Merck Bows Hair-Loss Drug
J. -- Following Food and Drug Administration approval, Merck & Co. here has begun shipping its new prescription hair-loss treatment Propecia to stores. The drug, generically known as finasteride, is designed for use by men only. It is a 1-mg version of Merck's 5-mg Proscar, which is used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy. Merck is recommending a six-month minimum trial period for users of Propecia, stressing in its direct-to-consumer promotional campaign that the drug does not deliver immediate results. The manufacturer has announced a catalog price of $1.25 per tablet to wholesalers and retailers.
Seldane Sales Set to Cease
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hoechst Marion Roussel here will stop selling its allergy drug Seldane in the United States Feb. 1, the manufacturer has announced. The move had been recommended by the Food and Drug Administration following many reports of heart problems caused by Seldane when taken in combination with certain other drugs, including some antidepressants and hypertension medications. Seldane was the first nonsedating antihistamine and at one time had an 80% market share. It now holds only 1% of the market for nonsedating antihistamines, as word of potential problems has spread and other drugs, including Hoechst's own Allegra, have been introduced to consumers. The company will accept returns of Seldane from wholesalers.
IMS: Drug Sales Solid in '97
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. -- Based on third-quarter numbers, the pharmaceutical industry will post double-digit sales growth last year, as it did in 1996, said health care researcher IMS America here. Sales of prescription drugs through last September topped $69.4 billion, a 12% rise from the same period a year earlier, according to IMS. Sales for all of 1996 totaled $85.4 billion, also up 12% from the previous year. Other third-quarter results indicate the following: Astra-Merck's ulcer treatment Prilosec became the largest-selling drug in America, with about $1.7 billion in sales the first nine months of 1997; three antidepressants -- Lilly's Prozac, Roerig's Zoloft and SmithKline Beecham's Paxil -- were among the Top 10 sellers; and prescription volume reached almost 2 billion, up 5% from the same period in 1996.
APhA Announces Awards
WASHINGTON -- The American Pharmaceutical Association here has announced several awards that will be presented at the association's annual meeting and exposition, March 21 to 25, in Miami Beach, Fla. Dennis Worthen, director of pharmacy affairs at Procter & Gamble Health Care, Cincinnati, will receive the Linwood F. Tice Friend of the APhA Academy of Students of Pharmacy Award, in recognition of long-term services and contributions benefiting pharmacy students. Gerald Cable, of the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and University Hospitals, Columbus, Ohio, will be presented with the Outstanding APhA Academy of Students of Pharmacy Chapter Advisor Award, for promoting the welfare of pharmacy students through various professional activities. Dennis McCallian, president and chief executive officer of Family PharmaCare Center, West Lafayette, Ind., will receive the APhA Academy of Pharmacy Practice and Management Distinguished Achievement Award in Community and Ambulatory Practice, for advancing innovative concepts in community pharmacy practice.
The APhA will also confer the honor of Fellow on 15 association members with a minimum of 10 years of professional experience who have demonstrated exceptional service to the profession and the APhA.