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Wal-Mart Among First Retailers to Offer OTC Zyrtec

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart said yesterday that the FDA's most recent prescription to over-the-counter (OTC) approved drug, Zyrtec (cetirizine HCl) is now available at select Wal-Mart U.S. stores.

The retailer said it will offer eight different OTC Zyrtec products, including tablets, chewable tablets, and syrup, in each of its 4,128 U.S. stores by Jan. 23 for "prices that will help relieve allergy sufferers of their itchy eyes and runny noses, and save them money."

Zyrtec's maker, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of McNeil-PPC, Inc., estimates that OTC Zyrtec will cost up to one-third less than the average prescription co-pay for Zyrtec.

At Wal-Mart, the 45-count OTC Zyrtec product, which the retailer expects to be most popular among its customers, will be available for less than $29.

Employing learnings from its June 2007 launch of Alli (orlistat), the first FDA-approved OTC weight loss drug, Wal-Mart utilized its supply chain efficiencies to get Zyrtec on shelves as fast as possible and keep the product in stock. The product was available in select Wal-Mart stores on Jan. 21.

Since June 2007, Wal-Mart claims to have saved customers more than $14 million over prescription costs by offering Alli at a "great value." The drug has since become its best-selling OTC diet product. Wal-Mart said it anticipates similar results with the launch of OTC Zyrtec.

OTC Zyrtec is approved to relieve indoor and outdoor allergy-related sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes, as well as itching due to hives.

Wal-Mart will also sell non-prescription Zyrtec-D (cetirizine HCl, pseudoephedrine HCl), which will be available behind the pharmacy counter.
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