Americans support OTC switches

November 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

A new survey released by The Guideline Research Group, a New York-based marketing and opinion research company, shows that a large majority of Americans (91%) is in favor of having some of the most common prescription medications made available over the counter. In addition, the results of the survey indicate that those in favor of OTC switches would be willing to pay a premium for non-prescription access to these drugs.

A new survey released by The Guideline Research Group, a New York-based marketing and opinion research company, shows that a large majority of Americans (91%) is in favor of having some of the most common prescription medications made available over the counter. In addition, the results of the survey indicate that those in favor of OTC switches would be willing to pay a premium for non-prescription access to these drugs.

Results

The survey, which was conducted by telephone among 1,034 randomly selected U.S. adults, revealed that:


•Â Three in four of those surveyed think it is a "good idea" to switch heartburn medications, such as Wilmington, DE-based AstraZeneca's Prilosec® (omeprazole) (76%), and allergy medications, such as Madison, NJ-based Schering-Plough Corp.'s Claritin® (loratadine), Parsippany, NJ-based Aventis Pharmaceuticals' Allegra® (fexofenadine HCl) and New York-based Pfizer Inc.'s Zyrtec® (cetirizine HCl) (74%), while six respondents in ten support the switch to selling oral contraceptives for adult women over the counter.


•Â Fifty percent of those surveyed support switching osteoporosis medications, such as Whitehouse Station, NJ-based Merck & Co. Inc.'s Fosamax® (alendronate sodium tablets), and medications that lower cholesterol, such as New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Pravacol® (pravastatin sodium) and Merck's Mevacor® (lovastatin).


•Â Of the six categories of commonly prescribed medications, only medications to treat depression, such as Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co.'s Prozac® (fluoxetine HCl) or Pfizer's Zoloft® (sertraline HCl), were thought by a minority of Americans (18%) to be suitable for change to OTC.

Paying a premium

According to the survey, Americans would not only purchase these products, but would pay a premium for them as well. The Guideline Research Group found that 67% of those surveyed would buy Claritin, Allegra or Zyrtec, 64% would buy Prilosec, 42% of women would buy oral contraceptives and 39% would buy medicines to lower cholesterol (45%) if the drugs were available without a doctor's prescription. The survey also showed that 50% of Americans would pay a premium ($7.00) for having access to these medications without a prescription. PR

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