Marketing Challenges and Prospects of Innovative Multinational Pharmaceutical Companies: The Case of Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


objectives: The aim of this study is to investigate the marketing challenges and prospects of innovative multinational pharmaceutical companies operating in Ethiopia. Method: The study design was descriptive study conducted from February 2015 to May 2015 in Addis Ababa. The research used primary data from all the managers of the existing Innovative multinational companies towards the Ethiopian pharmaceuticals market opportunities and prospect in ensuring their companies future existence through semi structured interview question and self administered questionnaires. In addition, the study covers challenges with regards to product registration, government import regulations, supply chain and distribution, counterfeit products and generic product competition as the main factors to investigate the research question. Findings: The available 12 country managers, 8 marketing managers and 4 Key account managers and 12 senior medical sales representative of the existing 12 Innovative Multinational pharmaceutical companies in Ethiopia were invited to participate in the study and all of them has responded giving the response rate of 100%. The result showed that the major driving force for the marketing activity of these companies is due to the acclaimed rapid economic growth of the country. These companies have disease areas of cardiology and metabolism as a future growth potential market unlike previously in which infectious disease was a major focus for their marketing activity. Product registration challenge and generic product competition are the major challenge for all the participants. All managers responded that counterfeit product in not a major challenge unlike other African countries. Conclusion: The empirical result showed that Innovative Multinational pharmaceutical companies operating in Ethiopia currently view the country as a ripe market potential to expand their marketing activity better than the neighboring countries. Basically rapid population growth, the acclaimed double digit economic growth with the increase in modern health care seeking behavior of the society and the increase in prevalence of cardiometabolic diseases are the major driving force for the marketing activity of these companies. On the other hand, in the process of trying to avail their product in Ethiopian market: Product registration, foreign currency allocation, import regulation, low cost generic products competition and distribution system failure are considered to be prominent system related challenges faced by the multinationals.



Pharmaceutical Industry, Emerging Markets, Innovative Multinational Pharmaceutical Company