HEALTH

FDA gives Perrigo approval for OTC nicotine gum

BY Michael Johnsen

ALLEGAN, Mich. Perrigo on Thursday announced that it has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market over-the-counter Nicotine Polacrilex Gum USP, 2 mg (base) and 4 mg (base) (Orange, Coated).

The FDA has determined the product to be bioequivalent to the reference listed drug, GlaxoSmithKline’s Nicorette Gum, which is an aid to smoking cessation.

“This approval of orange-flavored, coated nicotine gum extends our leading store brand position,” stated Joe Papa, Perrigo chairman and chief executive officer. “Our expanded range of smoking cessation products also includes coated mint-flavored gum, coated fruit-flavored gum, uncoated gum and lozenges.”

The overall market for OTC nicotine gum and lozenge products is estimated at approximately $750 million annually at all retail outlets, Perrigo reported.

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HEALTH

Nielsen releases Zyrtec OTC panel results

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK NielsenHealth, a Nielsen Company service focused on healthcare, released findings Thursday that found that 62 percent of Zyrtec OTC buyers took an allergy prescription in the last 12 months, and of those buyers, more than 53 percent claimed to be “very satisfied” with their Rx allergy medication at the time.

“This is an important finding,” stated Matt Dumas, managing director of NielsenHealth. “[It’s] a signal that OTC alternatives to allergy prescriptions may become the preference to both consumers and managed care providers in large part due to efficacy and price.”

The findings are from NielsenHealth’s newly launched Allergy Panel, one of 32 new NielsenHealth Ailment Panels being launched to provide manufacturers and retailers insights into consumer related attitudes and behaviors of patients with specific conditions.

Additional findings from the Allergy Panel found that 42 percent of Zyrtec OTC buyers who claim to experience spring time allergies have severe allergy symptoms. The research also found that 22 percent of the allergy sufferers in the panel treat their condition with Rx medication alone and 23 percent use concomitant Rx/OTC therapies. “This could have a significant impact on the holistic allergy market because it suggests that severe sufferers see OTC as an option whereas before this patient tended to migrate to Rx options only or concomitant Rx-OTC usage,” Dumas said. “It would not be surprising to see sufferers shift more to using OTC medications only over the next 6-12 months.”

The NielsenHealth Ailment Panels consist of 110,000 U.S. consumers identified as suffering from one or more ailments tracked by Nielsen, including allergy, gastro-intestinal ailments and conditions like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Each Panel tracks panelists suffering a specific condition and their actual purchases, demographics, as well as critical patient facts relating to their specific conditions and treatment regimes.

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Unilever sues Global Health Technologies over Slim-Fast infringement

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Unilever earlier this week filed suit against Global Health Technologies and other companies for infringing upon its Slim-Fast trademark.

According to court documents, Unilever is targeting the makers and marketers of Slimquick, seeking to stop distribution of the products and to destroy stock that’s already on retail shelves.

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