In late 1989 research showed positive results that the appearance of AIDS in HIV infected patients could be postponed by using Retrovir. This advancement expanded Retrovir’s potential users to a market of 600,000 to 1 million people. As research continues for AZT, treatment for children with the HIV infection is being studied. Key Success Factors: There are several key success factors in the pharmaceutical drug industry. Safety, high quality, reasonable pricing, and product development are some of the most important ones. Customer Analysis Segments and Motivation:
Retrovir is targeted toward anyone with the AIDS/HIV virus. The fatality rate for a person with AIDS in 1981 was about 91%, but by 1989 with the introduction of drugs it has decreased it to 46% Retrovir, as of 1989, is the only product available that has been proven to decrease the symptoms associated with the HIV/AIDS virus and reduce the appearance of AIDS in HIV infected patients. The CDCP reported 5,992 AIDS cases in 1984, when Burroughs Wellcome first started its research, which rose tremendously to 34,198 by 1989. HIV infections are estimated to be around 800,000 to 1. 3 million by 1990. Unmet Needs:
The treatment for AIDS patients is extremely expensive in comparison to other potentially fatal aliments. A 1987 study showed that the lifetime costs of an AIDS patient in their thirties was estimated to be between $70,000 and $141,000. Only an estimated 40% of patients with AIDS have received care under the Medicaid Program. Another small percentage of patients with private insurance get help to pay their AIDS related medical bills. However, this leaves a large market of people who have to pay for their medicine with little to no help. Competitor Analysis Competitor Identification and Performance:
Two potential competitors for AZT/Retrovir are expected to be on the market by 1991. The first is DDI produced by Bristol Myers. It is an antiviral drug that has been shown to inhibit the reproduction of HIV and slow down the damages it causes. The other is a drug being produced by Glaxo and Triton Inc. Both drugs as suspected to be approved for prescription sales by the FDA Strengths & Weaknesses: There are a couple of weaknesses for the competitors. The first is that Retrovir has the first to market advantage over them, and many people will choose to stick with what is working for them instead of trying something new.
Another disadvantage is that like Retrovir they do not eliminate the infection; they only slow down the progression and lessen symptoms. However, there is a strength for DDI, which is that it appears to be less toxic than AZT/Retrovir Environmental Analysis Economic: At the time Retrovir’s drug, AZT, was introduced into the market in 1989, the economic conditions for the United States were fairly good. Accounting for over 89% of its 1989 revenue, was the company’s primary business of human health care products.
Retrovir was certainly a product with great potential for the company because there were estimates of HIV infections for Americans to range between 800,000 and 1. 3 million in 1990. Regulatory: The U. S Food and Drug Administration gave Burroughs Wellcome approval to market Retrovir in 1987. As of 1990, Retrovir was the first and only drug authorized for the treatment of AIDS. In 1985, AZT was designated as an “orphan drug” under provisions of the Orphan Drug Act of 1983. This act applies to drugs useful in treating 200,000 or fewer people in the U. S, and confers special consideration to suppliers of these drugs.
The orphan drug title provided Retrovir with a seven year marketing exclusivity after its commercial introduction, tax credits, and government subsidization of clinical trails. Cultural: Before 1983 when Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was first isolated and identified, people had no generally public awareness of HIV/AIDS in the United States However, by this time, the disease had spread to at least five continents without anyone knowing it. Before the virus was discovered, a number of theories circulated about the possible causes of the infections associated with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
The puzzling initial cases created a feeling of helplessness against the disease, and fear of its spread fostered an epidemic of fear and prejudice against those who had it and those who were deemed likely suspects to contract it (homosexuals). Throughout much of the 1980s, medical and public health professions fumbled to understand this increasingly devastating epidemic and develop therapeutic and social approaches to halting its progress, as HIV/AIDS claimed a growing number of lives.