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Claritin Campaign Targets Hispanics

Schering Laboratories, maker of the prescription antihistamine Claritin, is appealing to the Hispanic market with a Spanish-language advertising campaign designed to educate this overlooked community about allergies.

The centerpiece is a bilingual hotline, 1-800-CLARITIN, that consumers can call to request a brochure containing information about seasonal allergies, symptoms and treatments. Spanish-language print and broadcast ads publicizing the hotline started last month.

Schering Laboratories, a division of pharmaceutical manufacturer Schering-Plough Corp., Madison, NJ, has carried out targeted mailing from lists in the past, but material for this program is available only through the hotline. In addition to the brochure, callers can request a certificate redeemable for a $5 rebate on their first Claritin prescription and sign up for periodic allergy updates by mail.

“Allergy patients represent a large population that has been underserved,'' said Schering spokesman Bob Consalvo. “People who suffered allergies respond that they aren't very happy with therapies. We're telling them there is a nonsedating therapy out there.''

Schering formulated the campaign in response to a survey that found the majority of Hispanics live in high-allergy areas such as Florida, Texas, California and New York and are confused about the symptoms and treatment of allergies.

The survey was commissioned by Mendoza, Dillon & Asociados, Newport Beach, CA, which also developed the ad campaign. It found that Hispanics, who make up 11 percent of the U.S. population, tend to tolerate allergy symptoms rather than treat them and rely on over-the-counter medications or home remedies because of a lack of awareness of prescription antihistamines.

“Although there is a high incidence of seasonal allergies among the Hispanic population, many are not well-informed about their treatment options,'' said Steve Andrzejewski, Schering's vice president of marketing. “For the first time, they will have information available in their own language.''

Information also is available in English at the Claritin Web site (www.allergy-relief.com).

Education is the goal of the campaign, and consumers are encouraged to speak to their doctors or pharmacists for information on whether Claritin, which is available to children as well as adults, is right for them.

Schering outsources its hotline to CommonHealth Direct, Washington, but maintains an in-house drug-information line to handle specific patient and physician questions. Schering does not plan to offer a physician-referral service.

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