Leading innovation in world healthcare
An AstraZeneca case study

Page 1: Introduction

AstraZeneca is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, producing a powerful range of medicines designed to fight disease in important areas of medical need. AstraZeneca was formed in April 1999 with the merger of Astra AB (an international pharmaceutical group based in Sweden) and Zeneca Group plc, a bioscience business, which itself was formed by a demerger from ICI in 1993...
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Page 2: Research and Development of new treatments

One of the most important benefits of the merger was the opportunity of investment in AstraZeneca’s research and development programme. By bringing together the capabilities and facilities, AstraZeneca has been able to dramatically increase the scale of the research and development, providing more manpower, improved, shared technology and a larger number of laboratories. The combined...
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Page 3: Product portfolio

In the highly competitive pharmaceutical industry, it is essential for AstraZeneca to maintain a product portfolio at the cutting edge of modern medical science. Pharmaceutical companies need to ensure that they always have new products coming through the research and development process to replace older medicines and maintain a competitive, profitable product portfolio. A company that stays still...
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Page 4: Bringing a product to market

Trials take place in three phases. Phase I involves the drug being given to 50-150 healthy volunteers to see how it works in humans and help establish the correct dosage. This phase lasts for approximately two years. Phase II also extends for two years and tests the drug on a small, probably 100 - 200, number of patients with the condition that is being targeted. The medicine is assessed to...
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Page 5: Global marketing of new drugs

Having acquired a licence, AstraZeneca has to market its new drug and attempt to earn a return on the investment. This is by no means an easy or foregone conclusion. Most new products face stiff competition from established medicines and doctors may need to be convinced to prescribe a brand new product in place of a tried and tested medicine. Although a patent may last 20 years, the new drug may...
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Page 6: Conclusion

Marketing a new medicine globally can often present particular challenges, as patent restrictions can vary from one country to another. Systems of healthcare vary enormously and different countries have different restrictions on the ways that medicines can be promoted. For example, in Australia the National Health System means that patients have to pay a fee to visit their doctor, whilst in the UK...
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