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Santarus expects Rx gains from OTC Zegerid

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Assuming FDA approval and Merck/Schering-Plough's launch of the OTC proton pump inhibitor, Santarus anticipates the OTC advertising will carry over and create top-line gains for Rx Zegerid. "We think on the prescription side, Schering's advertising will actually help us with physicians, reminding them about the Zegerid product," said CEO Gerald Proehl Nov. 17 at the Lazard Capital Markets Annual Healthcare Conference in New York. He noted the San Diego firm's competitors, such as AstraZeneca with Rx Nexium, invest heavily in direct-to-consumer advertising. The bulk of prescriptions for the omeprazole/sodium bicarbonate drug are in the 40-mg formulation, while the switch application is for a 20-mg version. Rx Zegerid sales increased 12.1 percent to $31.5 million in Santarus' third quarter (1"The Tan Sheet" Nov. 9, 2009)

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Sales & Earnings In Brief

Santarus expects OTC Zegerid in 2010: The proton pump inhibitor's originator expects Merck/Schering-Plough to launch OTC Zegerid, should FDA approve it, in the first half of 2010. FDA's action date on the Zegerid switch application is set for December (1"The Tan Sheet" June 29, 2009, In Brief). In its Nov. 4 earnings release, San Diego-based Santarus raised its fiscal 2009 revenue guidance to $150 million from $145 million, but expects challenging quarters ahead due to changes in the PPI market, including this month's planned launch of Novartis' OTC Prevacid 24HR. Santarus increased product-related revenues 29.8 percent to $38.3 million in the third quarter. Rx Zegerid sales grew 12.1 percent to $31.5 million

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