Merck and Vioxx, the implications of new product development in the pharmaceutical industry

Essay by puffkennyUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, May 2008

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In the recent years, speed - to - market and accelerated product development methods have come under scrutiny in pharmaceutical industry. Research agrees that accelerated product development may be crucial for pharmaceutical corporations to cut costs, provide first-to-market competitive advantages, and secure patent protection (Yeoh, 1994). However, when such method were not employed under moderation, the time pressures can cause the development team to unintentionally or intentionally overlook many hidden hazards which may lead to potential failures (Chandy et al, 2006) . This is particularly true in regard to the risks of product development in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly the amount of costs involved with research and development, the high failure rate of products under the scrutiny of the FDA, as well as latter costs of litigation and withdraw when hazards were identified when the product had developed its position in the market (Grabowski, 2002). This paper examines product development processes for Vioxx, and analyses potential causes of the product's failure.

Merck's product development processMerck operates in an extremely competitive industry. They are constantly faced with threats of cheap and competitive knock-off drugs upon the expiration of their patented proprietary drugs (Crawford, Benedetto, 2006). Hence, their opportunity identification was aligned with ongoing marketing planning strategies in order to survive in the competitive environment. In pursuing these plans, Merck employs ongoing innovation strategies in order to retain their tradition of creativity and innovation without resorting to a merger. The sources of their opportunities were identified in external mandate of threats from patent expirations, as well as competition in the industry whereby a pharmacologist in a competing firm had developed a pain killer that is gentle on the stomach; internal mandates whereby a lab test was developed to determine the amount of stomach upset caused by painkillers; new resources, as an...