The United Drug Packaging Division

28 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Robert E. Spekman

Robert E. Spekman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Robert O'Sullivan

affiliation not provided to SSRN


This case is used in Darden's ""Business-to-Business Marketing"" elective. It would also work well in a General Marketing Management course, a Marketing Strategy course, or a course covering Health Care Management topics.In response to fluctuations in the economy and the pharmaceutical industry, United Drug reexamines the marketing of its packaging division, recently restructured under a new managing director.



Rev. Dec. 5, 2012


It was May 2009, and Ron Sweeney looked out of his office window at the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. He thought about the contrast between the peaceful serenity of that view and the chaos he was experiencing as the newly appointed managing director of the United Drug Packaging Group (the Packaging Group). The Packaging Group in United Drug comprised four separate entities, and they certainly acted as such. Sweeney's job was to try and redesign the marketing process for the group and attempt to redress a fall in the division's revenues. It was a big task, but Sweeney was confident he could do it.

United Drug

United Drug began as a small pharmaceutical wholesaling cooperative in the west of Ireland in the late 1940s. Through a series of acquisitions, the company spread to all four provinces of Ireland and became its largest wholesaler. In the late 1990s, as margins in its legacy wholesaling business began to decline (margins were around the 2% level), it began to diversify beyond pharmaceutical and medical device wholesaling into outsourced services for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

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Keywords: market segmentation, market strategy

Suggested Citation

Spekman, Robert E. and O'Sullivan, Robert, The United Drug Packaging Division. Darden Case No. UVA-M-0840, Available at SSRN:

Robert E. Spekman (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4860 (Phone)


Robert O'Sullivan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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