Everybody has patents!
Same as in other spheres of goods manufacturing, trademarks are used in pharmaceuticals.
Patenting the drug, the manufacturer has to make maximum effort to simultaneously increase the popularity of its brand so that the sales level doesn’t go down after the patent expires. Besides the registration of emblems, colors, fonts, or fantasy names as a trademark, many pharmaceutical companies try to use International Nonproprietary Name for Pharmaceutical Substances (INN) or its derivatives.
The resolution of WHO contains provisions which demand to prevent the acquisition of exclusive rights for INN and prohibit the registration of these names as trademarks in each separate country. INN is assigned by WHO, it has a generally accepted meaning, serves as a universal identifier of active substances in the medical product composition. INN fall within a definition of a “common term”, thus cannot be registered as a trademark.
In general, two main types of names are used for medical drugs: INN and a trademark – a mark or a name of the manufacturer’s brand. Mostly the manufacturer puts both an INN and own trademark on the package.
Emotional attachment as the core strength of a brand
In the age of the Internet, pharmaceutical companies keep up with other manufacturers and actively use the virtual space to promote their brand. Marketing professionals try to create an emotional attachment of the customer to the medicine. A vivid example is an advertisement for Claritin by “Schering-Plough” company. The drug even has its own page on the Internet, which contains detailed information not only about where and how one can buy Claritin but also useful information for people with allergies, mechanisms of its development, modern approaches to its treatment, etc. brands often create pages on the Internet or even full sites for their medicine, advise on where and how you can get a necessary qualified medical help. It’s expected that this kind of care shown by the company will contribute to the formation of the opinion that this drug is not just the name of an effective drug, but the name of a good, understanding friend who is always happy to come to the rescue. The Internet became the most important tool used for pharmaceuticals brands strengthening not only in the US where the advertisement for drugs designed directly for patients, is allowed but also all over the world.
The brand formation shall be based on the peculiarities of the company organization and is performed separately for each type of audience. That’s the explanation of why it’s completely useless to copy technologies, developed for other products and/or by other companies. Starting the formation of a brand’s strategy, it’s necessary to define the expression of its rational and emotional components.
Brand and a trademark – is it the same thing?
The main goal of the brand is the creation and support in target groups meanwhile a trademark allows only to identify the product. Branding ensures the protection of the patients’ switch to other drugs for more than 10 years after the expiration of the patent and longer, and the trademark only for about 5 years. The time needed for the creation of brands and the period within which they are cost-effective is longer than in the case with trademarks. The brand may not have analogs within 5-10 years, while the branded generic, even protected with the trademark, usually lasts less than 3 years. Generics never have unique rational characteristics, so they are hard to differentiate one from another, especially by professional, since the emotional component plays an insignificant role for them.
Different target groups – different strategies
Corporate and product branding for separate target segments work differently. Product branding has the greatest impact on medications without a prescription. The decision to buy such drugs fully depends on the emotional focus of the end client. In the case with the drugs which are centrally purchased with public funds, drugs for hospitals, or those, bought for out-patient treatment the decision is taken by professionals, thus corporate branding is way more important. One of the main criteria, in this case, is economical availability along with the effectiveness of the products, and these characteristics are usually associated with individual companies rather than individual products.
Developing the strategies of brand promotion, it’s necessary to study the values of each certain target segment, which includes wishes, aspirations, fears, and hopes of potential consumers. If the relevant prerequisites are identified, it is possible to form certain needs among the representatives of the target therapeutic segment. Strategies aimed at the formation of the desire to take care of health, prevent possible illness manifestation have potential, especially nowadays, when the COVID-19 epidemic is on in the world.
Brands of pharmaceutical companies are now perceived not just as drugs, but also as a certain lifestyle. As some branded drugs are used exclusively for the treatment of some pathologies, which are not identified by people as diseases, they became identical to ordinary consumer products. As brand companies do not want to equate conventional products with their drugs; their main goal is to help the consumer distinguish between high-quality innovative drugs and cheap and ineffective generics.