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Valsartan: Exporting France's Success

Executive Summary

Novartis' newfound marketing muscle has turned hypertension drug valsartan (Diovan) into a class leader worldwide, with $1.1 billion in sales last year. But the company's experience in France in tailoring its message to individual physicians has proved particularly successful, and provided a model for other countries.

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Novartis has unexpectedly re-created itself with a back-to-basics, centrally-driven marketing effort accomplished by an almost entirely new senior marketing group. The transformation has been expensive and the company used a significant portion of the cost savings from the Ciba/Sandoz merger which created Novartis to finance increased marketing and Phase IV clinical development of key current products, as well as larger and more numerous trials for major development candidates, rather than simply to drive short-term earnings increases. The company is now attempting to take the centralization still further into global management. By creating global brands, it feels it can more efficiently capture leading share of voice and thus, at lower cost and with a smaller total sales force, create worldwide brand leaders.

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