The injunction stemmed from a lawsuit filed earlier this month by Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co., which jointly make rival over-the-counter heartburn drug Pepsid. P&G launched Prilosec OTC on Sept. 15 under license from AstraZeneca, which sells the prescription form of the drug.
Duration of pill's effectiveness
J&J and Merck said in their lawsuit that P&G's advertising misleads consumers to believe Prilosec OTC works in a day, though it's intended to be taken daily for two weeks and full relief doesn't begin until the fourth day. A P&G spokesman called its advertising "absolutely true" and said studies filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration show Prilosec delivers "significant relief" the first day.
Under the injunction, P&G would need to modify the old claim, "1 pill, 24 hours, 0 heartburn," to read "1 pill a day, 24 hours, 0 heartburn." Both claims include the footnote "use as directed for 14 days for frequent heartburn."
In a statement, P&G said it would appeal the ruling, which it said would not affect the primary Prilosec packaging. Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide, New York, handles Prilosec advertising.