Lipitor Marketing Case Study
“Strategic marketing focuses on choosing the right products for the right growth markets at the right time” (Jain & Haley, 2009, p. 26). When Lipitor hit the market in 1997 that is just what it achieved – the right product, the right growth market, and the right time. Lipitor quickly gained the No. 2 spot with 18% of the market share within the first year that led the way to gain the top spot as the market share leader. Warner-Lambert developed the drug initially but needed to catch up in the market so they teamed up with Pfizer, known for their marketing and sales competency. This partnership was just what the doctor ordered for the initial introduction of Lipitor to the market. In 2001, Pfizer took full control of Lipitor and
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Two legal challenges Pfizer faced was a claim by FDA of false advertising and a settlement of charges that they overcharged Medicaid for Lipitor. As the popularity for statins increase, so will the new market entrants. Fortunately, due to the patent pending, other drug companies cannot get their hands on Lipitor for drug comparison testing. However, new drug entrants may develop the next best drug threatening Lipitor’s market share. When the patent expires, generic market entrants will also threaten market share.
Pfizer’s strategic marketing implementation for Lipitor differed from Merck’s Mevacor, the first drug of its class. Mevacor was the market pioneer so focused on the “where” to compete and not enough on “how” to compete in the market. Merck knew it needed to gain public awareness of the risks of high cholesterol and gain doctors confidence to prescribe their drug. Merck was still conducting research to prove that statins could save patients lives. Pfizer devoted attention to clinical studies prior to market introduction. Pfizer further expanded on Merck’s initial public awareness campaign. The focus on the sale force education was Pfizer’s “how” to reach the doctors approval to prescribe their cholesterol-fighting drug, as well as the low starting dosage psychological advantage. The low starting dosage allowed Pfizer to focus on their uniqueness of Lipitor compared to