PE: What was it like for you to switch from the Rx unit to the OTC unit?
BS: I've enjoyed every minute of it. It's a fast-paced environment that allows for a lot of creativity. If you work in the Rx
world, you're lucky if you get one or two new product launches in your professional life. This year alone [in the OTC unit],
we'll launch a number of new products and line extensions. So it's an exciting world.
But I learned a lot from the Rx world, like the value of professionals. Data have suggested that when a physician, particularly
a pediatrician, suggests an over-the-counter medicine, the follow-through of that suggestion is 90 percent. So having a physician
recommend your product is important to us as well.
By the same token, we also have to build brand awareness and brand loyalty, and I think we've done a good job of that through
mass communications and consumer activation, media, and print, and online and everything else.
When you look globally, where you see a lot of the growth, the line between OTC and Rx is blurred in many countries. Pharmacists
can give out Rx drugs and they can give out OTC drugs. You can go into a pharmacy in Thailand and get really any medicine
from the pharmacist. For that reason, I think the move toward self-medication around the world is also driving a lot of interest
and growth in OTC and consumer healthcare. Then again, I think the idea of enduring brands is becoming more appealing. I think
people recognize the value of Claritin. And if we do it right, Claritin sales could, over the next 50 to 60 years, reach $100
billion post–patent expiry. That's a pretty nice life cycle management program.
Pharma used to think of life cycle management ending at patent expiry. Now you can think of life cycle management never ending—if
you have the right product.