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Natural pain relievers in demand.

CARSON, Calif. -- The controversy over COX-2 inhibitors has prompted many consumers to find alternative pain relief options.

Some have turned to commonly used and less expensive O-T-C items, including naproxen and ibuprofen. These nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs, have been clinically proven to relieve minor arthritis pain.

Leiner Health Products says that it supplies naproxen (the generic equivalent of Aleve) and store brand ibuprofen (the generic equivalent to Advil and Motrin) to many mass market retailers and that the products offer considerable savings when compared with COX-2 inhibitors. For example, a Leiner 100-count bottle of 220-mg naproxen retails for about 6 cents per pill, or $6 per bottle. And a 100-count bottle of 200-mg ibuprofen from the supplier retails for an average price of 5 cents per pill, or $5 per bottle. By contrast, Vioxx costs about $3 or more per pill, notes Leiner.

"The rising cost of prescription drugs is a huge concern for America's seniors, who suffer more from such chronic illnesses as arthritis than any other group," notes Leiner president Gale Bensussen. "Store brand naproxen and ibuprofen offer arthritis sufferers an inexpensive, conservative pain-management choice for tried-and-true relief."

The company has added a special feature--easy-open caps--on some of its bottles to make the products more appealing to those consumers.

Meanwhile, COX-2 inhibitor makers received good news in February when a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel concluded that the items' benefits outweighed their risks. It even indicated that Merck & Co.'s Vioxx--which was taken off the market last fall--be made available again.

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Title Annotation:Merchandising
Publication:MMR
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 7, 2005
Words:256
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