Studies show that patients think meds with simple names are safer and equally effective while drug brands become more difficult to pronounce. Stop! Pharma execs, before you name any more meds, take a closer look at the studies in the Journal of Health Psychology in which researchers provided groups of participants with names of imaginary medications. Dr. Simone Dohle and Dr. Michael Siegrist found participants consistently rated the meds with difficult-to-prounounce names as more likely to have more hazardous side effects. In contrast, simple names were percieved to be as effective but safer, and therefore more likely to be taken or bought. Researchers concluded: “people judged drugs with simple names as safer, assumed that those drugs had fewer side effects and were more willing to buy those drugs.”
Pharma Still Complicates Names – WHY?
According to the pharma marketing blogger, John Mack, pharmaceutical companies overuse the letters “Z” and “X” in drug names. Recent examples approved in 2017 include Bevyxxa, Xermelo, Zerviate and Zejula. John Mack points out that the letter Z is the least commonly used letter in English accounting for only 0.07% of all letters in the Concise Oxford dictionary. However, for the drug names in his study, the letter Z accounted for 2.52% of the letters in drug names which is 3,300% more than expected. So why the overcomplicated names with undesirable scrabble letters? Avoid this mistake. You want the brand name of your medication to be memorable but more importantly, keep it simple! Bottom line: Avoid the 13 letter unpronouncable drug names because patients believe they are more dangerous, and the difficult names will therefore lower drug sales and adherence.
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