Perrigo: $10 billion in Rx sales may switch OTC through 2018

ALLEGAN, Mich. — There is as much as $10 billion in branded pharmaceutical sales that could make the switch from prescription-only to over-the counter in the next five years, suggested Joseph Papa, Perrigo chairman, CEO and president, to analysts on Tuesday. And as much as $5 billion in the next three years. 

"The next products that we think are very important to us are the remaining proton-pump inhibitors led by Nexium," Papa said. "We think that's obviously a very important product to get out into the marketplace and one which Pfizer has spent $250 million-plus to get out there."

Beyond bringing any remaining PPIs into the self-care arena, the recent Food and Drug Administration approval of Oxytrol creates a whole new self-care category, Papa noted. "It opens up the category of overactive bladder as the FDA has deemed that category one in which consumers can make the decision to self-diagnose." he said. "With Oxytrol comes obviously a number of potential other future products, can't comment about whether they will switch or not, but obviously the Detrol, the Detrol LA, the Ditropan are all other products that fall into overactive bladder."

And pain relief may become a target for switch, Papa added, specifically such nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory gel products as Novartis' Voltaren Gel. Similarly, there are prescription-only omega-3 products that may become potential switch candidates, Papa said. 

Papa also is an optimist when it comes to switching statins, giving it a 60% probability that the statin class of medicines may one day be available without a prescription. To date, statin switches have failed consumer usage studies, and there is a thought that the healthcare kiosks that are currently proliferating in the marketplace — such as those from PharmaSmart, Stayhealthy and SoloHealth — may help improve consumer usage study results through the use of a self-select, on-screen survey.

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