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Executive Summary

FISON'S NASALCROM CONSUMER PRINT ADS IN USA TODAY appeared in the May 3 and May 5 editions of the nationally distributed newspapers. The first consumer ad for the prescription anti-allergy product poses the question: "Are you happy with your allergy medication?" and advises consumers to "Ask your doctor about the 'allergy blocker' Nasalcrom (cromolyn sodium)." The advertisement also includes a coupon for a free pamphlet called, "Your Allergic Nose." The full-page ads cost the company approximately $ 125,000. Fisons hired Sandler Communications, a New York City-based advertising agency, to manage the campaign. Fisons says that it will evaluate the response to the USA Today ads before deciding on further marketing strategies. Both the newspaper advertisement and the free pamphlet were pre-cleared by FDA's Drug Advertising & Labeling Division, according to FDA. Nasalcrom is the second prescription allergy medication to appear in a consumer ad that included a brief summary. Sandoz ran newspaper advertisements for its Tavist-1 (clemastine fumarate) prescription antihistamine in September 1987. FDA also pre-reviewed the Tavist-1 ads applying its direct-to-consumer criteria; however, FDA later wrote to Sandoz that the company's "low drowsiness" claim in the ad was "false and misleading" and asked that the ad be canceled. A number of companies are stepping up direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription products, including Lexis, with print and TV ads for its generic oral contraceptive, (see T&G-3), Riker, which is promoting the cosmetic advantage of its Minitran nitroglycerin patch, and Pfizer, which recently ran a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal touting the company's "Healthcare" consumer education series. Pfizer's April 27 ad may be the first of a series of "celebration of life" newspaper advertisements promoting the medical information campaign, the company said.

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