FTC Probing A Perrigo Contract

    ALLEGAN — The Federal Trade Commission is investigating a 1998 agreement between Perrigo Co. and Alpharma Inc., a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company that supplies Perrigo with some over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

    Alpharma reported the probe in its Form 10-Q submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission for the period ended Sept. 30, but gave no details about the Perrigo agreement in the filing.

    Alpharma told the SEC that it is cooperating with the FTC and that the inquiry could result in further FTC proceedings.

    Kathleen Makrakis, vice president of investor relations for Alpharma, said the company isn’t disclosing anything additional.

    “We don’t usually comment on those matters,” she said.

    Perrigo officials informed Perrigo shareholders of the probe on Nov. 14.

    Ernest Schenk, Perrigo’s manager of investor relations and communication, said he didn’t know what about the agreement was at issue, whether or not it might lead to further FTC proceedings, or when the issue might be resolved.

    “We look at it as a preliminary inquiry,” he said.

    Perrigo also announced that it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals for three new over-the-counter pharmaceuticals it expects to begin shipping in early 2004.

    New additions to the company’s line are: Ibuprofen/Pseudoephedrine Oral Suspension; Loratadine Syrup, 5 mg; and Loratadine Orally Disintegrating Tablets, 10 mg.

    Ibuprofen/Pseudoephedrine Oral Suspension is the bioequivalent to Children’s Motrin Cold Oral Suspension, a brand that has annual sales of approximately $30 million.

    Loratadine Syrup is the bioequivalent of Children’s Claritin Syrup, a liquid antihistamine with brand sales of about $15 million annually.

    Loratadine Orally Disintegrating Tablets are the bioequivalent of Claritin RediTabs, a quickly dissolving antihistamine tablet.

    Claritin RediTabs have reached $90 million in sales since introduction to the market in December of last year.

    “With the Children’s Ibuprofen Cold and Children’s Loratadine Syrup approvals, the FDA has granted 180 days of market exclusivity,” said John Hendrickson, executive vice president and general manager.    

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