Big Pharma goes to Hollywood

How is pharma like the movie biz? They both need blockbusters. Some may say that chasing after the mega-hit no longer works--that satisfying niche markets can be just as profitable--but the Harvard Business Review begs to differ. "In a globally integrated market, blockbuster brands that address common consumer needs are more important than ever," according to HBR. "Blockbusters also motivate salespeople, get them access to customers, and drive distribution for other products in a company's portfolio."

And just in case you weren't sure just what, exactly, a blockbuster product is, HBR offers a primer:

  • Size. A blockbuster breaks sales records and transforms its company, often by opening up new global markets.
  • Speed. Big drugs don't just sell a lot, they ramp up quickly. "[T]hey often enjoy vertical sales lift-off," the mag says.
  • Scarcity. Blockbuster brands are often so in demand that they run scarce, and counterfeiters jump in to copy them.
  • Sustainability. Their sales charts may be vertical at the beginning, but they level off at the top, continuing to sell at a high rate for a long time.
  • Sizzle. A blockbuster doesn't just meet a need, but does it in an "exciting" way, via "superior marketing and sales."

How does this square with your definitions? And do you agree with the Hollywood comparisons?

- read the article at BusinessWeek

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