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JANSSEN HISMANAL U.S. RETAIL SALES ANNUALIZING AT $ 48 MIL

Executive Summary

JANSSEN HISMANAL U.S. RETAIL SALES ANNUALIZING AT $ 48 MIL. (at pharmacy acquisition cost) after six months on the market, the prescription audit firm Pharmaceutical Data Services reports in its most recent Alpha-Gram. According to PDS, Hismanal (astemizole) is currently generating in excess of 200,000 prescriptions per month. Launched in January by Johnson & Johnson's Janssen unit, Himanal was the second non-sedating antihistamine product to clear FDA, following Merrell Dow's Seldane (terfenadine) three years earlier. A third product, Schering-Plough's Claritin (loratadine) was given a thumbs-up review by FDA's Pullmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee in the fall of 1987, but has yet to be approved by the agency. While only two have reached the U.S. market, non-sedating antihistamines appear to be growing rapidly as a class of drugs, as did new therapies such as H[2] antagonists and ACE inhibitors before them. "Hismanal has not impacted Seldane sales," the Alpha-Gram notes. "Seldane sales have increased throughout the Hismanal introduction, peaking at $ 21 mil. per month in May 1989." In May, Merrell Dow Chief Operating Officer David Sharrock told analysts that Seldane could become a billion-dollar product by 1993. The increased marketing muscle provided by the Marion merger could help the firm achieve that goal.
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