Compiled By Deborah Austin As the pharmaceutical industry regroups from a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning that removed certain over-the-counter (OTC) drugs from stores, two firms have allied to help drug manufacturers beef up one crucial selling tool: flavor quality. Consulting company Arthur D. Little Inc., Cambridge, Mass., and OTC drug information specialist Nicholas Hall & Co. (NHC), Essex, UK, will kick off the alliance with a multiclient benchmarking study comparing flavor, aroma, texture, and mouth-feel of 65 U.S. cough, cold, and flu products. These will include Dimetapp, Motrin, Nyquil/Dayquil, PediaCare, Robitussin, Sudafed, Triaminic, Tylenol, and Vicks. The companies say their initiative will be particularly useful as some pharmaceutical companies reformulate their products in light of a ban by the FDA on products containing the active ingredient phenylpropanolamine, citing safety concerns. In subsequent reformulations, pediatric products present a special taste challenge due to children's "well-documented aversion to distasteful medication," the firms note -- so a large part of the Arthur D. Little/NHC study will focus on pediatric products. Future benchmarking studies will target U.S. antacids and analgesics, followed by similar efforts in Europe.