Novartis' emotional pitch for Prevacid

Headquarters of pharmaceutical giant Novartis in Basel, Switzerland.

TEXT OF STORY

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Today Novartis launches a campaign for a new version of its heartburn drug Prevacid. It's a crowded field. And Novartis is counting on an emotional pitch, as Joel Rose reports.


Joel Rose: Novartis is betting $200 million it can make heartburn sufferers feel warm and fuzzy about Prevacid.

TV ad: That's when I'd had it with frequent heartburn. That's when I got Prevacid 24-hour. And husband #2!

The ad campaign comes just as Prevacid goes on sale over the counter for the first time -- and at a higher price than most of its competitors. Novartis is hoping to make up in the mass market, what it may lose in the prescription drug market, as generic competitors move in.

David Grande is a health policy researcher at the University of Pennsylvania.

David Grande: They probably are banking on the fact they can make that they're going to be able to make emotional appeal, and make that connection to consumers, and generate a level of business they wouldn't be able to generate on the prescription market.

That's because insurance companies often push consumers to cheaper generics. When it comes to the over-the-counter market, consumers make their own decisions.

I'm Joel Rose for Marketplace.

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