Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (President: Akira Uehara) will release RiUP Lady (60 mL, 5,775 yen) in late March 2005. The product will be available in pharmacies nationwide and some pharmaceutical outlets.
RiUP Lady is a medical hair growth treatment for women. It contains minoxidil, a hair growth stimulant, as the active ingredient.
The market for hair growth products for women in Japan is small; it is only approximately 3 billion yen. However, Taisho is aiming to expand this market by reaching out to potential customers.
Taisho released RiUP (for men) in Japan in June 1999. It was the first "direct over-the-counter (OTC) drug" in Japan. (New active ingredients are normally approved as prescription drugs first, and can later be approved as OTC drugs. This product was approved as an OTC drug straightaway.) First-year sales reached approximately 30 billion yen, and we have sold over 30 million bottles (as of January 2005, 60 mL equals one bottle).
RiUP was approved in February 1999 and was marketed as a hair medication for men. However, since the approval of the product, our Consumer Affairs Division has received many enquiries from women asking, "Is the product effective for women?"
Taisho therefore commenced clinical studies in October 2000 to develop RiUP for women, and obtained approval to manufacture the product in February 2005.
The primary ingredient is minoxidil, which was developed by Upjohn (currently, Pfizer Inc.) in the USA as a hair growth stimulant. In the USA, minoxidil was approved as a prescription pharmaceutical product in 1988. Minoxidil became an OTC drug in 1996. Separate products for men and women were released and were highly successful as the only topical hair growth medications approved by the FDA as effective. Minoxidil is still on the market as an OTC drug.
In order to strengthen the power of the brand and acquire as many users as possible, Taisho has chosen Chizuru Azuma, a famous actress on TV and radio, to be in the advertisements for RiUP Lady.
RiUP Lady is an OTC drug, and therefore Taisho will establish a designated call center and a website to provide information to the general public and pharmacies.