Magazine article Drug Topics

Another H2 Antagonist Hits the OTC Market

Magazine article Drug Topics

Another H2 Antagonist Hits the OTC Market

Article excerpt

Following the successful launches of Pepcid AC (famotidine) and Tagamet HB (cimetidine), yet another H2 antagonist has entered the over-the-counter market. Zantac 75 (ranitidine) by Warner-Wellcome Consumer HealthCare has become the third prescription ulcer medicine to become an OTC heartburn remedy. Approved in December 1995, Zantac hit retail shelves last month.

This product launch is an especially exciting one in light of Zantac's popularity as a prescription product. Zantac has been the most prescribed H2 antagonist worldwide for the past five years. Analysts are watching the market closely to see whether Zantac's prescription record will play in its favor, despite its late entry into the OTC market.

Pepcid AC by Johnson & Johnson/ Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals was the first to hit retail shelves, receiving Rx-to-OTC switch approval in April of last year. Tagamet HB by SmithKline Beecham was next, approved as an over-the-counter drug in June 1995.

Recently, J&J/ Merck has been boasting about the success of Pepcid AC, proudly claiming that it is the largest and most successful Rx-to-OTC switch in history. …

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