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Effexor was the first approved dual method of action Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI) depression treatment. When it hit the market in 1994, Effexor faced two established classes of antidepressants with Prozac, a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), dominating the market. Three years after launch, Effexor sales were stalled at $230 million a year. Over the next decade, Wyeth executed a series strategies - with Effexor's superior efficacy as the centerpiece - that took the therapy to $4 billion in annual sales by 2007.
This case study reviews the multiple strategies - from a new formulation and additional indications to expanded sales force and scientific publications - Wyeth used to patiently build Effexor into a blockbuster brand. Through a series of well-integrated clinical and commercial activities, the company established and promoted the brand's superior efficacy.
Using secondary research, Best Practices, LLC created this case study to assess and highlight the winning strategies that led to Effexor becoming a market leader. Executives can use this study to understand Wyeth's approach to using superior efficacy to help a product that's entering a crowded market.
- Executive Summary
- Key Strategies & Tactics Chronicling Effexor's Long Journey to Market Leader
- Educating the Market on new MOA
- Winning new Indications to Affirm Efficacy
- Attacking Market Leader through Head-to-Head study
- Expanding Sales Force to extend Reach
- Using DTC to Increase Product Awareness
SAMPLE KEY FINDING
- Five post-launch clinical trials provided Effexor with an improved formulation & three new indications that opened significant niches in anxiety disorders and provided additional evidence of its efficacy. The brand also won label changes.
- Effexor found a niche with hard-to-treat patients after a successful head-to-head trial against the market leader, Prozac. Another study favorably compared Effexor against all the leading drugs in the SSRI class, highlighting Effexor’s unique ability to ease severe depression and, in some cases, achieve remission to extend Effexor beyond its niche.
Insights were drawn from extensive secondary research.