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Relatively speaking

How well are competing brands positioned and perceived in the marketplace, and why?

Results of the first six months interviews of the Pharmaceutical Brand Monitor have revealed that most brands have a relatively stable performance over the two quarters of last year, with measures
moving by less than 5 per cent.

The two most pronounced differences in brand awareness were for the smoking cessation treatment, Champix and the oral hypoglycaemic, Competact.

Those who knew a lot or a little about Champix increased by 6 per cent (from 24 per cent to 30 per cent) with those who just knew the name increasing by 8 per cent (from 27 per cent to 35 per cent).

Those who knew a lot or a little about Competact remained stable (29 per cent in quarter two compared with 30 per cent in quarter one), with an increase of 12 per cent (from 22 per cent to 34 per cent) in those who just knew the name.

As this increase was in basic awareness, Competact saw little change in its results for the more important brand attributes showing a minor (and not statistically
significant) increase in 'would consider using' it from 19 per cent to 22 per cent, and a similar increase in its value for money rating.

These results were achieved against only minor changes in results for the four other oral hypoglaecemic treatments measured, the most pronounced changes being a 5 per cent increase in name awareness for Prandin, a treatment for Type II diabetes.

Smoking cessation brands

With the recent changes in smoking laws in England and efforts by the health
service to promote smoking treatments, together with the launch of Champix, it is not surprising that levels of awareness for smoking cessation treatments measured were high.

Some 88 per cent knew a lot or a little about Nicorette, 87 per cent knew a lot or a little about Nicotinell and 83 per cent knew a lot or a little about Nicquitin.

On this basis, Champix has a long way to go yet, only registering a 30 per cent 'familiarity' score with 35 per cent of respondents currently aware only of the product name.

The table below shows the results for the individual attributes for all four available smoking cessation treatments, Champix, Nicorette, Nicotinell and NicQuitin CQ. While Champix achieved a 10 per cent increase in 'would consider using' it (up from 19 per cent - 29 per cent), all other treatments retained high levels on this attribute, all within 1 per cent of their scores from quarter one.

Market placement

Equally important is how Champix is
positioned in the marketplace: 17 per cent perceive it to be an effective treatment (up 10 per cent) and 10 per cent perceive it to be patient friendly (up 6 per cent).

These results are no doubt driven by Champix' significant levels of ad spend, several times higher than that of its rivals.

The fact that Champix hasn't made a significant impact in terms of 'trusted and proven' or 'good value for money' may reflect its high cost and be because it had not received formal National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence approval at the time of the fieldwork. This may well be an area in which we see changes over the next three months.

There is a small decline in the numbers rating other treatments as 'trusted and proven' with all three registering small declines (of 3 per cent or 4 per cent).

This could suggest that GPs are looking into this area in more detail and that the introduction of a new alternative treatment is resulting in greater discernment.

Significant increases

Qvar was the only other treatment to show significant increases across the board, including the highest increase in advertising awareness (33 per cent recalled
seeing Qvar advertising in the medical press; up 8 per cent from 25 per cent).

The focus of advertising on the increase in symptom-free days and improvements
in health-related quality of life has
evidently paid off.

Qvar's scores increased significantly for 'effective treatment' (up 8 per cent) 'trusted and proven' (up 6 per cent) and 'patient friendly' (up 11 per cent). Those that 'would consider using' the treatment is also up by 7 per cent.

Qvar's competitors, Singulair and Seretide, have shown an increase in two or three attributes, but have seen only a 1 per cent increase in 'would consider using'. This suggests that something in Qvar's approach is working more effectively to turn positive associations into actual use and sales.

While many of the other results are relatively stable, there are potential warning signs in the slight increases or decreases witnessed in individual results.

These can be analysed on a month by month basis, and when three full quarter's data is in, it will be possible to see if such early trends continue.

Category/BRAND

effective drug

Trusted and proven

Good value

Patient friendly

consider using

Q1

Q2

+/-

Q1

Q2

+/-

Q1

Q2

+/-

Q1

Q2

+/-

Q1

Q2

+/-

Smoking Cessation

Champix (varenicline)

7%

17%

10%

3%

4%

1%

1%

2%

1%

4%

10%

6%

19%

29%

10%

Nicorette (nicotine)

65%

63%

-2%

50%

46%

-4%

29%

29%

0%

38%

37%

-1%

60%

60%

0%

Nicotinell (nicotine)

59%

62%

3%

46%

43%

-3%

24%

27%

3%

35%

35%

0%

58%

59%

1%

NicQuitin CQ (nicotine)

57%

59%

2%

45%

41%

-4%

25%

25%

0%

37%

34%

-3%

55%

55%

0%

Category/BRAND

effective drug

Trusted and proven

Good value

Patient friendly

consider using

Q1

Q2

+/-

Q1

Q2

+/-

Q1

Q2

+/-

Q1

Q2

+/-

Q1

Q2

+/-

Qvar (beclometasone)

68%

76%

8%

48%

54%

6%

35%

40%

5%

35%

46%

11%

52%

59%

7%

Written by Nigel Jacklin, managing director of Objective Research. The data is sourced from Pharmaceutical Brand Monitor, a survey developed by GP and MIMS. For further information on the survey contact David Saunders, Haymarket Medical Media on 0208 267 4869

18th September 2007

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