The PCDA Project of Doctors Without Borders-Spain
This case won NACRA's Curtis E. Tate Award for the best case published in the Case Research Journal in 2013. "PCDA" is the Spanish acronym for Pastillas Contra el Dolor Ajeno (Pills for Other People's Pain).The case outlines the methods employed by the Spanish branch of M decins sans Fronti res, hereafter MSF (Doctors Without Borders) to develop a physical product that could be used to raise funds for the organization's social initiatives. The case focus is set in mid-March 2011, a few weeks after Juan Ram n Axta's appointment as the new head of the PCDA project at a time when sales were plummeting. The PCDA was successfully launched in November 2010. This cutting edge idea and the campaign created to publicize it received wide media coverage. The PCDA was initially very successful with consumers. The initiative was seen as a unique innovation in Spain and around the world. During the first 20 days that followed the product launch, 1.5 million packets were sold. After three months, sales reached 3 million packets. Pharmacies complained of constant stock outs. The sales of the PCDAs surpassed all previous forecasts. Based on this initial success, MSF ordered an extra 3 million packets. However, at the end of February sales dropped by 400,000 packets (i.e., a 50% decline from the previous month). At that pace MSF feared sales in March would not exceed 100,000 packets. This sharp drop in sales created significant uncertainty about the campaign's future. Atxa had to decide whether MSF should continue with the project or cancel it. He wondered whether he should put an end to it and learn from the experience. He had only recently been placed in charge of it, so he felt compelled not to choose this option. However, what was the best thing to do?