Popular Drug Will be Easily Available to Consumers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/11/02

Popular Drug Will be Easily Available to Consumers

If you have allergies, you have probably heard of Claritin. It has become a superstar for drug manufacturer Schering-Plough, bringing in more than $650-million a year in sales. All over Lubbock Wednesday, Claritin found a new home on store shelves.

This is the first time in history that a drug has gone over the counter not because the manufacturer had the idea, but because the Food and Drug Administration said you will do this. The FDA decided Claritin is safe and effective allergy relief and should be easily available to consumers.

You might be confused now if your doctor still writes you a prescription for Claritin or for a newer version called Clarinex. So, what's the difference in buying this allergy relief over the counter or by prescription.

"If you were buying Claritin prescription strength 10 milligrams, it's gonna be exactly the same as buying it over the counter and most insurance companies are probably gonna push you getting it over the counter because they know it's the exact same thing so really it's a marketing issue," said Misty Appling, Pharmacist at United on 82nd and Quaker.

Misty says it boils down to who is paying for this, you or your insurance company. If your co-pay is higher than $30, it will be cheaper for you to buy Claritin over the counter. She also says pharmacists are already expecting the co-pay for Claritin to shoot up to as much as $40 in January to encourage consumers to just pay for it on their own.

By the way, next week when the patent runs out for Claritin, the generic will become available. That means Loratadine will have its own package right next to Claritin on store shelves. Again, the same thing for a little less money.

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