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SURVEY SHOWS PATIENTS ARE UNAWARE OF ULCER TREATMENT OPTIONS; SMITHKLINE BEECHAM LAUNCHES PATIENT AWARENESS AND TAGAMET REBATE PROGRAM

 PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/-- SmithKline Beecham today released the following:
 Amid calls for healthcare reform, consumers are being urged to learn more about their healthcare options. But a recent Gallup & Robinson poll has found that many peptic ulcer sufferers lack the necessary information to discuss treatment alternatives and costs with their doctors -- an important finding since Americans spend over $2.5 billion a year on ulcer drugs.
 Among recent users of the two leading prescription ulcer drugs, 37 percent did not even know of the existence of an alternative to the drug that they themselves have used, the survey found.
 Fifty-six percent did not know which of the four most frequently prescribed ulcer drugs was the most expensive, and 79 percent did not know which was the least expensive.
 "We at SB are now taking more steps to encourage consumers as well as physicians to weigh the relative value of these drugs," noted Dr. Jerry Karabelas, president of the North American pharmaceuticals unit of SmithKline Beecham (SB). "Although only physicians can decide which drug is best for individual cases, patients should get involved and ask their doctors whether the most affordable drug is an option to consider."
 SB is the maker of Tagamet(R) (cimetidine), which for years has been the least expensive of the H2-receptor antagonist drugs for treating duodenal ulcers. By contrast, the most frequently prescribed H2- receptor antagonist, Zantac(R) (ranitidine), is the most expensive.
 Dr. Karabelas added, "Until consumers know their options -- and the associated costs -- there is no way they can take more responsibility for their healthcare.
 "Informed consumers should be one of the engines of healthcare reform."
 SB today announced a rebate program that offers consumers $10 off each qualifying prescription of Tagamet, increasing the savings that had already been available to Tagamet users.
 Rebate coupons are available through physicians' offices and retail pharmacies nationwide. After having a Tagamet prescription filled, the consumer can mail a coupon and proof-of-purchase to the address specified on the coupon. SB will send the consumer a check for $10 plus a coupon to be used with the next prescription.
 SB sales representatives are now beginning to inform physicians and pharmacists about the rebate program and to provide them with coupon books. SB will also provide pharmacists with materials for display to urge consumers to learn about price differences among peptic ulcer drugs.
 Several hundred million prescriptions have been written for Tagamet worldwide since its introduction in 1976. In 1988, Sir James Black won the Nobel Prize in part for his role in the discovery of Tagamet. In the United States, more than nine million prescriptions for Tagamet were written in 1992 alone.
 SB -- one of the world's leading healthcare companies -- discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets human and animal pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medicine, health-related consumer products, and clinical laboratory services.
 -0- 11/8/93
 /CONTACT: Richard Koenig, 215-751-3415, for SmithKline Beecham/
 (SBH)


CO: SmithKline Beecham ST: Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:

MP -- NY029 -- 1636 11/08/93 09:34 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 8, 1993
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