Dear FDA: WTF?

SUMMARY: The FDA wants to look at how certain brand names affect consumer and health care providers’ perceptions about the efficacy and the medical conditions for which they’re indicated. This is just another example of how clueless the FDA is regarding patient behavior and prescription drugs.

A brand name is only as effective, or ineffective, as the messaging and brand experience that goes with it. Good brand names evoke positive associations and emotional connections with customers. In other words, they resonate. Depending on your brand strategy, this could mean efficacy, cost or a better quality of life.

Some patients love the brand of prescription drugs they take because simply “they work”.

Pharma companies do study brand names, but that’s only about the overall branding of the product. Of course, pharma companies want a brand name that’s easy to remember and pronounce, but patients could care less about the brand name.

The FDA’s scientists don’t understand marketing because marketing is not a science. Consumers don’t act rationally when choosing brands they act emotionally. Does anyone believe that a patient will choose a prescription drug based on the brand name alone? When it comes to closing a branded prescription medication, the most important factor is still a physician’s recommendation.

What’s more important for the FDA to study is

1ne: What do patients do when they see an ad for a prescription drug that interests them?

2wo: Beyond a physicians recommendation what the most factors in asking for a certain prescription drug?

3hree: Do patients really pay attention to fair balance in TV ads?

4our: How do online health seekers like pharma product websites when it comes to answering their questions about a certain product or medical condition?

From the data, I’ve seen, more people are going online for health information, but one can easily be overwhelmed with so much information. Rather than be reactive, the FDA needs to be proactive and charter a course with insights that help people make informed and educated healthcare decisions.