Pfizer, Inc. is now using “sock puppets” to market Nexium 24 HR, the over-the-counter version of the popular proton pump inhibitor. The new spokes-characters are part of a Facebook-only advertising campaign that also features the tagline ““Don’t let heartburn get in the way.”
According to a report from FiercePharma, Pfizer acquired the rights to market over-the-counter Nexium from AstraZeneca in 2012 for $250 million. Nexium 24HR was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014. By the second quarter of 2015, sales of the medication had generated revenues of approximately $300 million for the company. Demand for Nexium 24HR continues to be strong, and was cited by Pfizer as a major reason why revenue at its consumer healthcare division was up 10% during the first quarter of 2016.
Pfizer is obviously hoping that it new sock puppet social media campaign will generate more success for Nexium 24HR. In an email interview with FiercePharma, a company spokesperson said that the puppets “depict heartburn trigger situations in which people have to deal with the condition as though it were an unwelcome guest. The humor and use of puppets diminishes the power of heartburn and reinforces the power of Nexium 24HR.”
There’s been no word yet on whether or not the sock puppet will turn up in a Nexium TV commercial.
Nexium 24HR belongs to a class of heart burn medications called proton pump inhibitors. Other over-the-counter drugs in this category include Prilosec OTC and Prevacid 24HR. Prescription versions include:
It is estimated that 1 in 14 Americans has used Nexium or another proton pump inhibitor. While they are only intended for short-term use, the easy availability of over-the-counter brands has prompted concern about overuse. Though proton pump inhibitors have become common place on store shelves, many people give little thought to their potential side effects. But long-term use of the drugs can be associated with a number of serious complications, including an increased risk of certain bone fractures, B12 deficiency, low magnesium, and C. diff infections. Studies published over the past year have also linked proton pump inhibitors to chronic kidney disease, renal failure, dementia, and increased heart attack risk.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is currently investigating the possible association between proton pump inhibitors and kidney complications, including renal failure and chronic kidney disease. To learn more, please contact our office today at (888) 994-8177.