New technology and innovation to revive acne sales?

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For several years, the OTC acne remedies category has been in the doldrums. Global sales grew by just 1.9% in 2018, and the CAGR for the subcategory over the 2014-18 period is a lowly 1.6%. This poor performance is largely related to the US market, where sales of acne remedies fell by 1.4% to US$514mn in 2018.

That’s why the recent news that L’Oréal’s skin care brand, La Roche Posay, has introduced Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment, is very timely. Retailing for US$29.99 for a 45g tube, the topical retinoid once-daily medication is indicated for the treatment of acne in people aged 12+. The brand has also launched La Roche-Posay My Skin Track PoreScan, an AI-powered skin analysis tool (similar to Effaclar Spotscan, launched earlier in 2019) that can make personalised skincare recommendations for those concerned with clogged pores, raised imperfections and residual marks. 

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OTC.NewDirection‘s Consulting Editor, Nina Stimson, commented: “This is a major step for La Roche Posay and parent, L’Oréal, known worldwide primarily as a cosmetics player. Adapalene’s switch to OTC (at 0.1% Rx strength) as Differin Gel (Galderma / Nestlé) was approved in the USA in July 2016 as the first retinoid drug for the OTC treatment of acne, with adapalene acknowledged as the first new active ingredient for that OTC indication since the 1980s. This launch comes exactly three years later, as Differin’s exclusivity ends, and sees La Roche Posay / L’Oréal move right to the front line of registered OTC acne treatment. Differin Gel OTC sales have probably disappointed against expectations (although Nestlé’s Proactiv has also added an adapalene option to its DTC lineup) and other adapalene gels will undoubtedly also appear on US store shelves. Full marks to L’Oréal for prompt action.

There are also signs of renewed dynamism in Latin America thanks to strong investment in NPD from key marketers like Genomma. In June 2019, the company unveiled an innovative new acne remedy, Asepxia Maquiagem Liquida Autoajustavel, which features a unique technology that allows the product to adapt to various skin tones. Sold as a 30ml liquid, this latest addition to the Asepxia line is positioned to reduce acne and even skin tone, as well as mattify the skin and cover blemishes. New technology and innovation hold the key to unlocking future growth in this important OTC subcategory.

Birgit Schuhbauer, VP Global Franchise OTC and EMEA Region at J&J will take to the stage at Nicholas Hall’s OTC.NewDirections Executive Conference to explore how, with new consumer marketing opportunities with digital tools, we are Getting Closer to the Consumer than Ever. Taking place in London on 14 November 2019, the meeting will ultimately focus on the latest CHC Innovations and Technologies with presentations from companies also including Bayer, Prohibition Partners and Mundipharma. Save when you reserve your place now at the early bird booking rate. For more information, or to book your place, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

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Homeopathy under increasing scrutiny

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France is the latest country in recent years to call into question the role and efficacy of homeopathy, as governments look for savings in the healthcare budget. Last week’s announcement by France’s Minister for Solidarity & Health Agnes Buzyn that homeopathic medicines will be dereimbursed in France from 1st January 2021 is another blow to this consumer healthcare niche. In 2017, NHS England recommended that doctors no longer prescribe “ineffective, over-priced and low value treatments”, including homeopathy, which is said to have no clear or robust evidence to support use.

The French decision was based on a final recommendation by the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) stating that homeopathics have little proven efficacy and should not be covered by health insurance. In its assessment, which spanned 9 months, HAS evaluated close to 1,200 homeopathic products, many of which are currently reimbursed up to 30% when prescribed. In the interim, the level of reimbursement available for certain homeopathics will be cut from 30% to 15% on 1st January 2020, allowing consumers, manufacturers and prescribers time to prepare for eventual dereimbursement.

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Voicing its shock at the decision, key homeopathic player Boiron – which markets various leading OTCs in France, such as teething product Camilia – stated that around 1,000 jobs would be directly affected by the dereimbursement, given that 60% of the company’s business is in France and almost 70% of that is linked to reimbursed medicines. A November 2018 survey by Ipsos revealed that 77% of French people have used homeopathics.

In other countries, such as Spain and the USA, there has been a clampdown on homeopathic health claims. In November 2018, as part of a new marketing authorisation process for homeopathy, the AEMPS (Spanish Agency of Medicines & Medical Devices) indicated that homeopathics with no permitted therapeutic indication must state, “Sin indicaciones terapeuticas” (Without therapeutic indication) on packaging. Likewise, in May 2018, the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists announced that all homeopathic manufacturers will be encouraged to use the new disclaimer: “Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.”

Keep up to date with the latest in-depth reporting on homeopathy by subscribing to OTC INSIGHT! We have 4 title covering the latest developments in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and North America. Click here to find out what key features OTC INSIGHT includes. To receive a sample issue or for details of subscription rates, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Tracker hits 20,000 innovations

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Our sister product OTC New Products Tracker has hit a significant milestone – 20,000 innovations added to a database that tracks consumer healthcare launch activity all the way back to the start of 2013, across 20 key markets. In this week’s blog, we look back at some of the highest-ranked innovations added to the archive over the past year.

A recent 4-star innovation is medical device Flow from Flow Neuroscience, a first of its kind home treatment on the European market. Positioned as a non-medicated alternative treatment for depression, the medical device comprises a brain stimulation headset and a therapy app. While stimulation is in use, the app acts as a virtual therapist that the user can interact with. Available in the UK since summer 2019, Flow retails for £399.

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Adjacent OTC categories have been fuelling the fire of consumer healthcare innovation in recent years, with medical cannabis / CBD and probiotics two of the most active categories in terms of launch activity. US marketer CBDfx is arguably the most pioneering innovator among the new wave of medical cannabis companies, launching several new delivery formats over the past two years, including vaping pens (January 2018), “chill shot” drinks for anxiety (March 2019), sublingual hemp strips (April 2019) and acne face masks (June 2019).

Like CBD, probiotics have also enjoyed high levels of innovation in terms of delivery formats and positioning. Two examples of probiotics targeting a new consumer healthcare niche include Elebiotic, a recent Recordati launch in Spain positioned to manage recurrent acute otitis media in infants, and Khan’s Morning, a probiotic launched in South Korea in early 2019 that is claimed to help break down the alcohol and acetaldehyde that causes hangovers.

Review 20,000+ launches and innovations with OTC New Products Tracker, the ultimate competitive intelligence tool! Products are graded with a star rating, from 1* (essentially “me too” and generics) up to 4* (1st Rx-to-OTC switches in a category, creation of a new OTC class or other major leaps in innovation). With a recently-released major update including eye-catching new graphics and powerful search filters that help you visualise and explore the vast archive according to your exact specifications, now is the perfect time to set up your free trial. For a demo or more information, please contact waisan.lee-gabell@NicholasHall.com.

PPoC initiatives key to future CHC growth

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For the final instalment in our series of blogs on Nicholas Hall’s Infinity Zones for future CHC growth, we turn to the topic of Pharmacy Point-of-Care (PPoC). As our recent blog on e-commerce indicated, internet & mail order sales of OTCs are growing fast but store-based sales still account for 78% of the global OTC market. In an increasing number of markets, PPoC initiatives are providing new, speedy and effective alternatives for consumers unable or unwilling to wait for a GP appointment. Below is a summary of some PPoC initiatives in recent years from all four corners of the globe.

In February 2019, PTS Diagnostics and Kroger Health, which operates 2,100+ pharmacies and clinics in the USA, announced the full rollout of CardioChek Plus analysers for point-of-care blood testing to help identify individuals at risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. The CardioChek Plus system accurately tests lipid profile and glucose simultaneously with one fingerstick, enabling a more seamless process for the customer. It measures total and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose, providing on-site results in as little as 90 seconds.

In Vietnam, Chris Blank and his team at Pharmacity have the ambition to reach 1,000 stores in just 1,000 days. But, as Nicholas Hall said, it’s more than just store openings that is propelling Pharmacity to national dominance – it has carefully figured out the offline and online needs of its customers and is working hard to build traffic in each store, so the proposition is for vertical as well as horizontal growth. Ultimately, Pharmacity will succeed by delivering holistic PPoC solutions to the unmet health needs of its customers.

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Turning to Europe, LloydsPharmacy (Celesio / McKesson) started offering sore throat tests for people aged 18+ years in 600 stores across England, Scotland and Wales in November 2018. Pharmacists ask questions and examine the throat to determine the possible cause of pain. If necessary, they will take a swab test to check for infection. If the results are negative for Streptococcus A, the pharmacist is able to offer advice, as well as a range of OTC treatments.

As for Latin America, Brazil’s ANVISA approved a resolution in late 2017 that allows any health establishment nationally, including pharmacies and drugstores, to administer vaccinations, providing that they meet certain requirements. This follows a number of local legislation changes permitting pharmacies to offer a greater number of services – among them, the application of vaccines, health monitoring with point-of-care testing and self-test equipment – in the states of Sao Paulo, Amazonas, Para, the Federal District and the city of Sao Paulo in November-December 2017.

Don’t miss out on your final chance to benefit from our pre-publication discount when you pre-order Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Analyse each aspect of the CHC industry, with a focus on crucial issues including Healthcare trends, Innovation, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil all the “infinity zones” he has identified as being paramount to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Food intolerance category shows huge promise

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For the next instalment in our series of blogs on Nicholas Hall’s Infinity Zones for future CHC growth, we take a closer look at the growing issue of food intolerance, driven by unhealthy eating and the rise of processed food with additives, as well as changing diets across the world. Currently a driver of GIs growth, food intolerance has the potential to break out and become its own OTC category, and Nicholas Hall is urging CHC companies to seize this huge opportunity in the face of any future competition that might come from mainstream food companies, as was the case with functional foods.

A 2016 Nielsen study showed a high prevalence of food intolerance across various regions – the percentage of those who say someone in their household has food intolerances / allergies was 22% in Europe, 31% in North America, 34% in Latin America and 42% in Asia-Pacific, with children more likely to suffer than adults. Food intolerances (lactose, cruciferous vegetables, gluten, fructose, etc) can cause a variety of challenging symptoms for those affected, and new product development is catering for this fast-growing market.

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Lactose intolerance is the most established niche, with lactase supplements (an enzyme that helps digest lactose) generating sales of roughly $65mn in 2018. Lactase supplements are fairly well-established in North America and Europe, with J&J’s Lactaid a key brand in the USA, while Latin America – especially Brazil – remains a current hotbed of innovation. Other intolerances are also increasingly being catered for with new products such as GluteoStop (Ineo Pharma) in Germany / Switzerland and Glutenam (Named) in Italy for glucose intolerance, and Fructaid (Pro Natura) in Germany for fructose intolerance.

Marketers of diagnostics and probiotics have also recognised the potential of this category. Lykon has launched MyNutrition 100 in Germany and UK (retailing for between $110-125), an at-home kit positioned to test for food intolerance across the 100 most common foods, while Montefarmaco extended probiotic brand Lactoflorene in Italy in 2019 with Lactoflorene Digest, claimed to promote the balance of intestinal flora that can be compromised by digestive disorders such as lactose intolerance.

Food intolerance will be one of the key topics in our upcoming report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Examine each aspect of the CHC industry in 20 chapters, with a focus on major issues including Regulation, Pharmacy Point-of-Care, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil in more detail the “infinity zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

AESGP and CHPA looking for way forward on CBD

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One of the Infinity Zones presented by Nicholas Hall at the 30th European CHC Conference in Vienna, medical cannabis has arguably the most potential to transform the consumer healthcare market. However, as Nicholas conceded, the science still has a long way to go and the regulatory path forward remains uncertain.

Nicholas sees the medical cannabis category eventually subdividing into five key segments: 1. Rx (already in existence), 2. Rx-to-OTC switches (expected after 2023), 3. VMS & topicals (2019 is a pivotal year for CBD in the US with CVS and Walgreens putting these supplements on sale), 4. CBD for beauty & food, and 5. Lifestyle Marijuana. 

Reporting back from last week’s AESGP meeting in Geneva, our INSIGHT Europe Editor Sarah Carter said: “Touching on CBD, delegates were in agreement with the myriad benefits and the huge growth potential of the market, but less clear on where we stand in terms of regulations.” 

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Nicholas Hall wrote: Reading Sarah’s notes, I was interested to hear that Scott Melville made the comment, “Our industry knows how to take products from Rx to OTC, but not how to take something from illegal to legal.” Scott is President & CEO of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association in USA, and this idea was first raised in a leadership panel Scott asked me to moderate at the CHPA meeting in March, but it took me some weeks to really understand what was being said. Yes, we know how to make switches; unfortunately, there aren’t any! 2018 was the first year in living memory when new switches added nothing significant to CHC revenues in USA, the home of Switch.

On the other hand, CBD is being legitimised all over the world, including in about half of US states, and all the major drugstore chains have started pilot programmes to sell hemp and other CBD products where it is already legal. Medical cannabis is an express train that is gathering speed every day, with US$11bn of annual sales likely to be added to the global CHC market in the next decade. And that was last month’s forecast – I’m sure we would increase that number if we started afresh. Our industry dare not be left behind.

Medical cannabis will be one of the key topics in our upcoming report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Examine each aspect of the CHC industry in 20 chapters, with a focus on major issues including Regulation, Pharmacy Point-of-Care, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil the “infinity zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Big Data to democratise healthcare

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Another of the Infinity Zones that Nicholas Hall will be exploring in his upcoming New Paradigms report is Big Data. Healthcare is an increasing focus of the global Big 5 tech companies, namely Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba (with the latter predicted to be the “biggest of all in future” by Nicholas). All of these companies own vast reservoirs of consumer information (“big data”) that can be leveraged to provide targeted advertising and services.

In an interview with CNBC in early 2019, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said that health will be the company’s “greatest contribution to mankind” and indicated that various services would be rolled out later this year, building on the success of the new ECG-enabled Apple Watch. Over the weekend, it was revealed that Apple has acquired Tueo Health, a California startup developing a smartphone app that works with sensors to detect asthma-related issues in sleeping children and alert the parents or guardians.

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How the Tueo Health app works

In recent years, Apple has also acquired Gliimpse, a startup developing technology to aggregate medical records, and Beddit, a sleep sensor company. Apple sees its mission as “democratising” healthcare by putting its big data in the hands of consumers and empowering individuals to manage their own health via apps and dashboards. Apple’s vast user base gives it an advantage over its tech rivals, and the expected launch of its own medical devices (i.e. hearing aids) and services (i.e. blood glucose monitoring) will expand its healthcare appeal further.

As Nicholas points out, however, privacy concerns continue to plague big data initiatives and European authorities in particular have issued various fines to tech companies for breaching strict new data privacy laws (GDPR). The need for tech companies to process our personal information with ever more sensitivity will become even greater once they have access to healthcare metrics such as our blood pressure, sleep patterns, etc.

Big Data will be one of the key topics in our upcoming report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Examine each aspect of the CHC industry in 20 chapters, with a focus on major issues including Regulation, Pharmacy Point-of-Care, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil the “infinity zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.