The recession upset many stomachs, and to cure them consumers reached for remedy tablets like Pepto-Bismol. Stomach remedy tablets were the shining star of the gastrointestinal products category, growing 50% in dollar sales over the past year, and 10% in unit sales overall. Supermarkets are adding these and other products, including recent Rx-to-OTC switches like Prevacid and Zegerid, to provide a sales lift for their growing pharmacy departments. However, drug stores still dominate on sales of laxatives, anti-diarrhea medication and other remedies for sensitive ailments.
Pharmaceutical companies like Schering-Plough continue to seek and receive over-the-counter approval from the Food and Drug Administration for medications like Zegerid, which got the green light in December of last year. Like Prilosec, Zegerid is a proton-pump inhibitor, which treats heartburn at the source. Consumers are clearly attracted to advanced formulas like this, though companies usually see sales dip when their patents run out and private-label alternatives hit the market.