Zyrtec also known as Cetirizine Hydrochloride is a second-generation anti-histamine that is generally used by children and adults to treat indoor or recurrent allergic rhinitis also known as hay fever or commonly known as allergy. It is also used to treat outdoor or seasonal allergic rhinitis and ‘lives’ or chronic urticaria in children over two years of age.Allergies especially in children are characterized by red itchy eyes, itchy runny nose and sneezing. In the US it is the number one most prescribed branded antihistamine with approximately $1,287 million sales in U.S alone.CompanyThe company that manufactures and distributes Zyrtec is the renowned Pfizer U.S pharmaceutical Company. The U.S pharmaceutical giant’s guiding motto is “working together for a healthier world”. As the company puts it, it is inspired by a single goal, “your health”. “They are dedicated to developing new safe medicines to prevent and treat the world’s most serious diseases”.Therefore as the motto portrays, the company’s goal is to delight its customers though innovative and technologically advanced medicine and treat most human ailments. The major commitment that the company has is to be “the global leader in health care” by bringing change to all people across the globe.The company would achieve this through provision of access to effective safe yet affordable medicines to those who need them. To also continue maintaining a leading role and to satisfy both customers and shareholders, the company is committed to remain focused on improving continually how they do business. This is done through transparency, and forging a strong relationship with its clients to enable the organization develops the abilities to listen and make appropriate decisions thereof.Charles Pfizer and Charles Errant who were cousins founded Pfizer Inc. in 1849. Ever since the company has continued to evolve to keep pace with the ever changing stakeholder, customers and the society’s expectations. The two cousins who were German chemists and entrepreneurs borrowed $2,500 from Pfizer’s father and bought a red brick building in Brooklyn New York at the Williamsburg section. This building doubled up as an office, laboratory factory and warehouse.Santonin was the first of the company launches. Santonin was palatable anti-parasitic drug to treat intestinal worms, which was a common ailment in America in the mid 19th century. Santonin was an instant hit and the company was officially launched following this success. Pfizer continued on producing quality products especially in the areas of painkillers and other vital drugs.During the civil war of 1862 its sales soared because they ventured into domestic and cleaning agents, which also included other drugs that were in demand from the Union Army. Some of these drugs included such important drugs and cleaning agents as iodine, morphine mercurial and camphor.By 1880 Pfizer had become America’s number one citric acid producer, which was to become its main product. This was because new drinks like coca-cola, Pepsi-cola and Dr. Ripper gained popularity and had citric acid as an ingredient. But perhaps the greatest breakthrough the company ever came of with is the production of penicillin through deep tank fermentation. Penicillin was to be known as the “real defense against bacterial infection” and there was no other drug like it before. This was a turning point not only for Pfizer as a company but for the whole human history as well, this was in 1944. Pfizer would again become the leading producer of Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid in the world in 1936 and by the late 1940s it became an established leader in the production of a wider range of vitamins. By 1950, Pfizer had established one of the best sales and marketing organization in the pharmaceutical industry and by 1951 the company underwent a major international expansion and expanded to such countries like Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Panama, Puerto Rico, England and Mexico.By giving its international managers the autonomy to make decisions accelerated its growth across the globe. In 1952 the company established an agricultural division especially targeting animal health.Through 1995 the company maintained its growing streak and in this particular year acquired SmithKline Beecham’s animal health business giving it the leading role in production of livestock and animals pharmaceuticals. By 1997 it was named the world’s most admired pharmaceutical company by the well-recognized Fortune Magazine.This was to be followed by the breakthrough invention for erectile dysfunction drug Viagra that took the world by storm.In 1999 while celebrating its 150th anniversary it was again named the “ company of the year” by Forbes Magazine and in 2000 the merger between Pfizer and Warner-Lambert created the “world’s fastest growing major pharmaceutical company”. Also, through its program of Share Card Program, it provided qualified low-income Medicare to low income Americans. One of the latest innovations coming from Pfizer is a prescription medicine that enables adults cease smoking, Chantix was launched in 2006 again a first in this category and just like Viagra it took the world by storm.With such an attractive and impressive track record marketing of Zyrtec would not be a very difficult thing to do especially is the US where the company’s presence is well known and felt. To be able to understand clearly about the marketing aspect of Zyrtec it is very important to carry out a SWOT analysis that seeks to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are likely to face the organization in its quest to market the brand.StrengthsThe major strength that is easily discernable is the formidable background that the company has created for the last 158 years. The background can be described as one of the most impressive for any organization. Through its innovativeness, creativity and solid background the company has continued to excite not only America but the whole world as well with the innovation of such first ones like penicillin in the 1920s, vitamin C in the 1950s, Viagra in the 1998s and many more life changing drugs. With such a track record the company is bound to be easily noticed.The pharmaceutical industry is a very sensitive industry because it deals with human health. A case of product backfiring would have a devastating effect on any organization. This notwithstanding, Pfizer as company because of its commitment to quality has created a “halo effect” on most of its range of products. The company is trusted by almost all its consumers and has created itself as a brand and a household name in the pharmaceutical industry.The company has established one of the best and technologically advanced laboratories that it continues to generate some of the best drugs to treat many major ailments.Another strength that the company has is its global presence where it exists in most major countries of the world. Some level of autonomy where respective managers are given a freehand to make quick decisions regarding the markets they represent characterizes its international presence. This is very important bearing in mind the dynamic world market. Pfizer’s solid base that is matched with colorful and rich backgrounds enables the company to have an upper edge over its competitors.The company’s backgrounds enables it to remain ahead of the pack especially in the consumer’s mind, who would likely entrust their health and those ones of their animals to such a solid company. With such catchy and unique innovations of the Viagra, enables the company to cut down on its promotion budget because such brands automatically get headline spaces in local and international and media outlets.Zyrtec is perhaps one of the companies leading anti-histaminic drug in America. Likely, the leading role can be directly attributed not only to the effectiveness of the brand but also Pfizer’s record [F1] as a company as well. Zyrtec being the leading antihistamine enables the company to cut down on its marketing budget and concentrate much on ensuring that the brand is well supported by making the drug better and readily available. This was to be reinforced by the over the counter authorization by the FDAIn any case the kind of marketing the company would likely to support is that one that ensures the brand does not loose the market share and not necessarily push for more sales. In marketing, brand loyalty is extremely important and Zyrtec as it is, has maintained a leading role in the U.S market. For any competitor to drive it out or to eat into it’s market would be a very daunting task.Counterfeits are one of the greatest threats in the pharmaceutical industries. This is because once a certain drug is counterfeited its quality of efficacy is brought into disrepute. To protect its consumers and ensure safe and effective medicines the company has continued to identify and employ innovative counterfeit proof mechanism a very good example is the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) a first one in the industry. Such innovations ensure safety and quality are transferred to the consumers. Zyrtec, when first launched was a prescription drug. This changed in November 19, 2007 when the FDA approved sales over the counter meaning one can easily buy the drug without any prescription. Undoubtedly this is likely to boost the sales as one can get prescription online and many pharmacies have continued to push it via Internet.WeaknessesZyrtec is indeed a leading anti-histamine drug for the treatment of allergies in the world market. However this is bound to change it Pfizer does not do something about the side effects that the drug has on its patients. According to Askapatient database on a survey carried since 23/05/07 up to 9/21/2008 where 583 users of Zyrtec responded, the ratings were not very promising. Out of a scale of 1-5, Zyrtec is rated at 2.3 not a very good rating especially bearing in mind the publicity it gets in the U.S market.The drug it seems is receiving negative ratings from consumers some indicating severe side effects like weight increase, low libido, panic attacks and so on. In most situations companies of Pfizer’s size are likely to ignore such comments or ratings yet it would not be business as usual. Competitors are likely to take advantage of this anomaly to penetrate the market. This is already happening with the development of Xyzal, which is using the weakness as an entry pointOpportunitiesPfizer as the manufacturer of Zyrtec has what it takes to push the allergy drug. With a well-developed network across the world makes the company the most ideal to effectively push its own brand. And the advantage that comes to fore is its various productions centers in Brazil, U.K and South Africa where it has the capacity to distribute and market Zyrtec to new markets within a very short time. Asia and Africa are a very attractive markets that it could choose to venture and establish itself as a renown brand name.With its strong base including an advanced research and development laboratory it can easily invent and role out new drugs on this particular line that would be best suitable for these areas. By riding on the crest of the good performance realized from its previous product lines, Pfizer is likely to penetrate such markets with ease as compared to other companies that are not well known in this areas. A good example of the various drugs that it can ride on includes Viagra that address erectile problems, and Chantix that enables smokers stop smoking.Pfizer also needs to utilize the online resources to propel its growth. Internet is turning out to be the single most important tool in the contemporary world that has the capacity to reach within a short time the target market. It is easy for the company to prescribe online and utilize powerful e-commerce organizations.However, there are certain risks that could be involved by utilizing the Internet. There’s also a great opportunity that is being through the Internet. There seems to be a great number of sites that are offering Zyrtec online. Most likely such sites are private companies that are selling the products on behalf of Pfizer, this is a great boost especially on cutting on the distribution, marketing and advertising budget.ThreatsPfizer has been in existence for over a century and a half. Its dominance in the world market has continued to attract intense competition. Zyrtec as a brand has attracted quite a formidable competition from U.C.B’s Group another global pharmaceutical giant that produces Xyzal.Xyzal is a brand in the line of Zyrtec because it is anti-histamine. Xyzal is better placed to compete with Zyrtec because it has been developed in such a way that it does not have any side effects on the patients unlike Zyrtec. Xyzal was launched in 2001 and became the number one anti-histamine drug in Europe beating Zyrtec. However, Zyrtec has continued to dominate the U.S market. With the claims of lack of any side effect as opposed to Zyrtec, Xyzal is likely to get into the US market and utilize its success in the European market to establish itself into the U.S market. Zyrtec’s sales were set to decline to 3% for the first quarter of 2004. This indeed is a gloomy picture for Pfizer. Another threat that would likely affect the growth of Zyrtec is the sticky issue of counterfeiting. Some factors have contributed greatly to the rise in this vice. These factors include the raise in the number of distributors in the medicine supply chain. Such distributors include under regulated wholesalers, increase in the number of internet pharmacies, repackages, technology advancement enabling criminals to counterfeit easily, lack of strict legislative measures in other countries. ConclusionZyrtec just like other Pfizer brands has continued to dominate the American market for some time. Pfizer as company has built quite a reputation in this market earning accolades for it innovativeness and quality products. The company has continued to dominate this particular market because of the experience and its ability to satisfy and surpass customer expectations.Zyrtec on its part is indeed a wonderful antihistamine going with its performance track record, however it stands a great risk from the competition especially Xyzal which is giving it a run for its money in the European market. Pfizer would strongly rely on its reputation to wade of any form of competition, however it is important for the company to address the complaints of the side effects from the consumers.