Schering-Plough's Clarinex (desloratadine) sampling efforts have been an effective vehicle for getting the new product into
physicians' medicine cabinets. S-P is now the leading distributor of allergy product samples, according to a study from first
quarter 2002 conducted by market research company Ipsos-NPD's Pharm-Trends division.
Of all freebies dispensed by physicians, patients received Clarinex 12 percent of the time. Other S-P allergy products, including
Claritin (loratadine), Claritin-D 24 hour, Claritin-D 12 hour, Claritin syrup, and Claritin Reditabs, accounted for another
24 percent of the samples dis-tributed to patients. Aventis' Allegra (fexofenadine) family of products, including Allegra
and Allegra-D, ranked second in sampling with 35 percent of patients receiving them; Pfizer's Zyrtec (cetirizine), Zyrtec
syrup, and Zyrtec-D 12 hour reached 29 percent.
Share of Samples
Clarinex's large portion of the sample pool is customary for recent launches, according to Karen Tibbals, an Ipsos consultant.
She notes that it was unusual, however, that so many Clarinex samples were distributed to patients already using a competing
product-23 percent of Clarinex sample recipients had filled prescriptions for Allegra in the previous 12 months, the same
number that had filled prescriptions for Claritin and Claritin-D. "Greater erosion of Clarinex's parent brand Claritin, rather
than Allegra, is expected," says Tibbals.
The PharmTrends study also found that requests for antihista-mine samples have risen dramatically-58 percent more patients
requested brand-name allergy samples in the first quarter of 2002, compared with the same time period last year.