New Study to Explore How Drug Names Influence HCP and Consumer Perceptions

March 3, 2021 Alexander Health


Waaaaaaaay more than you might think.

A new study from the FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) is investigating how a proprietary drug name can influence HCP and Consumer perceptions of it, and whether they may overstate the efficacy of the drug. (RAPS)

New drugs go through a rigorous naming process requiring approval from several different departments of the FDA, including the OPDP, the Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and Communications (DDMAC), and the Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis (DMEPA), among others. Evaluations include methods to ensure drugs aren’t confused with similarly named products, implied meaning versus approved usage, and ease of spelling and pronunciation, among others. (FDA Review of Proposed Drug Names)

"While there are several ways proprietary names can be misleading, this research will primarily focus on overstatement of the efficacy of the drug product."

Food and Drug Administration

It is important to create depth and not just rely on tricks.

When reviewing proposed drug names, the OPDP considers many factors, including identifying names that overstate the efficacy of safety of the drug, expand drug indications, suggest superiority without substantiation, or misleadingly imply unique effectiveness or composition.

According to R. John Fidelino, executive creative director at Interbrand, in the current consumer climate (which is often hostile toward pharma), it’s critical to go beyond the tricks and create brand names and marketing with real depth. “There’s no doubt there’s virtue in the unusual,” he said, but it’s helpful “when there’s a real tie-back either to the attributes of the product, the technology of the product, the benefit of the product, or the intended outcomes.”


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