GSK helps Indian runners breathe better


Mist machines touting the logo of nasal decongestant, Otrivin, cleared the air of pollution for athletes in India this spring when GSK sponsored the Amity Gurgaon Half Marathon. The full length of the marathon track was sprayed by Otrivin cannons before the event and then, as testing indicated poor air quality during the race, the cannons were moved to those locations where the mist cleared the air of floating particles of pollution.


Otrivin has always helped people to Breathe Better,” commented Saurabh Nandi, GSK Marketing Lead, Pain and Respiratory. “A marathon is extremely relevant for us to partner with, as runners need clean air to breathe as they run, and more so in a city like Gurgaon. This association is more than just a classical sponsorship; we want to help people enjoy their run more by providing cleaner air.”

“Our insight was simple; when we go for a run after heavy rain, the air feels so much cleaner. The question was – can we make it rain artificially in a specific location, during a time-restricted event? ” added Jan Teulingkx, Global Creative Director, Saatchi & Saatchi, Switzerland, which developed the campaign

To learn about other ways OTCs are helping fight the effects of air pollution and other respiratory conditions in Asia, click below to read the latest issue of Nicholas Hall’s OTC INSIGHT Asia-Pacific:

Nicholas Hall’s OTC INSIGHT Asia-Pacific

OTCs in Action 17: Outwitting meth manufacturers


A few weeks ago, I was not allowed to purchase my tried-and-true pseudoephedrine cold & sinus medication because I did not have my new driver’s licence with me for identification. Surprised by the firm “no” given to the just-expired card still in my wallet, I meekly went back to the OTC shelves and chose an alternative.

PSE products were restricted to behind the pharmacy counter with ID required for purchase several years ago to reduce the OTC’s conversion into methamphetamine for illicit drug use. A couple of states have gone so far as to make PSE sales by prescription only. But two OTC manufacturers, Westport Pharmaceuticals and Acura Pharmaceuticals, are using science to make PSE safer. Their PSE OTCs, Zephrex-D and Nexafed, respectively, feature formulations that hamper the conversion of PSE into methamphetamine. Last week, Acura launched Nexafed Sinus Pressure + Pain (pseudoephedrine and acetaminophen), to give consumers the first combination remedy using this technology. This is important because, in some areas, meth-resistant are the only pseudoephedrine products permitted to be sold. “When Nexafed replaces traditional, non-meth-resistant PSE products in pharmacies, patients get the same relief they expect, but meth cooks have to look elsewhere for the older products they prefer,” Acura president Bob Jones said. “This has led to a significant reduction in local meth labs as documented by state and county officials in 2014.”

An article in Pharmacy Times this month supports Jones’ claim:

“After Nexafed became the only form of PSE available in the local pharmacies of 2 counties in Tennessee, law enforcement officials reported an 88% reduction in meth production labs in Campbell County and 90% fewer labs in Scott County. Similar findings were reported in West Virginia, where a 40% reduction in meth lab seizures was reported after a substantial number of retailers replaced conventional PSE product formulations with tamper-resistant products such as Nexafed.”

That said, the DEA’s National Drug Threat Assessment Summary 2013 indicates that methamphetamine abuse is stable – “amphetamine-related treatment admissions arw slowly but steadily declining. The number of new methamphetamine abusers (“past year initiates”) fluctuated but remained statistically similar from 2008 to 2011. The number of current users increased from 2010 to 2011, but also remained statistically similar and did not exceed the number reported in 2009.”

The disparity between local meth lab declines and stable usage rates is likely owing to increasing production in Mexico — the primary foreign source for the US market — and ongoing small-scale domestic production, according to the DEA. Methamphetamine prices decreased more than 70% between the third quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2012; during that time, methamphetamine purity increased almost 130%.

Obviously a problem of this magnitude will not be solved by a few OTC reformulations … but fewer meth labs as a result of behind-the-counter distribution and meth-resistant products is a start.

To see the original DEA report and the Pharmacy Times article, click on the links below:

OTCs in Action Episode 14: OTC Transformers


Two innovators featured in Medical Marketing & Media’s Top 40 Healthcare Transformers are shifting the shape of OTC.

Roche’s Michael Coffey, Consumer experience team lead, is changing the way diabetics feel about treatment of their condition. Roche’s Accu-Chek test kits are OTCs in Action to change the blood glucose testing experience by rewarding diabetics with pleasant surprises, such as aroma candles or popcorn, with their monthly supplies.

“The challenge is understanding where our ability to walk alongside the customer truly is and to break out of the commoditised world we live in,” he says. Along those lines, Coffey believes that it’s important to look beyond healthcare to delight consumers; he finds inspiration in the world of discovery retail (wine clubs, Birchbox beauty products).

“Can we get them excited about testing? Can we get them to share it socially?” he asks. “If we can make that happen, it would open up the door for them to talk about diabetes as part of their lifestyle in a positive way. We approach them as people, not patients.” (MM&M, January 1, 2015)

Gary Kay, President and Co-founder of Cognitive Research Corp, has developed technology that can evaluate whether consumers taking OTCs should be in action – on the road, that is. CRC’s simulation programme evaluates a drug’s effect on driving.

“It is critically important that prescribers and consumers recognise that drugs, even OTC drugs, can impair their ability to drive, whether or not they feel drowsy,” Kay says.

Sometimes the interactions are unexpected. The company recently asked test subjects to drink two glasses of wine a day after they took a standard dose of an OTC cold medication. “While that’s a legal amount of alcohol, we found they were really impaired,” Kay reports. Of course, social pressures have sparked change, too. “It took us a long time to become aware of the risks of alcohol and driving, and now we are realising the effects of medications on driving safety. Consumers are demanding that these studies be conducted.”

To read the full MM&M article: