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BLOCK DRUG MARKETING CIBA-GEIGY’s HABITROL PATCH TO DENTISTS

Executive Summary

BLOCK DRUG MARKETING CIBA-GEIGY's HABITROL PATCH TO DENTISTS as of Oct. 1 under an agreement announced Sept. 30. Block Drug has a 100-person dental sales force that will exclusively market the Habitrol nicotine patch to dentists. Compensation to Block will be based on the company's ability to increase dental prescribing of the prescription smoking cessation product, Block said. Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed. Block Drug's dental sales force currently details such products as Sensodyne toothpaste, Vital Defense infection control products and Mynol endodontic products. Ciba-Geigy has no dental sales force; the firm said many dentists are involved in encouraging smoking cessation for their patients. Habitrol "is the number one prescribed nicotine patch," according to Ciba-Geigy, with sales of about $350 mil. since its December launch. However, monthly sales of nicotine patches have been declining since April. Ciba-Geigy attributed the recent declines to three factors. Ad campaigns for the products were pulled this spring due to supply shortages. Reports of a possible association of patch use (combined with smoking) and heart attacks also may have had an impact ("The Pink Sheet" July 20, p. 8). Finally, Ciba-Geigy said patients may be less willing to use patches during the summer. The Swiss firm, which said full supplies of Habitrol are now available, expects sales volume to pick up as the year ends. The other two marketers in the first group of patches approved also recently announced the end to supply shortages and resumed their direct-to-consumer ad campaigns. Marion Merrell Dow said Sept. 29 that "pharmacies across the U.S. are now fully stocked" with its patch, Nicoderm. MMD added that it is discontinuing the allocation system it adopted in March to deal with shortages ("The Pink Sheet" April 6, p. 8). Lederle announced full availability of ProStep earlier in the month. A fourth patch, Warner-Lambert's Nicotrol, was launched in August ("The Pink Sheet" July 13, T&G- 13) and is also being promoted through ads to consumers.

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