. Normal shoppers bought branded salt, sugar, and baking powder twice as often as professional chefs.
From an eye care perspective, the biggest take away from this study is that when it came to contact lens solutions, the smartest consumers tended to buy the branded version due to “true quality differences.” This does not come as surprise. As we wrote here, the green, blue, and red boxes you see next to branded solutions are not actually generic versions of those products. They do not contain the same active ingredients. In fact, most store brand solutions are all just different packages of the same solution.
So, the next time you go to the pharmacy, pick up the store brand aspirin but make sure you get the branded contact lens disinfecting solution that Dr. Bodkin has prescribed for you.