INDERAL PRODUCT SALES STABILIZE IN 1987: ONCE-A-DAY PRODUCTS HELP; AMERICAN HOME PRODUCTS 1988 FACT BOOK REPORTS PREMARIN VOLUME UP ALMOST 30%
Inderal product line sales edged up slightly in 1987, following a 40% drop in 1986, American Home Products noted in its recently issued 1988 Fact Book. Twelve-month volume was $ 254 mil., up from $ 251 mil. in 1986. The increase came in the face of widespread availability of generic propranolol products. Helping to stabilize sales of the beta blocker line, AHP indicated, were the once-a-day formulations for which the company enjoys patent protection. "Inderal-LA, a patented, once-a-day, time release system, performed well, aided by its increasing acceptance as a migraine preventative and a new lower dose strength," AHP said. "Sales also increased for Inderide-LA, a combination product of Inderal and hydrochlorothiazide." The Inderal line apparently benefitted from the consolidated sales effort of the Ayerst and Wyeth divisions, which were merged in August 1987. The combined Wyeth-Ayerst sales force includes over 1,900 reps, according to the company's most recent annual report. Wyeth-Ayerst lines showing the greatest sales increases during 1987 were the estrogen replacement, Premarin, up 29% to $ 188 mil., and infant formula products, up 21% to $ 414 mil. The latter include SMA, Nursoy and Resol. Oral contraceptives, were the largest Wyeth-Ayerst product catagory in 1987, with sales of $ 470 mil., an 11% increase over the previous year. "In only its third full year in the market, Triphasil (levonorgestrel) became the fourth most frequently prescribed oral contraceptive in the U.S.," AHP said. "The Triphasil formula has the lowest total hormone content of any combination birth control pill in the U.S." The company also noted the contribution of Lo/Ovral and Nordette to oral contraceptive sales. Wyeth-Ayerst's branded lorazepam product, Ativan, has also managed to hold dollar sales in the face of generic competition. After dipping slightly in 1986 following the introduction of multi-source products, sales of the benzodiazepine rebounded in 1987, rising 3% to $ 227 mil. The Ativan sales gains in the face of generic competition were accomplished without the direct benefit of any sales increases in 1987. According to the Medi-Span drug price information service, the Ativan price was increased in January 1986 and January 1988. Building on the Ativan and Serax positions in the central nervous system category, AHP reports two compounds in the later phases of clinical study. An antidepressant, venlafexine, touted as "fast-acting . . . with an improved side-effect profile" is already in Phase III studies. An anxiolytic, enciprazine, is headed into Phase III trials this year. The anxiolytic, licensed from Degussa, is described with a profile similar to Bristol-Myers' Buspar. AHP says it "has no neuroleptic effects, and does not interact with alcohol or barbiturates." AHP is candid about the possibilities for FDA approvals in 1988-1989. The annual report notes that the company anticipates "few new prescription drug introductions in the U.S. in 1988 and 1989." One apparent effect of the merged Wyeth and Ayerst operations is a bricks-and-mortar savings through consolidation. The company cut about 150,000 square feet of research facility space out of the Radnor, Pa. site through the consolidation in 1987. Chart omitted.
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