Magazine article Drug Topics

Under Your Skin

Magazine article Drug Topics

Under Your Skin

Article excerpt

Are onions being sold behind the counter in pharmacies? Well, sort of. A new botanical cosmetic containing onion extract is being marketed to pharmacists as an unofficial behind-the-counter item. The product promises to improve the appearance of scars and the performance of retail sales.

Merz Skin Care Products, Greensboro, N.C., recently introduced Mederma Skin Care for Scars. This topical gel is formulated to help scars appear softer and smoother. It contains a proprietary botanical extract, Allium cepa, which is derived from onions. This OTC product is regulated as a cosmetic, not as a drug. However, Merz believes the product is an appropriate candidate for behind-thecounter sale.

"We can't make the decision for retailers, but we recommend keeping Mederma Skin Care for Scars behind the counter for a number of reasons," said David Delle Donne, Mederma product director. He explained that consumers are bound to have plenty of questions about this brand-new product and category, as well as questions about scarring in general.

Delle Donne believes that these patients will want a bit of information about the types and forms of scars on which Mederma Skin Care for Scars should be used. He also thinks they will want further counseling on how and when to apply the gel. "I can't think of a better person to inform patients than a pharmacist," he said, noting R.Ph.s' reputations as trusted professionals.

He also believes that pharmacists will be able to explain the true value of the product to patients who might initially be put off by Mederma's price. "Most creams in the first-aid aisle are priced between $3 and $5, while Mederma's suggested retail price is closer to $30," said Delle Donne.

A 50-gm tube should last an average of three months if applied three to four times daily as directed. This estimate is based upon a scar measuring eight to 10 inches. Delle Donne believes Mederma's approximate price of $10 per month is quite reasonable, considering the costly alternatives. He estimated a similar course of treatment with occlusive sheeting could cost anywhere from $40 to $269. Steroid injections, he said, could carry a price tag of $900.

For these reasons, Merz believes its unique scar remedy requires unique positioning. …

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