OTC allergy drugmakers are ready to battle for consumers


OTC allergy drug battle heats up

McNeil Consumer Healthcare has officially launched its over-the-counter version of Zyrtec (cetirizine HCl), the leading prescription allergy drug in the United States. Zyrtec and Zyrtec-D 12-Hour are now available without a prescription in stores nationwide. Meanwhile, Schering-Plough, which sells Claritin, is determined to stay the champ of nonprescription allergy products and has already been airing TV ads that flag a warning on Zyrtec's label about drowsiness. With the FDA having approved generic forms of Zyrtec, some drugstore chains could market private-label versions of the antihistamine.


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