Allegra to Make Rx to OTC Switch
Some of the biggest "new" product introductions
in HBC over the years have been products that were moved from prescription-only
status to over-the-counter (OTC). The newest popular drug to go the Rx to OTC
route is Allegra, a non-drowsy allergy medication.
The Food and Drug Administration
earlier this week made the decision to grant Allegra OTC status following Zyrtec
in 2008 and Claritin in 2002. The drug will begin selling OTC in March in two
forms. Allegra-D, which contains a decongestant, will be available for those
ages 12 and up. Standard Allegra has been approved for children as young as
Will Giddings, a pharmacist of East Tennessee Discount Drug in Lenoir City,
told the Knoxville News Sentinel that previous Rx to OTC switches have
done really well, including the "Claritin juggernaut."
As a Los
Angeles Times piece points out, OTC Allegra will be a positive
for those without health insurance trying to cover the costs of prescription
meds or those who don’t want to pay for a doctor visit to get prescription.
article points out that consumer costs for prescription allergy medicines have
gone up in recent years as health insurance companies have increased co-pays
to push people to OTC products. A 30-day supply of prescription Allegra costs
$75 on many plans while OTC Claritin for the same time-frame is roughly $24.
one downside for consumers is for those with flexible spending or health-saving
accounts. Under new laws, they will no longer be able to use funds from those
accounts to purchase OTC drugs unless having written instructions from a physician
or nurse practitioner.
A generic form of Allegra is at least a year away, according
- Allegra to be sold over the counter starting in March – Los Angeles Times
- Allegra joins Zyrtec, Claritin as over-the-counter antihistamines – Knoxville
Discussion Questions: Will sales of Allegra be on par with previous Rx to OTC switches? Are there “best practices” you would recommend to retailers introducing products moving from Rx to OTC?