Marketing Anti-Depressants: Prozac and Paxil
The expiration of Prozac’s patent necessitates swift, defensive action from all companies in the SSRI industry. As generics enter the market, demand for more expensive, branded medications will fall as price sensitive consumers switch to the cheaper alternatives. Additionally, incident prices on consumers themselves, in the form of copayments, will rise as insurance companies pressure their constituents to switch to more cost-effective offerings. To overcome these obstacles, we recommend the following to both GSK and Lily: 1. A decisive repositioning of the brand to emphasize its advantages over market substitutes. 2. The rapid deployment of new inclinations to support previous point while simultaneously addressing the issue of competition.
Prozac’s early success stemmed from its value proposition of effectiveness and relative safety, compared to the current brands on the market. Prozac involved minimal side effects and was easy to self-administer, in contrast to the dangers associated with the Tricyclics and MAOIs on the market at the time. Prozac first segmented and targeted psychiatrists who were the main prescribers of anti-depressant medications then. After Prozac’s reputation grew, they targeted the general practitioners who were comfortable prescribing such a safe drug requiring minimal doctor supervision, thereby eliminating the need to send patients to costly specialists. Once the FDA relaxed rules on advertising prescription drugs, Prozac targeted the general public with a series of advertising campaigns. Furthermore, Prozac initially positioned itself simply as an anti-depressant treatment but soon expanded to a cure-all drug, treating issues ranging from OCD to compulsive gambling. Originally positioned as an alternative to Prozac, an SSRI called “Paxil” was introduced in 1993. Like Prozac, Paxil was effective for various illnesses, could be taken once a day, and had...
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