Zegerid third PPI to go OTC

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. —Zegerid OTC was approved for sale as a nonprescription remedy for frequent heartburn last month, and will be the latest proton-pump inhibitor to hit the digestives aisle, this time fielded by Schering-Plough Healthcare Products, the over-the-counter division of Merck.

The company stated Zegerid OTC would launch in the first half of 2010. Schering-Plough Healthcare has created a Web site for the new OTC PPI at ZegeridOTC.com, where those interested can opt-in for e-mail updates.

The introduction is going to make for an interesting first half of the year, as Zegerid OTC will be the third PPI to reach store shelves after Procter & Gamble’s Prilosec OTC and Novartis’ Prevacid 24HR. Merck and its Schering-Plough Consumer division will have its work cut out in raising brand awareness around Zegerid. Unlike Prilosec and Prevacid, Zegerid doesn’t have nearly the number of patients to make the crossover from prescription-only to OTC at the time of its switch.

But the lack of brand awareness pre-launch has industry analysts like Laura Mahecha at Kline & Co. projecting only $100 million in first-year sales of Zegerid OTC in a Kline’s latest switch report being prepared for March. Zegerid OTC is expected to break that $200 million marker within three years, however, Mahecha told Drug Store News.

Login or Register to post a comment.