Flonase v. Zyrtec v. Claritin. Which OTC Allergy Med Will Reign Supreme? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
Johnson Johnson alleged that misleading advertising threatened the 13.2 million in average weekly sales it makes during prime allergy sales season.


In its complaint, McNeil alleged that GlaxoSmithKline's ads for its over-the-counter allergy medication Flonase, which started running in January, misrepresented the category. The ads—proclaiming that Flonase “outperforms the #1 allergy pill”—compared Flonase to Bayer's Claritin, rather than to either Zyrtec or Benadryl, which McNeil manufactures.  


McNeil said in its complaint the ads should have compared Flonase to its brands Zyrtec or Benadryl, claiming that Zyrtec led the single-ingredient OTC allergy medication space in 2015 sales as of the filing and that Benadryl was leading in units sold during this same period. The advertising cited in McNeil's complaint does not name Claritin as the leading allergy pill, but the complaint alleged that the comparison is implied because the study supporting it compared Flonase to Claritin.


GlaxoSmithKline alleged in its response that McNeil's claims were off base, beginning with the assertion that consumers will assume GSK is comparing Flonase to Zyrtec. GSK's answer indicated that even if consumers thought Zyrtec was the comparative product, they too would be wrong, because GSK has sales data that shows Bayer's Claritin is the leading single-ingredient allergy pill. GSK also said in its response that market research indicates Claritin has greater brand awareness and loyalty than Zyrtec.