Strategies adopted by multinational pharmaceutical corporations to cope with competiton in Kenya
the long term, which achieves advantage in a changing environment through its configuration of resources and competencies with the aim of fulfilling stakeholder’s expectations. For an organization to not only survive but be successful in the industry it operates, it has to develop and implement strategies for coping with competition, which in essence is the heart of strategic management. Multinational pharmaceutical corporations face dynamic global business environments unfamiliar in political, environmental, social, technological, economical and legal aspects. Kenya’s pharmaceutical industry consists of more than fifty licensed manufacturing units that include local manufacturing companies, large multinational corporations, subsidiaries and joint ventures. It is a highly dynamic industry where the major successful strategy employed in coping with competition has been investing in a few drug molecules, promoting them heavily and turning them into blockbusters. Increased competition among multinational pharmaceutical corporations and local companies necessitate the development of strategies that would allow these firms achieve and sustain competitive advantage. The objective of this study was to determine the strategies adopted by multinational pharmaceutical firms to cope with competition in Kenya. To establish these strategies, a cross-sectional survey design was adopted. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire and was administered to marketing managers of all the twenty two multinational pharmaceutical corporations operating in Kenya. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The key findings were that pharmaceutical MNCs in Kenya have adopted a number of strategies including cost minimization measures, offering low price products, differentiation, cost focus strategies, differentiation focus strategies, concentric growth, innovation acquisitions and mergers, product development and market development. The study found out that the most popular strategy adopted was differentiation of pharmaceutical products. The use of high quality professionals and brand image were the main approaches used to achieve differentiation strategy. Cost minimization measures, innovation, and product development were also quite popular. The implications of the study are that local pharmaceutical firms are able to understand strategies that MNCs adopt to remain competitive and it makes a contribution to the existing body of knowledge regarding the concept of strategy in the pharmaceutical industry context. The main recommendation to multinational pharmaceutical firms is that they should ensure they have in the board of directors, a member who is originally from the host country. This will ensure that they are adept in understanding the local business environment and develop appropriate competitive strategies. One limitation of this study were that it did not fully investigate the reasons why the various pharmaceutical MNCs in the study were different in the extent to which they adopted certain strategies. The second limitation was that the study did not investigate extent to which various strategies impacted on performance. Further research should be done to investigate why pharmaceutical firms in the study were different in the extent to which they adopted the various strategies. An in-depth study is further recommended to determine the extent to which the various strategies impact on performance.