Interestingly, the company claims that its core strength is derived from its outstanding portfolio of products, its global reach and, above all, the creativity and commitment of its employees. It has ten products each with global sales of over $1 billion i.e. products such as Nexium, Seroquel, Crestor, Arimidex and Symbicort (2005). The global reach of the company is also becoming strong, as it is starting to show signs of success in China, growing their business there by over 200% over the past five years. Strong growth is also being achieved in other Asian countries, in Latin America and in Eastern Europe ( 2005).
Aside from its reach, the company is a member of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (2002). It protects the company by helping them lobby on the FDA for possible changes in laws that may have a negative impact on the company’s operations.
The company’s advertising strategies and other public activities have been working well for them. Investments in huge marketing campaigns have turned to results, making Crestol as the fourth selling heartburn drug in the market. Press releases of the company reveal its operational strengths. The corporate relationship management (CRM) tasks of Astrazeneca in Southeast Asia and New Zealand was given to the responsibility of StayinFront, a leading global provider of world-class enterprise-wide customer relationship management (CRM) applications, decision support tools and e-business systems (2004). Astrazeneca also has award schemes, specifically the Partnership Awards. Reportedly, the company has given 36 healthcare organizations awards throughout the year for strategic friendship. They select winners from a group of over nominations representing health plans, employers, PBMs, hospitals/integrated delivery systems, community health organizations, group practices, technology vendors, pharmacies, and social/health community organizations (2004).Astrazeneca also invests in medical research through education grants. Recently, it presented a study that examines Impact of Cardiovascular Disease on Type 2 Diabetes. It was also reportedly supporting two other symposia’s namely "Pathways from Insulin Resistance to Cardiovascular Disease: New Insights into Management and Prevention" and "Double Jeopardy: Diabetes and Dyslipidemia" (2004). Finally, packaging of the company also improves. (2005) tells in his cover story how Astrazeneca gives importance to packaging of its products. Accordingly, the company runs a tri-fold physician's samples for Crestor at 300 per minute, which, according to , is the fastest ever. The goal was basically to add more and more information to educate doctors, pharmacists and customers as well. The packaging strategy involves partnerships with machine vendors that ordinarily don't deal with the pharmaceutical industry (2005).
One of the weaknesses of the company involves some failures of gambles on important pipeline medicines. Specifically, one case that tells this is the gamble of the company on Iressa – a supposed-to-be breakthrough cancer drug. The drug failed to show a survival benefit. There have been safety flags raised with Crestor, for cholesterol, and with experimental drugs Exanta, a blood thinner, and diabetes drug Galida (2004). It may create a reputation for the company as a business making unsafe or ineffective drugs (2004).
Another weakness is that it is also being affected by the drug shortage crisis. For instance, AstraZeneca has discontinued its Cefotan products. Cefotan has been in short supply due to manufacturing problems and there came a point when the company had reached zero supply (2006).
Astrazeneca is losing legal battles for the past few years. There is also a concern for Astrazeneca’s image to its stakeholders due to the recent legal defeats of the company. One example is that it pleaded guilty back in 2003 to...