Two Brands, One Drug: The Potential Benefits and Challenges of Dual Branding

Dual branding in the pharmaceutical industry refers to a marketing strategy where a single product is marketed under two different brand names. It involves launching a new drug using two brand names, or relaunching/repackaging an existing drug under a different name, due to different dosages, indications, or formulations. 

One of the reasons for dual branding is to target a new market or address an unmet need that the current brand does not cater to. For instance, a drug that was originally intended for one indication could be repackaged and marketed for a different indication under a new brand name. This enables the company to maximize the value of the drug and capture a larger market share. 

An example of this is denosumab, which is currently approved for osteoporosis under the brand name Prolia, and under the brand name Xgeva for the prevention of skeletal-related events in patients with bone metastases from solid tumors. 

However, launching a second brand is not always straightforward, as regulatory authorities have strict guidelines that manufacturers must adhere to. The product must meet certain qualifying criteria to be eligible for dual branding.  

Despite the challenges associated with dual branding, the potential benefits for payers and healthcare systems are significant. By launching a second brand, pharmaceutical companies can offer healthcare systems and patients additional treatment options, increase competition, and potentially lower the cost of the drug. In turn, this can help optimize patient access to innovative therapies and improve patient outcomes. 

The main reasons for dual branding are as follows:

  • Patient safety concerns – There is a risk of harm to patients if healthcare practitioners are unaware that two different products prescribed for simultaneous use contain the same active ingredient. This could lead to overdose or adverse reactions related to the dosage. For example, zoledronic acid is FDA approved for two different indications and sold under the brand names Zometa and Reclast.
  • Social stigma – There could be a social stigma associated with a specific indication, which could limit the use of a drug for that indication. In such cases, a second brand name can be used to market the same drug for a different indication, thus avoiding the social stigma. For example, Pfizer’s Viagra and Revatio contain the same active ingredient, sildenafil citrate, but are marketed for different purposes and at different dosages. Viagra® is used to treat erectile dysfunction, while Revatio® is indicated for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
  • Orphan drugs – When it comes to drugs that are intended for both orphan and non-orphan indications, it may be advisable to obtain separate marketing authorizations and use distinct brand names for each indication. This is particularly important for orphan drugs, which are intended for rare diseases and disorders. Examples of drugs marketed under different brand names for different indications include Lenvima/Kisplyx and Wakix/Ozawade. 


By Mark Ghobry