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MERCK's MEVACOR SURPASSES LOPID AS ANTICHOLESTEROL MARKET LEADER

Executive Summary

MERCK's MEVACOR SURPASSES LOPID AS ANTICHOLESTEROL MARKET LEADER with a 35% share of new prescriptions in the U.S. retail market, according to Pharmaceutical Data Services' (PDS) most recent Alpha-Gram. "Among the new products introduced in 1987, Mevacor has shown the greatest impact on the market by January 1988 . . . [with] 84,000 new prescriptions out of the 244,000 new prescriptions in the cholesterol reducer class," the Alpha-Gram states. "Mevacor now has a 35% share of new prescriptions in this class, which establishes it as the leading cholesterol reducer." Launched in September 1987, Mevacor (lovastatin) is approved as second-line therapy, after diet, for the reduction of elevated low density lipoprotein and total cholesterol levels. Mevacor has apparently made strong inroads into a market previously dominated by Warner-Lambert's Lopid (gamfibrozil) and Bristol-Myers' Questran (choleetyramine). PDS, a McKesson subsidiary, reported in June 1987 that the domestic anti-cholesterol market grew 35% over the preceding 12 months to about $120 mil. (at pharmacy acquisition cost). Of that total, Lopid and Questran each had sales of about $40 mil. Merrell Dow's Lorelco and Wyeth-Ayerst's Atromid-S combined to make up about $32 mil., according to PDS data. More recently, Warner-Lambert told analysts in January that, as of the first week of 1988, Lopid held the leading position in the anticholesterol market (based on IMS data) with a 32% share of new prescriptions, followed by Nevacor with a 29% share. Warner-Lambert credited the results of the Helsinki Heart Study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in November, for Lopid's resurgence. The prescription audit firm also noted the performance of two other products recently introduced to the U.S. retail market, Miles quinolone antibiotic Cipro and Abbott's Hytrin. Introduced in November, Cipro (ciprofloxacin) generated 33,000 new prescriptions in January, and captured a 10% share of its market, according to PDS. Abbott's alpha blocker Hytrin, the first drug approved via an electronic NDA, has a 3% share of the U.S. antihypertensive market, PDS said. Hytrin is co-marketed by Burroughs Wellcome.
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