Immunity sales & NPD activity on the rise

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One of the newer CHC subcategories that appeared in the Top 10 biggest contributors to global consumer healthcare growth in the MAT Q1 2010 period was immune supplements, with the subcategory producing a 28.5% global upturn in the year to end-March 2020. Along with vitamin C products, probiotics and multivitamins, immune supplements were among several major VMS contributors to growth in the first quarter.

For 2019, our CHC New Products Tracker service recorded 95 new product developments in the herbal & natural immune stimulants subcategory, making it the 14th most active subcategory overall in the consumer healthcare market. So far in 2020, immune supplements are already in the Top 10 most active subcategories – a sign of the rapid increase in new product development in response to the Covid-19 pandemic – and we fully expect this growth in NPD activity to accelerate over the remainder of the year.

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There has been a wide array of immunity NPD activity across all regions, notably Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. In certain markets, such as India and China, there is also likely to be a rise in sales of country-specific natural remedies (Ayurvedic medicine and TCM) positioned for immunity support, though marketers will have to be wary of government clampdowns on products that are claimed to prevent or cure Covid-19.

Notable immunity supplement launches in the USA so far in 2020 include GSK’s Emergen-C Turmeric & Ginger and Emergen-C Elderberry, available in fizzy drink mixes, and RB’s Airborne Immune + Natural Energy Ready To Drink Shot. In Europe, Neuraxpharm unveiled Preventan Clasic in Spain and Italy, while Sambcol Immuno Forte and Sambucol Kids + Vitamin C were rolled out in Germany. As for Asia-Pacific, Grandma’s Kadha effervescent tablets were launched in India and Sanofi’s Cenovis line was relaunched in Australia.

Thousands of innovations are launched every year in the global consumer healthcare market, but relatively few offer notable new benefits for consumers in terms of delivery format or formulation. Which new products are breaking through and offering a unique proposition? Where will new product development take the CHC market in future? Contact Melissa Lee (melissa.lee@nicholashall.com) today to pick up your copy of the Innovation in CHC report.

e-Commerce CHC growth accelerating

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All the signs point to accelerated growth for the internet & mail order channel of the global CHC market in the first quarter of 2020. In 2019, the overall global retail CHC market recorded growth of 3.9%, while internet & mail order sales achieved much faster growth of 12.4% that same year, and the channel is forecast to rise by 22.5% in 2020.

Several leading CHC companies reported dynamic e-Commerce growth in their latest quarterly results, with RB reporting a strong e-Commerce upturn across all major platforms and market places, particularly in Greater China, led by Dettol and Infant & Child Nutrition (IFCN), and North America, with Mucinex and VMS in particular making good progress. Likewise, P&G reported 35% growth for e-Commerce channels in its fiscal third quarter (calendar Q1 2020), translating into around 10% of company business. CFO Jon Moeller acknowledged social distancing orders were a key driving factor, but still expects a permanent shift in the portion of business conducted online post-pandemic.

GSK is another company that has been boosted by increased online demand for its analgesics, CCA and VMS products. The company reported that the impact of Covid-19 varied across regions in Q1 2020, as a result of differing government actions and consumer behaviour. USA, UK, Australia and several other markets benefited from increased demand and shopper activity in both traditional retail and e-Commerce channels, which resulted in accelerated purchases across all categories, while some markets, including India and China, were negatively impacted by mandated retailer shutdowns.

Likewise, the benefits of increasing trade channel liberalisation will not be shared equally among all CHC marketers. While many leading companies are well prepared for this increasing consumer appetite for internet & mail order purchases, some marketers with a more limited e-Commerce profile may find it hard to adapt to this shift in demand, especially if they’re highly leveraged in brick & mortar retail outlets, as is the case – for example – with Prestige Brands and the convenience store channel in the USA.

Coming this month — with two timing options on 22 and 23 July — is an all-new Hot Topic webinar focusing on COVID-19: The Impact on the Global and Regional CHC Markets. To find out more or register to join your preferred session, contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

NPD activity in CHC in Q1 2020

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At the same time as our DB6 division publishes data on the sales performance of the global CHC market in the first quarter of 2020, it’s also a good time to reflect on headline new product development trends in the period from January to March 2020, using our CHC New Products Tracker tool which covers 20 key markets. The major development that stands out this year is the dramatic fall in the volume of new product development (NPD) in March 2020, compared to the same month in the three previous years.

March is traditionally the month we see a sharp rise in NPD activity after the quieter month of February, but this year Covid-19 halted that trend. So far for March 2020, we only have 271 entries – including launches, Rx-to-OTC switches, line extensions, rollouts and relaunches – recorded in our Tracker archive, compared to much higher totals in March 2019 (464 entries), March 2018 (434) and March 2017 (397).

This sharp fall in global NPD activity in March 2020 is likely the result of CHC marketers shelving plans to launch new products in response to the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The question is whether these plans have been postponed or abandoned altogether? We know that several CHC companies have streamlined their portfolios during the pandemic to ensure continued production of core SKUs, so it’s possible portfolio innovation has fallen down the priority list. Alternatively, we may see a surge in NPD activity in the remainder of 2020. Only time will tell.

What will also be interesting to see play out is how NPD activity in 2020 differs in terms of its focus on fast-growing subcategories, fuelled by the Covid-driven spike in demand. For example, we saw an increasing number of antiseptics & disinfectants launched in March 2020, compared to the same month in previous years. This trend will likely be replicated in other subcategories, such as herbal & natural immune stimulants, when we come to analyse NPD activity in Q2 2020 and later quarters.

Thousands of innovations are launched every year in the global consumer healthcare market, but relatively few offer notable new benefits for consumers in terms of delivery format or formulation. Which new products are breaking through and offering a unique proposition? Contact melissa.lee@nicholashall.com to secure your copy of Innovation in CHC, a report showcasing many of the “wow brands” launched in 2019 and highlighting ingredient and delivery format trends that continue to characterise the market in 2020.

 

Health Report 2020: How Europe moves towards the future

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Stada last week published its Health Report 2020: How Europe Moves Towards the Future, conducted by Kantar Health and involving more than 24,000 participants in 12 European countries. The report contained a “corona special feature” involving 6,000+ respondents from six countries, which found that 61% rate medical care during the crisis as positive / very positive. The highest approval rates were in Spain (75%) and UK (74%), which both dealt with particularly high mortality rates, while the assessment was significantly more negative in Russia (31%). Some 44% declared a newfound respect for the work of medical staff and one in four have a better understanding of the importance of good medication.

Everyday illnesses was among the many other topics covered in the report, and this section revealed that – despite the increasing prevalence of sleep problems among Europeans – only one in three are willing to take sleeping pills. Across Europe, 26% of people reported being afraid of developing an addiction to sleeping pills, while awareness of possible causes of sleep disorders was low. Other key findings of note for CHC marketers are that a high proportion (over 80%) of European employees state they will still go to work even if they have a cold, while only 61% of respondents say that they read the instruction leaflet when taking medication. As for other topics, the willingness to receive a remote diagnosis via webcam has notably increased compared to 2019 (70% vs 54%), while 82% of Europeans support the idea of compulsory vaccinations.

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Nicholas Hall commented: How Europe – indeed, the whole world – moves towards the future is a vital topic in these difficult times. Stada’s findings on remote diagnosis bring up the whole question of Telehealth. Earlier this week, we conducted regional trend (d)e-briefings, with delegates from North and Latin America in attendance. One of the questions related to the importance of new technology, and my answer was that a year ago the answer would have focused on medical devices, but now the issue is whether we remain “wired” after Covid-19 recedes.

So, will healthcare be delivered virtually in the future? Will e-detailing and e-selling replace medical and pharmacy reps? Will digital solutions increase the chances of more prescription ingredients going over the counter? This is a big topic, much more than I can go into here, but worthy of its own (d)e-briefing, which we are planning for September. Other webinars will cover the impact of Covid on consumer purchasing and usage – no surprises there – together with CBD and sustainability, two themes echoed in some of our lead stories this week.

Take your final chance to register for the Asia-Pacific CHC Trends webinar, taking place tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd June). You will hear about successful brands from the past 3 years, hot topics, the impact of the Covid-19 situation on the market in 2020 and much more! Please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com to find out more or register without delay.

Scoping out skin care growth opportunities

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While Nicholas Hall’s strategic database DB6 forecasts that some consumer healthcare categories will perform very well in 2020 – notably analgesics and cough, cold & allergy remedies – growth for dermatologicals (with the notable exception of antiseptics & disinfectants) is expected to be low, in the range of 0-1%. In this week’s blog, we take a closer look at OTC skin care products, notably cosmeceuticals and innovative delivery formats, to see which categories and innovations might perform well in 2020 despite the lack of a Covid-19 boost in demand.

Cosmeceutical subcategories like hair & beauty supplements are likely to perform better than average owing to high levels of new product development. In 2019, our CHC New Products Tracker tool recorded 185 new hair & beauty supplement product entries to the database in 2019 (a total that includes launches, line extensions and relaunches), making it the No.5 most active subcategory in the entire consumer healthcare market, behind cannabis / CBD, probiotics & prebiotics, acne remedies and multivitamins.

Top 5 Tracker subcats 2019

Source: CHC New Products Tracker

As outlined in our recent Innovation in CHC report, popular delivery formats like gummies and drinks – for example, Dong-e E-Jiao’s late 2019 launch of an oligopeptide essence drink in China and Health Lab’s Collagen Beauty Ball in the US market in April 2019 – are primary drivers of growth for hair & beauty supplements. In fact, collagen has become one of the hottest ingredients in consumer healthcare, featuring in a vast array of new CHC products in 2019.

Innovative delivery methods are also likely to boost other Derma categories over the coming years, with clothing one particular area of interest. In late 2018, French marketer Expanscience launched Mustela Stelatopia Sous-Pyjama Apaisant, a highly innovative anti-itch pyjama product for children, and the product has been subsequently rolled out in other key markets such as the USA and Brazil. Other marketers are also exploring ways to deliver relief via clothing, including the use of gloves and pillows.

Scoping the Cosmeceuticals field in 10 key markets, the new Cosmeceuticals 2020 report reviews NPD and marketing activity, with a look at likely opportunities for the market. For more information, or to place your order, please contact Melissa.Lee@NicholasHall.com

e-Commerce Developing Fast in Southern Europe

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As more and more countries go into lockdown to enforce social distancing, the way that consumers do their shopping is of course having to change dramatically. Some countries are better adapted to this change than others – according to a recent report in the Financial Times, southern European countries like Italy and Spain currently only have low e-Commerce penetration, with respective shares of 4% and 5% of total retail revenues (prior to the Covid-19 pandemic).

France (10%) has a higher share than the two countries at its southern border, but still lags behind other markets in Europe (20% in the UK) and globally (36% in China). However, this situation looks set to change fast, with Covid-19 leading to a revolution in e-Commerce sales of groceries in southern Europe – for example, according to the FT report, supermarket chain Carrefour stated that its online customer base in Italy has already doubled to 110,000. Is this a trend that will outlast the current crisis?

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And what impact will Covid-19 have on online sales of consumer healthcare products? Our recently published Digital Marketing & e-Commerce Report outlined the Top 20 leading internal & mail order markets for CHC products, with China and the USA the clear leaders, followed by Japan, Germany and the UK. Inevitably, the projected growth rates for 2020 will have to be revised, especially given this fast-changing crisis could also lead to changes in regulations governing the online sale of OTC medicines.

For example, Europe’s largest e-Commerce pharmacy group, Zur Rose, today submitted a request to Switzerland’s Federal Office for Public Health calling for a temporary exception that would allow mail order sales of OTC cold & flu medicines (at present, all non-prescription medicines can only be sold by mail order if specifically approved by a doctor). As well as owning Germany’s best-known pharmacy brand, DocMorris, Zur Rose is also active in France and Spain, and could be at the forefront of overcoming strict regulations governing the sale of OTC-registered medicines in those markets too.

For an in-depth look at the rising power of e-Commerce in the CHC market, order a copy of Digital Marketing & e-Commerce: Tapping the Potential of Online Sales and Digital Promotion in Consumer HealthcareThis report also explores social media, which CHC brands are employing effective digital marketing strategies, and the opportunities and challenges e-Pharma faces. For further details, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Covid-19: France advises against ibuprofen to treat symptoms

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France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran delivered a message via his Twitter account over the weekend, advising against taking anti-inflammatory medicines (ibuprofen, cortisone, etc) to treat Covid-19 symptoms, as they could be an aggravating factor for the infection. His advice for those with a fever was to take paracetamol instead. Patients already on anti-inflammatory drugs for other illnesses, or anyone with any questions, are advised to seek advice from their doctor.

Public health interventions like this, with directives specifically citing which OTC medicines to take or not take, are rare and so the story was picked up by major news outlets in the UK (Guardian), USA (New York Times) and elsewhere. According to a report in The Local, Véran’s tweet prompted several members of the public to ask for the source of his reasoning on not taking ibuprofen to treat Covid-19 symptoms.

This is not the first time France has warned against the use of systemic NSAIDs. In April 2019, the country’s medicines body, ANSM, warned that certain anti-inflammatories to treat pain or fever increase the risk of serious complications when suffering from an infection; the regulator shared information with European counterparts on the basis of what it said were 337 cases of infectious complications linked to ibuprofen since 2000.

Reaction to the latest comments has been mixed. Several countries suggested consumers continue to take their preferred pain reliever, including ibuprofen, while some health experts pointed out the lack of published scientific evidence that the virus is worsened by ibuprofen (WHO is silent on the point). Some NSAIDs have previously been contra-indicated in certain countries for other viral infections such as dengue fever (because they may exacerbate internal bleeding), but that may not be relevant to Covid-19. At present, we all await further clarification.

Where will NPD take the CHC market in the future? Find out in our upcoming report, Innovation in CHC: NPD & Innovation in CHC under the Spotlight! This report, drawing on Nicholas Hall’s CHC New Products Tracker, assesses the global picture of CHC innovation in 2019, featuring ingredient trends, delivery format trends, analysing innovation trends by region and by marketer, plus much more! To pre-order your copy and save with the pre-publication discount, or for more information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Combination OTC painkillers gaining ground

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Following the approved switch of Voltaren Arthritis Pain by the FDA in mid-February, there was more positive news for GSK’s US analgesics portfolio over the weekend with the FDA approval of Advil Dual Action. This is the first FDA-approved OTC combination of ibuprofen and paracetamol (acetaminophen) in the USA, and GSK is expected to launch the product later this year.

Franck Riot, Head of R&D at GSK Consumer Healthcare, said: “For decades, many consumers have been using ibuprofen and acetaminophen (paracetamol) to get the benefits of both active ingredients when safely treating their headaches, muscle aches, backaches, arthritis and other joint pain. Now Advil, the No. 1 selling OTC pain reliever, will offer US consumers the first-ever alternative option – a single, fixed-dose combination pain reliever.” According to the reported clinical research, this fixed-dose combination achieves superior efficacy compared to the individual monocomponents of ibuprofen (250mg) and acetaminophen (500mg) alone.

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Dolostop Plus, another recent combination launch

Another combination OTC painkiller we tracked recently, formulated with both ibuprofen and paracetamol, is Kern’s September 2019 launch of Dolostop Plus in Spain. Indicated to provide symptomatic relief from mild to moderate pain in adults, these film-coated tablets are formulated with paracetamol 500mg and ibuprofen 150mg, with a stated dose of 1-2 tablets every 6 hours, and claimed to be the first and only OTC paracetamol and ibuprofen combination available in Spain.

In several markets around the world, such as the UK, Russia, Japan and Indonesia, combination paracetamol + ibuprofen OTC remedies are already well-established, but these recent developments in the USA and Spain point to growing acceptance among global regulators about the safety of fixed-dose OTC analgesic combinations.

Where will NPD take the CHC market in the future? Find out in our upcoming report, Innovation in CHC: NPD & Innovation in CHC under the Spotlight! This report, drawing on Nicholas Hall’s CHC New Products Tracker, assesses the global picture of CHC innovation in 2019, featuring ingredient trends, delivery format trends, analysing innovation trends by region and by marketer, plus much more! To pre-order your copy and save with the pre-publication discount, or for more information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Focus on China: Trade agreement with USA imminent?

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Some welcome news for the global economy which broke over the weekend, as announced by the US trade representative, is that the US and China are “close to finalising some sections” of an interim agreement to ease trade tensions between the two countries. This is also a welcome development for OTC marketers, including RB, whose newly-appointed CEO Laxman Narasimhan recently stated that the company’s disappointing Q3 performance was primarily due to issues in USA and China.

Growth in China’s OTC market slowed to 5.3% in the MAT Q2 2019 period, owing to a low key cough & cold season and a weakening economy. Nicholas Hall was a speaker at the Global Self-Care Federation (GCSF) conference – a joint meeting of the Chinese, Asian and global CHC associations, held in Beijing last week – and wrote: “It is always valuable to come to the second-largest CHC market, which in just a few years will be the world’s biggest economy. There are major opportunities here, but increasing challenges too as the Government takes a tougher line on pricing and distribution, without easing the regulatory barriers.”

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Judy Stenmark kicked off proceedings at the GSCF 2019 conference

Nicholas Hall also wrote that: “Among the many presentations during the 2 days, some of which lasted for as little as 15 minutes – this was truly a conveyor belt conference, with only one panel discussion and no questions from the floor – a presentation that stood out for me was from Conba, a company about which I knew very little. Hu Jiqiang, Chairman of Conba Group, made the startling claim that Conba will become the biggest producer of medical cannabis in China and possibly the world … And, of course, the presentation by Alibaba Health was one to sit up and listen to at the end of an exhausting two days. This really is a game-changing company as I discuss in my New Paradigms report.

The rise of Chinese marketers within the global OTC rankings has been a notable trend in 2019. Our latest MAT Q2 2019 data shows that China Resources 999 now takes 9th position globally, and grew by 7.3% in the year to end-June 2019. Additionally, as explored in one of our recent blog posts, By-Health has broken into the global Top 20 and now claims 15th spot. This company has bucked the trend of decelerating growth in China, with sales growing by 31% in MAT Q2 2019. China accounts for over 90% of By-Health’s OTC portfolio turnover, with Australia accounting for the remainder.

Some of the latest innovations and technologies impacting CHC will be at the forefront of the agenda at next month’s OTC.NewDirections Executive Conference, which will take place in London on 14 November, with speakers from key players including Mundipharma, J&J and Bayer. Please contact jennifer.odonnell@NicholasHall.com to book your place or find out more. If you are unable to join us, you can always view Nicholas’ opening address live at 09:05 GMT here

Lifestyle OTCs still the best hope for OTC switch revival

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2019 has been a slow year for Rx-to-OTC switch news, with activity dropping off markedly in the key US market in recent years, and Asia-Pacific (especially China, Japan and Indonesia) and Europe (Poland especially) the main source of developments. In this context, it was welcome news last week that Norway will become the second European market for OTC Viagra, after the Norwegian Medicines Agency approved the OTC sale of Viagra Reseptfri (Pfizer, sildenafil 50mg) erectile dysfunction treatment to men aged 18+ years, with this to be accompanied by pharmacist advice.

Pfizer plans to launch Viagra Reseptfri in pharmacies in early 2020, while Rx Viagra will remain available. The medicines agency recommends that men have a check-up with their doctor within six months of purchase so that any potential underlying conditions can be investigated. Viagra Reseptfri will be the first medicine available in Norway under the country’s new category of non-prescription medicine with guidance, and the Rx-to-OTC switch follows similar measures elsewhere in Europe. In Poland, sildenafil 25mg is available OTC from a number of domestic players, with initial launch from Adamed in May 2016, while Viagra Connect was launched in the UK in March 2018.

Of the 20 key markets covered by OTC New Products Tracker every month since the start of 2013, Poland has been the most active in terms of Rx-to-OTC switch activity, with 54 products reclassified to non-prescription status. A liberal switch environment has helped bring about a raft of Rx-to-OTC switches since 2014, including Europe’s first OTC erectile dysfunction brand and Poland’s first OTC systemic cold sore treatment.

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Despite some notable failures (such as urinary product Flomax Relief), so-called “lifestyle” drugs remain the primary source of switch activity, helping to extend the reach of the OTC market into new categories such as contraception, erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. A key switch development in 2019 was the downscheduling in Japan of Taisho’s hyperlipidaemia treatment Epadel T (ethyl eicosapentaenoate) to Class I OTC, where sales are permitted in pharmacies (and online) after professional consultation. Downscheduling may have come just in the nick of time – sales data suggest Epadel T had failed to make any noticeable impact on the OTC market in its almost six years as an Instruction-Required Drug.

There also remains hope that Sanofi may one day market Eli Lilly’s erectile dysfunction treatment Cialis as an OTC medicine (it owns the rights to market Cialis OTC in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia), but is switch application has been stuck at the FDA a full five years since its submission. In July 2019, Sanofi also signed a deal with Roche for the exclusive OTC rights to Tamiflu (oseltamivir 75mg capsules, Genentech / Roche Group) for flu prevention and treatment in the USA. Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi will be responsible for leading negotiations with the US FDA for the OTC switch and subsequent exclusive marketing, scientific engagement and distribution of Tamiflu OTC in the USA. Let’s hope for the sake of OTC growth that its negotiations go smoothly.

Clear your diary for Nicholas Hall’s 31st European Conference, which will be held in Athens on 28-30 April 2020, on the theme of Advancing in CHC: The Must-Dos and  Reasons Behind Them. To register your interest in this event, or for more information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact jennifer.odonnell@NicholasHall.com.