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Pharmaceutical industry analysis and merck's strategic assessement

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  1. Strategic maneuvers over the last 5 years
    1. Acquisitions
    2. Divestments
    3. Investments in R&D
    4. Production
    5. Advertising
    6. Alliances
  2. Evaluation of Merck's competitive position and its evolution
    1. Merck's competitive advantages
    2. Business portfolio
    3. VRIS analysis
  3. Threats and opportunities: key challenges for the future
    1. The growing competition from new players
    2. The erosion of the blockbuster model
    3. The increasing pressure from public opinion and the government
    4. Large emerging markets and unmet medical needs

The pharmaceutical industry is characterized by a harsh competition between large companies, biotech start-ups and generics, long and risky R&D processes, increasing government regulations and strong purchaser pressures. Merck & Co Inc. is one of the biggest players in this industry, due to its competitive advantages. Indeed, Merck benefits from its continuous efforts in the R&D field: its R&D spending increased by 75% between 2005 and 2009. Second, the company's use of its human resources is a key success factor in an industry where scientific researchers are paramount and brain drain as well as poaching a plague for the pharmaceuticals leaders. That's the reason why Merck insists on offering strong incentives to attract and keep scientists, and develops scholarships granting along with partnerships with colleges and research centers. Finally, Merck presents a powerful customer-oriented philosophy, which fosters its brand equity, and which has been very much used these times, especially after the Vioxx scandal.

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