Medicated Shampoos Fill a Consumer Need

Article excerpt

There is definitely a market for medicated shampoos and treatment products. Over 20%--or 25 million--of the population in the United States suffers from dandruff, the most common scalp problem. And up to 2% of the population--or approximately 5 million people--suffer from more serious conditions such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

These conditions can be controlled once the problem is correctly identified, as suggested by a Food & Drug Administration monograph on over-the-counter topical therapies for dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis issued in December 1992. The monograph lists only coal tar and salicylic acid as approved ingredients for these conditions.

Neutrogena, one of the leaders in the field, makes two products with those ingredients: Neutrogena T/Gel and T/Sal. T/Gel contains coal tar, and T/Sal contains salicylic acid. These two products make up Neutrogena's therapeutic business, said Tonya Hinch, director of marketing-hair care.

To promote its line, the Los Angeles-based firm relies heavily on detailing to the country's 7,000 dermatologists by its 35 sales representatives. "We try to call on 95% of them at least seven times a year," said Hinch. Originally a product line that was promoted only to dermatologists, medicated shampoos and treatments are now advertised extensively to consumers. The firm's latest ad calls consumers' attention to hyperkeratosis; persistent itchy, flaky scalp is the symptom, the ad says; T/Gel shampoo is recommended to relieve the problem.

The firm targets both men and women in its ads in magazines such as Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and Prevention. as well as in its radio ads. In addition, samples are distributed at conventions held by dermatologists and plastic surgeons. "People who have face-lifts sometimes have psoriasis," said Hinch. Radio and print ads and detailing will continue through this year, she said.

Neutrogena will launch a product called T/Scalp anti-itch liquid containing 1% hydrocortisone for people with persistent itchy scalp. …