CIBA-GEIGY's SUMMITT PHARMACEUTICALS 350-REP SALES FORCE
CIBA-GEIGY's SUMMITT PHARMACEUTICALS 350-REP SALES FORCE will market Slow-K and Ten-K potassium supplements, Transderm-Nitro transdermal nitroglycerin, and the gallstone-dissolving agent Actigall (ursodiol) to the physician office market, the company said. The entire group of 350 sales reps will come from outside of Ciba-Geigy. Recruiting for Summit began last August, and the company said it expects the sales force to be at "full strength by July." Ciba-Geigy "recruited 350 pharmaceutical representatives, all with close to five years of successful experience, as well as 36 seasoned district managers and six regional managers with proven track records, each of whom is dedicated to giving expert attention to healthcare professionals' needs." Ciba-Geigy said it recognized "the necessity for an entirely new sales force" when Voltaren was approved, and "realized we needed to anticipate the introduction of new products currently under development." The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, approved last July, is being copromoted by the Ciba and Geigy sales forces. The high priority that Ciba-Geigy is placing on Voltaren in the U.S. appears to be paying off. According to recent market data from Pharmaceutical Data Services, Voltaren could reach a $ 150 mil. per year position in the crowded U.S. NSAID market ("The Pink Sheet" March 13, p. 16). During its first four months on the market, Voltaren acquired 3% of the pharmacy NSAID sales for 1988. Ciba-Geigy generated $ 41 mil. in sales by the end of the year. According to recent figures, Voltaren sales have reached $ 13 mil. per month. With the addition of the Summit sales force, Ciba-Geigy will have a total of 1,269 marketing representatives. The Ciba sales force has 350 reps and the Geigy unit has an equivalent strength. The company also has a group of 101 medical reps serving hospitals, a force of 110 reps detailing to specialist physicians, and eight national account managers from the managed health care unit calling on HMOs and PPOs. Although Actigall was approved in December 1987, Ciba-Geigy launched the gallbladder stone dissolver last October ("The Pink Sheet" Oct. 10, 1988, T&G-9). Actigall's detailing includes electronic presentations, on Lotus software, of the drug's cost effectiveness compared to gallstone surgery. The presentations are targeted at administrators of HMOs and other managed health care programs.
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