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Executive Summary

Upjohn will back the launch of Rogaine (minoxidil) with a $ 20 mil. consumer-directed television and print ad campaign for the prescription antibaldness product. The ads are scheduled to begin early in 1989. The company will "spend a considerable amount on television" advertising during the first quarter of next year and "perhaps as much as $ 20 mil." to introduce Rogaine to consumers, Upjohn President Lawrence Hoff said at an Oct. 13 press conference in New York City. Rogaine has been available since late September, following approval by FDA Aug. 9. One of the TV spots Upjohn plans to air has already been approved by FDA, Hoff noted, adding that the company "expects to meet FDA requirements for [all] ads." In order to comply with FDA requirements, the ads will not mention Rogaine by name. They will follow a format similar to previous commercials for other prescription products, according to Hoff. The exec summed up their content: "There is a program available. It is unique. See your doctor." Unlike in Canada, where the government allows neither the product or company name to appear in prescription drug advertising, the Upjohn name will be used in the U.S. consumer ads. The firm will plans to reach consumers through the distribution of 30,000 videotapes to doctors for viewing by patients. The tapes describe the proper application techniques and emphasize the importance of following the prescribed regimen of twice-daily application and continued use to achieve results. Patients cannot expect results for at least four months, and will lose newly grown hair within three to four months if the treatment is discontinued, according to the company. Before Upjohn begins its first direct-to-consumer ad and promotional campaign, it will use a "standard approach" to introduce Rogaine to physicians, Hoff said. Sales reps began visiting doctors in early October. A 12-page advertisement describing clinical studies, potential side effects, and "patient criteria favoring growth" began appearing in medical journals on Oct. 3. Rogaine volume could reach $ 500 mil. if the company succeeds in reaching the 1-1.5 mil. customers it is reportedly targeting out of a potential 6 mil. patient market. Men aged 25-40 who have been balding for less than 10 years and have an annual income of $ 35,000 or more are the target population. Rogaine users will have to spend a minimum of $ 500 year, exclusive of doctor's fees, to obtain the topical product. The price to pharmacists is $ 42.50 for a one-month supply. U.S. sales cannot be projected by extrapolating sales figures from the 46 foreign countries where Rogaine is currently available, Hoff cautioned, due to the many different situations for selling Rx products and the variation in cost to consumers. Sales in Canada should reach about $ 10 mil. this year, he said, and Rogaine is "doing well" in France and Italy. The company said it expects to have discussions with the Japanese firm Taisho in mid-1989 regarding the treatment's status in Japan; it could be sold there as an OTC. Additional Rogaine indications for which Upjohn said it plans to file in the U.S. include female pattern baldness and baldness prevention. The company's plan for additional products using new delivery systems is still "years away," Hoff said, although "some are promising." The firm entered a long-term research program with Procter & Gamble last year to develop improved formulations. Upjohn has also created a hair growth research department that will employ 40 people by 1990.

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