Health Report 2020: How Europe moves towards the future

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Stada last week published its Health Report 2020: How Europe Moves Towards the Future, conducted by Kantar Health and involving more than 24,000 participants in 12 European countries. The report contained a “corona special feature” involving 6,000+ respondents from six countries, which found that 61% rate medical care during the crisis as positive / very positive. The highest approval rates were in Spain (75%) and UK (74%), which both dealt with particularly high mortality rates, while the assessment was significantly more negative in Russia (31%). Some 44% declared a newfound respect for the work of medical staff and one in four have a better understanding of the importance of good medication.

Everyday illnesses was among the many other topics covered in the report, and this section revealed that – despite the increasing prevalence of sleep problems among Europeans – only one in three are willing to take sleeping pills. Across Europe, 26% of people reported being afraid of developing an addiction to sleeping pills, while awareness of possible causes of sleep disorders was low. Other key findings of note for CHC marketers are that a high proportion (over 80%) of European employees state they will still go to work even if they have a cold, while only 61% of respondents say that they read the instruction leaflet when taking medication. As for other topics, the willingness to receive a remote diagnosis via webcam has notably increased compared to 2019 (70% vs 54%), while 82% of Europeans support the idea of compulsory vaccinations.

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Nicholas Hall commented: How Europe – indeed, the whole world – moves towards the future is a vital topic in these difficult times. Stada’s findings on remote diagnosis bring up the whole question of Telehealth. Earlier this week, we conducted regional trend (d)e-briefings, with delegates from North and Latin America in attendance. One of the questions related to the importance of new technology, and my answer was that a year ago the answer would have focused on medical devices, but now the issue is whether we remain “wired” after Covid-19 recedes.

So, will healthcare be delivered virtually in the future? Will e-detailing and e-selling replace medical and pharmacy reps? Will digital solutions increase the chances of more prescription ingredients going over the counter? This is a big topic, much more than I can go into here, but worthy of its own (d)e-briefing, which we are planning for September. Other webinars will cover the impact of Covid on consumer purchasing and usage – no surprises there – together with CBD and sustainability, two themes echoed in some of our lead stories this week.

Take your final chance to register for the Asia-Pacific CHC Trends webinar, taking place tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd June). You will hear about successful brands from the past 3 years, hot topics, the impact of the Covid-19 situation on the market in 2020 and much more! Please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com to find out more or register without delay.

GSK and Sanofi seek to stand alone

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Structural reorganisation is on the agenda of two of the world’s leading CHC marketers in 2020. GSK’s consumer health tie-up with Pfizer in August 2019 was last year’s major M&A development and now the company’s next ambition is to list the new CHC business on the London Stock Exchange. As for Sanofi, the company unveiled a new strategy just before Christmas, including making Sanofi Consumer Healthcare a standalone business. In the meantime, both companies continue to trim their CHC portfolios.

In December 2019, Pfizer agreed to divest its topical pain management business, ThermaCare, to Italian-based Angelini for an undisclosed sum, reports apotheke.adhoc.de. In July 2019, the European Commission approved the consumer healthcare merger of GSK and Pfizer, conditional upon the global divestment of ThermaCare. The agreement follows Angelini’s acquisition of BoxaGrippal systemic cold & flu remedy and the Heumann herbal medicinal tea range from Sanofi in August 2019.

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Meanwhile, it was announced this month that BI is to sell Buscopan antispasmodic and Buscofem menstrual pain analgesic to Hypera Pharma in Brazil for Rs1.3bn (US$329mn). The deal, which is subject to approval by Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE), is in line with Hypera’s strategy of strengthening its portfolio with “established brands with high growth potential”. Under the terms of its 2017 business swap with BI, Sanofi has acquisition preference for the brands and could still pose a counteroffer. However, industry sources suggest that the company is unlikely to exercise this right.

In December 2019, Sanofi unveiled a new strategy to drive innovation and growth, focusing on three core global business units: Specialty Care, Vaccines and General Medicines. Consumer Healthcare will be a standalone business unit with integrated R&D and manufacturing functions. CEO Paul Hudson explained: “Our objective for the CH business is to unlock value and entrepreneurial energy by growing faster than the market over the mid-term. We believe the new standalone structure, coupled with plans to accelerate the OTC switches for Cialis and Tamiflu, will position the business well to accomplish this ambition.” Hudson added that the Rx erectile dysfunction treatment and flu remedy are expected to switch by 2026, adding around US$1bn to Sanofi’s top line.

Are you looking to make a strategic or bolt-on acquisition? If so, our Consultancy team would be happy to have a confidential discussion with you. Our specialist team can negotiate the successful acquisition of companies and brands, asset swaps, fostering and financing. We work with a number of strategic and financial partners to evaluate potential opportunities – for buyers and sellers – in the M&A, licensing and fundraising space. To find out more, please contact ekaterina.panteleeva@NicholasHall.com.

OTC in Action Episode 2: Seducing voters with OTC oral contraceptives?

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OTCs are in action for political gain, with US Republican Senate candidates in four states proposing the oral contraceptives should be switched from Rx-to-OTC to expand access for consumers, whilst diverting free Rx OCs for consumers from mandated health insurance coverage, according to a Wall Street Journal article published on the 10th of September.

Under the Democrat-supported Affordable Care Act, Rx oral contraceptives are a preventive health service and, as such, are covered with no out-of-pocket cost to women. Many opponents of the ACA, including Republicans and health insurers, oppose this benefit. Of course, this opposition does not play well with some voters, including women who are eligible for the OC benefits. By calling for OCs to be switched to OTC, candidates are hoping to appease voters with more convenient access, while gratifying insurance companies by taking the Rx OCs off their benefits list.

Not so fast, though, says the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists. The candidates’ use of the respected medical group’s past endorsement of OTC OCs to justify the switch may backfire. Dr John C Jennings, President of the ACOG, rebuked the candidates, commenting: “We feel strongly … that OTC access to contraceptives should be part of a broader dialogue about improving women’s healthcare, preventing unintended pregnancies and increasing use of contraception, including long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). Over-the-counter access should not be used as a political tool by candidates or by elected officials.”

Ultimately, it’s a risk-benefit decision to be made by the FDA based on scientific and consumer studies, and there appears to be no such application on the docket. However, we at Nicholas Hall & Company believe OCs will switch eventually. Last spring, OTC INSIGHT Asia Pacific reported that the progressive Medicines Classification Committee in New Zealand, which often serves as a bellwether for Rx-to-OTC switches, said the proposed switch of several OCs to pharmacy-only classification “could work” if the applicant, Green Cross Health, included more collaboration with GPs in its proposal.