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Schering-plough corp. broke new ground last summer when it made Claritin the official allergy treatment of Major League Baseball, the first drug to link with a professional sports league.

The move allowed Schering-Plough to use the MLB logo in its promotions and gave rise to a corresponding ad campaign via Parsippany, N.J.-based CommonHealth.

Under the eye of Steve Andrzejewski, VP-marketing, the drug is the most-heavily DTC-promoted medication with $137 million in spending last year, according to IMS Health, giving the product terrific awareness levels.

Claritin promotion is so pervasive that the brand covers prescription take-home bags from pharmacies, making it possible for a consumer to carry home an order of Pfizer's Zyrtec or Aventis' Allegra with the Claritin name wrapped around it.

Meanwhile, sales continue to grow, even though market share has seen a slight erosion and competitors are gaining. Last year, Claritin posted $1.7 billion in U.S. sales, according to IMS Health, a 24% jump over 1998.

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