Treading on that Fine Line? - Caselets in Marketing Ethics

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG186
Case Length : 14 pages
Period : 2006-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Emami Ltd.; Pfizer Inc.; Facebook.
Industry : Fast Moving Consumer Goods; Pharmaceutical; Social Media.
Countries : India/ USA

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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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Caselet 2: Pfizer's Marketing of Lipitor

"This is a classic case of unjust enrichment. Pfizer has built colossal sales of Lipitor through the pipeline of third-party payors such as our clients and countless other drug plans - including Medicaid18 and Medicare19 - much of it based on prescriptions that the FDA's20 guidelines say never should have been written in the first place."21

- Jay Eisenhofer of Grant & Eisenhofer, P.A.22 , in 2006.

"Pfizer has and continues to take seriously its responsibility to provide appropriate information to physicians and patients and to comply with all federal laws and regulations regarding the promotion of our medicines. Based on the information provided to us, we believe there is absolutely no merit to the claims regarding the promotion of Lipitor."23

- Pfizer Inc. in 2006.

In March 2006, the Fund of Teamsters Local Union 86324 filed a class-action suit against the world's largest pharmaceutical company, Pfizer Inc.25 (Pfizer), in the US District Court in New Jersey accusing Pfizer of illegally marketing Lipitor.

Lipitor, a cholesterol-reducing drug,26 was the world's largest selling drug. The global sales of Lipitor in 2006 were US$ 12.9 billion.

Analysts attributed the huge success of the brand to Pfizer's strong marketing efforts (Refer to Exhibit III for a packshot of Lipitor)...

Caselet 3: Facebook's Ad Platform - Next Page>>

18] In the US, Medicaid is a program managed by the states and funded jointly by the states and the federal government to provide health insurance for individuals and families with low incomes and resources.
19] Medicare is a health insurance program administered by the US government, that covers people who are either aged 65 and over, or who meet other special criteria (e.g. disabled).
20] FDA or the Food and Drug Administration of the US is the government agency responsible for regulating food (human and animal), dietary supplements, drugs (human and animal), cosmetics, medical devices (human and animal), biologics, and blood products in the US. It approves drugs for certain indications and provides guidelines for use of the drugs.
21] "Off-label Marketing for Lipitor's Now the Focus of a Class-Action Suit,", March 30, 2006.
22] Grant & Eisenhofer, P.A., based in Wilmington, Delaware, USA, founded in 1997, is a law firm experienced in handling civil suits in state and federal courts across the US. It was founded in 1997.
23] Jim Edwards, "Teamsters Sue Pfizer over Alleged Illegal Marketing,", March 28, 2006.
24] A welfare fund of the local union of Teamsters based in New Jersey, USA.
25] Pfizer Inc, is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, USA. For the year 2006, it revenues were US$ 48.37 billion.
26] Cholesterol is a fatty substance synthesized in our body. Increased level of cholesterol in the blood is associated with a high risk of heart diseases. A number of drugs are used to reduce the level of cholesterol. Of these, the statins are the most popular. Lipitor belongs to the statin group of drugs.


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