BI launches new combination antacid


Boehringer Ingelheim is looking to spark some excitement across the antacids aisle with the June launch of its Duo Fusion combination antacid, “from the makers of Zantac,” which couples a fast-acting heartburn remedy with an H2 blocker to provide both immediate and longer-lasting relief from heartburn. “We saw an opportunity to trade up consumers from antacids to an H2 [blocker],” said Marc Rovner, general manager Boehringer Ingelheim Consumer Healthcare, in an interview with Drug Store News. “[It’s] an opportunity to address the needs of consumers who weren’t being satisfied [with] a product that gave them the instant relief associated with an antacid, but at the same time lasts longer than an antacid.”

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Initial feedback on the launch has been positive, BI reported, as the company deploys a 360-degree marketing plan that incorporates shopper marketing and national advertising. “A focus for us has been in shopper marketing to drive trial at shelf and build awareness of a new brand,” added Amanda Hines, associate director Zantac marketing. “There hasn’t been a real new brand in the category for quite some time, aside from the Rx-to-OTC switches [generating] awareness build.”

Boehringer Ingelheim has committed as much as $40 million behind both its Zantac brands and Duo Fusion, Hines said.

Overall sales of antacid tablets totaled $2.2 billion for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 7, up 1.2%, across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. OTC proton pump inhibitor products make up almost half of all branded antacid tablet sales with $648.4 million in sales. One of the big drivers behind the overall category growth has been Pfizer’s Nexium 24 HR, which is the No. 1 selling antacid tablet with $312.5 million in sales on 9.1% growth.

Nexium 24 HR currently is the only PPI on the market without a store brand competitor, though that will change in March 2017. Perrigo already has received tentative approval for its Nexium-equivalent from the FDA.

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