Proton-pump inhibitors burn onto OTC shelves
This holiday season, heart-burn sufferers very well may be reaching inside their stockings for a box of Prevacid 24HR, especially some five weeks into Novartis’ reported $200 million media blitz behind the latest proton-pump inhibitor to reach over-the-counter shelves.
But it should be a very merry Christmas for all brands of heartburn relief. While Novartis will be touting the benefits of its PPI with the tagline “Prevacid 24HR: When you’ve had it with heartburn,” other marketers in the space are expected to defend their share with increased media buys—and in the case of GlaxoSmithKline, even position their brand as a PPI-companion purchase. “Tums is the ideal adjunctive therapy for PPI users, 46% of whom suffer from occasional breakthrough heartburn,” said Darren Singer, VP marketing of OTC wellness at GSK.
And a third PPI may not be too far behind the launch of Prevacid 24HR. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide on the switch of OTC Zegerid, licensed by Schering-Plough, this month. If approved, SP could launch OTC Zegerid as early as first quarter 2010.
But how many PPI mega-brands can the OTC digestives category handle? Sales of Prilosec OTC have dropped 16.6% for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 4, on account of generic competition, but it still generates $285.7 million across food, drug and mass (minus Walmart), according to Information Resources Inc.
Novartis plans to generate at least as much with its Prevacid 24HR. “We have a chance to really make Prevacid 24HR [one of the] top five OTC brands in the United States,” Daniel Vasella, Novartis chairman and CEO, told analysts in October. “The Prevacid business will come from [existing] Rx users, and not by cannibalizing existing antacids,” said Laura Mahecha, healthcare industry manager for market research firm Kline.
OTC Zegerid may bring in as much as $100 million in OTC sales in its first year on the market, Mahecha said, and reach $200 million in sales in the three years after its launch. Projections for Zegerid are somewhat of a moving target right now, Mahecha added, because it’s not as well-known among consumers as either Prevacid or Prilosec, and it’s not known whether the FDA will allow SP to make the prescription claim that Zegerid is the “first and only immediate-release formulation,” if the agency does approve Zegerid as an OTC.
Hy-Vee names new president
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa A 28-year employee of Hy-Vee has become its new president, according to published reports.
The company appointed Randall Edeker as president of the supermarket chain Thursday at the company’s annual meeting, succeeding Ric Jurgens, who had served as president since 2001 and will maintain his position as chairman and CEO.
Edeker had previously served as EVP and COO.
Tricare expands vaccination coverage to pharmacies, clinics
NEW YORK Convenience and value. That’s what community pharmacy and their retail clinic partners deliver to their patients. And that’s what the Department of Defense is counting on in covering immunizations at local pharmacies and identifying convenient care clinics as network providers — two separate pieces of news issued within the past month that really underscore the importance of pharmacies and retail clinics in the delivery of health care today.
Prior to these announcements, military personnel interested in getting their flu shots had to schedule an appointment with their doctor, as Tricare only covered the cost of shots delivered in a doctor’s office.
“As a convenient and accessible healthcare provider, pharmacy is uniquely positioned to offer services for patients, such as vaccinations,” stated Steve Anderson, president and CEO for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Anderson noted that as of earlier this year, pharmacists have the ability to immunize patients in all 50 states. “[This] presents an important opportunity for pharmacists to counsel patients during their visit, and an additional healthcare provider from which to obtain these vaccinations.”
It’s also quite a bit of opportunity for pharmacy — Tricare provides healthcare coverage for 9.5 million eligible beneficiaries. Those beneficiaries pick up almost 2.3 million prescriptions every week, and 1.2 million of those at retail pharmacies, according to Tricare .