Rx to OTC Switch Promises Heartburn Relief and Sales

Jul 03, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Procter & Gamble is predicting the over-the-counter (OTC) launch of Prilosec heartburn relief medication will be one of the most successful Rx to OTC switches in history.

With the FDA granting approval for OTC use earlier in the month, Prilosec becomes the first proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to make the switch from a prescription medicine.

Jeff Barker, Director of P&G Health Care Marketing Development Organization said in a company release, “Our objective for Prilosec OTC is to develop a new, profitable, over-the-counter stomach remedy segment by making one of the most widely prescribed prescription drugs in the world available over-the-counter for frequent heartburn.”

According to P&G, the laxative and stomach remedy category is a $2 billion business at retail with seventy-five percent of dollar sales spent on heartburn remedies. Category sales have been soft, however, and P&G is looking to “revitalize the category by providing a new class of medication for OTC users.” The company expects the Prilosec switch to grow the category between 15 and 20 percent.

Moderator’s Comment: What type of sales impact do you
expect from Prilosec OTC? What can retailers and pharmacists do to maximize
the product’s sales?
Anderson – Moderator

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