Current marketing Strategy of Lipitor
Smith (2008) argued that this Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant to whom Lipitor belongs to and Lipitor turned into blockbuster not only it’s exclusively, but also for the smart marketing, Pfizer knows how to reach to the pyramid of revenue generation with its current marketing strategy.
Datamonitor (2009) explained that, due to off-patent, Pfizer would mislay its exclusivity on Lipitor and a number of competitors would enter the market with low-cost products, but Lipitor’s current marketing strategy has shaped to keep its leading position at the top of all new entries. Lipitor already get ready for the appearances of that interesting scenario where the situations convey Lipitor to the foremost arrangement of overcome any eventual downfall with its outstandingly well-built marketing strategy and geared up for the best possible defense
Pfizer (2009) reported that as part of current marketing strategy, it is going for an amalgamation of Pfizer and Wyeth that will organize the largest concerns to protect the expected loss for losing patent of Lipitor in 2011 guided with the principle that no further single product would dominate 10% of sales from 2012.
Why Lipitor anticipated being in declaim
Leafstedt, Marta & Shinkle (1999) mentioned that the Lipitor is an effective but costly anti-cholesterol product designed and developed by Warner-Lambert and merged with Pfizer for co-marketing. One of the motivations for the joint effort was, due to the binding of patent law, Warner-Lambert has the pressure to go for generic by 2001, and thus Lipitor goes under the joint development banner with Pfizer’s calcium supplement. With a hard merger battle, Lipitor became at the heat of Pfizer’s revenue generation
Rubenstein (2007) pointed out that Pfizer has involved its highest effort to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to influence the decision for an extended period of patent protection, but it is due up to 2011, so Pfizer went for the court verdict.
Sheraton (2005) argued that the High Court upheld the exceptionality of the core patent wrapping with Atorvastatin and Lipitor up to November 2011 considering the energetic ingredient, thus the other pharmaceutical companies would be capable of producing the similar drug and this is why Lipitor anticipated being in declaiming.
Pfizer is a research-based international biopharmaceutical business that started its journey in 1849 along with merely two staff and it became a public limited company in 1942. Its acquisition with Warner-Lambert in July 2000 turned it into one of the industry’s biggest pharmaceutical businesses; in April 2003, its acquisition with Pharmacia Corporation took place. It possesses an outstanding product pipeline and its international healthcare collection consists of biologic and little particle drugs, vaccines, and other consumer healthcare products; moreover, the company consists of two divisions- Biopharmaceutical and Diversified. In October 2009, the $60 billion takeovers of Wyeth by Pfizer took place, which gave the company a new strength through which it could dominate the entire global pharmaceutical industry.
Pfizer is efficient in re-engineering capability in developing huge product categories. Now, the sales and operating revenue are about $ 50,009 million presenting a great increase of 4% than the previous years. In 2009, it concentrated more on the Wheth acquisition to develop 133 programs to reach the primary buyers.
Product situation and lifecycle
To exclaim the product situation, the following information is important-
|Variables||2007(All numbers in millions)||2008 (All numbers in millions)||2009 (All numbers in million)|
|Net income||$ 8,144||$ 8,104||$ 8,635|
|Operating income||$7,519||$ 11,726||$ 11,119|
|R&D expense||$ 8,089||$ 7,945||$ 7,845|
|Sales and operating revenue||$ 48,418||$ 48,296||$ 50,009|
|Total Assets||$115,268||$ 111,148||$ 212,949|
|Total Liabilities||$50,258||$ 53,592||$ 122,935|
Table 1: Key Statistics of Pfizer. Source: Yahoo Finance.
The following figure compares the sales position of products between the US market and global market –
Explanation of figure 2-
- Biopharmaceutical Businesses = 90.9%
- Diversified Businesses 8.4%
- Other = 0.7%
Current Competitive Situation for Lipitor
Bamfo (2008) mentioned that Simvastatin is extensively used hypolipidemic medicine used to decrease the threat of heart disease and Zocor is a popular expansive drug, Zetia reduces digestive tract’s ability, and Vytorin is an interesting drug because it is composed of two medicines. However, the following tables show the present and past competitors of Lipitor –
|Vytorin||Merck, Schering Plough|
Table 3: Current major competitors of Lipitor. Source: Self-generated.
SWOT Analysis of Lipitor
- Lipitor is one of the best-seller drugs in the history of the pharmaceutical industry; following its initiation in 1997, it attained one billion dollar sales figure in the home market in the 1st year and by 1998, it was accessible in 50 nations with a market share of thirty-four percent;
- its popularity in the United States market is more than any other cholesterol-reducing medicines;
- it has several benefits to health including reducing the rate cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides, increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and safeguarding the heart by lessening the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiac disorders; these features of the medicine has attracted many patients showing an increasing trend in the sales figure.
- With comparably high prices than that of Lescol, coupled with numerous side effects, have reduced the revenue from Lipitor as the drug is not suitable for all patients;
- There have been several grievances reported from the patients including muscle and joint ache, kidney failure, memory loss, liver problems, diarrhea, disturbed stomach, tiredness, sleeplessness, and so on.
- Lipitor is going off patent in the US market, which means it would be free form the generic competition, and so it will not have to face the current sales decline;
- It has the opportunity to expand its business in many other countries throughout the world.
- Due to the side effects of Lipitor, its sales are declining and people are now switching on to the substitute products like Lescol, Pravachol, Zocor, Mevacor;
- Lipitor’s profit fell by twelve percent in United States and by six per cent globally, and it may fall more if it remains open to Generic competition.
PESTEL analysis of Lipitor
The government controls production and retailing of drugs to safeguard customers, and EMEA controls these drugs for the EU. The vital political actor of the industry is the FDA, and drugs like Lipitor constantly pull the political concern because of rising economic significance of healthcare.
According to the annual report 2009, the acquisition of Wyeth is decreasing Pfizer’s reliance on this drug; as a result, the company will not earn more than 10% from this drug.
Castner, Hayes, & Shankle (2007) stated that the FDA, being the major regulatory organization in US, places standards for quality and imposes legislations; it produces the guidelines that drugs like Lipitor confront. In 2006, two men sued the maker of Lipitor for failing to report about the severe adverse effects of the drug. Heavey (2010) stated that currently FDA has cautioned Pfizer for not informing about the impacts of Lipitor on the users.
Lipitor can have several affects in the environment. In 1992 German researchers found high-intensity of clofibric acid in water, which could result in contaminating drinking water and poisoning aquatic creatures. Consumption of such polluted fishes could result in harm to human health.
The R&D of Lipitor required the adaptation of the latest technologies and a lot of investment to carry out its scientific examinations. Pfizer continuously gives the highest technological support to ensure that Lipitor is working properly.
Lipitor is supporting significantly to ensure social benefit by reducing the risks of cardiac disorders. It is continuously contributing to society by developing the health conditions of the obese population.
Defining marketing strategy
Lipitor must decide first which segments offer the best opportunity for achieving its goals to increase sales and profit by creating long-run customer relationship. However, its market segments will consist of the physicians and other buyers with different needs (heart diseases or other cholesterol problems), characteristics, or behavior who might require separate products or marketing program. In this regard, the marketer of Lipitor can prepare market segmentation in terms of-
- Customers with similar requirements and preferences must be grouped together apart from other groups with other choices (Harmon & Laird, 1997);
- The customers who need to reduce cholesterol;
- Customers considering their attitudes, uses, awareness or feedbacks to Lipitor;
- Customers who mainly concern about price of Lipitor;
- Consumers who think to get high quality at a reasonable price.
Target market of Lipitor
According to the report of Bamfo (2008), more than 770,000 US citizens were diagnosed with new coronary heart diseases (CHD) and they need Lipitor to reduce cholesterol to save from the threat of stroke and heart attack. However, the main target customers of Lipitor are heart patients, CHD patient, health care professionals, patient of high blood pressure, pharmacists, wholesalers, governments of other countries, payers, other manufacturers, retailers, and the people who suffer in cholesterol problems. In order to select new target marketing strategy, the marketer of Lipitor should consider number of issues –
- Recommendation of research and development teams;
- Position of the brand Lipitor in the product life cycle (PLC);
- Position of Lipitor in the BCG Matrix;
- Current market situation;
- Competitors’ marketing strategies, position, and so on (Zinkin, 2006).
Positioning strategy for Lipitor
Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson (2001) stated that positioning is a significant feature of an offering’s strategy, which demonstrates its key advantages with regard to competitive offerings. By using positioning strategy, the marketer of Lipitor can endeavor to build an image or occupy a distinctive place in target consumer’s mind through its quality, effectiveness, price, durability product, success rate, and so on. However, some significant stages of Lipitors’s general positioning strategy has shown below –
Selection process of a positioning strategy: – Since the sales revenue has declined, Lipitor should choose an ideal positioning strategy, which will contain potential competitive advantages of Lipitor, comparing them with the value position of other cholesterol drugs. As the position of Lipitor in Dog segment in BCG matrix, it should focus more on market expansion strategy and increase of customer base.
As Lipitor has to spend a large amount of money for research programs, it should pursue “more for more” or “more for the same” value proposition strategy though the competition is too high among the cholesterol drugs. In addition, it is difficult for Lipitor to choose “more for less” option though the profit from sales of this product is declining.
Position of Lipitor in BCG Matrix
In order to develop a marketing plan for Lipitor, it is necessary to evaluate the position this drug in BCG matrix, as this approach is a portfolio planning process to determine the market situation of in case of relative market growth and relative market share.
- Star: Due to high growth rate and high market growth, the cholesterol fighter Lipitor occupied the position of star in BCG matrix before US recession. However, this brand failed to hold this position for a long time because of less growth rate in global market especially the US market. On the other hand, some drugs of Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc, and Novartis occupied the position of Star in BCG matrix for top-line growth;
- Cash cow: The cholesterol fighter Lipitor is not in this segment as this area point out the low growth with high- share business;
- Dog: It is regrettable that the cholesterol fighter Lipitor occupies this segment of BCG matrix at this moment because of its profit declines about 18%. However, the endeavor of the stakeholders is to regain its market leading position by changing customer behavior and pricing strategy, or increasing market demand;
- Question mark: Many competitors of Lipitor occupied the position of Question mark in spite of the adverse impact of global economic meltdown, for example, the similar products of Sanofi-Aventis experienced favorable growth rate in the US market though it was in star position in 2008.
Marketing Mix or 4P’s Analysis
Pfizer (2010) pointed out that Lipitor (Atorvastatin calcium) is a synthetic lipid-lowering agent and Atorvastatin is a white to off-white crystalline powder and it is a selective, competitive inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase. This is the most successful drug as it radically decreased the danger of stroke by 48%. This drug has marketed mainly three different brand name, such as, Lipitor Tablet 80mg, Lipitor (atorvastatin) 20mg Tablets and LIPITOR TAB 10MG.
As Lipitor goes off patent in the US, the price will be reduced and its price was too high for customer before patent off. However, following table demonstrates average prescription price for Lipitor and its competitors –
Place or distribution
According to the report of Leafstedt, Marta & Shinkle (1999), Lipitor distributed more than 7.3 million samples to physicians to increase its distribution channels. Pfizer (2010) reported that the new goal of the company is to distribute its products directly to the target customers, as it will assist the company to increase sales growth. However, the following table shows that the marketer of Lipitor used different shape and color to distribute these drugs –
Table 5: Different characteristics of Lipitor for distribution. Source: Self generated from GHS (2010).
To develop direct distribution system, Lipitor must develop a new advertising campaign, which will support the positioning strategy of the company, emphasize higher – price units in the ads, include the commitments, and other key facilities in the campaign program.
- Build up strong relationship with the customers;
- Its main goal is to increase target customers as Lipitor is going to patent off;
- Reduce the price of Lipitor to generate at least 10% Pfizer’s total revenue;
- Develop integrated marketing communication plan to increase consumer awareness about Lipitor.
Integrated Marketing Communication Plan
Designing a message
The marketer of Lipitor will design the content of advertise considering their corporate social responsibility issues, rational of their offerings, moral, and emotional aspects of the customer. They also bother with the message format as different media require different format, for instance, the newspaper and magazine ads will require specific headline, copy, illustration, and color.
Objectives of the Advertisement
- To aware people about health care;
- To increase sales by 20% in international market;
- Most of the customer in new markets will be completely unaware about Lipitor, so advertisement will help to develop the knowledge of the customer about Lipitor as well as their health.
Sample of Advertising for Lipitor
Besides regular communication system, the marketer of Lipitor will use most common forms like personal and non- personal of communication channels –
- The marketer will use company’s website as the main source of information for the target customers;
- On the other hand, advertisement on daily or weekly newspaper, link in Google, yahoo, MSN and other sites are useful promotional tools;
- Under the system the personal communication channel, Lipitor marketers will communicate with target customers by using telephone, mail, or chatting with each other. This is a highly effective method to develop brand awareness program as it gives the opportunity to assess the market directly;
- In addition, Buzz marketing is another helpful tool for spreading product information to their target customers;
- Lipitor can take the advantages of social networking sites (facebook, twitter) to attract more customer;
- The marketer will also concerned about adverting in the national and international Yellow Pages and Directories, as these thing are popular to the business communities in case of longtime advertisement.
- Moreover, it has the opportunity to use popular TV channels for the advertisement.
Sources of value offered by Pfizer
I have observed carefully that Lipitor’s sale revenue growth reached at US$ 12.4 billion while Pfizer has paid cash dividends of US$ 5,548 million to its shareholders though the cash dividends it has paid in 2008 and 2007 were US$ 8541 million and US $ 7975 million respectively. The single anti-cholesterol Lipitor, is serving the global community with its marketing strategy, this is why I believe that Pfizer offers value to customers as shareholders.
Due to Pfizer’s smart marketing strategy, all physicians now prescribe Lipitor to treating patients with cardiovascular disease and it has turned as global top selling drug.
Reasons why Lipitor’s decline stage in the first place
Lipitor contributes the lion revenue generation of Pfizer while, the patent is going to expire in November 30 2011. Being the company of more than one and half century Pfizer knows that exclusivity of drugs may not sustain for life long it may continue at best an era. Lipitor conquered and enjoyed blockbuster position for the past decade. Several competitors are coming in the market with low priced same grouped drug. As a result, the sales revenue of Pfizer may reduce, for not to dishearten the stakeholders with that expected turn down but to get them prepare with confidence, Lipitor’s decline stage in the first place
My Learning Outcomes
Before working with the Lipitor’s marketing strategy, I was not clear which is most important for a company either creating shareholders value or providing customers value while the management is accountable to the shareholders to ensure return on investment. At my groups, to working with the marketing plan for Lipitor, I have overcome this of my long dilemma identifying that Pfizer emphasized on strategic marketing to resolve this dilemma by harmonizing the customer with shareholder arguing that devoid of customer value creation, it is not possible to continuing growth of shareholder value generation for long run.
Pfizer attempts to bring together the customers value and shareholders value by means of EVA1 that has integrated as an enhanced measure for shareholder value identification for the reason that it is a sign of shareholder requirements rather than the accounting measures while foremost drivers of EVA determination are explicitly pretentious with marketing strategy.
To generate positive customer response with value creation Pfizer emphasized on innovative value added programs, integrating distinguished customer experiences, by supporting customers segmentation such as physicians, payers, pharmacies while the IT integrated marketing strategy allows it to interact and sales generate directly with patients. Online presence of Pfizer facilitated customer to interact and placing order for Lipitor through their website while the patients can get prescriptions through different webs like doctor google, Pfizer’s e-commerce site would be the right place for ordering drugs online and such strategic marketing strategy of Lipitor would assist to implement the process productively to attain sustainable competitive advantage.
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1 Economic Value Added.