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Wyeth's Zoton hot on the heels of over-the-counter Zanprol

Published on 26/04/04 at 03:49pm

Wyeth, manufacturers of the UK's biggest selling prescription drug Zoton plan to take the drug POM-P, hot on the heels of GSK's Zanprol.

Formerly known as Astra-Zeneca's stomach ulcer blockbuster Losec, omeprazole was launched in pharmacies in March in generic form and as GSK's branded Zanprol, an extension of its well-established Zantac brand.

The launch was the most significant yet in terms of POM-P switches, representing a far superior treatment for heartburn over existing OTC remedies, and signalling greater responsibilities for pharmacists in diagnosing and treating the disease independently of doctors.

Now, Wyeth's Consumer Healthcare division is to launch Zoton (lansoprazole) over-the-counter, and has already filed its application with the MHRA.

The company is confident that it can steal the thunder from GSK's Zanprol, claiming that Zoton is more effective.

In a statement the company said: "According to recent market research, 63% of GPs currently prescribe Zoton in preference to any other PPI and 56% believe that it offers the best all-round characterisitics for all available PPIs.The company also underlined comments made by representatives of the community pharmacist body the National Pharmaceutical Association (NPA), who have indicated a preference for lansoprazole over omeprazole in the run up to the latter's OTC approval.

The NPA board was quoted by Scrip as saying that omeprazole's slower onset of action made it less suitable for the switch compared to lansoprazole, a viewpoint Wyeth will undoubtedly exploit in any eventual marketing battle.

Zoton is the most frequently prescribed PPI in the UK, with two million patients treated annually and 200 million patients treated worldwide; 15mg and 30mg capsules will still be available on prescription. 

Related Articles:

GSK launch over-the-counter omeprazole as Zanprol 

Friday , April 02, 2004


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