Switching things up


Clarinex (desloratadine), the next-generation prescription allergy remedy to the second-generation Claritin, is 1-of-3 blockbuster prescription medicines that may make the crossover from prescription-only to over-the-counter in the near future. If so, the medicine may take the podium as one of the four best-selling allergy brands — Zyrtec and Claritin currently top that list, with Allegra, launched last year, beating out all other cough-cold and allergy tablet brands with more than $220 million in sales through December.

Private-label manufacturer Perrigo already is prepared to offer a generic version of Clarinex in June, be it prescription or OTC. “It still has a very high probability it could be OTC, but [it’s] unclear at this time,” noted Perrigo chairman and CEO Joseph Papa in January. “Many of the remaining nonsedating antihistamines like Clarinex, like Allegra D12, we expect to have those over-the-counter.”

Other possible near-term switch candidates include the Lipitor statin, conceivable if Pfizer can generate favorable consumer usage studies where four had failed before. Beyond Lipitor, insomnia is another category under consideration for switch with the drug Silenor (doxepin). Somaxon Pharmaceuticals and partner Procter & Gamble this past fall announced the two companies were exploring switch options in time for the patent expiry in March 2013.



The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Cough-Cold & Allergy Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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