Terminology Used


In the context of pharmaceuticals, a "molecule" refers to the active ingredient in a medicine, which is responsible for its therapeutic effect. The term denotes the generic name of a drug.

Eg. ‘Atorvastatin’ is considered a molecule. It is the active ingredient used to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.

SKU (Stock Keeping Unit)

An SKU, in pharmaceutical terms, represents a specific version of a molecule, defined by its formulation and dosage. This classification allows for precise identification and management of inventory levels, differentiating between the various forms and strengths in which a medicine is available.

Eg. ‘Atorvastatin 10 mg’ is an SKU, distinguishing it from other dosages of Atorvastatin, such as ‘Atorvastatin 20 mg’.


In the pharmaceutical industry, a "Brand" refers to the trade name given to a medicine by a particular company. This name is used to market the product to consumers and is distinct from the generic name (molecule) of the drug. Brands are a critical aspect of pharmaceutical marketing, as they help differentiate identical medicines (in terms of active ingredients) produced by different companies.

Eg. The SKU ‘Atorvastatin 10 mg’ might be sold under brand names like ‘Atorfit 10mg’, ‘Cholestat 10mg’, or ‘Lipivas 10mg’. Each of these brand names represents the same active ingredient (Atorvastatin) and dosage (10 mg) but is sold by different companies aiming to make their product recognizable and distinct in the marketplace.


The definition of SKU here differs from that conventionally used for packaged goods where it refers to a brand-package size rather than molecule-package size.

The process of price control in the pharmaceutical industry applies to the SKU level, ensuring that the same formulation and dosage of a drug, regardless of brand name, are priced uniformly.