The relevance of marketing activities in the Swiss prescription drugs market: two empirical qualitative studies

Michael Stros*, Juerg Hari, John Marriott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify the most relevant marketing factors and examine existing theories and to provide guidance for planning future studies. Since drug markets are very complex, this paper will focus on a particular market/country to reduce some of this complexity.

Design/methodology/approach: A serial research study is undertaken to examine the essential marketing success factors by means of two qualitative studies applying Focus group and Delphi survey techniques. Swiss healthcare professionals in middle and senior management positions (Focus group n = 5, Delphi group n = 11) are asked to voice their personal opinion regarding the importance of various factors that might influence the turnover of prescription drugs. The fundamental findings derived from the Focus group interview are used for the Delphi group survey set-up. To reach a consensus within the Delphi group, a three-step interactive procedure is applied. For the evaluation of the Focus group results, a content analysis is performed. The results of the Delphi study are investigated, using descriptive statistics.

Findings: The paper ultimately yields a ranking of 29 instruments perceived to be important in the marketing of pharmaceuticals in Switzerland. With this paper, the proposed model and its propositions could be supported.

Research limitations/implications: This paper investigates their relevance based upon practical experience of Swiss health care professionals and is therefore somewhat limited to the Swiss market.

Practical implications: In the Swiss market, successful marketing has to consider appropriate product properties including issues such as efficacy and safety plus a promotion policy that emphasizes relationship with opinion leaders and personal selling. Additionally, it is vital that the product is also distributed via sales channels such as hospitals and physicians and that the product will be reimbursed by health insurance.

Originality/value: These findings will enable pharmaceutical companies to improve their sales success. The proposed model can be extended to other markets and countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-346
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Delphi method
  • focus groups
  • marketing
  • medical prescriptions
  • pharmaceuticals industry
  • product design
  • Switzerland


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