Analysis of the decision to buy medicine in light of the existence of generic products: a study in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Caissa Veloso e Sousa Jose Marcos Carvalho de Mesquita José Edson Lara About the authors

The scope of this study is to identify the factors that influence the consumer's decision when buying medicine. Prior to the Generics Act (Lei dos Genéricos), consumers had at their disposal two product purchase options in the private market, namely buying a reference drug and a similar one. Generic drugs are part of a public policy which was intended to broaden access to medication by the general population at more accessible costs, while maintaining the same quality as the reference drug, as ensured by bioequivalence tests from the national health surveillance agency ANVISA. Nevertheless, a question arises as to whether the potential consumer knows the difference between generic, similar and reference drugs, especially when taking into account the decision at the moment of purchase. In order to fulfill the proposed objective, a survey was conducted with 403 residents in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The data gathered was tabulated and analyzed using factor analysis and crosstab. The results made it possible to infer that there is a strong predisposition among consumers to accept the suggestions of the pharmacists and/or salesman, and a significant portion of the population is confused at the moment of purchase.

Generic drug; Drug consumer; Decision-making


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