For Benefit Medicines (FBM) is the first Australian pharmaceutical company that donates 100% of profits to medical research and patient support. All profits from the sale of two generic breast cancer drugs (anastrozole and letrozole) are being distributed through the FBM Foundation to Breast Cancer Institute Australia (BCIA) and Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA). BCIA supports clinical trials research for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. BCNA provides Australians affected by breast cancer with information and support.
To determine consumer acceptability of generic breast cancer drugs where 100% of profits are donated to breast cancer organisations, and barriers to the uptake of these drugs.
In December 2015, an online survey was emailed to 2,178 women with breast cancer who had previously volunteered to participate in BCNA research projects.
In total, 623 women completed the survey (24.5% response rate). The majority reported they had taken/were taking an aromatase inhibitor to treat breast cancer (n = 393, 63.3%), with the most using the brand name drug (anastrozole 73.2%; letrozole 64.2%). Only 6.3% of participants were aware that one drug company donates 100% profits to supporting Australians with breast cancer, and only 4.4% knew of FBM. A high proportion reported they would be likely/very likely to use a generic brand that donated 100% profits (79.3%). Top reasons for not choosing a generic were concerns about drug effectiveness (56.0%), adverse reactions to non-active ingredients (54.4%), and drug safety (44.0%).
While consumers are very positive about drugs where 100% of the profits are donated to breast cancer organisations, very few are aware that such drugs exist and many have concerns about using a generic drug. Generic drug companies need to respond to these concerns if consumers are to support this new type of funding model.