SCHERING-PLOUGH U.S. SALES FORCE HAS REACHED 1,200 REPS
SCHERING-PLOUGH U.S. SALES FORCE HAS REACHED 1,200 REPS, Senior VP-Investor Relations Ralph Golby told a March 9 health care conference in Boston sponsored by the Cowen & Company investment firm. "In response to market changes, we have increased the size of our U.S. prescription sales force to more than 1,200 and are targeting them at specific therapeutic areas and markets," Golby said. In addition to salesmen targeted at GPs and the larger hospital and cardiovascular markets, Schering has several sales groups devoted to small, contained markets including the allergy market, dermatologicals, and the cancer area. The total of 1,200 sales reps represents a near 50% increase in the last 20 months. Schering reported the size of its sales force at 800 reps in July 1986. Approximately 200 salesmen joined the company following the acquisition of Key Pharmaceuticals in the fall of 1986. Schering plans to extend the Key product line in 1988 with the once-a-day theophylline product Uni-Dur, for which an ANDA was filed in September 1987. "The compound is not affected by food consumption and is the first real 24-hour theophylline," Exec VP-Pharmaceutical Operations Donald Conklin stated. Another Schering product nearing the end of the FDA review process is the nonsedating antihistamine Claritin (loratidine), which was recommended for approval by an FDA advisory committee last fall. The company plans to follow up the one-a-day product drug with a decongestant combo. An NDA for the psuedoephedrine/loratidine product, which will compete with Merrell Dow Seldane D, was filed in March 1987. Also in the anti-allergy area, a ragweed allergen compound is currently under FDA review, Conklin noted. In addition, Schering indicated a commitment to grow its hospital business with new antibiotics now in the pipeline. A new aminoglycoside antibiotic, isepamicin, is scheduled for launch in Japan later this year. "This broad-spectrum product is active against bacteria that can resist both amikacin and our second-generation aminoglycoside, netilmicin," Conklin said. He noted that a third-generation cephalosporin licensed from Shionogi, ceftibuten, is in Phase II clinicals in the U.S. for upper and lower respiratory tract infections. Schering said it will file an NDA in 1989.
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