Does brand differentiate pharmaceuticals?

INTRODUCTION: Role of marketing in pharmaceutical industry is increasing and inspiration by successful brands known from consumer goods market influenced pharmaceutical companies enough to switch their attention to branding initiatives. Still there is little evidence that pharmaceutical brands represent anything more than product only.

OBJECTIVES AND METHODS: This study aims to explore the area of branding in pharmaceutical industry. Central hypothesis of the research has been that brand and its emotional content differentiate pharmaceuticals as well as rational data derived from clinical studies. It has been tested by extensive review of available literature as well as by primary research focused on drivers of physicians' attitudes towards products and their influence on prescribing behavior. The research has been conducted in the sample of psychiatrists in the Czech Republic.

RESULTS: No evidence about pharmaceutical brand exceeding value of product has been found in reviewed literature. Nevertheless, the primary research conducted in the sample of Czech psychiatrists indicates that emotional brand in pharmaceutical industry exists and enables author to draw a model of Customer/product life cycle that describes likely impact of functional, emotional and self-expressive benefits throughout pharmaceutical product's market presence.

CONCLUSIONS: Pharmaceutical brand is likely to develop differently than the same of consumer goods products--it seems to be built predominantly on long-term positive experience. Marketing role in this process should lie in finding relevant product position and building brand identity compliant with real product capabilities.

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