SAN ANTONIO, Aug. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Urocit®-K (extended release potassium citrate), the proven urological treatment that blazed a trail into space to help NASA astronauts combat kidney stones, has begun a new journey here on Earth.
With the Urocit-K flagship leading the way, Mission Pharmacal Company has launched a new sales force to better deliver its entire fleet of urology medicines into the hands of physicians nationwide.
Together with Urocit-K, Lithostat® (acetohydroxamic acid) and Thiola® (tiopronin) offer relief to people suffering from several types of kidney stones. A fourth Mission urology drug, Uribel®, (methenamine, sodium phosphate monobasic, phenyl salicylate, methylene blue, hyoscyamine sulfate) treats urinary tract infections. These drugs, considered among the leaders in their class, represent a sizable percentage of Mission's overall sales.
Brian Card, Executive Director of Women's Health and Urology sales for Mission Pharmacal, said this new sales force is equipped to capitalize on the company's 30 years of pioneering experience in the field of kidney stone disease therapy.
"This expansion gives us an opportunity to re-establish our dedication to the field of urology," Card said. "Mission has led the way in the treatment of kidney stones and actually pioneered the tests that are still used today to diagnose kidney stone etiology."
Based in San Antonio, Mission Pharmacal at one time had a specialty sales team dedicated to urology products. In recent years, though, one team promoted both women's health products and urological products.
This summer, Mission split that sales force, hired additional sales reps and dedicated about 30 sales representatives to urology products alone. The new teams will cover the country's major markets, Card said.
The sales representatives are employed by Alamo Pharma Services, a subsidiary that Mission Pharmacal founded in 2011. Headquartered in Doylestown, Pa., Alamo provides small- and medium-sized pharmaceutical companies with operational and human resources sales support. Alamo also will be handling the non-personal promotional efforts with teledetailing through its call center in Colorado.
Both the new urological sales force and the health care professionals they service will benefit from the refined focus on Mission's urology product lineup, according to Dan Crawford, Marketing Director of the Urology Division at Mission Pharmacal.
"We felt there was a need to go back and create a specialized sales force, to train them as experts in the urology area," said Crawford. "Our mantra is educate, educate, educate. We're known as 'the stone company' in this field. There isn't another company in the United States that is as involved in treating stone disease as we are, and that is something we are very proud of."
Mission Pharmacal's groundbreaking work on the diagnosis and treatment of kidney stone disease originated with the company's executive, Neill Walsdorf, Sr., son of company founder Wally Walsdorf and father of current president Neill Walsdorf, Jr.
In the early 1980s, as Neill Sr. began to suffer from kidney stone disease himself, he discovered quickly that very few treatment options were available. Under his direction, Mission Pharmacal began to work with Dr. Charles Pak, a world-renowned researcher of kidney stone disease, to develop therapies for this underserved class of patients. The research center they founded at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas has since emerged as the world's preeminent facility in the treatment of urolithiasis, or kidney stone disease.
That research then got a boost from the federal government. The Orphan Drug Act of 1983 reduced regulations on companies developing drugs for "orphan" diseases, which typically afflict too few patients to interest most pharmaceutical companies. The act also gives orphan drug makers seven years of exclusive rights to their creation and a tax credit for the cost of clinical trials.
That support spurred Mission's breakthroughs in the medical management of kidney stone disease. The company first launched Urocit-K, which inhibits the formation of two of the most common types of kidney stones caused by buildups of calcium oxalate and uric acid. Then came two drugs to treat rarer causes of stone formation, Lithostat, which helps treat struvite kidney stones that result from a bacterial infection, and Thiola, which helps treat stones caused by a buildup of the amino acid cystine.
Mission's urology products even have traveled into space, helping NASA astronauts combat their increased risk of kidney stones caused by extended exposure to the zero-gravity environments inside the International Space Station and other spacecraft.
Meanwhile, the number of people in the United States who develop kidney stones has increased steadily over the past 30 years, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
Today, nearly 1 out of every 10 people is likely to develop a stone in their lifetime, the foundation said. Of those, about half will develop another stone within five years.
"Back in the early '80s, this was a rare disease," said Crawford, who has worked with Mission's urology division from the beginning. "Now, it's much more prevalent, which makes our treatments that much more important."
Based on its new sales commitment, Mission Pharmacal plans not only to continue its work in the Urology field, but to expand it, looking for new drugs to acquire and market. The creation of a dedicated urological sales force is a logical first step in that strategy, said Dan Kibbe, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mission's pharmaceutical division.
"This specialty sales team, in a field that's near and dear to our hearts," Kibbe noted, "is the beginning of some exciting developments to come for us here at Mission."
To learn more about kidney stone disease and its treatment options, visit http://stonedisease.org.
Prescription drugs may carry risks and are not suitable for every patient. For full prescribing information on all of Mission's urology drugs, please visit www.missionpharmacal.com/products/urology.
About Mission Pharmacal Company
Mission Pharmacal Company is a privately held pharmaceutical company based in San Antonio, Texas. For more than 65 years, the company has been committed to meeting the unique healthcare needs of women throughout all stages of life, pediatric patients, and those persons dealing with urologic and dermatologic conditions. The company has a proven track record of identifying unmet healthcare needs and developing both innovative prescription and over-the-counter products to meet these needs. Using only the purest ingredients and FDA-approved methods of manufacturing, Mission Pharmacal provides physicians and consumers with the highest quality pharmaceutical and dietary supplement products on the market today. Mission Pharmacal is a proud national supporter of the March of Dimes Foundation®, whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. For more information about the company, visit missionpharmacal.com.
SOURCE Mission Pharmacal Company