Word of mouth and net drive patients' OTC Zocor demand

Chats with family or friends, perusal of the broadsheets and browsing the internet are the top triggers for people to request the OTC version of Zocor from their GP, according to PRWeek's latest Brand Watch chart.

Meanwhile, just under half (99) of 200 GPs polled had read, seen or heard something about Merck Sharp & Dohme's anti-cholesterol product in the past three months, with 70 per cent perceiving the information's tone to be positive.

Ads in medical journals (46 per cent), articles in medical journals (30 per cent) and sales reps (24 per cent) were the three most commonly cited causes of product awareness among GPs.

The Zocor brand hit the headlines last year when McNeil's low-dose version, Zocor Heart-Pro, became available over the counter for the first time.

Although the bulk of GPs (75 per cent) said their use of Zocor was unchanged, they revealed in the poll - based on research by NOP World Health, via GP Net - the information sources from which their patients were gaining information on the product's OTC version.

Ten per cent of the GPs polled said they had increased their prescribing.

But only one in ten GPs who recalled reading, hearing or seeing something about Zocor in the past three months had encountered a patient who asked for the OTC form of the product.

BRAND WATCH MSD's Zocor/McNeil's Zocor Heart-Pro Where was it that you read, saw or heard about Zocor? Medical journal ad (46%) Medical journal article (30%) Medical sales rep (24%) Article in lay media (18%) GP colleague (18%) Pharmacist (15%) What overall flavour did the information have? Positive (70%) Neutral (24%) Negative (6%) How has this information affected your prescribing of Zocor? No change (75%) Not prescribed (10%) Increased (10%) Decreased (3%) Stopped (2%) What would encourage you to start or increase your prescribing of the product? Clinical trial results (47%) Positive coverage in professional press (40%) Positive experience of treating patients with Zocor (35%) Hospital recommendation (33%) From which source have patients requesting Zocor Heart-Pro (OTC) received their information? Family/friends (45%) Broadsheet press (27%) Internet (27%) Source: NOP World survey via GP Net, July, 200 GPs polled

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