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Diverse factors have impact on antacids.

NEW YORK -- Despite sales of antacid tablets falling off slightly over the past year, the $571 million category has evolved into a market that bears little resemblance to what it was just a few years ago.

Products that fall under the traditional definition of antacids continue to hold their own. But it is the items that have helped transform the category into one driven by science and innovation that have dominated sales in recent years. However, the demand for these products has been impacted by the nation's economic downturn as more consumers opt for private label versions of these medications.

According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), drug store sales of antacid tablets dipped by just under 0.6% during the 52 weeks ended September 7.

Private label products, IRI reports, showed the biggest gain, increasing 41.1% in the period. Only Procter & Gamble Co.'s Prilosec had a higher dollar volume than store brands.

And sales of Prilosec, the first proton pump inhibitor to go over the counter, and of nationally branded H2 blockers--the previous class of drugs that revolutionized antacids when they switched from prescription-only to O-T-C in the late 1990s--have fallen off as more retailers offer their own versions of these remedies, the IRI data shows.

Sales of Prilosec, for instance, were down by 12.5%, IRI says. Also, sales of Pepcid AC fell by nearly 8%, and volume for Boehringer-Ingleheim Consumer Health Care's Zantac 75 declined by 23.5%.

The plunge in the sales of Zantac 75 may be explained in part by consumers' preference for the higher-strength Zantac 150, for which sales increased by nearly 7 % over the past year, according to IRI.

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Title Annotation:MERCHANDISING
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 13, 2008
Words:277
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