Managing the risk aspects of the product development process at the Upjohn Company

Lea Prevel Katsanis (Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Dennis Pitta (University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Publication date: 1 June 2006



The aim of this paper is to describe an innovative practice that has implication for new product developers within and outside the pharmaceutical industry.


The case describes an approach to managing the risk inherent in marketing drugs. The organization's original name has been retained, although individual managers' names have been changed at its request. Interviews with former company employees and publicly available data were used to write the case study.


The paper provides information and action approaches to new product developers that may reduce the risk of losing products to regulatory action. The subject company devised a risk management response to its product development. Their results offer direct implications for new product development teams in the drug industry. By extension, the implications may aid traditional companies outside of the pharmaceutical industry.

Research limitations/implications

As in all case studies, the specific conditions found in one organization may not be found more generally in others. Readers are cautioned that the conclusions drawn in the case may have limited applicability.

Practical implications

The case depicts an innovative application of the risk minimization to the new product development process. Other organizations may find the technique of value in their own efforts.


The case is the first to describe a successful application of risk management to the product development/product management process. It offers the potential of improving the lifetime of pharmaceutical products in the marketplace, allowing the company a longer time to reap profits.



Prevel Katsanis, L. and Pitta, D. (2006), "Managing the risk aspects of the product development process at the Upjohn Company", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 250-254.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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