Alcon Plans Extensive National Media Campaign to Support March 2 Over-the-Counter Launch of Pataday Eye Drops

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GENEVA—Alcon (SIX/NYSE: ALC) announced this week that Pataday Once Daily Relief (olopatadine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution 0.2%) and Pataday Twice Daily Relief (olopatadine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution 0.1%) have been approved by the FDA for sale over the counter (OTC) in the U.S. According to Alcon’s announcement, U.S. commercial availability of Pataday Once Daily Relief and Pataday Twice Daily Relief will begin March 2. The eye drop will be available in all major drug, food and mass-market retailers—more than 40,000 stores—as well as through online retailers.

The launch is supported by a multimillion-dollar media plan, including a national TV advertising campaign and strong online presence to reach eye allergy sufferers, the company noted.

The Pataday brand features the No. 1 doctor-prescribed eye allergy itch relief ingredient, and includes the first once-daily allergy itch relief drop to be available without a prescription for the approximately 66 million Americans who suffer from eye allergies, according to the Alcon announcement.

“At Alcon, we are focused on delivering new eyecare products and solutions that meet the needs of patients and consumers, including those who suffer from allergies,” Sergio Duplan, Alcon’s region president, North America, said in the announcement. “We are proud to launch prescription-strength Pataday as a convenient, more easily accessible, over-the-counter option to relieve the itchy eyes that almost 1-in-5 Americans experience due to ocular allergies.”

Alcon said it acquired the rights to the Rx-to-OTC switch of Pataday as part of its separation from Novartis in April 2019. Alcon will market both Patanol Solution (olopatadine 0.1%) and Pataday Solution (olopatadine 0.2%) under the Pataday brand name as Pataday Twice Daily Relief and Pataday Once Daily Relief, respectively. Both strengths provide long-lasting, itchy eye relief that works in minutes.

“While eye allergies impact millions of Americans, only a small percentage of those use over-the-counter allergy eye drops which is likely due to a lack of awareness of effective options that treat the problem at the source,” said Michael Cooper, OD, Solinsky Eye Care, Hartford, Conn. “For years, olopatadine has been my ‘go-to’ eye drop for patients struggling with itchy allergy eyes and I’m thrilled they will now be able to get the same relief over the counter whenever they need it.”

Pataday Once Daily Relief and Pataday Twice Daily Relief are indicated for the temporary relief of itchy eyes due to pollen, ragweed, grass, animal hair and dander for ages 2 and older. Pataday Twice Daily Relief is also indicated for the temporary relief of red eyes, according to Alcon.

Since 2008, over 40 million prescriptions have been written for olopatadine, the active ingredient in Pataday.

Approximately 66 million Americans (1 in 5) suffer from ocular allergies, but only 7 million use an over-the-counter allergy eye drop to relieve their symptoms, Alcon said.

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