Marketing pieces of the digestive puzzle

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. —When Schering-Plough Consumer Healthcare began distributing its Zegerid OTC in April, the last piece of the digestive puzzle fell into place. Now there are three proton-pump inhibitors—Zegerid OTC, Prevacid 24HR and Prilosec OTC—on the market, two predominant brands of H2 blockers (Pepcid AC and Zantac 150) and two well-known brands featuring calcium as its chief ingredient (Tums and Rolaids).

That makes for six marketers, all of whom will be raising the bar around messaging in an attempt to gain their share of stomach—Schering-Plough, Novartis, Procter & Gamble, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Boehringer Ingelheim and GlaxoSmithKline.

The $1.2 billion antacid market—according to data from SymphonyIRI Group for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 27, 2009, across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart)—already up 5.8% on such a hefty base, is sure to experience a further uptick as each of the heartburn marketers battle it out through network television placements.

Zegerid OTC is the only OTC proton-pump inhibitor product with two active ingredients, combining omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate, which protects the omeprazole in this product from acid in the stomach and allows it to be absorbed.

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