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SCHERING-PLOUGH AND J&J TO INTRODUCE SUNSCREENS WITH SPFs OF 20 OR MORE

Executive Summary

SCHERING-PLOUGH AND J&J TO INTRODUCE SUNSCREENS WITH SPFs OF 20 OR MORE this spring. Plough is planning to add at least two products -- a lotion and a stick -- with sun protection factors (SPFs) higher than 20 to its Coppertone line. Johnson & Johnson will be extending its Sundown line with three waterproof items: a lotion and a stick with an SPF 20 rating and a cream rated SPF 24. The new J&J products are said to contain higher concentrations of traditional sunscreen ingredients. The Sundown SPF 15 sunblock, currently marketed by J&J, has as its active ingredients octyl dimethyl PABA, octyl methoxycinnamate and oxybenzone. Plough currently uses padimate 0 oxybenzone in its Coppertone SPF 15 sunblock. Plough is also planning to launch this spring a Coppertone suncare product for young children and a Tropical Blend waterproof oil. Neither company has marketed a sunscreen product with an SPF of more than 15. SPFs over 15 were not recommended by the 1978 FDA advisory panel on sunscreens. The agency has not yet issued a tentative final monograph on the product class and has told industry that it was reevaluating the SPF numbering system. After a recent dispute with FDA, Estee Lauder recently lowered the SPFs on some items from 23 and 19. In that situation, FDA noted that it had not established a formal position on the level of protection that may be claimed. Lauder has maintained that SPF designations over 15 can be supported by valid scientific evidence. Based on January-June sales data collected by independent auditing firms, Sundown and Coppertone dominate the mass sunscreen market with individual shares in the 19% range, according to J&J brochures for retailers. The total sunscreen category is expected to reach roughly $107 mil. in sales this year, the firm said. If current shares remain relatively constant, year-end revenues for each brand would be roughly $20 mil.

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