Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (President: Akira Uehara) has obtained approval to manufacture a medical hair growth treatment, RiUP for women, on February 17, 2005. The product name has been established as "RiUP Lady", and the product will be released in March 2005.
Taisho released RiUP (for men) in Japan in June 1999. It was the first over-the-counter drug (direct OTC drug) in Japan without being sold as prescription drugs first. First-year sales reached approximately 30 billion yen; a fact that attracted considerable attention.
Since the approval in February 1999, our Consumer Affairs Division has received many enquiries from women asking, "Is the product effective for women?" even though RiUP is a hair medication only for men.
Taisho therefore commenced clinical studies in October 2000 to develop RiUP for women. The approval application was submitted in December 2002.
The primary ingredient is minoxidil, which was developed by Upjohn (currently Pfizer Inc.) in the USA as a hair growth stimulant. An approval application for minoxidil was submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1985, and minoxidil was approved and released 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.
Taisho concluded a licensing agreement with Upjohn in 1985 to develop, manufacture and distribute minoxidil products in Japan, and released RiUP (for men) in 1999.
Although minoxidil is the primary ingredient in both RiUP Lady and RiUP (for men), the dosages, administrations and precautions are different. Men and women have different hairstyles, hair loss areas, mechanisms of hair loss, or buying behavior, etc. Considering the differences between men and women, Taisho is scheduled to carry out marketing activities specific to RiUP Lady.