Global CHC Market Movers, MAT Q1 2021

We have now published our latest Market Movers update on the CHC Dashboard website, highlighting 6 brands that have been driving growth in the global CHC market in the MAT Q1 2021 period, as well as 6 brands in fast decline, and below we look at the trends behind these exceptional brand performances.

Given that antiseptics & disinfectants were by far the biggest growth driver in the global CHC market in MAT Q1 2021, it’s no surprise that two of the six fastest-growing brands were hand sanitisers, Unilever’s Suave and ArtNaturals (ArtNaturals). Both were standout performers in the US market among a raft of new entries in the vibrant subcategory.

Rx-to-OTC switch has also been an important growth driver, with GSK’s May 2020 launch of topical analgesic Voltaren Arthritis Pain the notable development, generating sales in excess of US$100mn in under a year on the market. Former switch brand Plan B One-Step also performed exceptionally well in MAT Q1 2021, owing to limited access to prescribed contraception and family planning clinics during the pandemic. Foundation Consumer Healthcare also backed the brand with TV ads explaining it does not affect future fertility.

In China, the two fastest-growing CHC brands were Mayinglong Musk, a haemorrhoid preparation extended into new subcategories thanks to product innovation, and Fu Fang E Jiao Jiang, which marketer Dong-e E-jiao Group revived by returning to a policy of targeting general (not just high-end) consumers, helping ensure a return to growth overall for tonics & cure alls in China.

As for products that suffered falling sales in MAT Q1 2021, the clear majority (4 out of 6) were CCA brands, given the historically weak cough & cold season experienced by the industry in the first quarter of this year. Global No.1 brand Vicks posted further heavy decline in Q1, with MAT Q1 2021 sales falling by 24.5%; combo packs of Vicks NyQuil / DayQuil packs fell particularly hard (-54%).

Reckitt’s systemic cold & flu treatment Mucinex Fast-Max and cough remedy Delsym also suffered heavy decline in MAT Q1 2021, as did Taisho’s cold remedy Pabron in Japan, which was hit by the downturn for domestic and inbound channels attributable to Covid-related issues.

We are pleased to announce that Nicholas Hall’s North American e-Conference 2021 will take place on 21 September! Sponsored by Catalent, Nicholas will be joined by industry experts to explore Challenger Brands & Key Pillars to the New / Modern Marketing World. To register, or to find out more, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

MAT Q1 2021: Global CHC sales fall 0.6%

According to Nicholas Hall’s global sales database DB6, the retail (bricks & mortar) CHC market generated global sales of US$148bn, down by -0.6% versus a year ago. Further heavy decline for cough, cold & allergy (-14.5%), especially in North America and Western Europe, was largely responsible for the global fall in CHC sales. The Americas declined by -0.4%, driven by a -1.9% fall in North America, but slightly offset by a positive performance by LatAm markets (+8.5%), notably double-digit growth in Brazil (+10.6%).

Asia remained relatively weak (+2.6%); despite strong growth in China (+7.1%), the region continues to be impacted by loss of revenue from overseas visitors in key markets Japan (-9.1%) and Australia (-8.0%). Europe saw a significant downturn (-5.5%), heavily impacted by declines in CCA and analgesics in Western Europe. Key markets Germany (-13.3%) and UK (-13.9%) fell by double-digits during the MAT Q1 2021 period. In C&E Europe, meanwhile, Russia continued to post a positive performance (+4.1%), albeit at a slower rate than year-end.

As for global performance by major category, vitamins, minerals & supplements (+5.3%) remained the fastest-growing category – albeit at a slower rate than year-end 2020 – with immune-associated categories continuing to benefit from greater consumer focus on wellness maintenance and protection. Dermatologicals increased by +4.5%, its buoyancy largely attributed to the performance of antiseptics & disinfectants (+53.1%) during the pandemic. Lifestyle CHC grew by +2.4%, driven by double-digit increases in sedatives & sleep aids (+14.5%) as well as smaller categories such as obesity treatments, emergency hormonal contraception and erectile dysfunction.

Gastrointestinals returned a low level increase (+1.2%), while analgesics saw a decline of -1.8% globally, with systemics down -4.3%, largely owing to the effects of pantry loading at the start of the pandemic. Cough, cold & allergy saw the strongest decline, with sales falling by -14.5% in the 12 months to end March. Pantry loading, as well as the effects of lockdown restrictions, social distancing, mask wearing and hygiene measures resulted in significantly reduced incidence of respiratory pathologies.

At a time when consumers are highly aware of the importance of maintaining their immune system, we are pleased to announce that Immunity will be the focus of our next hot topic report! We will review a number of categories including antivirals, immune supplements and vitamins C & D and explore the latest launch activity, plus much more. To pre-order your copy and save with the pre-publication discount, or to find out more, please contact Melissa.Lee@NicholasHall.com.

Seasonal respiratory viruses re-emerge post-Covid

Recent reports from the UK and USA suggest a severe cold & flu season may be in store during winter 2021-22. With lockdown restrictions, increased hygiene measures and social distancing in force for over a year to reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19, the incidence of common respiratory viruses has been very low. However, with the lack of exposure to illnesses (especially among young children), many of us have not built up antibodies and as a result our immune systems may have been inadvertently weakened.

This has prompted warnings of a potential surge in influenza as measures are lifted; data released this week by the UK’s Office of National Statistics show that in the week ending 11th June, 84 death certificates issued in England & Wales mentioned Covid, while 1,163 deaths involving flu and pneumonia were registered. Additionally, a recent study by the Houston Methodist Research Institute shows the rapid re-emergence of seasonal respiratory viruses following the relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions in Texas in March 2021.

This trend was also reported in a recent article in STAT, in which Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist who monitors which viruses are circulating via the Nextstrain service, was quoted as saying: “Just in the last month [May 2021] or so we’ve started to pick up small amounts of seasonal coronavirus, RSV, metapneumovirus, etc. It’s the first time since April 2020 where we’re starting to see other things circulating.”

There is particular concern that by the time universities, colleges, schools and nurseries reopen this autumn across the northern hemisphere, there will be perfect conditions for high transmission of seasonal respiratory viruses, particularly RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). Andrew Pavia, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah, warned: “There will be two years’ worth of kids who are naïve to RSV, instead of one birth cohort. That could be fertile ground for a big RSV year.”

Epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, a member of the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said in a BBC interview that we must be prepared for a potentially “quite significant” flu epidemic and increased hospitalisations this winter. To help save National Health Service resources, researchers are investigating whether seasonal flu jabs and a Covid vaccine can be administered at the same time.

We are pleased to announce that our Eye Health report is now published and available to order! You can review case studies of key brands, NPD activity and much more. Plus, ensure you have registered for the free webinar on 30 June here to discuss the topline findings. For more information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Q1 2021 Results: CCA Round-up

Five of the Top 6 global CHC marketers have now reported their Q1 2021 results, and the clear common theme is a difficult start to the year as a result of the downturn in cough, cold & allergy sales. Global No.1 GSK reported that Consumer Healthcare sales were down 9% as a direct result of the year-on-year “pantry-loading” comparison, including accelerated purchases across all categories driven by the pandemic, combined with a historically weak cold & flu season. GSK’s Respiratory Health portfolio was down 42% in Q1, with Theraflu and Robitussin declining in double-digits, and Contac hit by a high single-digit fall, all adversely impacted by a lower cold & flu season.

Global No.2 J&J reported that Consumer Health worldwide operational sales were down 2.9%, primarily driven by negative prior-year comparisons related to Covid pantry loading in Q1 2020, mainly in OTC products, which declined by 14.8% in Q1 2021 as a result of lower cough, cold & flu incidences. This was partially offset by growth in Listerine mouthwash, Johnson’s baby care products, international skin health / beauty products and Nicorette sales outside the USA.

Sanofi’s Consumer Healthcare sales decreased by 7.3% in Q1 2021, primarily reflecting the weak cough / cold season, as well as a high base for comparison in Q1 2020 and divestments of non-core products. Allergy fell by 6.2%, while Cough & Cold sales were down 59.4% in Q1 2021. This heavy decline was offset by gains for Digestive Wellness (+14.6%), Physical Wellness and Mental Wellness (+18.8%) products. In USA and Rest of the World, growth of the Digestive and Mental Wellness categories partially offset lower Cough / Cold and Pain sales, but in Europe CHC sales fell by 19.3% in Q1.

Reckitt Q1 2021 net revenue was up 4.1% (like-for-like), and e-Commerce was +24%, accounting for 13% of total net revenue, driven by increased investment. Health fell 13.0%, reflecting a volume decline of 14.2% and price / mix improvements of 1.2%, as overall price growth was offset by relatively higher trade investment in North America. The OTC portfolio fell by just under 40%; in addition to challenging comparatives owing to significant pantry-loading in March 2020, this reflects an exceptionally weak cough, cold & flu season – estimated to be around 90% lower than the prior year – resulting in declines for Strepsils, Nurofen and Mucinex.

P&G’s Health Care organic sales were up 3% in Q1 2021, while Personal Health Care organic sales fell by mid-single digits, primarily owing to pandemic-related increases in consumer and retailer inventories in the base period and a weaker than average cough, cold & flu season. Representing 14% of global sales, e-Commerce sales increased by around 50% fiscal year-to-date, with no noticeable change in shopping trends in the quarter. CFO Andre Schulten said in an earnings call that a portion of the impact of commodity cost challenges in the next fiscal year would be offset with price increases in the baby care, feminine care and adult incontinence businesses, which will go into effect in mid-September 2021.

Celine Waller VP, DB6 comments: The poor CHC results reported were set against a robust performance in Q1 2020 when consumers were stockpiling ahead of lockdown restrictions (J&J’s OTC business increased operationally by 25.8% in Q1 2020!) and we expect that they will improve as the year goes on. However, 2021 is expected to be affected by a very weak cough / cold season as lockdowns (still in effect in many markets), social distancing, hygiene measures and mask-wearing continue to suppress incidence of respiratory illnesses, while there are some doubts about whether the high consumption levels of disinfectants and immune-boosting supplements can be sustained. As such, we have lowered our expectations of CHC growth in 2021 to 2.3% in the retail market. However, as highlighted in the P&G results, the 2020 boom in e-Commerce sales is continuing into the current year and we forecast that combined CHC sales in all channels will come out at a respectable 4.0% in 2021.

We are pleased to announce that our annual bestselling report, Nicholas Hall’s CHC Yearbook 2021, is now published digitally! You can analyse key players’ performance, hot topics, global retailing, the Top 15 markets and much more! Print copies will follow soon. For more information, or to order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Nasal sanitisers niche opens up post-Covid

One of the fast-emerging OTC niches in the CCA category is oral & nasal sanitisers, with several notable innovations in 2020 and 2021, including two more nasal sanitiser launches announced recently.

Australian-based Starpharma’s Viraleze nasal spray will become available online in the UK this week ahead of a retail rollout in April 2021, under an exclusive sales & distribution agreement with the retail chain, LloydsPharmacy (McKesson). This will be the product’s first appearance in Europe, although a regional launch is expected soon following its registration in the European Economic Area in February.

Comment from CHC Insight Managing Editor, Chris Allan: Viraleze contains the same antiviral ingredient (SPL7013 / astodrimer sodium) that features in Starpharma’s VivaGel products. Its powerful claim to deactivate “>99.9% of Sars-CoV-2 within one minute” is likely to attract wider media interest given the continuing national focus on the pandemic, and LloydsPharmacy has committed to “significant” marketing investment.

Separately, in Israel, SaNOtize has received interim approval to sell its nitric oxide nasal spray (NONS) in pharmacies. NONS protects users from viruses that enter the body through the upper nasal pathways. Local manufacturing under the brand name Enovid has begun in partnership with Nextar Chempharma Solutions and the spray is expected to appear on pharmacy shelves by the summer.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand the Ministry of Health denied claims by the Canadian-based biotech company that Enovid had been cleared for immediate OTC sale. Newshub quotes a MoH spokesperson: “Based on the therapeutic claims made for the product, its claimed mode of action and the nitric oxide ingredient, Enovid nasal spray would be a prescription medicine under New Zealand law (Medicines Act 1981) … Medsafe has received no applications for approval of this product for sale, supply or use in New Zealand.”

Comment: SaNOtize and Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the UK recently announced results of clinical trials indicating that NONS represents a safe and effective antiviral treatment that could prevent the transmission of Covid-19, shorten its course and reduce the severity of symptoms and damage in those already infected.

Oral & nasal sanitisers is one of the delivery formats trends covered in our new Innovation in CHC 2021: NPD & Launch Activity under the Spotlight report. Seize the last chance to save GB£1,350 when you pre-order this forthcoming report before 31st March. To review the table of contents or pre-order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com

Historically slow cough, cold & flu season

Now that four (P&G, J&J, GSK and Sanofi) of the world’s Top 6 consumer healthcare marketers have reported their latest quarterly results, two of the key takeaways are that 1) industry growth has proven very resilient in the face of the challenges posed by the pandemic, and 2) we are in the middle of an historically slow cough, cold & flu season in 2020-21, and CHC marketers with portfolios that skew heavily towards CCA products will continue to feel the impact of this trend on overall growth.

Figures from the WHO’s FluNet service show the quasi-total wipeout of flu at a global level. Despite some signs of very low levels of flu circulation in certain regions tracked by WHO, including Africa and the Western Pacific, the overall picture at a global level is stark, with an almost complete drop-off in global infections since Q1 2020. The data shown in the WHO chart below are provided remotely by National Influenza Centres (NICs) of the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) and other national influenza reference laboratories collaborating actively with GISRS, or are uploaded from WHO regional databases.

Source: FluNet (www.who.int/flunet), GISRS

This trend is backed up by recent reports at a country level too. According to data obtained by The Times newspaper, UK flu cases are down by 95%; in the second week of January – the peak of the season – the number of reported influenza-like illnesses was 1.1 per 100,000 people vs a 5-year average rate of 27. This reflects similar trends in many other countries, including USA. While a billion people typically get flu globally each year, “much less than a tenth” of that figure will do so, according to leading expert John McCauley. There are a number of theories for the decline; lockdown restrictions, social distancing and the wearing of masks, and an increased focus on good hygiene practices have helped to prevent Covid, but also reduce the spread of other contagious illnesses. A major fall in international travel has curbed infections, while there has also been a huge take-up of the influenza vaccine. Meanwhile, some experts believe the spread of Sars-CoV-2 may have raised immunity against other viruses.

Nicholas Hall said: “Before Covid, we thought we knew the dynamics of consumer healthcare very well. I’ve given endless presentations quoting the three practical drivers of demand: Switch, the Emerging Markets and very importantly Cold & Flu pandemics. It’s fair to say that, without Covid, we would by now be lamenting a year of poor CHC sales. The actuality is that, with the exception of Voltaren Arthritis Pain and Differin in USA, there have been no significant switches in the past 3-4 years. The Emerging Markets still deliver, of course, but not at the stellar levels of the recent past; and we would by now be reading of the low impact on sales of the cough, cold & flu season.”

Explore the impact of lockdown on cases of cold & flu, and what the implications may be for CHC medicines, in our recently published Cough, Cold & Allergy report. For more information, or to order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

MAT Q3 Update: Category, country performances

Assessing the latest data on the performance of the global CHC market in MAT Q3 2020, Celine Waller, Group VP, DB6, wrote: “Covid-19 continues to have a seismic effect on the CHC market, although the impact of the pandemic differs depending on the category and geography. However, in totality the market has continued to outperform expectations with the increased focus on maintaining health & wellness providing a welcome boost to the industry.”

Vitamins, minerals & supplements (+6.0%) was the fastest-growing major category in MAT Q3, benefiting from the greater focus on wellness, with products connected to immunity particularly dynamic – overall, immune supplement sales rose by 47% globally. This trend was particularly noticeable in the world’s No.1 CHC market, USA, where immune supplements, as well as zinc and vitamin C supplements, all recorded exceptional growth.

Dermatologicals also performed well, increasing by 5.9% thanks to a surge in demand for antiseptics & disinfectants, which grew by 51% globally, owing to RB’s Dettol making big gains in key markets like China, and various successful launches in the USA. Meanwhile, analgesics achieved growth of 5.0% thanks to the strong performance of systemics (+5.9%), powered by the continued dynamism of global No.2 CHC brand Tylenol (J&J). Topicals mustered growth of only 3.2% in spite of the US switch of GSK’s Voltaren Arthritis Pain.

Cough, cold & allergy (+2.2%) was the weakest category globally in MAT Q3 2020, as social distancing and increased hygiene measures resulted in reduced incidence of respiratory pathologies. Declining sales for cough & cold remedies across western Europe, most noticeably in Germany and France, was the primary factor for the poor performance of these markets in MAT Q3 2020.

Gastrointestinals also produced low growth, with global sales increasing by just 2.8%, after a flat performance in western Europe and falling sales in Japan. In fact, heavy decline for GIs and OTC tonic drinks were two key factors behind the 5.1% fall in Japan’s CHC market. Liver & bile remedies (+5.2%) was the only GIs subcategory to achieve growth of more than 5% globally, powered by a double-digit rise in China.

Sales of Lifestyle CHC products expanded by 3.7%, a further deceleration in Q3, despite double-digit growth for sedatives & sleep aids and obesity treatments. A slowdown in sales of eye care treatments and a drop-off in Rx-to-OTC switch activity are two of the primary factors for this deceleration globally, though one exception is erectile dysfunction, which grew by double digits powered by OTC switches in the UK and Poland.

We are pleased to announce the latest DB6 MAT Q3 data is now available! With over 150,000 pieces of data across 63 markets, DB6 now includes topline data across all channels of distribution, including e-Commerce! To find out more about our extensive database or to set up a free demo, please contact kate.holdcroft@NicholasHall.com.

Allergy: NPD, switch & naturals power growth

While many of the leading CHC marketers reported declines for their cough & cold portfolios in Q3 2020, the performance of allergy remedies was more mixed, with notable variability by region. For example, Bayer reported rising sales for its Allergy & Cold portfolio in North America in Q3, partly driven by increasing sales for key allergy brand Claritin, which was boosted in early 2020 by the US launch of Claritin Non-Drowsy Chewables in a new cool mint flavour.

Likewise, Perrigo reported a strong performance for its Consumer Self-Care Americas unit in Q3, with increased OTC demand powered by allergy, pain and digestive health products. For Sanofi, while overall Allergy, Cough & Cold sales declined in Q3, portfolio sales were up in the USA, thanks to key allergy brands Allegra and Xyzal. Sanofi also launched its drug-free AllerLife range in the US market in early 2020, adding further fuel to the fast-growing naturals niche among allergy remedies.

Outside the USA, by far the world’s largest market for OTC allergy remedies, two countries that are performing very well are Germany and Brazil. Rx-to-OTC switch has been the driving factor in both markets, with various allergy ingredients – fexofenadine, ebastine and desloratadine – switched to OTC status in Brazil in recent years. As for Germany, after the switch of levocetirizine, which led to several OTC launches in April 2019, desloratadine was subsequently also approved for Rx-to-OTC switch in February 2020.

In October 2020, the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use adopted a positive opinion recommending a change to the terms of the marketing authorisation for Ratiopharm’s desloratadine, potentially paving the way for an EU-centralised switch to non-Rx status for the allergy ingredient in the near future. Indications will be limited to adults only and the urticaria indication will be restricted to chronic idiopathic urticaria as initially diagnosed by a doctor.

Discover which marketers and brands stand out and how Covid-19 is impacting sales in our newly published Cough, Cold & Allergy report! Allergy remedies are just one of the many categories covered, alongside profiles of 10 major markets, forecasts and much more. For more information, or to order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Vicks and Tylenol still driving global CHC growth

Only two CHC brands have global sales in excess of US$1bn – P&G’s Vicks and J&J’s Tylenol – and both continued to power growth in Q2 2020. Vicks, like other leading CCA brands such as Halls (Mondelez) and Mucinex (RB), recorded a slowdown in Q2 owing to the “pantry unloading” effect, and reduced levels of coughs & colds caused by lockdowns, social distancing and hygiene measures, while VMS brands like Centrum (GSK) and Nature Made (Pharmavite / Otsuka) saw growth accelerate in the second quarter.

Despite slowing growth in Q2, global No.1 brand Vicks (+8.7%) remained at the heart of the CHC market’s upturn in the MAT Q2 2020 period. Dynamic growth for Vicks was powered by double-digit rises in Latin America and North America. In the brand’s key US market, Vicks was extended in July 2020 with Vicks VapoBath Bath Crystals, a new Vicks Children’s Botanicals line, Vicks Sinex Saline and Vicks Immunity Zzzs.

Once the leading global CHC brand, Tylenol has steadily been regaining share in recent years and closed the gap on No.1 Vicks after 21.4% growth in the MAT Q2 2020 period. In its Q2 results, J&J reported double-digit growth for its OTC products, driven by Tylenol analgesics. US sales account for around three-quarters of Tylenol’s global OTC turnover, and the brand has been boosted by innovations such as the Q2 2020 launch of Tylenol Extra Strength Dissolve Packs.

Systemic analgesic Advil is still the world’s No.3 CHC brand, but growth slowed (-0.4%) in the MAT Q2 2020 period after a strong return to growth in Q1, following weaker Q2 performances in the USA and Canada. New owner GSK is hoping to revive the US performance of Advil with the August 2020 launch of Advil Dual Action, the first FDA-approved OTC combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen (paracetamol) in the US market.

Voltaren saw growth accelerate slightly in Q2 2020, up 4.9%, helping it rise above Halls into the No.4 position in the global CHC brand rankings. In February 2020, the US FDA approved the Rx-to-OTC switch of Voltaren Arthritis Pain (diclofenac 1%), and the product was subsequently launched in May 2020. This US launch, allied with stronger growth in regions outside Europe, helped to offset a Q2 slowdown for Voltaren in various key European markets such as Germany, Italy and the UK.

Medicated confectionery brand Halls fell into decline (-0.2%) in the MAT Q2 2020 period and dropped down the global rankings one place to the No.5 spot. Available in over 30 countries, Halls is the leading global sore throat & medicated confectionery brand and takes the No.1 position in Latin America, where it grew by 2.6%, thanks to solid growth in the brand’s key regional market of Brazil. However, sales in North America and Europe declined for Halls in line with the weaker CCA trend across both regions in Q2.

Have you registered to join Nicholas Hall’s Asia-Pacific webinar? On 12 November, Nicholas and other industry experts will explore key trends in the region, including a look at WOW! brands, growth prospects, distribution, the very important topic of sustainability and much more. To find out more, or to register, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

What sort of winter for CHC is coming?

With the northern hemisphere estimated to generate around 90% of sales in the global CHC market, the impact of the coming cough & cold season is crucial to the market’s performance in Q4 2020. Recent indications from the southern hemisphere gave us some clues of what’s to come – according to a recent report by the CDC, from April to July (peak flu season in the southern hemisphere), there were only 51 positive flu tests out of more than 83,000 people tested in Australia, Chile and South Africa, for a positivity rate of 0.06%. In contrast, during April to July in the years 2017-19, nearly 14%, or 24,000 out of 178,000 people, tested positive for flu in those three countries.

Despite the expected low positivity rate of flu in the northern hemisphere in Q4 2020, as a result of improved hand hygiene and social distancing, the return to school in many countries is likely to lead to an uptick in cough & cold infections. According to Lucy Rigby, Senior Brand Manager of UK cough remedy Tixylix (in a quote to Wholesale Manager): “Going forward, we believe that parents will be much more conscious of their children’s health risks as schools and nurseries reopen, and are likely to stock up on OTC medicines prior to the peak winter months.” In addition, Paul Trethewy, Controller for Wholesale and Convenience at GSK, said: “With the NHS continuing to face overwhelming pressure and with GPs de-prescribing cold medication, we’re expecting the impulse channel to be an important provider of OTC cold & flu treatments.”

Source: Nicholas Hall’s upcoming Cough, Cold & Allergy Report

Whether any upcoming surge in demand for OTCs leads to the same constraints on supply seen in Q2 2020 remains an open question. Europe’s OTC industry body, AESGP, last week welcomed European Parliament plenary approval of the Report on shortages of medicines — how to address an emerging problem. AESGP agrees that shortages are of particular concern when they affect medicines for which no or limited alternatives are available, however in the case of OTC medicines, because substitution is possible and alternatives exist in most situations, it believes any shortage of a product will translate into little to no impact on the outcomes of self-care. Though the AESGP considers diversification of the supply chain to be a long-term strategic option, including greater independence brought by onshoring manufacturing and production of certain non-Rx medicines and APIs, it said this strategy was hardly actionable in the short-term.

One ingredient that remains under the spotlight is paracetamol (acetaminophen). India lifted restrictions on the export of APIs of paracetamol in late May 2020, but has continued to monitor usage of the ingredient in the domestic market. According to an article in Business Standard, OTC paracetamol sales have taken a hit in India over recent months owing to government legislation designed to monitor use of the ingredient, as well as CCA remedies, but these restrictions are now starting to ease and a spokesperson at GSK expects “sales to pick up in the coming months”. GSK’s Calpol and Crocin brands have been two of the products impacted by this extra vigilance over paracetamol use, but the short-term outlook for the ingredient and India’s OTC market is now improving.

With less than two weeks to go, register now for our new hot topics webinar! You will hear about key trends, including the impact of Covid-19, Distribution, e-Detailing and Sustainability. To find out more, or to register to join on 30 September, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.