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MERCK PRINIVIL PRICING BROUGHT IN LINE WITH ZESTRIL PRICES

Executive Summary

MERCK PRINIVIL PRICING BROUGHT IN LINE WITH ZESTRIL PRICES one week into Merck's launch of the new ACE inhibitor lisinopril. Merck's new prices for Prinivil represent reductions of 21-27%, depending on the dosage form, from initial launch prices. The company announced the price reduction in a Jan. 12 mailgram to the trade. The Merck mailgram notes that pharmacies and wholesalers that purchased Prinivil directly from Merck at the initial price "will receive a credit memorandum representing the difference between the reduced price and the initial price." Merck's new price to wholesalers and pharmacists for Prinivil bottles of 100s under the company's one-price policy is $ 39.79 for 5 mg tabs, $ 44.18 for 10 mg tabs, and $ 46.39 for 20 mg tabs. Merck's new price scheme for Prinivil mirrors Stuart's initial pricing for Zestril: $ 39.76 for 5 mg 100s; $ 44.18 for 10 mg 100s; and $ 46.39 for 20 mg 100s. Following FDA approval of lisinopril as a once-daily treatment for hypertension on Dec. 30, both Merck and Stuart launched their respective brands the week of Jan. 4. Indicative of the stakes involved, Merck has its entire 1,400-person U.S. sales force detailing Prinivil. Stuart's launch of Zestril included a one bottle give-away to "virtually all pharmacies in the U.S." Stuart General Manager Frank Schiavelli said that the company offered "a complimentary 30-tablet bottle of Zestril" to every independent pharmacy and retail chain pharmacy in the U.S. "to ensure availability of the product at the retail level." The bottles were mailed out to pharmacies during the first week of the launch. In addition, Stuart said it is preparing an educational program for MDs and their patients that ties in Zestril's once-daily dosage with patient compliance problems in treating hypertension. "The education program will help motivate patients to use the medication as prescribed by their physician and to modify other lifestyle factors that affect blood pressure, such as diet, exercise and smoking," Stuart VP-R&D and Regulatory Affairs Morton Goldberg, MD, explained. The educational program is currently being "fine-tuned," Stuart said, and will be "made available in the second half of 1988." Merck is doing the manufacturing and tableting for both companies at its Wilson, N.C. plant. Merck said that "at this stage" it has no plans to manufacture lisinopril in Puerto Rico. Stuart is packaging the product. Once FDA clearance is obtained, Stuart said it will manufacture its own lisinopril.

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