Developing and Marketing a Blockbuster Drug: Lessons from Eli Lilly’s Experience with Prozac

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Developing & Marketing A Blockbuster Drug: Eli Lilly’s Experience with Prozac BME-6 B. HBS CASE: “Developing and Marketing a Blockbuster Drug: Lessons from Eli Lilly’s experience with Prozac” 1. What factors contributed to Prozac becoming a blockbuster drug? Explain how each factor contributed and what management decisions helped the drug’s success. The following factors contributed to Prozac’s success: • Prozac’s low side effects and toxicity: The many drugs that were available before Prozac, such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) for treating depression, were too toxic or tricky to use except by trained psychiatrists. In the early 1970s, Ray Fuller, a senior Lilly pharmacologist,…show more content…
He developed good realtions with them and gained their “buy-in”. ■ External Stakeholders: The external Stakeholders were varied and many some of them are listed below: ◆ Psychiatric Experts: He established relationships with 150 leading psychiatric experts and invited them to Lilly to meet with senior executives and middle management. These meetings not only educated Lilly about psychiatry but educated the psychiatric leaders about Prozac. ◆ FDA: Lilly worked to educate the FDA about the physiologic rationale behind the first SSRI and then submitted data to show that the drug worked as intended. ◆ Primary Care Physicians (PCP): To establish Prozac’s credibility with the primary care physicians (PCP) who were also expected to prescribe Prozac, Cohen recognized that it was essential to secure the support of psychiatrists first. With the help of the leading psychiatric experts he had come to know, Cohen established an extensive educational program (the .Psychiatrists Experience Program.) that started about a year prior to Prozac.s launch. The program ended with a series of regional symposia chaired by local psychiatric thought leaders who led the educational sessions. Ken Cohen then targeted PCPs by sponsoring an extensive PCP education program in partnership with the American Psychiatric Association. Lilly hired leading psychiatrists to share their knowledge about Prozac at major

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