Marketing Viagra in India

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG130
Case Length : 26 Pages
Period : 1998-2006
Organization : - Pfizer Inc.
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : India, USA
Industry : Pharmaceutical and Healthcare

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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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Viagra - A Success Story in Marketing

Viagra was launched in the US in April 1998. And within a week of its launch, it had become the fastest selling pharmaceutical drug in the country. Initially Viagra was developed as a cardio-vascular drug, but the chance discovery of its 'unexpected side-effect', and subsequent launch raked in billions for Pfizer (Refer to Exhibit III for Viagra's Timeline: From Chance Discovery to Huge Commercial Success). Viagra contains the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) Sildenafil citrate, a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitor, in tablet form in two strengths 50 mg and 100 mg...

Viagra was the first scientifically proven oral drug for ED (Refer to Exhibit IV for How Viagra Works). Media experts quipped that only a pill developed for immortality could possibly upstage the buzz generated by the launch of Viagra...

The PR Campaign

Pfizer launched Viagra in 1998 in what was seen as a huge Public Relations (PR) exercise. As Viagra was the first approved drug for ED, Pfizer had to deal with the social and emotional aspects of ED. Impotence was very touchy topic with a lot of stigma attached to it. Any discussion on the subject was embarrassing for the men who suffered from it. The issue also had religious and moral undertones, making it an extremely sensitive one. Pfizer's foresight was evident when it sought approval from the Vatican and other religious institutions for release of the drug...

Problems for Viagra

The Side Effect Scare

Even when Viagra was launched, there were reports in various medical journals that some people who had taken the pill had suffered from heart attacks and 'sudden death'. Subsequent studies associated this problem with people taking nitrates. Hence, Pfizer added nitrate contraindication to the label of Viagra. In 2005, Viagra was associated with a rare form of blindness called Non-arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (NAION)...

Market Dynamics for Ed in India

In 2005, it was estimated that over 90 million men in India suffered from ED . There was a deep social stigma associated with ED in India. ED was considered as an emasculating failure rather than a disease that could be cured. Therefore most people avoided talking about it openly and only a few would have ever admitted to having ED. A majority of the population considered the very subject of sex taboo. Small wonder then that very few people sought medical attention for ED. However, analysts felt that given India's huge population, the absolute number of people opting for treatment would still be high...

Excerpts Contd...>>


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