RB 2.0: E-commerce a key focus

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With CEO Rakesh Kapoor retiring at the end of the year, and ambitious plans for RB 2.0 to be implemented within the next year, this is without doubt a transformational time for RB. Nicholas Hall believes RB 2.0 will lead to the “end-point of divesting the Hygiene Home business, and with the company quickly moving on to v3.0 and a major merger. I can think of at least four CHC companies that may want to be associated with RB v3.0, not all of whom could be considered equals, but who would be attracted by a cashless transaction and the benefits of scale.” 

RB released its full year results last week, with net revenue in 2018 up by 3% on a like-for-like basis, while Health grew by 2%. Within Health, the OTC segment rose by 5%, driven by innovations (Nurofen 24-hour patch, Strepsils flurbiprofen spray) and strong regional performances (Lemsip in UK, Luftal in Brazil, Moov in India and Tempra in Mexico). As part of its RB 2.0 mission, the company is planning to “supercharge” innovation even further, focusing on new categories (i.e. the launch of brain health supplement Neuriva later in H1 2019), new consumers and new channels (i.e. MegaRed and Move Free in e-commerce outlets in China).

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In its 2018 results presentation, RB emphasised its “best-in-class digital and e-commerce capability” as a key driver behind RB 2.0 growth, highlighting the specific case of China where the company’s online sales already outweigh “offline” sales thanks to strong partnerships with the likes of Alibaba and JD.com. Innovations such as MegaRed CoQ10, Move Free Ultra and Move Free Advanced have been specially developed for the e-commerce channel in China and the USA. 

In its results, the company also reported that 9% of RB Health sales are generated in the e-commerce channel, which it says ranks second among its consumer healthcare peers, while its operating margin of 28% is way ahead of the consumer healthcare average. RB attributes its success in e-commerce to its FMCG heritage and its strong margins to the relatively high proportion of its portfolio devoted to Consumer Health vs key OTC competitors.

Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, our upcoming new Signature Report written by Nicholas, includes a chapter dedicated to reviewing M&A within the CHC industry. Exploring recent transactions, multiples and the buyers and sellers — with predictions of likely future deals — Nicholas also asks whether M&A actually works and examines the role of private equity. An essential read for all players striving to compete in this rapidly-evolving marketplace, for the full table of contents or to pre-order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

 

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High on innovation, but CBD faces regulatory uncertainty

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Various Nicholas Hall publications, notably OTC.NewDirections and OTC New Products Tracker, provide in-depth coverage of medical cannabis developments owing to the category’s huge potential to boost future consumer healthcare growth. High levels of innovation, both in terms of positioning and delivery format (like those detailed below), continue to characterise the category, but recent regulatory moves by the WHO and EU mean that the status of CBD supplements remains far from settled.

Looking at delivery format innovations, recent developments include a new mouth spray in the UK (Natures Aid CBD Oil Spray from Thornton & Ross / Stada) and a new nasal spray in the USA (Rhinodol from New Leaf Pharmaceuticals). The latter claims to deliver the highest concentrations of medical CBD at an affordable cost (US$69.99). According to New Leaf, the oral administrative route provides the lowest bioavailability, owing to the digestive processes that occur when CBDs enter the blood stream (a significant amount of CBD goes into the liver and is broken down into unusable compounds).

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Screenshot from New Leaf Pharma’s website

Meanwhile, attitudes to CBD and cannabis are changing at a regulatory level. According to news sources, a leaked World Health Organisation internal letter to the UN Secretary-General recommends that whole-flower cannabis and its resins should be removed from Schedule IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), the most restrictive international drug category. Cannabis scheduling was discussed at the Expert Committee of Drug Dependence 41st meeting in November 2018 but the discussions have not been published. The letter also clarified that cannabidiol should not be scheduled within the International Drug Control Conventions, while tinctures and extracts of cannabis should also be deleted from Schedule I. WHO recommendations will be voted on by the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which could take place in March 2019.

In Europe, marketers of CBD supplements are facing new regulatory hurdles. The European Food Safety Authority has amended the entry for cannabinoids on the Novel Foods register, which now states: “Extracts of Cannabis sativa L. and derived products containing cannabinoids are considered novel foods as a history of consumption has not been demonstrated. This applies to both the extracts themselves and any products to which they are added as an ingredient (such as hemp seed oil). This also applies to extracts of other plants containing cannabinoids. Synthetically-obtained cannabinoids are considered as novel.”

This means that CBD supplements are now classed as a novel food in Europe and manufacturers face the prospect of having to take their products off the market while they apply for approved novel food status, which can take around a year. In December 2018, Austria banned the sale of CBD extracts, stating that the ingredients fall under the EU’s Novel Foods regulations and cannot be marketed without authorisation.

Join Nicholas Hall at our upcoming New Jersey meeting, hosted with our partners Everything Health. Based on the theme, Innovate, Digitize, Integrate, the meeting takes place on 26-27 June, with representatives from Perrigo, MarketHub, Google and many others, joining us to discuss and debate topics including:

  • Market Trends and Innovation
  • Key Developments in the Cannabis Market
  • Connected Health
  • Consumer Insights using Artificial Intelligence  

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.

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