WARNER-LAMBERT's LOPID ON TRACK TO SURPASS $ 200 MIL. IN U.S
WARNER-LAMBERT's LOPID ON TRACK TO SURPASS $ 200 MIL. IN U.S. sales this year, Chairman Joseph Williams indicated in a Nov. 21 presentation to analysts. Williams reported that domestic Lopid (gemfibrozil) sales were "approximately $ 160 mil." in the first nine months, which should put the product over the $ 200 mil. mark for the full year. Warner-Lambert anticipates that Lopid will meet the company's early-year projections for 1989 sales in the $ 300 mil. range. "For the full year, Lopid's worldwide sales should increase at least 50% to about $ 300 mil.," Williams told the meeting, sponsored by Mabon Nugent. The company had projected the 50% growth in the beginning of 1989 after receiving approval for expanded labeling for reduction of coronary heart disease ("The Pink Sheet" Jan. 30, p. 7). In 1990, the company is looking "for Lopid to register sales in the $ 350-$ 400 mil. range," Williams said. Warner-Lambert's advertising and promotion budget will break the $ 1 bil. mark in 1990, Williams said. This year the firm's investment in ads/promotions "will exceed $ 950 mil., with additional resources assigned to consumer advertising and professional seminars supporting our key pharmaceutical products," he added. In the OTC area, Williams reported that Listerine sales for the nine months are up "almost 18% to almost $ 180 mil." Williams attributed part of the gain to use of the oral mouthwash for plaque and gingivitis. "With millions of people more aware of plaque and gingivitis, and aided by dentists' recommendations, Listerine has reached a record consumption level. That reflects the prestigious endorsement of the American Dental Association," he said. Listerine carries the ADA "seal of approval" for reduction of plague and gingivitis. FDA's view of the plaque/gingivitis claims, however, is still unsettled. Warner-Lambert was one of several firms to receive regulatory letters from FDA in May for making plaque/gingivitis claims. The company has responded to the reg letter with a package of published studies and may be hoping to outlast the government's interest in the issue. In the past, Warner-Lambert has delayed in response to relabeling efforts aimed at Listerine and been successful in deflecting the full impact of government initiatives. * Asked about the impact of the generic drug scandal on Warner-Lambert, Williams noted that the company has "seen an upturn in sales of Warner-Chilcott products . . . since the start of the fiasco in the generic industry." Warner-Lambert has not "made money in the generic business in the last few years," Williams commented, adding: "I think what were seeing at last [is movement] toward a quality label . . . and we have the size and the stick-to-itness to see the generic thing out." Williams noted that after the generic investigation broke, the company conducted internal "white glove inspections" of all of its plants.
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