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MERRELL DOW SHIFTING NICORETTE TO OTC SALES FORCE

Executive Summary

MERRELL DOW SHIFTING NICORETTE TO OTC SALES FORCE through a transfer of the product to its Lakeside marketing division. The firm said in a Jan. 7 press release that it is switching the Rx smoking deterrent product from its Merrell Dow Rx sales force to its Lakeside unit, which was set up last February primarily to focus on the firm's OTC line of products. At the time it was established, the Lakeside sales organization included about 250 sales representatives and 25 field managers. The Merrell Dow press release states that sales attributed to Lakeside products amount to about $80 mil., and that with the addition of Nicorette, which was about a $45 mil. product as the mfr. level in 1985, and another new product, the OTC laxative Citrucel, "sales should be well over $150 mil. in 1986." Merrell Dow total world sales last year were about $600 mil., the firm said, with U.S. sales reaching $280 mil. With the switch, the Merrell Dow Rx sales unit, with about 400 representatives and 40 field managers, will be able to focus efforts on promoting Seldane (terfenadine), the non-sedating antihistamine product approved last May. The transfer also positions Nicorette in the OTC specialty sales group, an appropriate move if the company decides to change the marketing status of the drug from Rx-to-OTC. The detailing efforts of the Lakeside group are being complemented by an ongoing print consumer education ad campaign which is boosting the Nicorette business. In addition, the company is testing educational spots on smoking cessation in some radio and TV markets. Merrell Dow is also sponsoring a TV network campaign for Cepacol mouthwash, the third major product handled by the Lakeside group.

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