AstraZeneca (China): Leveraging Offline Doctor-Patient Relationships in Online Healthcare Service Platform

Weiru Chen, Luis Liu

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


The sales of various drug products for AstraZeneca, a multinational pharmaceutical company, have been greatly impacted by the volume-based procurement resulting from the medical reform in China. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 epidemic has catapulted the internet pharmaceutical industry into rapid development. When crises are intermingled with opportunities, AstraZeneca attempted to establish, an internet medical service platform, by leveraging its offline resources. Chen Hua, the CEO of, has 14 years of experience in pharmaceutical e-commerce and has set up an innovative “doctors-to-pharmaceuticals” model in contrast to the mainstream that runs otherwise. This model was created through collaboration with doctors from contracted offline hospitals who were engaged online. The goal was to establish a stable and active group of doctor users while providing them with empowerment and supporting services. The objective was to replicate existing doctor-patient relationships in an online setting. Meanwhile, it has extended services in physical medical and pharmaceutical products to value-additive services such as case management and compliance-related services for patients. It has also extended the provision of prescription drugs other than essential drugs at non-public offline hospitals according to patients’ needs to enhance its marketing abilities for such drugs. Furthermore, it has used its marketing capacity for prescription drugs to establish cooperation with other medical appliance manufacturers to form an integrated marketing platform through which it could average down its fixed costs for maintaining a huge marketing team while better-utilizing marketing capacities. Can gain a competitive edge over its traditional competitors by implementing a service-heavy strategy and utilizing its offline strengths to outperform its online advantages? Will it be able to establish itself as a top-notch provider of exceptional and cost-effective services amidst the Internet hospital construction boom?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

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Case type

Field Case

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Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • Cost-Effective Service Excellence
  • pharmaceutical sales representatives
  • China's volume-based drug procurement scheme
  • multinational pharmaceutical companies
  • internet hospital
  • mature offline doctor-patient relationships

Case studies discipline

  • Marketing
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Strategy

Case studies industry

  • Health Care Services


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