Professor of Marketing
Also published in Journal of Generic Medicines. Vol. 1, N 4, Pp. 353-361. July 2004.Before assessing how best to respond to a loss of patent protection, it is important to consider whether radical change is really necessary. It may be that the pharmaceutical product is operating in a niche category that is too small to attract challenging generic competition, at least in the short term.It could also be that the awareness and image of the brand is so strong in patients' and doctors' minds that it would retain most of its equity even after the loss of patent protection. In most cases, however, the entry of generic competitors radically alters the competitive landscape and calls for appropriate radical responses.In the next section, the five major strategies available to pharmaceutical brands facing competition from generics are briefly reviewed. This is followed by a review of the innovative marketing strategy adopted by SmithKline Beecham in France in the late 1990s, when its Clamoxyl antibiotic faced a sudden increase in competition from generic amoxicillin.