Medical cannabis products legal in UK

OTCINACTION

Three hot topics we focus on at OTC DASHBOARD, in our blogs and infographics, are OTC adjacencies, e-commerce and new technology. Medical cannabis falls within the sphere of OTC adjacencies, and here at Nicholas Hall & Company we believe that this category will progressively become part of the consumer healthcare market.

Recent legislative moves show that government attitudes to cannabis use are becoming more and more liberal. Just last week, the UK Home Secretary made the decision to allow the legal prescription of cannabis-derived medicinal products by specialist doctors. The UK’s regulatory agency, MHRA, is now working on a clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product.

The UK has also been one of several markets that have seen the launch of innovative cannabidiol (CBD) products, such as CannaQIX (Precision Healthcare / Creso). Launched in April 2018, CannaQIX is formulated with CBD organic hemp extract, as well as vitamins and minerals. Available as lozenges, the product is positioned as a cognitive booster that maintains mental and nervous function, reduces fatigue and releases energy. The product is also available in Switzerland and being rolled out across Europe.

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Other key countries for CBD products include Germany, Israel, Australia and the USA, with 45 products in the latter market already listed in our OTC New Products Tracker archive, in a variety of innovative formats including pens, vaporisers and gummy bears.

Canada is another country becoming more liberal in its approach to cannabis. In June 2018, legislation permitting Canadians to consume cannabis for recreational purposes was finalised, the final step that will pave the way for official legalisation in October 2018. The regulatory package is 390 pages long and provides details about how cannabis may be grown, harvested, processed and sold.

Looking ahead, Europe and North America are likely to be at the forefront of market development. According to a report from Prohibition Partners, the European cannabis market will be worth €115.7bn (US$135bn) by 2028, with the majority of European states expected to pass legislation to legalise medical cannabis programmes and recreational cannabis in that time.

Nicholas Hall’s upcoming OTC.NewDirections Executive Conference will reflect rising interest in the fast-developing cannabis market worldwide with two presentations on this key topic, from Canada and Israel. Being held on 12 September in London, this one-day meeting will explore Where Innovation Meets Regulation. For details of the full agenda or to reserve your place contact lianne.hill@NicholasHall.com

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OTCs in Action Episode 62: Countries claiming climbing CAGRs!

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This week, OTCs are in Action all over the world as we post the top-performing markets in terms of compound annual growth rates. First, kudos to my colleagues on the DB6 OTC database team. Thanks to their amazing expertise and hard work, Nicholas Hall Companies has just published the DB6 global OTC database, which tracks sales at the brand level in 64 countries.

The leading OTC market in the world is the USA, with turnover of $31bn, while the smallest market is Slovenia, with OTC sales generating $61mn. Both are mature markets, with the US posting a CAGR of 3.3% from 2011-2015 — Slovenian OTCs were close behind, achieving growth of 3.2%.

Looking at the Emerging Markets, China’s performance was strong with CAGR of 7% and sales of $21.6bn last year. Russia’s CAGR was 12%, reaching $3.3bn in 2015. Brazil performed a point better with growth of 13% to achieve sales of $2.7bn, whilst India’s CAGR was significantly slower at 9% to generate sales of $2.6bn last year.

Turning to more mature markets, Japan’s OTC CAGR for the period was flat with sales of $7.1bn in 2015, while the $4.9bn Germany OTC cart sputtered forward with a CAGR of 2.3%. In France, CAGR was negative 1% to $3.9bn. The UK and Canada drifted equally with a 2.3% posted in both markets, with sales of $2.9bn and $2.1bn, respectively, in 2015.

Which markets were stimulated by Rx-to-OTC switches? Where in the Emerging Markets did Lifestyle OTCs outpace other categories? DB6 subscribers know the answers. Visit the DB6 OTC database 2016 website to learn more about this valuable service, used by leading OTC players around the world.

DB6 Global OTC Database

Changing pharmacy for changing Germany

Germany is ageing, and fast – the UN puts the current average age at 46, second only to Japan, with the number of people over 60 set to reach 39% of the population by 2050. As younger Germans increasingly leave for the big cities, many small countryside towns are becoming depopulated, making it both hard for independent pharmacies to stay open and then to find replacements for them.

The small German town of Hüffenhardt – population 2,000 – is one such case, but luckily DocMorris has come up with an innovative solution to the problem – the telepharmacy, set to be opened as a pilot project in summer 2016. In the space of the old pharmacy, Hüffenhardt residents will be able to access a video screen linking them with a live pharmacist, with whom they can hold individual private discussions on health complaints, receive advice and product recommendations. At the end of the consultation, consumers can then choose to buy an OTC, or to hand in a GP prescription for checking, with the medicines then dispensed via a terminal controlled by the pharmacist. OTCs and Rx products which are not immediately needed can be delivered via DocMorris’ standard mail order service, or picked up at the neighbouring town at the next visit.

Hüffenhardt mayor Walter Neff commented: “The closure of our pharmacy affected our elderly and less mobile residents, who had to walk several kilometres to the next town to pick up medicines. Thanks to digital advances, Hüffenhardt residents can get personal face-to-face advice and pick up the most important medicines directly in the town”.

A longer version of this article will appear in the March 2016 issue of Nicholas Hall’s OTC INSIGHT Europe, a monthly publication reporting on OTC trends & developments throughout the region. For details on how to subscribe, contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

 

The Big Sleep

It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning, after the committee of sleep has worked on itJohn Steinbeck

With incidences of work-related stress picking up at an alarming rate around the globe, people constantly logging on and off the internet and electronic devices, and long-haul flights becoming longer and ever more frequent, so the quality of sleep from New York to London and Beijing has plummeted.  While the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention put the number of US citizens suffering from sleep disorders anywhere between 50-70mn, around a third of Europeans are said to suffer from sleep problems, rising to well over a half of all those over 65. Luckily the vast majority of these can be treated easily and safely with self-medication – the Chinese OTC sleep aids category is filled with TCMs, the US led by medicated ingredient diphenhydramine, while European markets are particularly fond of natural remedies with valerian, hops and melatonin.

It could even be that a good old glass of milk might be enough for some people. Scientists at the Sahmyook University in South Korea have shown that milk produced by cows at night – as opposed to during the day – can have a sedative effect, with their study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. The study suggested that ‘nocturnal milk’ contains plenty of sleep-promoting ingredients, including the amino acid tryptophan and melatonin.

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Your friendly sleep promoter

‘Night Milk’ is already on sale in pharmacies and drugstores in Germany in the form of Nachtmilchkristalle, a brand and company set up by farmer Tony Gnann. The cows are milked at night for the extra melatonin release – up to 100 times more than regular milk according to the company – with the animals also receiving a special regime of UV and long-wave red lights during the winter when they can’t be kept outside. Sales of the freeze-dried milk crystals, which can be stirred into other liquids, have not yet been enough to really test the leading sleep aid brands in Germany, but the recent South Korean study could provide a significant boost, and global interest is spreading. “In the past year we have seen increasing demand from England and soon it will be available in China”, said Kai Oppal, co-owner of Nachtmilchkristalle.

So maybe one last glass of the white stuff isn’t such a bad idea? Goodnight!

OTCs in Action Episode 53: Helping refugees

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In the giving spirit of the season, OTCs are in Action in Europe, where Bayer has been helping refugees. Last month, the company announced the donation of ointments, pain relievers and antibiotics worth more than US$1.5mn to aid organisations in Turkey, Greece and Austria.

Bayer also implemented educational programmes in Germany to help refugees assimilate into a new culture. “Integrating the refugees is one of the most important challenges facing our whole society at the moment. Bayer therefore intends to use a variety of means of ensuring that young refugees in particular are offered a perspective,” explains Bayer Labor Director, Michael König.

Already, 20 refugees have begun a foundation course at the Chempark Leverkusen site to prepare for vocational training. The course is fully financed by Bayer and organised by certified refugee aid providers. “The course will last a total of four months, with the goal of improving the language skills of the refugees, which are often not good enough for starting work, and providing the participants with initial career guidance,” explains Georg Müller, head of HR for Bayer in Germany.

20 junge Flüchtlinge beginnen bei Bayer einen viermonatigen Aufbaukurs zur Berufsvorbereitung.

Afterwards, the young refugees can complete a four-week practical internship at Chempark, and successful participants can apply for the regular Bayer pre-training programme which, from now on, will reserve a number of places for refugees wishing to receive vocational training. Bayer set up the pre-training programme over 25 years ago to prepare disadvantaged youngsters for later training in a science / technical profession.

Other initiatives include:

• Offering eight days of paid leave to employees volunteering with established aid organisations

• Partnering with the Berlin Senate to establish the “Science4Life” academy in Berlin to encourage science education among refugee children. To this end, Bayer’s foundation is investing more than US$400,000 in the education and future prospects of refugee children over the next five years

On a final note, the OTCs in Action team wishes our readers a healthy, safe and happy New Year!

Smoking cessation for Syrians?

The influx of Syrians to Germany has led many media sources to forecast a huge increase in cigarette sales. Around half of Syrian men smoke (according to the WHO), and with around 800,000 refugees entering the country in 2015, analysts reckon this will push cigarette sales up by 1% in an industry worth over €20bn.

Among discussions of how to physically accommodate the new refugees have been debates over state allowances afforded to them – they receive a monthly allowance of €143 for the first 3 months of entering the country and €300 thereafter. A pack of cigarettes costs well over €5 in Germany. A lot could therefore be gained by OTC marketers offering either free samples of smoking cessation options to Syrians, or starter packs at heavily reduced rates. Beyond saving money and improving respiratory health, even if only for a week or 2, it may also encourage refugees to seek out other health products in local pharmacies.

Some companies are admirably providing assistance to Syrian women and children by providing care packs containing body lotions, moisturising towels and underwear. While many may not consider a pack of nicotine gum or patches to be a truly necessary addition, they could go a long way to helping recipients stop for good, and ultimately save lives.

OTC experts on Germany, Austria and Poland will all be speaking at our 27th European Conference and Action Workshop in Krakow 13-15th April 2016. For more information on how to book at early bird rates, contact jennifer.odonnell@NicholasHall.com.

 

OTCs in Action Episode 30: Kava kava, glucosamine shift status in Germany, France

OTCinActionheaderThis week’s OTCs in Action starts out in Philadelphia, where last week some Germans who came to visit me purchased the dietary supplement melatonin for personal use, because it’s only available on prescription at home. The German OTC sleep aids market is largely composed of natural products, such as valerian and homeopathic remedies, so it was somewhat surprising that melatonin is not available OTC.

In contrast, the Cologne Administrative Court overturned a ban on the calming herb, kava kava, last year. Owing to concerns about liver toxicity, the ingredient was withdrawn from most European markets in 2002, and the FDA issued a warning letter discouraging use of the product in the US. Subsequent research has indicated that the original studies were flawed, and the German court ruled that the risks did not outweigh the ingredient’s benefits.

Click on this link to access OTC INSIGHT Europe’s latest report on the German OTC sleep aids market.

Elsewhere in Europe, France has approved the Rx-to-OTC switch of Biocodex’s Dolenio (glucosamine 1,178mg, 30-tab pack), a slow-acting anti-arthritis medicine. This follows the dereimbursement of several anti-arthritis brands, which had been reimbursed at 15% when prescribed by a doctor. Affected brands included Piasclédine (Expanscience, avocado-soybean unsaponifiables), Chondrosulf (Genévrier / IBSA, chondroitin sulphate), Art 50 (Negma, diacerein) and Voltaflex (Novartis, glucosamine).

Piasclédine and Chondrosulf (in particular) used to command huge sales as semi-ethical brands in France, but now face a challenging, but potentially lucrative, new future in the self-medication sphere.