Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s Sales Force Strategy

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : MKTG216 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Sales force strategy \ Sales force optimization \ Sales force effectiveness \ Sales organization
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 2005-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Industry : Pharmaceuticals
Countries : US


The case study is about the sales force strategy of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a San Diego, California-based biopharmaceutical company, that had developed and marketed two first-in-class drugs for diabetes - Symlin and Byetta - in the US. The company initially organized its sales force into a primary care sales force focused on primary care physicians, and a comparatively smaller specialty sales force focused on endocrinologists and other physicians with predominant diabetes practices. One of the leading pharmaceutical companies, Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly), too co-promoted Byetta in the US, and had its own sales force to promote Byetta. In May 2009, Amylin merged the primary care and specialty sales force of the company into a single organization.

The company hoped that the new sales force strategy with a leaner sales force would help reduce costs and also increase the effectiveness of its sales force effort. This decision came at a time when Amylin's board members were under considerable pressure to step down following the indifferent performance of the company. The company had come under severe criticism from activist investors who wanted their own nominees to be incorporated on Amylin's board. Amylin's sales force strategy was flayed as critics felt that it was flawed and that it was as a result of this that the company had not been able to realize the true potential of its first-in-class drugs, particularly Byetta.


To understand the issues and challenges in managing an in-house sales force.

To understand issues and challenges related to different sales force organizations, sales force optimization, and sales force productivity.

To analyze the sales force strategy adopted by Amylin.

To discuss and debate whether the initial sales force strategy adopted by Amylin was flawed as claimed by its detractors.

To analyze the new sales force strategy and discuss whether the new strategy would help Amylin tap the potential of its products.

To explore strategies that Amylin could adopt to further improve its sales force effort.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
About the Diabetes Drug Market 3
Amylin's Initial Sales Organization 5
Amendment in the Co-Promotion Agreement 6
Sales Force Optimization 6
Results 7
A Flawed Sales Force Strategy? 9
The Other View 10
Exhibits 12


Sales force strategy, Sales organization, Primary care sales force, specialty sales force, Sales force optimization, Sales force effectiveness, Sales force productivity, Commercialization, Co-promotion, Operational costs, SGA expenses, Cash flow, diabetes drug market, biopharmaceutical, Amylin, Byetta, Eli Lilly

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