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UPJOHN WILL USE MOTRIN BRAND FOR OTC ANALGESIC; MOTRIN IB

Executive Summary

UPJOHN WILL USE MOTRIN BRAND FOR OTC ANALGESIC; MOTRIN IB marketing details, including a late May, early June roll-out of the 200 mg caplets, will be announced by the company on May 15. Upjohn is making the Rx-to-OTC switch for its ibuprofen product in part because the brand's prescription sales are feeling the squeeze from generics and partly as a move to revivify its OTC business. Motrin prescription sales in 1988 were $ 90 mil., down nearly 22% from 1987, according to analysts' estimates. By using the Motrin name on the OTC product, Upjohn will have the marketing advantage of immediate brand recognition by physicians and arthritis patients who are familiar with the prescription form of the drug. Upjohn has consulted with FDA about using the name Motrin and the possibility of potential consumer confusion between the prescription and OTC versions, a spokesperson said. Upjohn is hoping that Motrin's name recognition will provide an entree to the crowded ibuprofen market. Motrin will face stiff competition from the major players Advil and, to a lesser extent, Nuprin. J&J also has a presence with the OTC ibuprofen Medipren. American Home Products' Whitehall Labs product Advil is the market leader, having had the advantage of being one of the first OTC ibuprofen products on the market. Along with Anacin, total AHP analgesic sales, disclosed in the company's fact-book on 1988 performance, were $ 478 mil. Although Motrin IB will be Upjohn's first major foray into the OTC analgesic market, the company also sells a nonprescription ibuprofen product under the tradename Haltran. Haltran had estimated 1988 volume of about $ 1 mil. The company plans to continue marketing the product following the launch of Motrin IB for its current target indication of dysmenorrhea, a spokesperson said. Motrin IB will join Upjohn's small OTC business which is led by the antidiarrheal Kaopectate and the topical antipruritic Cortaid. Upjohn once deemphasized its OTC product lines, but has in the last several years begun to redirect marketing attention to the segment. In addition to Kaopectate and Cortaid, Upjohn markets Unicap vitamins, Cheracol cough syrup, Mycitracin antibiotic and Progaine thinning-hair shampoo, which was recently introduced as a companion product to the prescription topical minoxodil Rogaine.
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