More new analgesics products are on the horizon. However, retailers will wait and see if these introductions can stimulate category sales or prove to be a headache for retailers who must find room on their already overcrowded shelves.
In the children's analgesics, a growth segment for some retailers, Whitehall-Robins, Madison, N.J., is about to launch the first Advil for children in liquid suspension form. That product is pending Food and Drug Administration approval and could be on the market before the end of the year, if all goes as planned, according to Carol Dornbush, a Whitehall-Robins spokeswoman.
Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J., recently introduced Children's Motrin in liquid form. It's the first over-the-counter ibuprofen product to be available for children. "We plan to expand our children's segment; it is very strong for us," said Betsy Turgeon, HBC buyer at Big Y Foods, Springfield, Mass. "And we will implement the children's Motrin and the children's Advil when it is approved by FDA." Another upcoming introduction is Advil gel caps, also from Whitehall-Robins. The gel cap version is pending FDA approval, the company said.
The introduction should take place before the end of the year. "Advil, with a 16% market share is a strong brand, and the gel cap should be a strong addition to the brand," said Bob Ernsberger, a consultant at American Home Products, New York, parent company of Whitehall-Robins and Lederle Laboratories.
Retailers also can anticipate ketoprofen to go over the counter. It will be available from both Whitehall-Robins and the Bayer Consumer Care division, Parsippany, N.J.
Ketoprofen, similar to ibuprofen, has been available as the prescription brand Orudis from Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, another division of American Home Products. Wyeth-Ayerst's patent on Orudis has expired, allowing both Whitehall-Robins and Bayer to participate in the over-the-counter switch.
Bayer received FDA joint advisory committee approval for ketoprofen to be switched from prescription last July. Final approval is still pending.
The key benefit of ketoprofen, according to both companies, is that the drug acts quickly in the body and has a shorter half-life than other over-the-counter remedies. Half-life is the time it takes a drug to leave the body.
The pain reliever is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. The over-the-counter version will be available in a 12.5-milligram tablet. The small size will be a benefit to those with difficulty swallowing.