Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Donna West-Strum

Second Advisor

Kyle Null

Third Advisor

Melissa Cinelli

Relational Format



Background: consumers are exposed to thousands of advertisements, most all of which are designed to promote a particular brand and accompanying brand name. The selection of a brand name is a critical strategic decision and is an important means to building brand equity. The importance of branding elements, specifically brand names, has led pharmaceutical manufacturers to become more creative and open the possibilities of language in brand name development. Given the complexities associated with brand name development in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry and the trends observed in recent pharmaceutical brand names, advancing the understanding of how brand name selection can affect patient judgments will be beneficial and extend previous research findings to this distinct arena. When consumers or patients see complex, often unfamiliar pharmaceutical brand names, the brand names alone may convey certain feelings and negative judgments, potentially affecting multiple aspects of the pharmacologic intervention. The purpose of this research was to explore the relationship between pharmaceutical brand name fluency and subsequent patient judgments associated with processing a pharmaceutical brand name. Methods: a total of 100 study participants were selected from a patient panel who have self-reported rheumatoid arthritis. Study participants were assigned to one of two groups of pharmaceutical brand names, fluent or disfluent and then exposed to the associated 10 pharmaceutical brand names. Participants were instructed to imagine they were reading the pharmaceutical brand name as part of an advertisement for the product and asked to assess the perceived risk, familiarity, and willingness to request the pharmaceutical product from their physician. A two-condition between-subject approach was used for testing statistical significance of a single mediation model for the effects of fluency on perceived risk through familiarity. A moderated serial mediator model was incorporated to assess the effects of fluency and risk perception on willingness to request the product and to determine the moderating role of disease severity on the relationship between perceived risk and willingness to request. Results: results shothat participants exposed to fluent brand names did not consider the products to be more familiar and there was no evidence that the fluency of the brand names influenced the perceived risk of the product independent of the effects of fluency on familiarity. Additionally, willingness to request the pharmaceutical product is not affected by the perceived risk of the product regardless of the level of disease severity. Conclusion: the current research is the first study to our knowledge that demonstrates pharmaceutical brand name fluency does not affect perceived risk of the product or willingness to request the medication in actual patients who are evaluating drug names indicated to treat their condition or disease.


Emphasis: Pharmacy Administration



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