In the year leading up to the switch of Allegra, Sanofi generated $214.2 million in U.S. prescription sales of Allegra, largely due to the generic competition against its Allegra D formulation. Now Sanofi is looking to virtually match those annual sales figures within the much more profitable nonprescription venue with the company’s successful switch from prescription to OTC this spring.
The summer 2011 Allergy Relief Ingredient Guide breaks down the indication, active ingredients, purpose and dosage of such OTC allergy-symptom relievers as Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, Benadryl, Hyland's, Ocean, Similasan, Visine A.C. and Zaditor.
Customers are seeing purple again — reminiscent of another switch that took advantage of the eye-catching color purple. Sanofi-Aventis through its Chattem division in March launched Allegra, the last of the second-generation antihistamines. And purple-powered displays, like this in a Walmart in Lancaster, Pa., dotted the retail pharmacy landscape.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture study published in March in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that ragweed season is almost 16 days longer than it was in 1995 due to changes in the first frost line of the fall in North America. The first frost steadily has been creeping northward and later into the year, lead researcher Lewis Ziska wrote. That’s 16 more days of allergy relief sales — especially good news for Chattem as it shepherds its recently switched Allegra antihistamine through its first year.
An over-the-counter version of the antihistamine Allegra hit the marketplace amid a promotional frenzy that was consistent with the approach taken when such similar products as Claritin and Zyrtec became available without a prescription. As was the case with other products before it, retailers are eager to get their share of sales, so there tends to be considerable activity around the launch.
Though Schering-Plough’s — now Merck’s — Claritin and Johnson & Johnson’s Zyrtec product lines have dominated the over-the-counter antihistamine market, the big share of the prescription antihistamine market held by Sanofi-Aventis’ Allegra (fexofenadine hydrochloride) could give it a battering ram to bust in as well, thanks to the big break Sanofi got in the form of a Food and Drug Administration approval of an OTC switch for the drug.
Sanofi-Aventis and its U.S. consumer healthcare division Chattem on Tuesday afternoon announced the Food and Drug Administration has approved the Allegra (fexofenadine HCl) family of allergy medication products for over-the-counter use in adults and children 2 years of age and older.