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Sudafed PE is ready.

MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. -- Pfizer Consumer Healthcare is shipping Sudafed PE late this month and the pseudoephedrine-free decongestant should reach store shelves nationwide next month, according to Lori Deo, marketing director for Sudafed and Sudacare.

Sudafed PE has been sold successfully for several years in the United Kingdom but is debuting in the United States to provide an alternative to original Sudafed, which contains pseudoephedrine, a substance used to produce methamphetamine, an illegal and addictive drug.

As a result, in a number of states where methamphetainine is frequently produced in home laboratories, Sudafed and other cough/cold remedies are kept behind a counter. In Oklahoma, for instance, the medication can only be sold by a pharmacist and other states are considering similar restrictions.

Sudafed PE contains the active ingredient phenylephrine (PE), which cannot be used to make methamphetamine, and is considered both safe and effective under the Food and Drug-Administration's monograph system. It is the only single-ingredient tablet formulated with PE available in this country.

Packaging of the new item clearly communicates its difference, sporting highlighted copy declaring its "New Formula" and the tagline "Does not contain Pseudoephedrine." The introduction will also be supported by advertising, primarily television.

Sudafed PE is priced somewhat higher than the original Sudafed: Whereas $3.50 buys a 24-count bottle of original Sudafed, the same sum obtains an 18-count package of Sudafed PE.

The new entry is intended to supplement the original product, says Deo, who adds that retailer response thus far has been very favorable. "Retailers have embraced the availability of an alternative to pseudoephedrine and are looking forward to this possibly being a category solution going forward."

At some chains Sudafed PE will occupy the shelf space that original Sudafed once did. Others are bumping slow sellers to make room.

"Pfizer has really taken a proactive leadership role, and we're happy to bring a technological solution to the over-the-counter issues with pseudoephedrine and meth conversion," says Deo. "We're hoping that the industry will follow our lead."

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Title Annotation:Spotlight
Author:Jacobson, Greg
Publication:MMR
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 24, 2005
Words:333
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