Lipitor and iPhone 4s: Setting the Stage for Industry Disruption – Christopher Bowe – Harvard Business Review

Has some valuable insights but half baked: did not spell out how iPhone 4S is doing the disintermediating. Perhaps it mean to allow users directly interact with the device and the net, but that is not completely getting rid of other means. Siri is not and will not completely replace keyboard and mouse. The case of Liptor, where this guy has expertise, however is an excellent piece.

With Lipitors annual global sales still approaching $10 billion and new generic competition poised to significantly eat away its sales, managing the end of its life cycle is critical for Pfizers near-term outlook.

Through a partnership with Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy, a pharmacy benefits manager in Michigan, Pfizer has put in place a way to sell Lipitor directly to customers, bypassing pharmacies. Diplomat will sell mail-order branded Lipitor at generic prices. Diplomat bills the patients’ health plans for the prescription, and the prices depend on negotiated contracts with Pfizer and the plans. This method of bypassing pharmacies — albeit with one of their own — is important because pharmacies have historically played a role as the gatekeeper, driving patients to switch from the branded drug to the generic version.

Technology observers were initially underwhelmed by the iPhone 4S. They saw it as nothing more than a reformulation and upgrade from the iPhone 4, not a completely new design and breakthrough iPhone “5”.

But what observers missed was Apple’s canny use of disintermediation — in this case, technological disintermediation — at the end of the life cycle to prepare the way for the future. The iPhone 4S was redesigned with what one leading critic called “artificial intelligence”: a voice-recognition and assistance technology known as Siri that allows users to interact with the device, the network, and the internet without a keyboard and text.

via Lipitor and iPhone 4s: Setting the Stage for Industry Disruption – Christopher Bowe – Harvard Business Review.

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