Nowadays, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry has been under thorough scrutiny. Popular press claims of intensive marketing activities that go beyond R&D, the strong increase of me-too drugs, and, at the same time, the high industry profitability have contributed to public skepticism. Despite this increasing role of marketing, studies on the profitability of pharmaceutical firms mainly focus on the role of R&D. In this paper, we investigate the impact of advertising and product differentiation on pharmaceutical firms’ market value over the period 1971-2005. Especially, we examine whether there has been a change in the pattern of returns in these variables over this period. Our results show that, nowadays, pharmaceutical firms’ performance is not only closely linked to their R&D activities but also to marketing activities such as advertising and product differentiation. Since the 1990s, the return of advertising has become three times larger than that of R&D. In addition, we found that the impact of product differentiation came largely from the introduction of the so called incrementally modified drugs (IMD). The vast increase of the number of IMDs since the 1990s is likely to contribute to this development. Our results emphasize the role of advertising and product differentiation in the virtuous rent-seeking behavior in the pharmaceutical industry.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Advertising, Market value, Marketing, Panel data, Pharmaceutical industry, Product differentiation
Publisher Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)
Persistent URL
Pattikawa, L.H.. (2007). Longitudinal Study on the Performance of U.S. Pharmaceutical Firms: The Increasing Role of Marketing (No. ERS-2007-020-STR). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). Retrieved from