Marketing Pristiq: The Advertising Challenge


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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:

Price:

Case Code : MKTG229 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges

Themes

Strategic Marketing / Marketing Communications / Regulations / Advertising
Case Length : 26 Pages
Period : 2005-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Wyeth
Industry : Pharmaceuticals
Countries : US

Abstract:

Pristiq was developed by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (Wyeth) to tackle the patent expiry problems for its blockbuster drug, Effexor XR, which was also one of the top ten highest selling pharmaceutical products globally. Effexor XR was an anti-depressant that helped in treating major depression disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders associated with depression like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and panic disorder in adults. Effexor XR was set to expire in 2010 and cheaper generic versions of the drug were expected to be available in the market in June 2010; this was expected to make a huge dent in Effexor XR sales. Wyeth launched Pristiq in the US market in May 2009 and promoted it as an enhanced version of Effexor XR in a bid to shift existing prescriptions of Effexor XR to Pristiq.

Towards this end, Wyeth initially marketed the drug to doctors. However, the sales of the drug between its launch and March 2009 was a paltry US$ 115.8 million, far lower than initial projections. Later in June 2009, Wyeth launched an advertising campaign directed at consumers. While advertising a drug, pharmaceutical companies had to comply with stringent statutory and regulatory requirements. The problems were compounded in mid 2009 as the USFDA proposed some additional guidelines regarding risk disclosure. Some experts felt that these new guidelines left little room for marketers to get through their message in a creative way.

The initial reaction of the industry observers regarding the ad campaign was mixed. Some felt that the ad campaign failed to comply with the new guidelines. They felt that advertising could be a differentiator in an overcrowded anti-depressant market; however getting it right was not easy considering the nature of the drug, side effects profile of the drug and existing regulations. The challenge before the Pristiq marketing team was to connect with the target audience with their ad campaigns while also complying with the stringent statutory and regulatory requirements for advertising prescription drugs.

Issues:

Understand the issues and challenges faced by pharmaceutical companies in promoting their products in view of the stringent statutory and regulatory requirements for advertising prescription drugs.
Understand the issues and challenges in capturing market share for a 'me-too' product in an overcrowded market.
Understand how Wyeth built up Effexor XR as one of the top pharmaceutical products.
Analyze the marketing effort for Pristic including the advertising campaign launched by Wyeth for the product.
Understand the legal and ethical issues related to marketing and promotion of a drug, particularly an anti-depressant.

Contents:

  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
The Blockbuster Anti-Depressant - Effexor 4
Effexor's Successor 7
Marketing Pristiq 9
The Results 11
Criticism 12
The Company's Response 14
The Road Ahead 15
Exhibits 17

Keywords:

Advertising, Marketing communications, statutory and regulatory requirements, Differentiation, Direct-to-consumer advertising, FDA Regulations, Anti-depressants drug market, Effexor, Pristiq, Depression

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