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This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

SMITHKLINE BEECHAM CONSUMER WILL TAKE OVER NICORETTE MARKETING, effective Jan. 1, 1994, in anticipation of an Rx-to-OTC switch for Marion Merrell Dow's nicotine gum, the two companies announced Aug. 19. The transfer of Nicorette to SmithKline Beecham Consumer stems from the two companies' August 1992 joint venture agreement, which shifted marketing responsibility for MMD's current OTC product line and future Rx-to-OTC switch products to SmithKline. SmithKline Beecham Consumer's medical sales force began co- promoting Nicorette with Marion Merrell Dow's sales organization in August "to allow the partnership to gain experience with Nicorette," the companies said. In addition, SmithKline Beecham has assigned the Nicorette advertising account to New York-based NCI Advertising, a subsidiary of Nelson Communications, effective Jan. 1. NCI's consumer division currently advertises SmithKline's Tums and Ecotrin lines. John Kelley, senior VP of NCI Consumer, will head up the Nicorette account. Fort Lee, N.J. ad agency Lewis & Gace presently handles the account for Marion Merrell Dow. Nicorette chewing gum is now in Phase III clinical trials to support an application to allow OTC marketing of the smoking cessation product, SmithKline said. Although the new marketing arrangement anticipates a successful OTC switch, SmithKline will assume marketing of Nicorette "regardless of its prescription or OTC status," according to the company. Marion Merrell Dow will handle all incoming orders and inquiries for the product through the end of 1993. Nicorette has been available in a 2 mg prescription strength gum since 1982. MMD launched Nicorette Plus 4 mg in the U.S. in June 1992. Worldwide sales of Nicorette in 1992 were $ 69 mil. The product has been hurt by the availability of nicotine transdermal patch products; second quarter 1993 sales were off 6% to $ 16 mil. Nicorette 2 mg has been available as an OTC product in the U.K. since 1991. Recently, the U.K. Medicines Control Agency proposed that Nicorette Plus 4 mg strength be switched to OTC in that country ("The Tan Sheet" July 12, p. 1). In addition, Nicorette is available over-the-counter in Italy and Spain. Since December 1991, Marion Merrell Dow also has marketed a prescription nicotine patch in the U.S. under the Nicoderm brand. MMD and SmithKline noted that Nicoderm currently is not part of the OTC joint venture.

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