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SCHERING-PLOUGH/LIBERTY RELAUNCHES ST. JOSEPH ADULT ASPIRIN

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

SCHERING-PLOUGH/LIBERTY RELAUNCHES ST. JOSEPH ADULT ASPIRIN in the chewable 81-mg, orange-flavored aspirin tablet formerly marketed for children. Schering said that shipments to the trade are already under way, and the product is expected to be on retail shelves nationwide by early July. St. Joseph aspirin represents the first of six relaunches slated this year by Schering's new Liberty Consumer Group, which has been charged with renewing market support and rejuvenating sales for Schering's older products ("The Tan Sheet" April 26, p. 3). Schering is now billing its "Original, Pure Orange Flavor" St. Joseph Adult Chewable Aspirin as a "flexible dosing" adult analgesic. In a press release, Schering said the product is "designed to provide an effective and convenient alternative for adults engaged in a daily aspirin therapy regimen" for cardiac care. The aspirin no longer carries any pediatric indications. The aspirin will be available in supermarkets, mass merchandisers and retail drug stores, Schering said. Packaging for the product features the St. Joseph emblem against the "familiar blue and pink" packaging, as well as a "bottle cap design which is easy-to-open for the mature market, while still remaining child- proof," according to the company. The 36-count bottle will be "value-priced" at a retail price between $ 1.69 and $ 1.99, Schering said. Support for the relaunch will include a national radio advertising campaign scheduled to begin in the fall and a consumer magazine campaign starting in January 1994. The ads will be placed in magazines targeting readers more than 50 years old. New York ad agency Warwick Baker & Fiore will handle the account. Schering also said it will support the launch with consumer discount promotions. St. Joseph's labeling calls the tablets "(1/4 regular strength aspirin)" and suggests dosing "from 4 to 8 (325 mg to 650 mg) every 4 hours as needed." The label cautions consumers to "ask your doctor about recommended dosages for other indications." This "product will be competing against current alternatives such as Bayer Children's Aspirin," Schering stated. The company said it hoped to stock its new St. Joseph product on both pediatric and general analgesic drug store shelves. Where space restrictions exist, Schering indicated it will push for the product to be situated near the Bayer product. Schering-Plough has marketed a low-dose (81 mg) St. Joseph chewable adult aspirin caplet since 1987. Schering says that although it continues to sell the caplets, it will not devote any market support to them. In July 1988, the company received a warning letter from FDA for explicitly promoting the product for prevention of heart attack. Schering later removed those claims. Marketing of St. Joseph children's aspirin was discontinued during the fourth quarter of 1986 due to concern about promoting an aspirin product to children given the association of aspirin use to Reye syndrome. Schering-Plough currently is involved in a California civil suit charging that its English language Reye syndrome warning was incomprehensible to Spanish consumers in the community where the product was being sold ("The Tan Sheet" May 24, p. 15). A liquid cough suppressant, acetaminophen tablets and pseudoephedrine tablets now comprise the St. Joseph's children's line.
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