Q1 2017: Early analysis of the global OTC performance


Nicholas Hall’s global OTC database, DB6, has just published its latest figures relating to the Q1 2017 performance of the OTC market, and below are some standout trends based on early analysis of the data. Over the coming weeks, our OTC INSIGHT research teams will be compiling the latest trend info at a regional and Top 20 country level, and we’ll alert you as soon as this analysis has been uploaded to the OTC DASHBOARD website.

1. Russia returns to higher growth (+18.2% MAT Q1 2017 vs +11.3% full-year 2016)

A key factor in the slightly improved performance of the global OTC market in the 12 months to end-March 2017 (+4.5%) vs full-year 2016 (+4.3%) was higher growth in Russia. While a modest upturn in the world’s No.1 OTC market, USA, was offset by decelerating growth for both No.2 market China and No.3 market Japan, it was the European countries – largely No.5 Russia, but also No.4 Germany – that accounted for the improved performance of the global OTC market in Q1 2017.

2. CCA growth at the heart of Europe’s revived fortunes in Q1 2017

Global CCA sales were up 4.7% in 2016, thanks to a strong end to the year, and this trend continued into the first quarter of 2017, with growth accelerating to 6.3% in the MAT Q1 2017 period. Europe was largely behind this upsurge, with CCA growth in Western Europe showing a marked improvement (+3.8%), while Central & Eastern Europe was the biggest source of dynamism (+17.8%), led by Russia and Poland. This trend extended to the rest of the northern hemisphere, with North America also reporting higher CCA growth (+4.4%) in the MAT Q1 2017 period, with Canada especially vibrant (+6.9%).

3. Global Top 5 stays the same, but J&J may overtake Sanofi by mid-year

While the Top 5 global OTC marketers – GSK, Bayer, Sanofi, J&J and Pfizer – remain fixed in position and adrift from the rest of the competition, the battle for the No.3 spot between Sanofi (+3.8%) and J&J (+4.1%) continues to intensify. On current trends, it looks as though J&J may overtake Sanofi by the end of Q2 2017, and we will confirm the outcome of this battle later in the year.

In the meantime, please check your weekly briefings and OTC DASHBOARD‘s Charts & Graphs archive for more early analysis of the Q1 2017 results over the coming weeks.

6 Predictions on Amazon as the New Wellness Destination


How Amazon plans to connect all the dots of health

The news about Amazon intending to acquire Whole Foods is no surprise as media rumors have been spreading around in recent weeks. So while most attention is focused on the deal per se, there are some retail strategy fundamentals to consider for the future of Amazon as the new wellness destination.

1) All started by capturing the online platform for health and wellness

There is no doubt that Amazon has increased its business of health and wellness business via online sales of vitamins, supplements, and other wellness products. Although still a relatively small share of all Amazon sales, it is growing fast. Check out this infographic from OneClick Retail. I did a search on probiotics supplements and it turned over 10,000 results! Amazon follows a two prong strategy. On one side, Amazon is allowing hundreds, if not thousands, of small and medium size companies to sell to consumers in a very convenient and direct manner, and most importantly, cost effective. And this is precisely one of the reasons why many smaller players have seen their sales boom against the lower growth rates of bigger established brands from large multinational companies.

2) Launching their own brand in wellness

Amazon is not shy and knowing that health and wellness is now a super hot area to invest in consumer goods, they decided to launch their own line of supplements Elements aiming to capture this fast rising category in fast moving consumer goods. Although the current line consists of a few options, I would not be surprised if this is expanded.

3) The power of the cloud

Amazon is one of the largest providers of cloud services. As such, they have expanded their cloud services to medical practices allowing physicians to set up store fronts to be able to sell their “doctor” brands of vitamins and supplements directly to their patients. As consumers become more concerned about the quality and safety of supplements, many physicians who practice in the wellness space are seeing a good opportunity to boost their income as reimbursement from payers decrease. Moreover, the power of the cloud will allow Amazon one day to be able to store electronic health records (EHRs) and personal health records (PHRs) from wearables and medical monitoring and tracking devices in one convenient place to achieve and effective and less costly healthcare link between practitioners and consumers.

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4) The retailing of health and wellness clinics

Watch out Walgreens and CVS! The move of Amazon to acquire Whole Foods confirms a trend of grocery retailers to establish their own health and wellness clinics. One example is Hy-Vee, a humble yet growing employee-owned grocery chain in the Midwest US that expanded its Retail Health Clinics this year in partnership with some of the leading health systems in the US such as Mayo Clinic. Back in 2015 Whole Foods had announced the possibility of opening up a retail medical clinic within Whole Foods, but it has not fully materialized. Amazon may potentially reinvigorate the wellness spirit within Whole Foods.

5) Amazon as the new pharmacy

Last month Amazon hinted the intention to possibly play in the online pharmacy business in a news report that has raised eyebrows as it can disrupt the traditional model of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Amazon can easily do this quicker if it focuses first on over-the-counter drugs (OTCs), vitamins and supplements while meeting regulatory requirements for prescription (Rx) drugs dispensing.

6) The future vision: Amazon seeks to close the loop of health and wellness

Imagine this: Amazon is a comprehensive and holistic health and wellness destination where consumers will be able to drive and purchase their health. The connected dots of consumer health consist of:

  • Convenient online sales, including mobile
  • Own brand with certified quality, safety and efficacy
  • Artificial intelligence – Echo (Alexa) to provide guidance on health issues supported by their partnership with WebMD
  • Brick-and-mortar presence as health and wellness destination capitalizing on Whole Foods name
  • Virtual pharmacist and healthcare practitioner for consultation and guidance (telemedicine)
  • Integration of health in the cloud – consumers will be able to access all their health records in one convenient place with no hassle

In one word, a beautiful integration of consumer health!

Ali Health via Alibaba is already doing this in China so it will be interesting to see how the two e-commerce titans compete in the world of health and wellness.

Monica Feldman is a Consumer Health Strategist, Group Director of Client Services at Nicholas Hall & Co and a leading voice on global trends related to over-the-counter (OTC) products for preventive health, self-care and the extension of health span.

Apple deal with device maker sign of more to come?


Apple announced at its recent WorldWide Developers Conference in California that it would soon be offering users the chance to monitor their glucose levels. The company has partnered with medical device maker Dexcom and will link the company’s glucose monitoring device with the Apple Watch.

For some time now, Apple has been positioning itself as a dedicated health and fitness provider through the Apple Watch series. However, while Apple has previously marketed itself towards lifestyle and fitness fanatics, it has yet to enter the medical device sector.

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Apple has also previously been reported to be hiring a small team of biomechanical engineers to develop sensors that monitor the body’s blood sugar levels. The team are said to be working on non-invasive sensors that do no require users to prick their skin for blood testing.

Apple is also now home to our new OTC DASHBOARD app. To download it from the Apple Store now, click here.

App helps cancer patients extend life


Scientists have discovered a new medical intervention that can extend the lives of cancer sufferers by a number of months. The discovery is not a novel drug or therapy, it is an app. Patients who reported their symptoms via a tablet survived for five months longer than those who did not, according to a large study which was presented at the world’s biggest oncology meeting yesterday.

The research highlighted the role that cheap and simple tech can play in providing healthcare at a time when drug makers are suffering controversy for the ever-rising cost of prescribed medicines.

Patients were told to report 12 symptoms such as sleeping and breathing difficulties using the app, which was referred to as an electronic patient report system or ePro. If patients took a turn for the worse, an automatic push notification was sent to alert a doctor or nurse. “The system proactively monitored symptoms, so that the care team was able to intervene earlier and catch things before they became more severe,” said Dr Ethan Basch, an oncologist and professor at the University of North Carolina, who led the trial.


Dr Basch said patients using the app were able to stay on chemotherapy “for substantially longer” than others because they were less likely to turn up to the hospital in a weak state and as a repercussion, not be strong enough to handle the punishing treatment. The ePro patients were also less likely to be admitted to hospital, meaning they did not become bed-bound or acquire an infection like C. difficile while on the ward.

Oncologists have long believed that ePro apps can improve a person’s quality of life, but this is the first time that is has been proven to boost survival in a large number of patients with a broad and varied range of cancers. Patients who used the purpose-built app typically survived for 31 months versus 26 months for those who did not, according to the research, which was unveiled at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (Asco).

OTC DASHBOARD: New mobile app!


We’re very excited to announce the launch of a new mobile app for OTC DASHBOARD subscribers, providing instant access on your smartphone to all data and content at a global, regional and country level, tracking all 64 markets that we cover. Subscribers will also find available the latest consumer healthcare news, infographics and ad campaigns, plus the Market Movers and Dates For Your Diary features.

We’re happy to announce the mobile app will be free as part of your existing OTC DASHBOARD subscription package, and no in-app purchases are required. The app is available on both the Android (Google Play) and Apple stores at:

Android: LINK

Apple: LINK

Below is a very quick “how to” guide to getting started with the mobile app:

  1. After downloading the app to your smartphone and logging in to it with the same log-in details that you use for the OTC DASHBOARD website, you will be taken through to the app’s homepage, entitled “OTC Dashboard: News Feed”.
  2. As well as being able to scroll down through the news feed to check recent OTC developments, there are also three main points of navigation on the homepage (see the three red arrows in the three screenshots below). First, and most important, is the triple bar symbol () at the top left, which allows you to navigate through all the various features, including Global Market Overview – press the + button to the right of this for the submenu allowing access to seven areas of content.
  3. Secondly, the triple dot symbol () at the top right allows you to navigate through important app information, including your My OTC DASHBOARD shortcuts (“Dashboard”), as well as allowing you to log out of the app.
  4. Thirdly, and finally, clicking on the globe symbol at the bottom left of the page allows you to select whether you want to view data and content in the market overview section at global, regional or country level (press the + button to select any country within any region).

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Using the same globe symbol, the app allows users to switch between regions and countries while in certain sections of the Global Market Overview, for example Category Watch, but to switch to other features in the submenu, for example from Category Watch to Brand Watch, you will need to use the back button and triple bar symbol () at the top left to navigate. Many of the charts are interactive, allowing you to drill down for further information on a particular country, category, marketer or brand, and giving you access to a huge wealth of information on the global OTC market in just one easy-to-access app.

Please also note that many aspects of the app are interactive, allowing you to explore further. For example, if you click on companies or brands in Company Watch or Brand Watch, you will open a pop-up screen with more trend information.

We hope you enjoy exploring the new OTC DASHBOARD mobile app, and if you have any questions or issues, please feel free to contact one of the team:

Dave Redford: David.Redford@NicholasHall.com

Hannah Burke: Hannah.Burke@NicholasHall.com

NB: Please note that this app requires access to the internet. If WiFi isn’t available, and your cellular data is on, this app will use your cellular connection in order to operate.

More than half of UK’s e-cig users give up tobacco


A survey of 12,000 adults for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) found some 1.5 million vapers are now ex-smokers, compared with 1.3 million who still use tobacco.

However, ASH stated that the message that vaping was much less harmful than smoking was still yet to get through to all smokers. Some 9mn still smoke in the UK despite a big rise in e-cigarette use.

In 2012, there were 700,000 vapers in the UK; now there are 2.9mn. The main reason ex-smokers give for vaping is to help them stop smoking. Current smokers say they do it principally to reduce the amount they smoke.

Scientists say evidence suggests that the risks of exposure to toxins for e-cigarette users are likely to be low – and much lower than with tobacco.

Deborah Arnott, the campaigning health charity’s chief executive, said the figures on vapers who had quit smoking were “excellent news” but added that the rate of people switching to electronic versions had peaked. “The rapid growth in e-cigarette use has come to an end,” she said.

This is owing to more than a third of smokers having still never tried e-cigarettes, as a result of concerns about their safety and addictiveness. However, research suggests that 26% of people think e-cigarettes are more – or as equally – harmful as smoking tobacco while only 13% believe they are a lot less harmful.

“It’s very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking,” Arnott continued.

People who combine electronic and standard cigarette smoking are still being exposed to the cancer-causing substances in tobacco smoke, increasing their risk of lung cancers, bronchitis and other diseases, although Public Health England believes levels of nicotine in e-cigarettes are unlikely to pose any significant health risk.

Pfizer unveils antimicrobial ATLAS


Last week Pfizer announced the launch of the their Antimicrobial Testing Leadership and Surveillance (ATLAS) website. The site is designed to supply physicians and the global health community with easy access to crucial data on the efficacy of numerous antibiotic treatments and emerging resistance patterns across more than 60 countries.

The interpretation of evolving bacterial resistance patterns is a key development in the process of understanding and managing the rise of antimicrobial resistance. Putting this into perspective, ATLAS can not only help physicians select the most appropriate treatment choices for their patients but also enable global health authorities to develop data-driven antimicrobial resistance mitigation strategies.

Pfizer officially unveiled ATLAS at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (ECCMID) in Vienna last Saturday. With smartphones and tablets providing such benefits for healthcare professionals these days, Pfizer also offers ATLAS as a mobile app to enable speedy access to vital resistance information during patient care.


The application works as an interactive platform allowing physicians to evaluate data, conduct analyses and export tables and figures that include parameters such as pathogen, region, specimen source and in vitro susceptibility data.

Another great benefit is that the database is updated every six months with new resistance data from healthcare institutions in over 60 countries.

Dr Freda Lewis-Hall, Chief Medical Officer of Pfizer, said the database was “an important aspect for physicians when treating patients”, adding that “knowledge of where certain resistant bacterial infections tend to occur and knowledge of which antibiotics remain effective against them”. The CMO further added: “ATLAS underscores our continued commitment to providing patients and physicians with meaningful resources that can help ensure appropriate utilisation of antibiotics and improve infection prevention and control.”