Prilosec Steps Closer to OTC Heartburn Relief

Jun 24, 2002 reports that an U.S. Food and Drug Administration expert panel voted 16-2 in favor of recommending that the FDA approve over-the-counter sales of the heartburn drug Prilosec. The FDA usually follows recommendations of its panel.

Procter & Gamble developed the version of the drug with AstraZeneca Plc. Prilosec is AstraZeneca’s biggest product with $5.7 billion in 2001 sales. London-based AstraZeneca is working to convert many patients to its newer prescription heartburn drug, Nexium, before generic competition begins. If approved, over-the-counter Prilosec might expect sales of about $200 million a year, according to Marvin Roffman, president of Roffman Miller Associates, which owns Procter & Gamble shares.

Moderator Comment: What other significant Rx to OTC
switches are likely to make an impact on HBC sales in the future?

Non-prescription Prilosec marketed by P&G should
serve to drive significant dollar sales growth for the heartburn remedy category
once it goes OTC. The key for retailers is to take the lead early by authorizing
full distribution and promoting the product as soon as it hits store shelves.
First to market retailing is key in Rx to OTC switches. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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