The case follows the dilemma of three individuals (well, just one of them really) who are split on a decision of whether to release a controversial drug, Diasotp or send it back for further research and eventual development. Jeff Thompson founded the pharmaceutical company, Biopasteur with his colleague, Arnold and his ex-professor, Amy. The company had earlier released Lobloprin (a successful drug in the market which broke the mould of consistent losses and turned the company profitable) to wide acclaim and were looking forward to making Diastop its more impressive encore.
WHAT WAS THE DILEMMA?
The challenge ahead of the trio was that, after testing and research, Diastop had returned some suspicious results. There was a correlation between the usage of the drug and adverse health issues with 45-70 year olds (incidentally, their core customer base). Originally, this will pose no serious concerns for most other organizations, however, Biopasteur has built a strong reputation as a “patient friendly” company. So, with the knowledge of these possible deep rooted side-effects, should they proceed with the release of the drug? Thompson said it’s too risky, his partners were of another mind.
This matter factionalized our class, we were just as divided as the founders of Biopasteur as to what final decision to take.
RELEASE THE THING!
The section of the class that backed the release of Diastop had some very compelling arguments. These included:
- There is serious money to be made: The market is ready. Profits are projected to reach as high as $70 Million annually, trumping the current success of Lobloprin (which pulls $5o Million in profits per year).
- There is serious money to be lost: Marketing and outreach campaigns have already begun and although these costs were not stated, the amounts already paid and promised to the developers of the medicine were. $15million to be precise.
- Government Approval: As a result of a series of tests, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval was issued Diastop. The supporters of its release expressed their confidence in the FDA as a strong and reliable body with integrity. Down the line, however, we will see just how much water this faith holds.
- The foreseeable cost of delaying release: Diastop will cost an additional $12m annually in research and development. It will also require at least 4 years of this research with a 50% chance that the technology to do this will be unavailable.
HOLD YOUR HORSES
Those who were of the opposing opinion also had convincing reasons. They include:
- As stated earlier, the correlation between the use of the drug and negative side effects on the core users was undeniably suspicious. They were the most susceptible to complications from the drug.
- FDA Recall: Despite the approval initially granted the drug, the FDA reserves the right to order a recall of the medicine if it can establish that there is wide-spread negative/harmful/dangerous side-effects on Diastop users. According to the case specifics, this effect and even a recall is predictable.
- The Domino effect: a deep injury to the brand and reputation of the firm is expected to collapse the sales of Lobloprin (their prized possession).
- Their patient-centric reputation will be seriously dented by a scandalous release and this could affect their customer loyalty as well as their personal career ambitions.
Whatever school of thought you decide to build your tent in, understand that you will be giving up a considerable lot in letting go of the alternative. I, however, decided that the risk of destroying the carefully sculpted Biopasteur reputation was too great to tamper with and a delay in release is the best and most suitable option.