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.

US acne OTC market ready to pop

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It’s amazing that the OTC treatment of acne has been limited to benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid treatments for more than three decades, but now US teens and adults suffering from the condition have new options in the form of a medical device and the pending launch of an Rx-to-OTC switch topical gel.

J&J has launched Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask, said to harness the power of clinically proven technology to clear acne and allow skin to heal itself. The mask emits blue light to kill acne-causing bacteria, while its red light goes deeper to reduce inflammation. Use is simple, with people putting the mask on after cleansing their faces and pushing the button and letting it work for 10 minutes.

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The US$40 mask includes 30 treatments, and subsequent purchases of the Light Mask Activator for US$17 means the mask can be charged for another 30 treatments. Although there are many light devices for acne treatment available on e-commerce sites like Amazon, the cachet of the trusted leading OTC acne brand, Neutrogena, on the label, and the far lower price point compared to other devices makes this product a game-changer.

Meanwhile, Galderma (Nestlé) is getting ready to launch Differin Gel (adapalene), the first retinoid acne treatment to be available as an OTC when the FDA approved its switch from Rx-only status last summer. The topical drug will dramatically change the complexion of retail shelves with a new ingredient for a skin condition that can have a major quality of life impact on millions of consumers. The Differin website promises that the new OTC will be on retail shelves soon.

This month, OTC INSIGHT North America will cover the acne remedies market in more detail as part 2 of its skin care report. To learn more about INA, click below:

Nicholas Hall’s OTC INSIGHT regional periodicals

OTCs in Action Episode 58: Spots on her face

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OTCs are in Action this week in parental thinking: “You don’t need a new iPhone … those shorts are too short … those heels are too high … too much make-up!” Sometimes it seems I say no to everything my teenage daughter wants … but acne products for my lovely girl’s complicated complexion – I’ll buy anything!

So, Galderma’s proposal to launch an OTC gel version of the acne-fighting ingredient, adapalene, caught my attention. The Nestlé-owned company will present its case for switching the ingredient from Rx to OTC at the 15th April meeting of the FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee. It currently markets adapalene-based OTC, Differin, in Russia and Greece. According to Nicholas Hall’s DB6 global OTC sales database, the brand generated sales of $2mn in Russia in 2014, and $1mn in Greece.

In the US, Galderma’s Rx portfolio currently uses adapalene in Rx acne treatments Epiduo (0.1% and benzoyl peroxide 2.5%), Epiduo Forte (0.3% / 2.5%) and Differin – available in 0.1% and 0.3% strengths.

If anyone needs a touching reminder of those terrible teen troubles, join the 3mn viewers of Charlie McDonnell’s acne song (which sported a pop-up ad for Neutrogena skin care brand from J&J during my last visit to the site).