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Pfizer will shepherd OTC Nexium through switch process

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Pfizer will be the next consumer healthcare company to reach the market with a switched proton-pump inhibitor. Pfizer on Monday afternoon announced that it has entered into an agreement with AstraZeneca for the over-the-counter rights to Nexium.

“Nexium is one of the most recognized and respected products in its class with tremendous brand equity and loyalty,” Pfizer Consumer Healthcare president Paul Sturman said. “By working with AstraZeneca to offer upon regulatory approval an over-the-counter version of Nexium – a brand people know and trust – we are taking another crucial step to empower consumers by providing convenient access to important healthcare products.”

Pfizer will acquire the exclusive global rights to market Nexium for the approved over-the-counter indications in the United States, Europe and the rest of the world. Under the agreement, Pfizer will make an upfront payment of $250 million to AstraZeneca, and AstraZeneca is eligible to receive milestone and royalty payments based on product launches and sales.

Nexium was launched by AstraZeneca in Europe in 2000 and the U.S. in 2001, as its predecessor Prilosec OTC was being presented as a possible switch candidate.

AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and market the prescription product, as well as supply Pfizer with the OTC product upon the receipt of regulatory approval. A marketing authorization application for OTC Nexium in a 20-mg tablet form was filed with the European Medicines Agency in June 2012. A new drug application filing for OTC Nexium in the U.S. in 20-mg delayed-release capsules is targeted for the first half of 2013. If approved, Pfizer anticipates commercializing this product in the U.S. beginning in 2014 with launches in other markets to follow.

In addition, both companies are exploring the potential for a strategic partnership that could include similar agreements for other AstraZeneca prescription brands for which OTC versions might be appropriate. The companies have signed an agreement giving Pfizer a right of first refusal regarding OTC rights for Rhinocort Aqua, a pump spray containing the glucocorticosteroid budesonide, with a local anti-inflammatory effect, for the treatment of noninfectious rhinitis (such as hay fever and house dust mite allergy).


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Kinney Drugs to join StoreBoard billboard network

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK — StoreBoard Media said Monday that Kinney Drugs has joined its in-store billboard network.

Under terms of the agreement, StoreBoard Media will place its billboards on the security pedestals at the entranceways to Kinney Drugs’ 94 stores in central and northern New York and Vermont.

"StoreBoard Media offers an attractive value proposition in that they take a nondescript structure — entranceway security pedestals — and help improve our sales and revenue with branded messaging," Kinney Drugs VP marketing Jim Wuest said.

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Migration of health care to retail accelerates

BY Jim Frederick

If there’s any clear trend emerging from the murky waters swirling around a reforming U.S. healthcare system undergoing fundamental transformation, it’s the fact that more of that system is migrating from emergency rooms and doctors’ offices to retail clinics and pharmacies.

The trend has spawned its own clunky but descriptive term: the “retailization” of health care. As the shortage of primary care physicians grows critical, wait times to see a general practitioner grow ever longer and the costs of routine office visits and lab screenings climb to unsustainable levels, accessibility and lower costs for patients and payers have become high priorities.

In the new retail healthcare paradigm, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants are becoming ever more critical as the front line of defense for routine care, chronic disease maintenance treatments and preventive health and wellness.

The growing menu of health services on display at chain and independent pharmacies — immunizations, health screenings, medication therapy management, etc. — is both a driver and a reflection of health care’s increasing migration to retail. Also contributing mightily to the shift: the convenient care industry. Retail health clinics appear poised for another big growth spurt as high costs, market forces and the physician shortage drive more patients and payers to seek alternative sites of primary care.

A Rand Corp. study found that the care provided by NPs and Pas in retail clinics costs 30% to 40% less than similar care at physicians’ offices. The study, published in late 2011 in the American Journal of Managed Care, also found that the costs of front-line care in retail clinics is approximately 80% cheaper than similar care at emergency departments.

Public and private health plans have taken notice. Among recent developments that are making 2012 "a tipping point for the convenient care industry," according to Drug Store News senior editor Antoinette Alexander: South Carolina now is allowing retail-based health clinics to enroll as providers to Medicaid, meaning beneficiaries now can use clinics for wellness visits, preventive services and to treat acute ailments. A new healthcare overhaul in Massachusetts has significantly expanded the scope of health, preventive and diagnostic services nurse practitioners in clinics legally can provide. And California lawmakers are considering similar legislation.

Are similar measures being considered in your state? And are clinics and pharmacies in your region truly participating in the retailization of health care?

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