Reaching and influencing consumers in the prescription medicine market
Peters, Julia, Nel, Deon and Adam, Stewart 2009, Reaching and influencing consumers in the prescription medicine market, Marketing intelligence and planning, vol. 27, no. 7, pp. 909-925, doi: 10.1108/02634500911000225.
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 Research limitations/implications – A blockbuster rival drug Vioxx is withdrawn due to cardiovascular (CV) health safety concerns.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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