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Pace of Rx-to-O-T-C switches slows.

NEW YORK -- Among the reasons for the slower growth of the over-the-counter medications market last year, industry participants say, was a reduction in the number of products switched from prescription-only to O-T-C status.

"The number of switches in 1999 was down compared with that of previous years," notes Consumer Healthcare Products Association president Michael Maves.

While prescription-to-O-T-C conversions were a major contributor to the category's growth in the early part of the 1990s, only three such changes occurred during all of 1999.

Terbinafine hydrochloride, an antifungal cream, made the change, with Novartis Consumer Health Inc. marketing the product under the Lamisil AT label; cimetidine suspension, an acid reducer, was transferred to O-T-C status, with SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare making the product under the Tagamet HB 200 name; and Novartis' nicotine replacement transdermal patch (Habitrol) made the switch to nonprescription status.

In fact, last month SmithKline Beecham said it was getting ready to introduce an O-T-C version of docosanol 10% cream as a treatment for cold sores. The product was developed by Avanir Pharmaceuticals, which originally planned to market docosanol as a prescription drug but was told by the Food and Drug Administration that its safety profile was sufficient for consideration as an O-T-C treatment.

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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 13, 2000
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