This week, Nicholas Hall’s Global OTC database DB6 mid-year update shows that the global OTC market growth slowed to 3.8% in the 12 months to June 2014. Beyond the glum headlines, however, the mid-year report also identifies therapeutic subcategories that have posted healthy growth rates. OTCs are in action to offer consumers self care for real-life problems. For example, sales of general antifungals and eczema / psoriasis treatments increased by about 7%, helping the $18bn dermatologicals category record growth of almost 5%.
A similar growth rate was achieved in the $11.7bn Lifestyle OTCs category, with sales of emergency hormonal contraceptives and urinary products increasing by 8% and 7% respectively. In both cases, Rx-to-OTC switch has opened up consumer access to new treatments. The eye care and sleep aids & sedatives subcategories also increased by more than 6%, helping consumers treat life-disrupting conditions.
On a final note, the weak 2% growth for the $26.5mn global cough, cold & allergy category can be viewed as a blessing for flu sufferers, but it was inevitable that turnover would stabilise after the double-digit growth in the previous reporting period, especially in North America.
Overall, the gap between North America and E&SE Asia continues to close, with rapid growth in China and Indonesia driven by an emerging middle class. Meanwhile, OTC sales in Western Europe and Japan continue to generate low growth, as governments seek to trim healthcare budgets and economic growth remains slow.