Samples for Sniffles

Oct 01, 2002

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.

Share of Samples
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.

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.

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