No Brand Name Doesn’t Mean No Brand

Generic drugs refer to medications that don’t carry any brand name. They’re referred to by the generic name in the box, which is the name of the primary drug. Acetaminophen is to Tylenol, ibuprofen is to Advil, and amoxicillin is to Maalox. It’s pretty interesting how pharmaceutical firms come up with catchy brand names, but that’s a story for another time.

If you’ll look at this from a marketing point of view, however, the lack of a brand name doesn’t imply a lack of branding. In a way, a generic drug’s brand name can be traced to the name of the pharmaceutical who made it. Contact information about the drug company is a requirement as far as FDA standards are concerned.

There’s more to branding than just brand names alone, and it was the Father of Advertising who opened up this realm. David Oglivy identified this metaphysical aspect as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” Generic ibuprofen works just as well as Advil, and the former is just as popular. Very likely, it’s because of the price; studies show generic drugs cost 80 percent less than branded.

So the next time people drop by the drugstore and see a generic drug made by Novartis or Sun Pharma, it’ll ring some bells. Generic drugs do have brands (and brand makers) after all.


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