Any notion that these two companies are still in any meaningful way friends (despite that Pepcid® co-marketing agreement) should be laid to rest by this news item out of Pete Loftus‘s laptop (he, often published in The Wall Street Journal), tonight:
. . . .The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said “point of sale” material for Merck’s Clarityn — sold in the U.S. as Claritin — claimed it provided fast-acting relief for hay fever, according to a notice posted Tuesday on the agency’s website.
J&J complained about the claim in the summer, and the MHRA investigated. The agency sided with J&J in November, finding there wasn’t enough evidence to show that Clarityn could provide symptomatic relief within about 30 minutes. The agency says a fast-acting claim should be reserved for hay-fever treatments that provide relief within 30 minutes for the average consumer.
Merck, of Whitehouse Station, N.J., agreed to remove the use of the “fast acting” claim from its advertising, the MHRA said. . . .
J&J, of New Brunswick, N.J., markets the allergy medicine Benadryl in the U.K. . . .
Indeed. And it is fast acting. Stay tuned — much more to come, on this — as the same sorts of J&J v. Merck battles continue — on sunscreens (legacy Schering-Plough’s Coppertone v. J&J’s Neutrogena Ultra Sheer), and of course — the Centocor arbitration post proceedings get down to brass tacks, here in the US.