Master of Business Administration Executive

Faculty / School

School of Business Studies (SBS)

Year of Award



Dr. Shahid R. Mir, Assistant Professor, Department of Management

Project Type

MBA Executive Research Project

Access Type

Restricted Access


Brand Equity, Prescription Generation, Brand Recall, Pakistani Doctors, Pharmaceutical Industry, Medical Representative, Brand Image

Executive Summary

The research was conducted to evaluate the Impact of Brand Equity on Prescription Generation, and analyze the Factors for brand recall, in the minds of Pakistani doctors. Brand Equity is an intangible value, that a brand holds; and it majorly influences the consumers’ choices and their loyalty towards a brand; as it not just develops a perception of a brand, but creates a differentiation, followed by its competitive advantage, in a saturated marketplace. However, when it comes to the Pharmaceutical Industry, and Pharmaceutical Brands, the primary target audience, in context of Brand equity, is a doctor, who is the decision maker and prescriber of a pharmaceutical brand. Thus, Brand Equity, is pivotal, in influencing the prescribing behaviour of doctors. Therefore, building, and maintaining a strong brand equity, has been on the cards of pharmaceutical companies, and they invest heavily into it; because, they are aware, of the fact, that along with the medical and therapeutic efficacy of a drug, lies the vital role of brand’s perception and reputation, which is crucial to secure a competitive edge in the pharma market. Pakistan’s Pharma Market (comprising of 700+ corporations), also demonstrates, that the Pakistani Pharmaceutical Companies, likewise, invest colossal budgets, to secure their competitive edge; by building, and maintaining strong brand equities. But Pakistan's healthcare system primarily relies on out-of-pocket expenses; and therefore, the decision-making process of doctors, for recalling and prescribing a pharmaceutical brand, becomes even more challenging. Therefore, understanding the factors contributing to brand recall and their impact on Prescription (Rx) generation in the minds of Pakistani Doctors had been essentially vital for the Pharmaceutical Companies, to enhance the efficiency, and overall effectiveness, of their marketing efforts and/or promotional activities. Currently, the Pharmaceutical Market of Pakistan holds distinctive dichotomy, where 75% of the market is composed of national pharma companies, while the remaining 25% are multi-national corporations. This unique distribution and composition of Pakistan’s Pharmaceutical Sector, reflects, its fiercely competitive dynamics, resulting in a cut-throat competition, amongst numerous brands, contending with each-other, to grab the attention of doctors, while visiting their clinics/chambers, which underscores the significance of building brand equity in the Pharmaceutical Market. Despite the significance, there had been a gap between the impact of brand equity and its influence on the prescribing behaviour of Pakistani doctors; due to limited empirical research done in this area. This brand equity, oriented research, aims to bridge the above-mentioned gap, by identifying the key factors for brand recall, and then further investigating, how do they affect the prescribing behaviour of Pakistani doctors; and provide actionable insights for the Pharmaceutical Corporations, to optimize their marketing/branding strategic imperatives, for outlining efficient tactical plans; and ensuring a more efficient allocation of financial resources. We had reviewed numerous literature available on the internet in context of brand equity, especially in pharmaceutical marketing, and prescribing behaviors of doctors, and studies from Middle eastern countries and south-east Asian countries had aided us a lot, in understanding the concept and its practical implications in our study. Literature on Brand equity in pharmaceutical marketing is relatively new for Pakistani pharma market, and no such substantial local data is available, however, material from neighbouring countries highlights the parameters of brand awareness, brand association, brand loyalty and perceived quality in pharmaceutical products along with a lot of data related to performance of medical representatives is available, from which we have taken a lot of guidance. There are around 50,000 doctors currently practicing in Pakistan, and to understand the impact of brand equity, it was necessary to ask questions related to these parameters from the doctors. This was done through qualitative analysis, where we had interviewed 10 doctors from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Quetta. To gain their insights and responses, based upon their multiple specialties, various years of experience and different exposures of practice-areas from big cities of Pakistan. We had asked them questions related to Brand equity and its parameters. From their answers, and previous literature review, we devised a survey questionnaire to be filled by 300 doctors across Pakistan. Out of 300 responses, 204 were from male doctors i.e., 68% and rest of them were female doctors. More than 65% of the responders had a practice experience of more than 10 years, with minimum qualification of MBBS and Maximum of Fellowship and MD degree. The content analysis of primary research revealed the important factors for brand recall in the minds of the doctors, supported by the inferential analysis i.e., secondary research done through SPSS. Analysis of Brand Recall among Pakistani Doctors revealed that 80% of the doctors had from moderate-to-high awareness of the brands, which had coincided with said percentages of qualitative interview question related to brand awareness, which was asked form 10 interviewer doctors from various big cities of Pakistan. The most important parameter for brand recall in the minds of Pakistani doctors have been inferred as Efficacy, because of the highest responses; followed by Brand and/or Company’s Reputation, followed by Price. This could be interpreted as; Pakistani doctors are looking out for reputable companies’ products with efficacy at a cost-effective price. So, Pharmaceutical Companies, should invest in Quality Assurance, which would aid them in developing quality medicines, and rather than investing on outer packaging, this cost should be saved and utilized in lowering the prices of the medicines. Apart from this, one important factor is the impact of medical representatives. 63% of the respondents have said that interactions with medical representatives for shaping their perception of a pharmaceutical brand is Moderately to Highly Influential. This reflects that the conventional and traditional practices i.e., Medical Representatives, visiting doctors for product detailing, still has a good impact in developing the prescribing behaviours of doctors, due to constant hammering and brand reminder. Quality of in-chamber discussions by medical reps should be enhanced and improved, for more better brand awareness, which would lead to a successful brand recall. Thus, there is an influence of medical representatives, in shaping the perception of a brand in the minds of doctors. pharmaceutical companies, should seriously think about investing the sales force training and development along with the implementation of salesforce effectiveness programs. Apart from these parameters, a very important parameter highlighted after efficacy, was Consistent Availability of Medicines. 74% of the respondents have agreed to the question, regarding the huge impact of availability on influencing prescribing behaviour. To address the issues related to the availability of the medicines, pharma companies need optimize their supply chain planning, and streamlining import processes. Pakistan Pharmaceutical Industry is only able to produce approx. 5% of its APIs locally, whereas the rest is all import dependent. Low emphasis on R&D is the major reason behind this significant reliance/dependency on the imported raw material. Thus, investment in infrastructure and technology to manufacture our own Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients would streamline the availability of medicines. The key-factors for brand recall in the minds of Pakistani doctors have been identified as efficacy, quality, safety, and availability of medicines at a cost-effective price; with a pivotal role of medical reps for effective product-communications.


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