Pfizer arthritis drug gains highest awareness score

Pfizer’s Celebrex has gained the highest awareness rating among GPs of the five anti-arthritis drugs tracked in PRWeek’s Pharma Focus.

Merck Sharp & Dohme’s Vioxx and Boeringher Ingelheim’s Mobic also achieved high awareness levels among GPs, according to the poll compiled for PRWeek by NOP Healthcare.

NOP surveyed 200 GPs online, via GP Net, for Pharma Focus, which ranks drugs for specific medical conditions according to brand awareness among GPs.

The three longer-established products had high awareness levels, with Celebrex – which Pfizer acquired via its merger with Pharmacia earlier this year – scoring 98 per cent recognition.

Shire Pharmaceuticals’s Lodine SR scored just 77 per cent awareness.

MSD’s Arcoxia, which is the newest of the five brands monitored, having launched in the UK in April last year, has already achieved 67 per cent awareness.

The medical representative was the most frequently cited source of awareness for four of the five products profiled. Lodine SR was the exception.

Articles in medical journals were important for both Celebrex and Vioxx, with around 30 per cent of respondents recalling such editorial.

NOP Healthcare drug research and analysis director Gary King said: ‘Celebrex and Vioxx have clearly demonstrated their position as the two leading products in the therapy class.’

Around half of GPs said they were more likely to prescribe the two leading products as a result of promotional messages.

The communications for Arcoxia also appear to be having a positive effect, with 30 per cent of GPs describing themselves as more likely to prescribe as a result of having seen or heard information about the brand.

However, King said Mobic and Lodine SR were ‘noticeably less well perceived in terms of credibility, relevance and likelihood to prescribe’.

Just over a quarter of respondents said they were more likely to prescribe Mobic as a result of the messages recalled, but a similar percentage considered they were less likely to prescribe.

Lodine SR was the only one of the five products for which more of the GPs felt actively discouraged from prescribing (25 per cent) than encouraged (15 per cent) by the information they had encountered.

Pfizer’s new Bextra product launched too late to be included in the survey.

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