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The over-the-counter market for children's pharmaceuticals, estimated at more than $500 million, is on the rise and marketers are strolling out new products.

In mid-November, Pharmacia & Upjohn will introduce Kao Lectrolyte, an extension of adult anti-diarrheal Kaopectate. The brand will get a $2.5 million print campaign from FerrellCalvillo Communications, New York, with ads running in women's and baby magazines.


The electrolyte replenishment product will go up against Pedialyte from Ross Products, an Abbott Laboratories unit, which saw the product's sales rise 4.7%, to $54.6 million through Sept. 8, according to Information Resources Inc. The category is estimated at $80 million.

Kao Lectrolyte's difference comes in better-tasting bubble gum and grape flavors, the marketer said.

"It's hard to take Goliath down but we will spend aggressively" to reach professionals, said Charlene Crandell, Kao Lectrolyte marketing manager.

Pedialyte received $6.9 million in consumer media support last year from Publicis/Bloom, Dallas.


In other news, Schering-Plough Corp. will take on recent OTC children's allergy entries, including Warner-Lambert Co.'s Benadryl Allergy Chewables, with its new prescription product, Claritin Syrup.

Approved by the Food & Drug Administration this month, Claritin Syrup could have strong appeal to parents as its distinguishing characteristics are a non-sedating antihistamine with a strong safety profile.

The Claritin brand has received aggressive direct-to-consumer advertising from Thomas Ferguson Associates, Parsippany, N.J., and the main brand could hit $50 million this year since it has moved onto TV. Sales rocketed 45% to $445.3 million in 1995, according to IMS America.

Another children's battle is being waged in analgesics, where American Home Products Corp. brought out Children's Advil this season to duke it out against Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Pharmaceutical unit, with both Children's Tylenol and Children's Motrin.

McNeil markets the Motrin brand for Pharmacia & Upjohn.


A dedicated campaign for Children's Advil from Young & Rubicamm, New York, broke early this month. Ads play up the 8-hour action vs. Children Tylenol's 4 hours. J&J spent $5 million through March 1996 on Children's Tylenol, with ads from Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising's Healthcare Connection.

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