NEW RIVALS PUSH ROGAINE TO JUMP-START ITS OTC ADS

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Pharmacia & Upjohn will move up the date for advertising Rogaine as an over-the-counter product after having been denied marketing exclusivity by the Food & Drug Administration.

Marketing spending, estimated at $75 million with more than half dedicated to advertising, will support Rogaine and the company's relaunched nonprescription Progaine shampoos and conditioners.

Ads from Grey Advertising, New York, begin April 19, 10 days earlier than planned.

As many as three others are seeking a share of the market for minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine-Bausch & Lomb, Al-pharma and Lemmon Co., with Alpharma and Lemmon's products already approved by FDA.

SUES TO REVERSE FDA

"We're outraged at the [FDA] decision," said a Pharmacia & Upjohn spokesman. "We're equally outraged the agency approved competing products within two months."

On April 12, the marketer filed suit against FDA in U.S. District Court to reverse its ruling.

Lemmon deals primarily in generics and private-label products. However, Peter Terreri, the company's chief financial officer, indicated a bigger move is in the works.

"We're in discussions with several companies to offer a branded product," he said.

Lemmon expects to reach market with the generics and private-label versions in several weeks.

To help keep ahead of the pack, Pharmacia & Upjohn has filed for FDA approval of an extra-strength prescription version of Rogaine, with 5% minoxidil.

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