Purpose – Celebrex became the first of a new class of drugs known as COX-2 selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It improves treatment for arthritis sufferers without compromising the protective lining of the stomach. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription medicines can be used to rebuild faith in the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) product category.
Design/methodology/approach – The case is developed using published sources and no input is required from company representatives. The presentation style follows the classic comprehensive case format used in postgraduate teaching programmes. Findings – Business executives and strategic marketing students would benefit from a discussion on how external environmental factors can suddenly impose a review of marketing strategy. The reader learns how management addresses the business dilemma using DTCA. Research limitations/implications – A blockbuster rival drug Vioxx is withdrawn due to cardiovascular (CV) health safety concerns. A resulting dominant market situation soon becomes a business dilemma. The Federal Drug Administration calls for a “black box” warning label on Celebrex, the most serious type of warning. Practical implications – The implications are that having a product in a class of its own is not enough. It highlights the need to communicate to different audiences, to both the medical profession and the end-user. Getting doctors to recommend the medicine and pulling the product through the channel by stimulating patient demand after a health scare are paramount. Originality/value – This is the first pharmaceutical business case where the withdrawal of a rival product leaves the dominant competitor in a monopoly situation. Contrary to expectation, market share plummets despite the absence of competition.
Reproduced with the specific permission of the copyright owner.
Field of Research
150501 Consumer-Oriented Product or Service Development
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