Merck's New Product Development and Launch Strategy for Januvia

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG176
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 1999-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Merck & Co., Inc.
Industry : Pharmaceutical
Countries : Europe, USA.

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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A Strong Launch

Within one month of its launch, Januvia accounted for 14 percent of all new diabetes prescriptions and samples in the US, similar to the market leader in the category. It also accounted for 20 percent of prescriptions and samples given out by endocrinologists (Refer to Figure I for share of prescriptions and samples dispensed for type 2 diabetes). This showed that both primary care physicians as well as specialists were adopting Januvia with enthusiasm...

Merck Extends its Lead

On March 26, 2007, Merck received marketing approval for Januvia in the European Union (EU) for type 2 diabetes. The go ahead from the European Commission meant that Januvia became the first DPP-4 inhibitor to be approved in the EU, paving the way for its launch in these countries.

Merck had also filed a duplicate marketing authorization with a different brand name, Xelevia, for use in the case of co-marketing in certain EU countries. As of April 2007, Januvia was approved in 42 countries around the world including Mexico, the US, and the Philippines...

Marketing Management Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing Management, Case Studies

Some Criticisms

Januvia was criticized on the grounds that, like other anti-diabetes drugs, it did not cure patients of Type 2 diabetes, but merely treated the symptoms. Natural health advocate Mike Adams said, "Drug companies can't wait to turn the diabetes population into another profit-generating revenue source. The truth is that type 2 diabetes can be cured in a matter of weeks through relatively simple changes in diet and lifestyle...


Experts hailed Merck's new corporate strategy and its drive to win. They said that Merck was being justly rewarded for its effort as about 200 million people around the world had started using Januvia, bringing in huge revenues for the company. Januvia and the other new drugs brought to market by Merck, experts said, was the one reason why Wall Street was still optimistic about Merck, despite the company's setbacks like the numerous Vioxx lawsuits and impending patent expiries of blockbuster drugs. Merck said that it had a long term focus in the diabetes drugs market...


Exhibit I: Merck's Logo
Exhibit II: Key Figures for Merck: 2004-2006
Exhibit III: Merck's Plan to Win
Exhibit IV: Key Figures for Type 2 Diabetes in the Top Seven Pharmaceutical Markets (Millions)
Exhibit V: New Drug Development Timeline for the US
Exhibit VI: Logo of Januvia
Exhibit VII: A Pack-Shot of Januvia
Exhibit VIII: Merck's Transition to New Commercial Model

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