OTC Prevacid poised for launch
This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet
An 1advertisement in the Oct. 23 issue of All You magazine says Novartis' Prevacid 24HR could be "available as early as November 12th." The Web site for the proton pump inhibitor, 2www.prevacid24hr.com, has been updated with additional information about the product, including packaging and drug facts. Novartis, which licenses Prevacid 24HR (lansoprazole 15 mg) from Takeda Pharmaceuticals, appears to position the drug as an alternative to prescription heartburn remedies, rather than attempting to draw away users of Procter & Gamble's Prilosec OTC (omeprazole 20 mg) - as the company said upon FDA approval of the switch in May (3"The Tan Sheet" May 18, 2009). The OTC PPI market may grow more crowded after December, when FDA's decision on Santarus/Schering-Plough's Zegerid (omeprazole 20 mg/sodium bicarbonate) is due (4"The Tan Sheet" June 29, 2009, In Brief)
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Novartis expects the proton pump inhibitor to become a top-five OTC brand in the U.S. during its three-year market exclusivity, CEO Daniel Vasella says during an Oct. 22 third-quarter earnings call. The firm estimates Prevacid 24HR (lansoprazole) will hit 100,000 store shelves by mid-November (1"The Tan Sheet" Sept. 28, 2009, In Brief). Separately, Vasella said the firm's consumer business is benefiting as consumer spending picks up following a sluggish start this year. Specifically, the company's "good range" of cough and cold products for the current season drove sales of OTC drugs up 3 percent, he said. Consumer health business sales in the July-September period rose slightly to $1.5 billion. Overall net sales rose 3 percent to $11.1 billion, and net income was flat at $2.1 billion
Novartis plans to prioritize converting patients currently treated with prescription Prevacid when the proton pump inhibitor becomes available over-the-counter, rather than winning over Prilosec OTC users, a Novartis executive said
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