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  Issue 1 (2005)

Book Review
Christian Zeller
Globalization strategies - Novartis' road to success

Publishing house Springer, Berlin 2001.
702 pages with 73 illustrations. Hardback.
69.95 Euro. ISBN 3-540-4169-3

The development of Dermopharmacy is unquestionably dependent on the development of the pertinent industry thus cosmetical and in particular also pharmaceutical industry - as far as it deals with dermatology. Some years ago it seemed as if the emphasis directed exclusively to drugs with an expectation of volume of sales of beyond one billion US dollar would entail a leaving of all major pharmaceutical companies from the field of dermopharmacy provided that they have been active in this field at all.

The company Novartis has evidently stroken new paths from the beginning. The generation of a research institute in Vienna - still in the Sandoz era, has proven to be significant whereas fortuity - respectively fortune - has been relevant, a fact which could be designated in current German as serendipity. Meanwhile, a substance originally developed with a different focus, Terbinafin, has proven as medicament providing particularly anti-fungal activity and this especially on large scale towards dermal fungi.

Forward-looking developments in economy are always also linked to a location and here the scientific department of economic geography comes into play. The Hamburg economic geograph Christian Zeller has now undertaken in thankworthy way to outline and present in detail the development of the leading pharmaceutical company in dermopharmacy, viz Novartis, at its historical main location Basle, but also at many other locations of the company.

In doing so, the development of the company Novartis is presented in general by comprehensive appreciation of the precursor companies Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz. It is however the development of the entire company which ultimately also renders possible the devotion to dermopharmacy or perhaps even suggests to a certain extent. In this context there is always a focus on dermatology: at this subject index 19 entries can be found in the index after all.

There is a certain interest with the author regarding the company development of Novartis at the aspect of globalization, as it concerns a company which has set a focus on the world at a relatively early point of time.

In view of current trends this aspect will in particular fascinate the reader; he finds implicitly a multitude of responses for the intruding question as to what a location in Germany has to provide in order to remain an attractive location for dermopharmaceutical companies in the future. Targets as a "permanent re-territorialization of a value creation chain" raise hopes for a medium-sized country as Germany.

In the overall view it can be determined that the comprehensive and balanced oeuvre perhaps better than any other imparts to parties interested in dermopharmacy how today's corporate basis for the development of novel preparations are devised and what differs in relation to the past.

Prof. Dr. med. H. C. Korting, München


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