Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How to make a multi-billion dollar market

Aside from its implications regarding how drug companies manipulate doctors and consumers, Alix Spiegel's terrific story titled "How A Bone Disease Grew To Fit The Prescription" on NPR a few days ago should be required reading in any company that is trying to pioneer a new market.

Spiegel examines how Merck, with the help of a consultant named Jeremy Allen, transformed a new osteoporosis drug named Fosamax into a $3 billion/year blockbuster. Fosamax, it turns out, was a drug without a major market. When Merck launched the drug, osteoporosis was being treated, but it wasn't being prevented -- and that needed to be changed in order to create a really big market for Fosamax. You can learn how Merck accomplished this feat by reading the transcript of the story here.