Pfizer Inc. is bringing its blockbuster Nexium pill for frequent heartburn over the counter in the United States with the launch of Nexium 24HR.


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'Purple Pill' goes OTC with launch of Nexium 24HR

May 27th, 2014

NEW YORK – Pfizer Inc. is bringing its blockbuster Nexium pill for frequent heartburn over the counter in the United States with the launch of Nexium 24HR.

Nexium 24HR will be available in packages of 14, 28 and 42 capsules.

The drug maker said Tuesday that Nexium 24HR (esomeprazole magnesium) has been available in the United States for preorder online since April 15 and is slated to be available nationwide at most retailers in the next three days.

Nexium 24HR will be available in 14-, 28- and 42-capsule packages, providing one, two or three 14-day courses of treatment.

Known as "The Purple Pill," Nexium is one of the largest-selling prescription drug brands in the U.S. market. Pfizer said it acquired global OTC rights to Nexium from AstraZeneca in August 2012. Nexium 24HR was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on March 28 and received three-year market exclusivity, Pfizer added.

The company noted that the launch of nonprescription Nexium 24HR makes it a leading player in the four largest OTC categories: pain management, dietary supplements, respiratory and digestive.

"The addition of Nexium 24HR to our portfolio enhances our ability to help consumers better manage their health," stated Paul Sturman, president and general manager of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. "Nexium 24HR creates a new option for treating frequent heartburn with the confidence of a brand that consumers and health care 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 reported that heartburn affects more than 60 million Americans at least once a month, and 15 million suffered from it daily.

A proton pump inhibitor (PPI), Nexium 24HR stops acid production at the source by blocking the pumps that release acid into the stomach. PPIs like Nexium 24HR are the only FDA-approved medications for nonprescription treatment of frequent heartburn (two or more days a week), the company said.

"Switching a brand with this kind of loyalty and equity is a tremendous business opportunity, and we have a critical responsibility to our partners, to our retail customers, to healthcare providers and most importantly, to consumers," commented T.J. Higgins, North American president for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. "Nexium 24HR protects people from frequent heartburn and also from the fear and hesitation that heartburn causes."

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