SELDANE U.S. SALES EXCEED $300 MIL. IN 1989 - PRODUCT IS FIRST TO BE CO-MARKETED BY MARION MERRELL DOW DETAIL FORCES; CARDIZEM SR WILL BE NEXT
U.S. sales of Merrell Dow's prescription nonsedating antihistamine Seldane topped $300 mil. in 1989, Marion Merrell Dow CEO Joseph Temple told analysts at the Jan. 8 Hambrecht & Quist Life Sciences conference in San Francisco. "In 1989, U.S. prescription sales of Seldane were over $300 mil.," Temple said. With sales of $230 mil. in the U.S. in 1988, Temple's estimate would put sales growth of the prescription antihistamine at over 30% in 1989 despite J&J's launch of its nonsedating antihistamine Hismanal during the year. Worldwide Seldane sales in 1988 were about $350 mil. The strong showing of Seldane could be enhanced this year by an enlarged sales force resulting from the merger. "As of today, Marion and Merrell Dow sales forces have started co-promoting Seldane," Temple announced. He added that "the two combined forces will again work together to co-promote Cardizem SR." Although Marion Merrell Dow plans to keep the sales forces distinct, the company will "have the opportunity to put these together" for certain promotional activities, Marion Merrell Dow President Fred Lyons remarked. The combined sales forces of Marion and Merrell Dow total approximately 1,500 reps. Marion Merrell Dow is looking to take the nonsedating antihistamine Seldane over the counter "in the next year or two." When the two companies merged, they "put into place the entire infrastructure" for the Seldane OTC launch, the company told analysts. As a result, the company expects that its only incremental expense for the OTC launch will be for consumer advertising. The company's execs hinted that consumer ad costs for OTC Seldane could run in the $40-$50 mil. range. Marion Merrell Dow is currently spending $12 mil. on non-branded advertising for Seldane. In addition to the OTC application for Seldane, Marion Merrell Dow is working on several line extensions for Seldane -- a decongestant form, Seldane-D, a suspension form, and a once-a-day dosage form. According to Marion Merrell Dow, FDA is awaiting an analysis of Seldane-D data for car-diovascular effects to complete its review of the drug. The company will submit that data in February. Marion Merrell Dow expects to generate over $2.4 bil. in sales this year with about $1 bil. coming from Marion and $1.4 bil. from Merrell Dow. The company projects spending approximately $350 mil. on R&D in the current year. The presentation was the company's first to securities analysts since Marion and Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals completed their merger in December. Other line extensions being worked on by Marion Merrell Dow include an I.V. formulation of Cardizem, a once-daily dosage form of Cardizem for angina and hypertension, and use of Cardizem SR in angina. Cardizem SR, a b.i.d. dosage form of diltiazem, is currently selling at a rate of about $12 mil. a month after its first nine months on the market, the company told the analysts. Marion Merrell Dow expects that rate to increase to $15-$16 mil. a month by the end of 12 months for an annual rate of $180 mil. A diltiazem/hydrochlorothiazide combination is also being developed by Marion Merrell Dow. The company said that its protocol for the combination has been "very well received" by FDA. Sales of Marion's anti-ulcer drug Carafate were over $200 mil. last year. The company said it expects "imminent approval of a carafate suspension," which is in "the final review process."
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