Magazine article Drug Topics

Stock Checker: H2 Blockers Leading the Charge in Antacid Sales

Magazine article Drug Topics

Stock Checker: H2 Blockers Leading the Charge in Antacid Sales

Article excerpt

Antacid category sales were up more than 15%, to $1.3 billion for the year ending Nov. 30, 1995, according to Information Resources Inc., a Chicago-based research company. Drugstore sales were up 11.8%, to $513.9 million.

Behind these dramatic increases were the long-awaited Rx-OTC switches of two prominent prescription H^sub 2^ blockers, Pepcid and Tagamet. By the end of November, Pepcid AC had chalked up sales of $103.5 million and gained an antacid market share of 8.2%. At the same time, Tagamet HB held a 4.3% market share, with sales of $54.3 million. Together, the two brands seized the top seven antacid dollar sales rankings in drugstores for the 13 weeks ending Nov. 26. When you consider that Pepcid AC Tablets-the first over-thecounter H^sub 2^ blocker on the market did not ship until June, these figures are even more impressive.

Another mark of rapid consumer acceptance of OTC H^sub 2^ blockers is that sales of larger sizes are increasing rapidly, which indicates that consumers are repurchasing the products. The introduction of Zantac 75 in March 1996 is sure to propel sales of OTC H^sub 2^ blockers even further. As a prescription drug, Zantac had sales of $2.2 billion, compared with $538 million for Pepcid and $458 million for Tagamet.

Another reason to expect big sales increases is the level of promotional support manufacturers have promised for the three brands in their first year $100 million each for Pepcid AC and Tagamet HB, and $75 million for Zantac 75. The stakes are high. Analysts have estimated that antacid sales in the year 2000 will reach $1.6 billion, double what they were in 1994.

Pepeid AC, Tagamet HB, and Zantac 75 offer over-the-counter options for sufferers of more serious digestive disorders. For example, H^sub 2^ antagonists are helpful in treating the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can cause gas, heartburn, and mild indigestion-symptoms that often lead people to self medicate.

It's estimated that 61 million Americans suffer from heartburn. Since that's 44% of the adult population, it's no surprise that Tagamet HB ads center on heartburn relief and that the main theme of Pepcid AC ads is heartburn prevention. …

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