Making the Switch - Pharmaceutical Executive


Making the Switch
More companies are using Rx-to-OTC switches to extend a brand's lifecycle. Prilosec did it. Here, experts dish on how you can do it too.

Pharmaceutical Executive

If You Don't Succeed, Try Again

Even with all this preparation, the Advisory Committee may not decide in favor of the switch. But losing with NDAC doesn't mean a company should stop trying. It took the Prilosec team two appearances before the committee to win a positive vote. The first time, in 2000, the panel asked for more data. The second, in June 2002, the vote was an overwhelming 16-2 in favor of recommending approval.

"We definitely learned from the first time around," said Bierer. "The second time, our team started preparing earlier, defined our OTC target population more clearly, sharply focused our messages, and drilled on Q&A five times as much."

All the work paid off. FDA approved Prilosec OTC in June 2003—one year almost to the day the advisory committee voted "yes."

Penny Daniels, Carmie McCook, and Jim DiBiasi are principals of 3D Communications, an agency in Bethesda, Maryland that consults on regulatory issues. They can be reached at


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