HEALTH

Something to sneeze at: Retailers put spotlight on OTC Allegra

BY Mike Troy

NEW YORK — 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.

For example, Walmart last week ran an ad during "American Idol," announcing it would have the OTC product, and then this past weekend, Allegra was featured in numerous retailers’ Sunday circulars. Target took that approach, but it featured a small ad for Allegra on the bottom of page 16 of a 24-page circular at $17.99 for the standard 30-count package. However, the company prominently featured the brand on an endcap near its pharmacies.

Walgreens also offered Allegra at $17.99, but was more ambitious in stores utilizing an Allegra-branded purple archway that extended across two endcaps. The company also offered an in-store coupon that reduced the price by $3.

Rival CVS/pharmacy was even more aggressive on the pricing front, beating others’ prices by 10 cents in its featured $17.88 price. CVS also featured the brand on the cover of its circular, but promoted an “after savings” price of $8.88 by noting shoppers could receive $5 in Extra Bucks rewards good for use on their next purchase and further reduce the price with a $4 manufacturer’s coupon that was in most Sunday newspapers.

Kmart included Allegra on the back page of its circular for $17.99, but the image was small and easily lost amid the dozens of other featured items.

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Meda Consumer Healthcare saluted for relaunch of Bifera

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — Meda Consumer Healthcare recently was named the grand winner of the MAX Awards for excellence in marketing for the relaunch of Bifera, an over-the-counter supplement that offers two types of iron — protein- and plant-based.

Presented by Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business Department of Marketing and the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the MAX Awards honored outstanding marketing innovations developed or launched by Georgia companies in 2010.

Meda Consumer Healthcare was honored as grand winner for its nontraditional approach to the relaunch of Bifera. To communicate the product’s benefits, Meda focused on consumer education over "pharmaceutical marketing," leveraging key influencers and grassroots, word-of-mouth marketing. By narrowing its target market focus and reaching its audience through innovative methods, the company restructured the entire market, almost doubling average weekly sales.

The Global Soap Project and the Vidalia Onion Committee with Langston Communications for the Ogres and Onions Program also were named winners. Winners were selected by the Georgia State University Marketing Roundtable, which comprises senior marketing executives from many of Atlanta’s top companies.

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Actavis names OTC director

BY Michael Johnsen

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — Actavis last week named Lisa Buono to lead its over-the-counter drug division as part of the company’s strategic expansion of the division.

As director of OTC, Buono will oversee the division’s day-to-day operations and will focus on identifying and capitalizing on new product opportunities. Actavis manufactures and distributes numerous nonprescription liquids, creams and ointments sold under the Actavis label and its customers’ own brands, as well as FeverAll brand acetaminophen suppositories.

Buono joined the company in mid-January, reporting to VP commercial development Terry Fullem. “We are delighted to welcome Lisa to Actavis and [are] confident that her experience in brand management and marketing, combined with her knowledge of pharmaceutical science and policy, make her the ideal person to lead our growth in OTC,” Fullem stated.

Buono brings nearly 30 years of experience in nonprescription pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare marketing and management, including 10 years in various associate VP positions with Wyeth (now Pfizer) Consumer Healthcare.

Immediately prior to joining Actavis, Buono was a marketing consultant to OTC start-up Blacksmith Brands and to Prestige Brands. She holds an MBA in marketing from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics from Montclair State University.

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