The latest issue of OTC INSIGHT Europe includes a round-up of the key trends & developments affecting the gastrointestinals category in France, Italy, Spain and the UK. It was a disappointing picture overall, with a significant decline in revenue for semi-ethicals in France dragging down the topline.
As well as the continuing effects of dereimbursement, prescription revenue has been hit by generic substitution amid efforts to reduce state healthcare expenditure. Dereimbursement has also been a factor in Spain – where several key GI brands were among 400+ medicines to lose reimbursement in autumn 2012 – although price rises for pure OTCs helped total revenue remain steady. Regulatory factors have had a more positive impact in Italy, with the Rx-to-SOP (non-advertisable OTC) switch of numerous GI medicines in 2012 helping to offset declines from established brands. The UK performed best, with on-the-go formats proving popular in categories such as antidiarrhoeals. Indeed, this trend is seen among pure OTCs across the four markets, with options such as monodose liquid / powder sachets becoming more prominent as marketers innovate in the hope of maintaining share in the difficult trading environment.
Speaking of innovation, our January issue also contains a profile of UK-based infirst HEALTHCARE, a company that aims to provide improved treatments for common ailments by making subtle but important changes to well-established ingredients. With claims vital in competitive OTC categories, infirst believes that innovation on this level can provide a key point of difference vs. established rivals, without having to “reinvent the wheel”.