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ROBINS' DIMETAPP OTC SALES HIT $17 MIL. IN 1985

Executive Summary

ROBINS' DIMETAPP OTC SALES HIT $17 MIL. IN 1985, boosting the firm's consumer product sales 21% for the year following a 1% decline in 1984, the company indicated in its just released annual report for 1985. "Dimetapp . . . exceeded its sales expectations by a wide margin following its mid-year introduction in the OTC market," the report states. While the transfer of Dimetapp to OTC boosted Robins' consumer product sales, the ethical pharmaceutical business lost Dimetapp's contribution. Robins reported that Rx product volume rose only 2% to $233 mil. in 1985 after a 6% increase in 1984. "Adjusted for the transfer of Dimetapp (to OTC), ethical pharmaceutical sales grew by 7% in 1985," the report explains. The resulting difference of just over $17 mil. represents Dimetapp sales as an OTC product. Those sales came during the cold/allergy season in the second half of the year. Robins maintains, however, that the switch "enhanced significantly" sales. The switch also apparently had positive effects on Robins' overall operating profits. The consumer business profits increased by twice the amount that the Rx business slipped. Consumer profits jumped from $17.3 mil. in 1984 to $31.1 mil. in 1985; ethical profits slipped by $7 mil. from $100.3 mil. in 1984 to $93.1 mil. in 1985. As an Rx product, Dimetapp's U.S. sales had stabilized at the $28 mil. level. Pharmaceutical Data Services reported that for the years 1981-1984 retail sales (at pharmacy acquisition cost) of the cold/allergy product were $28.2 mil., $27.2 mil., $28.4 mil. and $28.4 mil., respectively. The product was the company's best selling ethical drug. It was stagnating, however, in part due to its DESI less-than-effective rating. Reformulating Dimetapp for the OTC market, Robins eliminated phenylephrine HCl, leaving two active antihistamine ingredients, brompheniramine maleate and phenylpropanolamine. The company also introduced a new four-hour tablet formulation to complement the traditional 12-hour Extentabs and elixir dosage forms. Robins noted that the OTC launch of Dimetapp "was backed by the largest advertising campaign in the company's history." According to the annual report, Robins withdrew its anti-emetic/gastrokinetic drug, dazopride, from clinical development in 1985 after toxicity was observed in rats. The firm says it has "accelerated" studies on an analogue, zacopride hydrochloride. Robins has eight new chemical entities under clinical development. These drugs include: AHR-6646, a neuroleptic agent; AHR-9377, an antidepressant; surecainide maleate, an anti-arrhythmic; the non-sedative antihistamine, proxastine hydrochloride; bromphenac, an analgesic/anti-inflammatory; AHF-11748, an anti-epileptic; bopindolol, a beta blocker licensed from Sandoz; and Robinul (glycopyrrolate), an orphan drug for treatment of Frey's syndrome. The company also submitted an NDA in January 1986 for a sustained-released quinidine. Robins reported that total sales grew 12% in 1985 to $706 mil., the same growth rate achieved in 1984. Operating earnings increased 13% to $144.4 mil. Net earnings were $75.8 mil., compared to a 1984 net loss of $461.6 mil. resulting from the $615 mil. set aside for the Dalkon Shield reserve fund. The company currently remains in Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings.

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