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B-W's ZOVIRAX CAPSULE SALES IN MARCH TOP $1.7 MIL

Executive Summary

B-W's ZOVIRAX CAPSULE SALES IN MARCH TOP $1.7 MIL. (at retail acquisition cost), the new Zovirax (acyclovir) formulation's second month on the market, according to data from McKesson's Pharmaceutical Data Services (PDS). The audit firm predicted that Zovirax capsule sales "are likely to exceed $40 mil. (at acquisition cost) in their first 12 months on the U.S. market." Unlike Zovirax ointment, which has been on the market since April 1982, the 200 mg capsule is indicated for both initial and recurrent episodes of genital herpes. The ointment, on the other hand, is indicated solely for the initial outbreak of the virus. Launched by Burroughs Wellcome in February, the Zovirax caps posted first month sales of just under $500,000 on 18,000 new Rxs dispensed (19,000 total), the PDS data show. The March figures indicate an extremely high refill rate. PDS data show total Rxs dispensed in March reaching 75,000, including 57,000 new Rxs dispensed, and what appears to be 18,000 refill Rxs. In just under two months on the market, oral Zovirax' monthly sales have put the drug on track to surpass Burroughs Wellcome's first year sales projection of $20 mil. Zovirax ointment form was reportedly generating annual sales of approximately $14 mil. before the approval of the oral dosage form, while I. V. Zovirax had estimated sales in the $11 mil. range. The high refill rate very early in the marketing of the drug may indicate a preference by physicians toward chronic suppressive therapy rather than symptomatic treatment. The approved labeling notes that this regimen "should be considered only for appropriate patients and only for six months until results of ongoing studies allow a more precise evaluation of the benefit/risk assessment of prolonged therapy." B-W has agreed with FDA to conduct large scale Phase IV studies to assess long-term safety.
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