The significance of branding in the pharmaceutical industry

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Traditionally, and for several years, consumer goods companies have relied heavily on branding to successfully market and sell products. Recently, however, the pharmaceutical industry has recognized the importance and significance of branding even more and has re-structured their marketing departments to now include brand managers for their products. Consumer goods companies have followed a particular structure in how they brand their products. It is still debatable, however, if this model can be transferred and adapted to the pharmaceutical industry. This paper discusses the meaning of branding in general, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of it. Next, the need for branding in the pharmaceutical company is discussed followed by the advantages and challenges of branding in this industry. Examples are given of pharmaceutical companies that currently use these branding strategies. The paper proceeds with a discussion about specific branding strategies that are effective for this industry, and finally, consumer perceptions of generic versus branded drugs are examined. In addition to the secondary research discussed in this paper, additional primary research is conducted to answer several questions pertaining to consumer views on branded versus generic medications in terms of perception of price differential, advertising differences, and purchase decision influences. The results are discussed followed by some implications and conclusions. Finally, the project concludes with some recommendations to pharmaceutical companies about the results of the paper and tips for successful branding.

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Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.B.A.)