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Home » Course Catalogue » MBA Electives » RSM2017H – Pharmaceutical Strategy

RSM2017H – Pharmaceutical Strategy

General Information


  • Instructor TBC

Applicable Major(s):
(c) = Core, (r) = Recommended

  • Health Sector Management (c)

Target Audience

The course is relevant for students who plan to work at multiple points along the healthcare and life sciences value chain in Canada or elsewhere, including pharmaceutical companies, healthcare suppliers, academic partners, distributors, providers, public agencies, and/or consultants.


Six evening sessions, plus one full day weekend session.

Course Mission

The course will provide institutional background about global pharmaceutical firms and the pharmaceutical value chain, as well as current strategic and policy challenges and opportunities that people face along the pharmaceutical global value chain. We concentrate on factors that are critically important for pharmaceutical firms and other stakeholders, including research intensity, extensive and complex marketing investments, close ties to the health care system, and the critical role of government regulations and policy. During the course, we will consider the perspective of established firms as well as new entrants and potential entrants to the industry. In doing so, we will examine the role of the industry in responding to the challenges and opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We take a strategic perspective on the industry, focusing on critical decisions that managers and other actors must take as they carry out their day to day jobs, seeking to gain both short term performance and long term competitive advantages. The course begins with an introduction to pharmaceutical pipelines across the industry ecosystem. We next examine key aspects of the pharmaceutical commercialization process, including pricing, reimbursement, promotion, differences among market segments, competition between generics and proprietary products, and the emerging importance of value chain integration. We conclude by considering the management of inter-firm relationships such as pharmaceutical alliances and acquisitions. Throughout the course, we will consider the industry’s strategic responses to recent developments including the growth of managed care, global competitiveness, proposed regulatory reform policies, increasing government cost containment policies in Canada and abroad, pricing controversies, and responses to pandemics.

Course Scope

We will cover companies and other institutions along the pharmaceutical value chain in the developed markets of Canada, elsewhere in North America, Europe, and Japan, as well as companies and strategies of pharmaceutical firms based in emerging markets of Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and elsewhere in the world.

Evaluation and Grade Breakdown

ComponentDue DateWeight
Class ParticipationOngoing20%
Learning JournalOngoing40%
Term Paper (Group or Individual)End of term40%

Required Resources

I will provide a course pack consisting of cases about pharmaceutical firms and issues, as well as a set of supplemental readings about how to adapt and transform the general concepts of strategy to these settings. The course resources will also include substantial data about pharmaceutical companies and markets.

Last Updated: 2022-06-28 @ 11:17 am