News Feature | May 29, 2014

Pfizer Launches ‘The Purple Pill' OTC For Heartburn In The US

By Estel Grace Masangkay

Pfizer announced the introduction and launch of over-the-counter (OTC) Nexium 24HR in the U.S. ‘The Purple Pill’ is now available for the treatment of frequent heartburn (two or more days in a week) in adult patients aged 18 years and above.

Fifteen million people in the U.S. suffer from heartburn everyday, while over 60 million men and women in the U.S. experience it at least once a month.

The company bought exclusive global OTC rights to Nexium from AstraZeneca in August 2012. Pfizer received approval for the drug from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last March along with three year marketing exclusivity.

Paul Sturman, President and General Manager of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, said, “Nexium 24HR creates a new option for treating frequent heartburn with the confidence of a brand that consumers and healthcare providers know and trust. The OTC availability of Nexium 24HR in the U.S. marks the first step in our efforts to build a strong, global position in digestive health with this powerful brand.” Pfizer offers OTC drugs in other categories, including pain management and respiratory.

Nexium 24HR is an OTC acid-reducer treatment for frequent heartburn. The drug is to be used once a day every day for 14 days. The drug is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that hinders acid production at its source. The two-week treatment course may be repeated every four months.

“I, along with many of my colleagues, have come to trust ‘The Purple Pill’ as the number one prescribed acid blocker brand. The availability of Nexium 24HR represents an important development in access to the medication at a time when people are in need of a short term course of therapy for effective self-care solutions,” said David A. Johnson, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Gastroenterology Eastern VA Medical School, in Norfolk VA.

The drug has been previously available for preorder in the U.S. since last month and will be available at retailer outlets in the country within 72 hours.