Magazine article Drug Topics

Switched Drugs Fuel OTC While Dampening Rx Allergy Market

Magazine article Drug Topics

Switched Drugs Fuel OTC While Dampening Rx Allergy Market

Article excerpt

Switched drugs fuel OTC while dampending Rx allergy market

The allergy/sinus market is expected to grow to $3.5 billion in sales by 1995, up from $1.9 billion in 1989.

Primary market products (designed just for allergy or sinus relief) will account for $2 billion of the market, and dual market products (designed to provide relief from both allergy/sinus symptoms and cold symptoms) will bring in $1.5 billion within the next four years.

And in looking at the marketplace in terms of prescription and over-the-counter, the OTC portion is expected to generate $1.9 billion in 1995; the Rx portion will account for $1.6 billion, according to POV Inc., a West Orange, N.J.-based business analysis and publishing firm that focuses on the health-care industry.

The growth in the allergy/sinus over-the-counter market of the 1990s is being sparked primarily by Rx-to-OTC switches. While manufacturers will continue to rely on line extension strategies to launch products in the allergy/sinus category, switched drugs will be the most significant factor driving the market, according to Lawrence C. Schlegel, president, POV.

In the primary products market, Rx-to-OTC switches of nonsedating antihistamines will account for more than $700 million in sales by 1995, POV predicted. This will represent more than two-thirds of the OTC primary products market.

An application is currently pending with the Food & Drug Administration to switch Marion Merrell Dow's Seldane (terfenadine) from Rx to OTC. Although at press time FDA had raised issues regarding possible cardiovascular side effects from the drug, POV is optimistic that Seldane will be cleared promptly for OTC distribution in both single-ingredient and combination formulas. When it's approved as a switch drug, Seldane is expected to generate $400 million by 1995.

Seldane's popularity is due to its nonsedating factor, Schlegel explained. Both as an Rx and in the future, as an OTC, Seldane, and other nonsedating anthistamines, will draw consumers who were previously unable to use an antihistamine drug. The nonsedating factor is also encouraging current customers to use such products more frequently.

Contributing to the growth of the nonsedating antihistamine category will be Seldane's loss of patent protection in 1992. When this happens, many OTC drug products that contain antihistamines will reformulate and substitute Seldane for their present antihistamine, according to POV. …

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