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ALLERGAN’s PHOTOPLEX SUNSCREEN SHIPPED TO MIDDLE EAST

Executive Summary

ALLERGAN's PHOTOPLEX SUNSCREEN SHIPPED TO MIDDLE EAST by the Department of Defense for troops involved in the U.S. "Operation Desert Shield," Allergan's dermatology group, Herbert Labs, announced in an Aug. 24 press release. Photoplex, which has a sun protection factor of 15, is the only NDA-approved suncreen for broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB radiation that is available over-the-counter. Although Herbert Labs would not disclose what quantity of Photoplex was shipped, it said that the sunscreen was sold to the military at less than the retail price of $8-$11 a bottle. The Defense Personnel Supply Center (DPSC), based in Philadelphia, said that it also has purchased 150,000 bottles of sunscreen lotions totaling $219,000, primarily from Johnson & Johnson (Sundown Sunblock) and Westwood Pharmaceuticals (PreSun). In addition to sunscreens, DPSC has purchased 600,000 units of Chap Stick lip balm at a cost of $99,000 from A. H. Robins and 230,000 cans of foot powder for $80,000 from Philadelphia-based Moyco. The military, reportedly, has supplemented these supplies with direct retail purchases from mass merchandisers in Georgia. In the pharmaceutical area, the desert operation has created a high volume demand for hepatitis B agents, such as immunoglobulin. In an Aug. 21 release, the National Wholesale Druggists' Association said it had assisted the Department of Defense in locating supplies immunoglobulin. Within 24 hours of the request, NWDA members reported more than of 23,000 multi-dose vials in their inventories, the association said. According to the DPSC, the military is planning to purchase 13,000 vials of IgG for $30,000 and has obtained some of its supply directly from Armour (Gammar). The military has also purchased supplies of vaccine against meningitis. The operation has generated an unusually high demand for antidotes to chemical weapons, because of previous use of chemical warfare by Iraq. DoD has ordered atropine injectors from Survival Technologies and DuPhar. Recently, Survival Technologies gained a $2 mil. contract from the department for its nerve gas antidote AtroPen ("The Pink Sheet" Aug.20, "In Brief"). The Army has a NDA pending for an atropine sulfate inhalation aerosol, a potentially easier and more effective mode of administration for the drug. The military has also ordered quantities of chemical blocking agent, pyridostigmine bromide tablets, from the Dutch company DuPhar. NWDA said that it has held discussions in the past few weeks with DoD about supplying the military through normal wholesaler operations. NWDA says the emergency supply demands are raising concerns in the military about its procurement and warehouse systems.
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