Samsung

In: Business and Management

Submitted By khandelwalneha11
Words 284
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Pepcid AC: Racing to the OTC Market Case (HBR - 9-500-073)

Managers at the Johnson & Johnson/Merck Consumer Pharmaceutical Co. (JJM) are deciding to introduce a new over-the-counter (OTC) heartburn drug. Pepcid has been available by prescription for some time, and JJM was following a trend that began in the 1980s of switching a drug to OTC status before its patent expired. The FDA's advisory group has just recommended against allowing JJM to claim that Pepcid in its lower strength OTC form prevented and relieved heartburn. JJM knew that Pepcid AC's competitors, Smithkline Beecham's Tagamet, Eli Lilly's Axid, and Glaxo Wellcome's Zantac would be available OTC within months of one another, so speed to market was a significant concern.

Questions

1. Why does Merck want to switch Pepcid to OTC status when the patent is good for another six years? What would be the optimal time to switch? What determines this optimal time? Would the optimal time be the same for Tagamet, Zantac, Pepcid, and Acid?

2. How will the sales of OTC Pepcid affect the sales of the prescription version? How will cannibalization affect the sales of JJM's Mylanta antacid? Why did JJM buy Malanta if it was planning to switch to Pepcid?

3. What are the relative merits of positioning Pepcid as a "treatment" as opposed to "prevention" of heartburn\indigestion? How does FDA view them? The consumer? JJM? How important is positioning in this market?

4. How can Pepcid simultaneously build and defend its competitive position? How should it respond to entry of Tagamet, Zantac, and Axid? What strategic posture should Pepcid adopt - offensive or defensive, short or long-term? How can Pepcid best exploit its…...

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