This paper aimed to determine the central and peripheral roles of consumers' social representations concerning generic drugs, establishing mechanisms that could be used to improve policies for this type of medication in Brazil. The research was done from April 2002 to February 2003 in the city of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, with 400 consumers. The study employed the word association test with the words "generic drug" as the inductive stimulus. Evocation of three words was requested, according to the access strategy to Vergès' Central Nucleus. Data analysis used the EVOC 2000 software and the content analysis proposed by Bardin. The results demonstrated that the central nucleus consisted of the categories price, quality, and pharmaceutical equivalence, while the peripheral system was represented by the categories option, effectiveness, government, social benefit, and accessibility.
Generic Drugs; Drug Utilization; Social Representations