Race-Specific Drug 'BiDil': Nitromed's Marketing Challenge

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG154
Case Length : 29 Pages
Period : 2000-2006
Organization : NitroMed Inc.
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Pharmaceutical

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Nitromed's Marketing Initiatives for BiDil

BiDil was launched nationally in the US in mid-July 2005 in bottles of 180 tablets at a wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of US$ 1.80 per tablet. The product was available in pharmacies one month prior to the launch, while the doctors started receiving samples a few weeks before the launch.

Loberg said, "NitroMed is pleased to be able to make BiDil available within one year of the African American Heart Failure Trial (A-HeFT) being halted and within only two weeks of FDA approval. This speaks to NitroMed's sense of urgency and to the importance of BiDil to the patients who need it."...

Problems for BiDil

Prior to receiving the approval from FDA, NitroMed predicted that the sales of BiDil would touch US$ 120 million in the first year itself and within a few years would cross the US$ 1 billion mark per annum. When BiDil was launched, some analysts expected BiDil sales to touch US$ 200 million by 2007. For instance, Deutsche Bank North America analyst Jennifer Chao projected that BiDil would reach US$192 million in sales in 2007.

However, with sales of US$ 4.5 million in 2005, BiDil had fallen far short of expectations. During that period, only 14,000 prescriptions were generated for BiDil...


In March 2006, NitroMed announced that researchers had identified gene variations that might determine which patients were most likely to benefit from BiDil. This implied that in the future, people from other races who had similar gene types might also be able to benefit from BiDil...


Exhibit I: BiDil and African Americans
Exhibit II: FDA Press Release Announcing the Approval of BiDil
Exhibit III: Logo of BiDil
Exhibit IV: Packshot of Bidil
Exhibit V: A Brief Note on Nitromed
Exhibit VI: Logo of Nitromed
Exhibit VII: Nitromed's Annual Financials : 2003-2005
Exhibit VIII: BiDil: A Time-Line
Exhibit IX: Results of an Opinion Poll on Race-based Medicine
Exhibit X: Niche Marketing BiDil
Exhibit XI: Screen-Shot of BiDil.Com
Exhibit XII: Share Prices of Nitromed: November 2003 to September 2006 (US$)


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