Marketing Mid-Term 2012
March 1, 2012
Product Team Cialis: Getting Ready to Market
Erectile dysfunction’ is the failure to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual experience. It affects 150 million men globally. In March1998, Viagra (Sildenafil) was the first oral medication approved for use in ‘erectile dysfunction. Viagra had a very successful launch with a total of 600,000 prescriptions filled in the first month (April 1998), and instantly became a phenomenon for ED patients. Unfortunately, after six months Viagra suffered a huge setback when the FDA received reports of 130 deaths of patients taking Viagra; over half the incidents were cardiovascular related. Viagra sales declined swiftly; however, Pfizer without delay took a proactive stance to decrease the fears of safety for their new drug. They immediately conducted follow up studies on patients with cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction and communicated their findings to key decision makers and experts in the medical field. The company then initiated a $53 million advertising blitz, and deployed their sales force to make almost 700,000 doctors’ visits to push Viagra throughout 1999. Their aggressive marketing ploy earned the company sales that year that reached over $1 billion dollars. Viagra became a hit and the market leader and only company garnering a 90% market share for ED. A company ICOS, a small biotech start-up wanted to get into the business and eventually wanted to become a self-sufficient biotech company and acquire its own clinical development and marketing capabilities. ICOS was competent in R&D, but, not in marketing and bringing a drug to market through the FDA. In 1998 they strategically partnered with Eli Lilly and Company. Lilly was very successful at building alliances with other firms and became the ideal pharmaceutical company to partner with ICOS.
The decision dilemma was launching a medicine for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in a market with an established leader Viagra, which had generated over $1 billion in sales annually for the last three years which also had the highest brand recognition of any pharmaceutical drug in the world.
Analysis of the Case
Several key themes are identified as providing a platform for marketing strategies and were addressed in this case. First, men are reluctant to talk about erectile dysfunction with their partner or their doctor. Second, when they do, few men continue using Viagra in the long term. Third, women and partners play a significant role in influencing the buying decision process, yet their perspective is rarely considered.
The ED market consists of physicians, patients, and partners. The case states that they did a study utilizing 350 doctors with 50% being urologists and the other half primary care physicians (PCP) and the study revealed that the fraction of patients for whom the drug would be effective was the most important attribute, followed by safety. Both attributed to a 70% importance and the duration accounted for a little less than 10%. Further data on the study regarding doctors and their feedback also inferred that knowledge and attitudes about treatment of Ed varied between urologist and PCPs. Urologists apparently were more familiar with the medical causes and incidence of Ed and were more comfortable talking about the problem with their patients. However, PCPs interviewed revealed that they did not feel comfortable about discussing sexual problems with their patients during a yearly checkup. Therefore, many male patients that visited their PCP were considered a higher risk of incurring erectile disorders. Many PCPs expressed uneasiness with prescribing a drug like Viagra to patients who entrusted them with their healthcare, because of the recent deaths associated with the use of Viagra. For the doctors that did prescribe medication for Ed, the...