Vaping among middle-aged growing fast

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According to a recent report by Mintel on e-cigarette and smoking control use in the UK, vaping among the middle-aged (45-54 years olds especially) has undergone a sharp rise. While only 13% of 45-54 year olds used e-cigarettes in 2016, this proportion has grown sharply to 20% in 2018, and this age group is also reported as being most likely (71%) to believe that vaping is fashionable.

Young people (18-24 year olds) are still the most prominent vapers; the share of e-cigarette use among this age group grew from 24% in 2016 to 28% in 2018. Although this represents a slower rate of growth compared to their middle-aged counterparts, over half of Brits (57%) still believe that too many young people vape.

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Overall, about 19% of British adults vape, up from 17% in 2016, with men twice as likely to vape as women. Sales of e-cigarettes are reported to be performing well, with the market experiencing strong growth of 12% in 2018, to total £283mn (US$366mn). This is compared to a UK smoking control market declining by 1%, according to the latest OTC DASHBOARD MAT Q3 2018 figures, a trend caused by smokers turning to e-cigarettes rather than traditional NRT when cutting back on tobacco.

In his latest message to the consumer health industry, Nicholas Hall wrote about the importance of true innovation, including the following points:

• Embrace the outer adjacencies of consumer health, of which sexual health, e-cigarettes / vaping and medical cannabis are the most interesting, potentially adding another 20-30% to CHC market sales; BUT, every time I propose these categories to a client, all I hear is a sharp intake of breath, followed by a nervous giggle

• Refocus on organic growth, which means more differentiation of the new products we launch. Our OTC New Products Tracker (see below) has recorded 17,000 launches in the past 6 years, of which 99 appear to be game-changers and another 1,000 have a genuine point of difference. But I’m sorry to say that for many of the other 93%, the marketers would have done better to keep their money in the bank, even at 0.1% interest.

Review 17,000+ new launches and innovations with OTC New Products Tracker, the ultimate competitive intelligence tool! Products are given a star rating, with “me too” items ranked 1*; launches / line extensions in a new category / adjacency 2*; major launches / line extensions with strong new benefits / positioning 3*, and 1st Rx-to-OTC switches in a category, creation of a new OTC class or other major leaps in innovation 4*. 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 requirements, now is the ideal time to set up your free trial. For a demo or more information, contact waisan.lee-gabell@NicholasHall.com.

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E-commerce shake-up in India

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India has been one of the major drivers of global OTC growth, with sales up 8.8% in the MAT Q3 2018 period, but there is now uncertainty over the country’s e-commerce sector after the government moved ahead with new rules that took effect last Friday (1st February 2019). The rules prohibit online retailers from selling products via companies or distributors in which they have an equity stake, so e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart (owned by Walmart) have been most affected.

Amazon has now pulled various products from its Indian website, including some of its Amazon Basics line, while Walmart said it was “disappointed” at the government’s haste in implementing the new rules, which will create “significant work” for the company in overhauling its supply chains and systems. Political commentators see Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to stand firm as a move intended to appease smaller Indian retailers ahead of a general election expected in May.

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Amazon saw its shares dip 4% on the day the rules were implemented and it has lowered its sales guidance for India in Q1 2019. Walmart shares also fell, down 2.4%. In the short-term, there will be huge disruption to supply chains and increasing compliance costs, which will inevitably affect the availability and price of products online, while also giving a boost to bricks & mortar retailers. Long-term, however, Amazon and Flipkart have invested huge sums in India’s e-commerce market and will no doubt recover share.

In the meantime, more disruption to the e-commerce sector might be on its way. India issued draft regulations on the sale of medicines by e-pharmacies in September 2018, including a requirement to register for a licence with the country’s pharma regulator, CDSCO, which should be renewed every 3 years. However, the move has drawn protests and petitions from pharmacists, and opposing views in different regions of India, making the future implementation of these regulations highly uncertain.

The latest edition of our bestselling annual OTC Yearbook 2019 is available to pre-order! Scheduled for publication this April, this report will include reviews of major OTC categories, leading companies and brands, Medical Devices, Switch and much more. Pre-order your copy before 31 March to take advantage of our pre-publication rate! To find out more, or to reserve your copy, please contact Melissa.Lee@NicholasHall.com.

Bidding starts for Nestle Skin Health

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According to a Reuters report, private equity companies Cinven and Advent have teamed up to table a joint bid for Nestle Skin Health, which sources believe values the company at CHF7bn (US$7bn). It is reported that other private equity companies, including Blackstone, KKR and Carlyle, are likewise poised to make bids, while sources also say that Merz Pharma is interested and looking for private equity partners. 

In terms of the timeline, Nestle’s Board of Directors decided to explore strategic options for the skin health business in September 2018, after concluding that future growth opportunities lay increasingly outside the group’s strategic scope. Information memos on the sale, being run by Credit Suisse and Evercore, are expected to be sent by the end of this month and first-round bids are likely to be submitted in early March.

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Nestle Skin Health divides its portfolio into two units – its range of largely Rx “medical solutions” marketed under the Galderma umbrella and its “consumer solutions”.  Differin Gel is one example of a Galderma Rx skin care medicine which has been switched to OTC status, gaining FDA approval in 2016 and launched in the US in early 2017. Despite being the first genuinely new allopathic treatment in the acne category, Differin sales only reached US$17mn in the brand’s first full year since switch, leading Nestle to revamp the brand in late 2017 with line extensions and packaging updates.

Nestle Skin Health’s key consumer brands are Cetaphil, Loceryl and Benzac, as well as the home treatment acne programme Proactiv. Cetaphil is its key OTC brand, according to DB6, thanks to its expansive range and wide skin care positioning, from eczema & psoriasis to acne and anti-itch. Cetaphil Dermacontrol and Cetaphil Restoraderm are both well-established in the US market, while Cetaphil also has a strong presence in Australia, Brazil, Germany and several Middle Eastern countries.

Nicholas Hall’s recent report, Dermatologicals: Trends, Innovations, Opportunities, analyses the Derma market from the global level down to individual category-by-category reviews. This key report also examines medical devices, cosmeceuticals and much, much more. It covers launch activity, innovations and emerging niches, spanning a range of categories, including eczema & psoriasis, cold sore treatments and wound care. To purchase your copy or to find out more, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

J&J, Sandoz seek digital health breakthroughs

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Two stories we picked up this past week involve key OTC marketers, J&J and Sandoz (Novartis), and new digital healthcare initiatives. J&J subsidiary Janssen announced it is collaborating with Apple by conducting a multi-year research study investigating whether the Apple Watch can detect the onset of a stroke.

The study, due to begin later this year and tracking people aged 65+, will explore whether using a medication adherence app from J&J, in combination with Apple Watch’s ECG app, helps to accelerate diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and improve healthcare outcomes, including the prevention of stroke. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s Chief Scientific Officer, also said: “Based on the insights generated through this research programme, we may be able to develop new ways to detect other health conditions earlier in the future that also exhibit measurable physiological symptoms.”

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Sandoz has also just announced the three finalists for its second Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge (HACk). After receiving 400 digital technology submissions from 80 countries, Sandoz narrowed the finalists down to entries from Uganda, the Netherlands and the USA. Finalists take part in a 4-day “accelerator event” in Austin, Texas in March 2019, working with Sandoz to refine their ideas into scalable solutions ahead of final judging. The three finalists are as follows:

  1. Uganda: The Mobile Clinic plans to develop an app that can be used to make emergency appointments via a toll-free number and will be directly linked to a mobile van clinic offering door-to-door services in rural areas.
  2. USA: Regulora is in development as a prescription-only digital therapeutic for IBS based on Gut Directed Hypnotherapy. The mobile app connects patients with automated digital therapy sessions from the comfort of their own home.
  3. Netherlands: Social Genomics is building an AI-based smart social network, enabling people with rare and undiagnosed diseases to connect and share stories, providing access to global real-world patient data insights about treatment options and scientific research.

Explore How Digital is Changing People’s Relationship with Health from Milena Leone, Head of Innovation and Digital Consumer Healthcare, Sanofi at Nicholas Hall’s 30th European CHC Conference in Vienna on 2-4 April 2019. Nicholas Hall will be also be joined by speakers from GSK, HRA Pharma and Prohibition Partners among many others to ensure that you are Keeping Up with the Digital Consumer. The meeting will also feature a workshop from The CHC Training Academy, enabling you to Embrace Digital Transformation. Book before 4 February and save up to GB£300 with our early bird discounts. To find out more, please contact Elizabeth.Bernos@NicholasHall.com.

Medical cannabis round-up

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Medical cannabis is a dynamic and fast-moving market, and of increasing interest to many Pharma and Big Tobacco marketers. In North America and Europe, several countries now allow, or are considering allowing, the medical use of cannabis or cannabinoids in some form, while CBD supplements are widely available.

Already in 2019 we’ve also seen new developments in this field in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, with Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, agreeing to the export of medical cannabis. Once the decision is formally approved by the Cabinet, this will allow Israel to participate in the rapidly expanding global cannabis market, and exports may begin in mid-2019. As for Thailand, its National Legislative Assembly has just passed the second and third readings of an amendment to the Narcotics Bill to allow the production, import, export, possession and use of cannabis and kratom products for medical and research purposes.

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One notable recent launch in the USA was Foria Basics Suppositories, a cannabidiol-based product formulated primarily to relieve menstrual cramps and discomfort. It also claims to relieve menopausal symptoms, inflammation and pain. The all-natural formula, which also includes 100% organic fair trade cocoa butter, delivers broad-spectrum CBD 100mg directly to the muscle and vascular tissues of the upper vagina and uterus. What’s unique about Foria Basics Suppositories is not just the delivery format, but also the menstrual pain positioning.

Medical cannabis was one of the hot OTC innovation trends of 2018, and Nicholas Hall’s OTC New Products Tracker now lists over 100 medical cannabis launches in its ever-growing archive. In 2018, we tracked 66 medical cannabis innovations, the majority emanating from the US market, followed by Germany and UK. 

Stay informed about the latest cannabis-related scientific and regulatory developments by subscribing to our sister publication OTC.NewDirections — the reliable source from NHC to keep up with all relevant developments in this fast-developing market worldwide. For more details, or to arrange a trial subscription, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com

East to power global economy in 2019

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According to the latest research from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), several countries in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa will produce the highest economic growth in 2019, while North America, Europe and even Latin America will lag behind. There are some exceptions to this trend (like Poland and Ireland in Europe, which are forecast to outperform the global economy in 2019) but the general picture shows that the highest GDP growth will be in the east.

Although there are concerns about the economic slowdown in China – see our blog just before Christmas and the recent letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook to investors – the country is expected to remain among the best-performing economies in 2019, with a growth forecast of 6.3%. The EIU revised up slightly its China forecast for 2019, following the agreement reached between the US and China at the G20 to delay planned tariff actions. However, it remains uncertain whether a bilateral trade deal will be reached.

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China’s troubles may actually be providing a boost to neighbouring Asia-Pacific markets, such as Vietnam, which offer an alternative manufacturing location. Also, as we’ve highlighted on the blog previously, several African markets have likewise been boosted by their growing status as manufacturing hubs, notably Kenya. As for India, it is forecast by the EIU to be among the Top 5 fastest-growing economies in 2019, continuing its strong 2018 upturn – according to the latest OTC DASHBOARD data for the MAT Q3 2018 period, India is the fastest-growing OTC market in Asia-Pacific, up 8.8%.

At the other end of the scale, key Latin American markets Venezuela and Argentina are forecast to be among the Top 5 worst-performing economies in 2019, while Mexico and Brazil are also expected to perform below par this year. However, high inflation has helped to boost OTC growth in these markets. As for Europe, several western European markets are forecast to produce low growth, while Japan, Turkey and South Africa are all expected to produce growth in the 0-2% range, with the US performing slightly better.

Join Nicholas Hall and The CHC Training Academy in Vietnam on 28 February. Focusing on the central theme of Winning Together in Consumer Health, this unique workshop will enable you to develop essential skills to succeed in the new era of collaborative partnership approaches between retailer and supplier for strengthening categories together, plus deep insights on key stakeholders. Don’t delay — book your place before 17 January to save with our generous early bird discount! To find out more, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com

Uncertain economic outlook in 2019

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As well as the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit, another cloud on the economic horizon for 2019 is the health of the US retail sector. According to a report over the weekend by the FT, shares in US retailers are set for their biggest quarterly sell-off since the financial crisis. This follows weak economic data in Asia-Pacific, especially China where retail sales hit a 15-year low in November 2018, and Europe, prompting concerns about a global economic slowdown.

Tariffs, and the threat of tariffs, have been one factor. Some US retailers are reportedly now having to offload surplus stock at a heavy discount, after accelerating imports in recent months to avoid planned higher tariffs (which are now on hold), while the fall in industrial output in China is partly linked to US tariffs that have been imposed. Also, concerns have resurfaced among investors about the ability of bricks & mortar retailers to navigate the e-commerce revolution. As a result, shares in various US retailers have fallen sharply, from high-end to mass market chains, like Target (down 23%).

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Amazon shares have also declined this quarter, though the e-commerce giant still looks on course to disrupt pharmaceutical distribution and reimbursement in 2019, a fact that hasn’t eluded many top pharma executives. J&J CEO, Alex Gorsky, in an interview with Fortune, said: “We have conversations at all levels going on with Amazon. I think Jeff (Bezos) and as importantly Amazon is a very innovative organisation, and they see this as an opportunity to make a difference. Just as we are partnering with them today in areas of our consumer products, we’ll look forward to partnering with them in the future in some of these other areas as well.”

Pfizer Chairman & CEO Ian Read also said late last year: “Any system of distribution that can cut costs and get a wide availability of products to patients is something that the whole industry would be interested in.” This disruption to pharma distribution, allied with the current economic uncertainty, looks set to make for a volatile year in 2019. According to Nicholas Hall, the “Big Beasts of Big Pharma are right. Amazon and Alibaba are today the most powerful disruptors of the healthcare industry. Some brand marketers will embrace this change, most will not … until it’s too late.” 

Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, our upcoming new Signature Report written by Nicholas, focuses on a range of important issues surrounding the CHC Market, including Innovation, Success Factors, Digital Engagement, Competition and much more. It is an essential read for all players striving to compete in this rapidly evolving marketplace. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com