WARNER-LAMBERT’s ACCUPRIL PROMOTIONAL MESSAGE FOCUSES ON ACE’s "SPECIAL UTILITY" IN PATIENTS OVER AGE 55; LOESTRIN BEING TARGETED TO WOMEN OVER 40
Warner-Lambert's angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor Accupril (quinapril) is being promoted by the company's field force as having "special utility" in patients over age 55, Warner- Lambert President Lodewijk de Vink told analysts at an April 21 meeting of the New York Society of Security Analysts. In prepared remarks, de Vink told analysts that in the U.S., "physicians are recognizing Accupril's special utility in patients over 55 years of age." Asked to elaborate on the remark during Q&A, de Vink said: "It is a very patient-friendly product and physicians find out that it is indeed relevant how well tolerated an ACE inhibitor can be in that patient population." He added that "our sales force has been doing a very good job in segmenting that particular aspect and getting physicians to...use it in that patient population." "I cannot quote the numbers, but clearly the side effect- profile for that population is better than [for] younger ones" taking Accupril, de Vink said. Regarding the side-effect profile of Accupril in older patients versus those of other ACE inhibitors, he noted: "We are doing some further studies to try to prove [a difference], but we do not [now] have any clear studies against other ACE inhibitors." In addition, Pharmaceutical Segment President Joseph Smith said: "The higher you raise the dose [of Accupril]...the only thing that happens is that you get better control of blood pressure. There does not seem to be any higher side effects when you get to the higher dose." He added that "a 40 mg Accupril tablet does not cost any more than a 10 mg Accupril tablet" and "that has a meaningful benefit from an economic point of view." De Vink credited the company's targeting of patients over age 55 with Accupril's 5% share of the U.S. ACE inhibitor market. He added that worldwide, "despite the fact that we were frequently the fifth or sixth ACE inhibitor into particular markets, we can lay claim to be the fastest growing" ACE inhibitor. The drug was also recently recommended for approval for the treatment of congestive heart failure by FDA's Cardio-Renal Drugs Advisory Committee ("The Pink Sheet" Feb. 22, 1993, p. 10). A quinapril/diuretic combination product (Accuretic) is pending at FDA. Approved in November 1991 ("The Pink Sheet" Nov. 25, 1991, T&G-3), Accupril was the eighth ACE inhibitor to reach the U.S. market. The product had garnered a 2.6% share of new ACE inhibitor prescriptions by April 1992 ("The Pink Sheet" April 27, 1992, p. 10). To differentiate itself in the crowded category, Warner- Lambert has highlighted its "Single Agent Commitment Plus," which will pay for any unreimbursed secondary medication prescribed after an adequate trial of quinapril alone. Worldwide Accupril sales in 1992 were $101 mil. and Warner-Lambert expects the product to eventually reach $250 mil. in worldwide sales, de Vink said. Promotion of niche benefits of Parke-Davis' Loestrin as an estrogen replacement therapy also has been successful, de Vink indicated. "The Loestrin positioning now focuses on the value of oral contraceptives for women over the age of 40," he said, and prescriptions for the oral contraceptive product grew 18% in 1992, versus a 4% decline in the overall OC market. De Vink called Loestrin the "fastest growing" OC on the market. Warner-Lambert's newly released 1992 annual report credits VP- Women's Health Care Roger Boissonneault with the turnaround for Loestrin, which had been "languishing." The report states that Boissonneault "noted that Loestrin, with its low estrogen content, was an ideal solution to the health needs of millions of women approaching menopause" and "gave this exploding population segment more than effective birth control...It provided other health benefits of importance to women of this age."
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