Primary File

The Avastin Crisis: A Crisis in Patient Blindness

Biswas, S., Gedjeyan, M., and O’Rourke, J.S. (Editor)
February 12, 2018
North America
Strategy & General Management
11 pages
Positioning, products, pharmaceuticals, reputation, threat
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.69)
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In spite of similar formulation, Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche has always positioned its two products Avastin and Lucentis separately, as treatments for cancer and for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) respectively. However, doctors have been prescribing Avastin for AMD treatments because of the huge price differential between the two drugs. With contamination of Avastin due to repackaging by a Florida pharmacy leading to 21 cases of patient blindness in Q3 2011, Roche faces a serious threat to its reputation and finances.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. To highlight the need for crisis management in a situation created by forces outside the control of the company;
  2. To present a situation where short-term revenue gains are not in the company’s best interests;
  3. To stress the importance of listening to the customer and addressing vulnerabilities in the supply chain;
  4. To encourage the company to take concrete action regarding the issue instead of shifting the blame