AstraZeneca is a global bio-pharmaceutical company that focuses in break through science discoveries. They are located in the UK, Sweden, as well as in multiple different states in the US including: Delaware, Maryland, Colorado, Massachusetts, and California. As a company they believe that the treatment for many diseases lies in uncovering mechanisms that are new to all or not yet discovered. Research in breakthorugh science is the best way to help patients and find results through medication and specific therapies.
They have focus studies in Oncology, Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity, neuroscience, Infection and Vaccines, Cardiovascular and metobolic diseases.
The company AstraZeneca has stated, ‘Our purpose and values help explain why we exist, what we hope to accomplish, the behaviours we value, how we will achieve our goals, and the promise of our brand to our stakeholders.’ (astrazeneca.com) The values are also what helps guide the companies team to do what is right. While focusing on breaking scientific boundaries, the company strives to have motivated employees that put their patients first.
Even though AstraZeneca has positive and value driven intentions, they have not made the best decisions or had the best outcomes in the previous years. In the past three years the company has decreased in total revenue by 2%. As of 2016 the companies total revenue was $23.0bn, 2017 was $22.5bn, and finally 2018 showed total revenue at 22.09bn. Not only has their profit suffered by as well as their creditability due to previous decisions and actions made by the company.
There were many law suits against AstraZeneca previously zoning in on their actions concerning competition laws, false advertising laws, and deceptive marketing that caused harm to customers.
For example the company previously had rights to sell a purple pill called Prilosec approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1989. ‘Prilosec is the brand name of the drug omeprazole, which is used to treat symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).’ (www.everydayhealth.com, 2015) Prilosec also treats ulcers, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and used to prevent gastrointestinal bleeding in ill patients. Prilosec in now offered in both prescription and over-the-counter form. When AstraZeneca’s patent of intervention expired for Prilosec they decided to introduce a new alternative. They presented a drug called Nexium. Nexium is still an oral drug used to target acid reflux and ulcers, as did Prilosec. Approved by the Food and Drug organization, Nexium had two generic versions called omenprzole and esomeprazole. It was presented and advertised to the public as if this was the replacement for Prilosec. it was marketed to seem as if Nexium was the better choice, over Prilosec, for the patient.
As a company they designed a marketing plan that would create profit off of Nexium, to avoid loosing any income after Prilosec expired. Prilosec was on sale for $0.46 cents in the US, while Nexium was going for $4.00 a pill. A part of the law suit questioned the difference in pricing, as if Nexium was truly superior to Prilosec. AFL-CIO labour union and two senior citizen consumer groups from Los Angeles stated AstraZeneca’s actions were unehtical; ‘a massive and misleading advertising and promotional campaign to deceive consumers into purchasing Nexium, a nearly identical new drug’ to Prilosec.’ (Don Mills, Ont., 2004) This acusation clearly claims the company has practiced deceptive marketing, as well unfair pricing. Bexium had become one of the heaviest marketed pharmecuetical drug in the US. Through marketing the company then lowered prices ‘to help with healthcare costs’ for patients, and gave out samples to doctors. These samples would then be used to give patients a push towards Nexium over Prilosec, inturn helping profits stay up.
It would be easy to say the comapny AstraZeneca followed the Freidman philosphy when it came to marketing and selling Nexium. The Milton Friedman philosophy focuses on one preimary social responsibility, increasing profit. That is exactly what AstraZeneca was focused on when advertising and promoting Nexium as a superior to Prilosec to keep a profit. According to the Milton philosophy each step made by the company should lead to profit including marketing. Now, the thing to recognize is that Milton Friedman philosophy does specify to stay within guidelines and regulations which is being shown AstraZeneca did not necessarily do. Freidman expressed the importance in adoration of law, service, principals any business should not disobey and freedom all in one.
The way Nexium was advertised also caused the company to be questioned on competition laws and false advertising laws. Instead of patients being aware that the over-the-counter drug for Prilosec was pretty much identical to the new drug Nexium, the patient was lead to believe they needed to purchase the higher priced drug. This resulted in multiple different law suits filed California, some of the organizations included: California Seniors, and California Alliance for Retired Americans – and the law firm Hagens-Berman. (Herskovits, 2004) Yet, there were no responses from AstraZeneca to the claims filed against them. They didnt even respond to the several unanswered phone calls. Silence was their response, even though there are laws AstraZeneca has that would fall under the ABC’s of Legal Literacy laws.
For instance, product liability. Product liability is the responsibility of the manufactures and the sales person for the product created to be held responsible for any defective or damaged drugs. This is also includes any damages that could have occured from the drugs being defective. Part of AstraZeneca promotion and advertisment was insuring patients their product was efficiant and effective. When Nexium was tried and truly tested, it did not uphold the expectation the company set in place. The choice of advertisment and communication AstraZeneca used, was misleading to the actual performance of the new drug Nexium. Many of the side affects that came from Nexium lead to very negative experiences, and outcomes for patients. After long use some patients even suffered from Kidney failure. imagine the disappointment and disbalief the patients had, when AstraZeneca states they put their patients first, yet it did not match their actions.
It is important to recognize AstraZeneca did not commit to and comply with the proper company procedures and policies with the way they advertised Nexium. Advertising a product to be more effecive, more powerful and superior to the original drug Prilosec. The company AstraZeneca falsely advertised the actual effectiveness of Nexium. This type of carelessness in regards to proper use of advertismet can also fall under Unfair Competition laws on AstraZeneca behalf.