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Friends in high places

Dermatology and asthma products are seen by GPs as among the most patient friendly

brandwatchThe latest findings from the Pharmaceutical Brand Monitor reveal how GPs perceive products in terms of patient friendliness. In addition, they pinpoint the key movements in the advertising recall section of the study, and investigate the clear links between advertising activity and product awareness over the first two quarters in 2007.

The Pharmaceutical Brand Monitor compared a sample of 210 GPs in each quarter for a total of 120 brands.

Of the five key attributes measured in the survey, GPs were least likely to claim that individual treatments were patient friendly. The top-rated brand, Canesten-HC, scored 58 per cent on this attribute compared to 10 brands scoring 80 per cent or more in the 'effective treatment' category (see table, below).

Continuing the trend we picked out in last month's analysis, Champix and Qvar showed significant increases in overall brand profile on effective treatment. Both brands also showed clear increases in the proportion of GPs who would consider using them, as well as in the patient friendly and effective treatment categories.

The table shows some of the top brands in terms of patient friendliness from the second quarter, alongside their scores for effective treatment and 'would consider using'. The combination of effectiveness and patient friendliness tends to be associated with higher levels of usage.

Acne treatment, Zineryt, which has maintained a continuous advertising presence, saw an increase in the proportion of GPs saying it was patient friendly and securing its lead in this category.

In asthma treatment, both Qvar and Seretide are significant advertisers and both have seen increases in their figures. Since launching a big advertising campaign in March, however, Qvar has seen increases across the board in its performance. This has led to a narrowing of the gap between the two drugs on the 'would consider using' measure from 7 per cent in the first quarter to just 1 per cent in the second quarter.

In the area of COPD, Symbicort (which has reduced advertising activity compared to 2006) remains top in terms of patient friendliness (47 per cent, unchanged since the first quarter). Seretide, Spiriva and Symbicort are all stable in the 'would consider using' category, scoring between 62 per cent and 64 per cent, respectively.

COPD is unusual in that all three drugs have virtually identical brand profiles.

Canesten-HC remains one of the most highly rated treatments across the survey, with 58 per cent of GPs considering it patient friendly, a rise of 7 per cent. Another brand in this section, Fucibet, comes close at 54 per cent, up 9 per cent. Both treatments are regarded highly in terms of effectiveness and considered use.

Lipitor, a brand where significant investment is made in advertising, has seen an increase in the proportion of respondents claiming it as an effective treatment, rising 6 per cent. Lipitor's results are close behind generic category leader simvastatin (43 per cent patient friendly and 63 per cent 'would consider using').

Advertising highs

While Qvar and Champix showed the most pronounced increases following significant investment in advertising, other brands have shown smaller but still important increases.

Epilepsy treatment Keppra has increased advertising activity significantly this year and, as a result, it has seen increased levels of awareness (know a lot or a little up from 47 per cent to 56 per cent) and increases in trusted and proven (up 5 per cent to 19 per cent), as well as 'would consider using' (up 8 per cent to 34 per cent).

While this is good news for Keppra it still has a long way to go to reach the levels of generic competitor sodium valproate (which 59 per cent 'would consider using').

In the area of hypertension, Nebilet has increased familiarity (up 6 per cent to 49 per cent) and 'would consider using' (up 5 per cent to 27 per cent) following increased recent activity, with Zanidip also rising to 30 per cent in 'would consider using'.

In this category eight treatments were measured, two of which, Coversyl Plus and Cozaar-Comp 50/12.5, saw a decline in the number of GPs saying they would consider using them. For both products there has been a reduction in the number of GPs citing them as effective drugs in the treatment of hypertension.

It is interesting to note that these products have not been advertised significantly within the market in 2007.

Advertising recall

While the relationship between advertising recall and levels of advertising spend generally varies, in part depending on the effectiveness of the creative and messages, it is pleasing to see that all brands with high advertising recall are major advertisers.

The brands with the highest recall (seen advertising in the medical press) include: Spiriva (39 per cent), Seretide (39 per cent), Yasmin (38 per cent), Seretide COPD (37 per cent), Lipitor (37 per cent), Symbicort (37 per cent) and Cialis (36 per cent).

The COPD brands all had similarly high proportions for GPs who had seen a rep or attended a seminar or meeting, suggesting that this is a highly competitive category.


In last month's BrandWatch the product with the most brand awareness was Nicorette (as stated in the text) and not NiQuitin CQ as shown on the graph.

Best Known Brands in Selected Categories



Patient Friendly %

Effective Treatment %

Would Consider Using %

Acne Rosacea




















Inflammatory Skin Conditions





Inflammatory Skin Conditions





Statins and Cholesterol





BrandWatch is 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 or at

Top performers

Brands scoring 80 per cent or more for effective treatment in the second quarter of 2007, include:

Canesten-HC 87%

Fucibet 87%

Lipitor 87%

Seretide 86%

Oilatum 82%

Dovobet 82%

Diprobath/Diprobase 81%

Voltarol 81%

Mirena 80%

Nasonex 80%

16th October 2007


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