DESCRIBE THE STRATEGIC CHOICES MADE BY PFIZER FROM 2008 ONWARDS AND COMMENT ON WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN THE DRIVERS BEHIND THESE CHOICES.
Describe the strategic choices made by Pfizer from 2008 onwards and comment on what may have been the drivers behind these choices.
This is the case CASE STUDY The global pharmaceutical industry: swallowing a bitter pill Sarah Holland The case describes the evolution of the pharmaceutical industry and its unusual strategic environment. Attention is drawn to environmental pressures from regulators and payers. Key forces driving the industry are discussed, including addressing unmet medical needs, the importance of innovation and time to market, and globalisation. The case illustrates how an increasingly hostile environment, combined with a decline in R&D productivity, led to waves of job losses, and sparked a fresh round of consolidation in the industry. On the global level, the historical supremacy of the US was being challenged with the highest market growth rates recorded in emerging markets. The case is designed to facilitate teaching of analysis frameworks including PESTEL, Porter’s five forces, the concept of the ‘strategic customer’ and industry critical success factors. It may also be used for stakeholder analysis and as a basis for discussion of social responsibility. l l l development (R&D) process, intense competition for intellectual property,2 stringent government regulation and powerful purchaser pressures. How has this unusual picture come about? The origins of the modern pharmaceutical industry can be traced to the late nineteenth century, when dyestuffs were found to have antiseptic properties. Penicillin was a major discovery, and R&D became ﬁrmly established within the sector. The market developed some unusual characteristics. Decision making was in the hands of medical practitioners whereas patients (the ﬁnal consumers) and payers (governments or insurance companies) had little knowledge or inﬂuence. Consequently, medical practitioners were insensitive to price but susceptible to the efforts of sales representatives. Two important developments occurred in the 1970s. Firstly, the thalidomide tragedy (an anti-emetic for morning sickness that caused birth defects) led to much tighter regulatory controls on clinical trials. Secondly, legislation was enacted to set a ﬁxed period on patent protection – typically 20 years from initial ﬁling. On patent expiry, rivals could launch generic medicines with exactly the same active ingredients as the original brand, at a lower price. The dramatic impact of generic entry is illustrated by A CEO’s dilemma On 23 September 2008, Pﬁzer CEO Jeff Kindler took to the stage at the World Business Forum to be interviewed by Fox News anchor Liz Clayman. Pﬁzer was the world’s number 1 pharmaceutical company with $13 billion1 (x9.5bn or £8.6bn) in annual revenues from its blockbuster cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. Contributing almost a third of company turnover, Lipitor faced patent expiry with dramatic loss of sales value in 2011. A key drug intended to replace it had failed in late-stage clinical testing and investors were losing conﬁdence. Clayman wanted to know how Kindler planned to keep Pﬁzer aﬂoat. Acknowledging that no one drug could replace Lipitor, Kindler described Pﬁzer’s broad pipeline of new drugs and ‘very strong balance sheet and signiﬁcant amount of cash’.
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