Survey shows growing support for pharmacies in Europe

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According to a YouGov survey, commissioned by Stada and focusing on four European countries (Germany, Italy, Spain and UK), hope and confidence in healthcare professionals has grown in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, though the picture does vary from one country to the next. With measures to reduce coronavirus infection rates defining daily life, Spaniards show the greatest concern for their health (51%), while people in Germany, Italy and UK are less worried (36-39%).

Germans (18%) are least likely to believe their healthcare system has absolutely proven itself, while 47% of Spaniards gave their health system top marks, followed by the UK (35%) and Italy (29%). Spaniards (32%) and Italians (28%) are most likely to have avoided visiting pharmacies vs only 14% in Germany and 19% in UK. In total, one in five people have greater respect and more recognition of what pharmacies provide on a day-to-day basis.

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The potentially good news for community pharmacies in Europe is that the coronavirus crisis does not appear to be leading to a large number of people ordering more medicines online. In fact, only 6% of those surveyed say they are taking this action. However, it will remain to be seen how consumer attitudes to internet & mail order purchasing of OTCs change in the coming years, especially in Europe. According to DB6 VP, Celine Waller, internet & mail order is expected to account for 19.2% of the total CHC market within the next decade, more than doubling its share from 9.4% currently. 

The survey also highlighted the likely impact of Covid-19 on the VMS market in Europe. UK consumers and Germans are generally not motivated to take more vitamins or similar products (<9%). In Italy and Spain, the readiness to do so is higher, particularly for vitamin C, D and multivitamins (13-15%). Paying greater attention to nutrition and taking more exercise hold greater attraction in the southern countries than in Germany and the UK, where people are more likely to say that the coronavirus situation has not changed their habits. 

Ensure that you have registered to join Nicholas online for a special webinar presentation with Q&A, which will take place next week! On 29 April at 10:00-11:30 UK time, Nicholas will review 2019 CHC market performance, explore the impact of Covid-19 and identify growth prospects for the future. For those unable to join, there will be the option to purchase a recording and submit up to 3 questions via email. To find out more or to register to join, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com without hesitation!

e-Commerce Developing Fast in Southern Europe

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As more and more countries go into lockdown to enforce social distancing, the way that consumers do their shopping is of course having to change dramatically. Some countries are better adapted to this change than others – according to a recent report in the Financial Times, southern European countries like Italy and Spain currently only have low e-Commerce penetration, with respective shares of 4% and 5% of total retail revenues (prior to the Covid-19 pandemic).

France (10%) has a higher share than the two countries at its southern border, but still lags behind other markets in Europe (20% in the UK) and globally (36% in China). However, this situation looks set to change fast, with Covid-19 leading to a revolution in e-Commerce sales of groceries in southern Europe – for example, according to the FT report, supermarket chain Carrefour stated that its online customer base in Italy has already doubled to 110,000. Is this a trend that will outlast the current crisis?

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And what impact will Covid-19 have on online sales of consumer healthcare products? Our recently published Digital Marketing & e-Commerce Report outlined the Top 20 leading internal & mail order markets for CHC products, with China and the USA the clear leaders, followed by Japan, Germany and the UK. Inevitably, the projected growth rates for 2020 will have to be revised, especially given this fast-changing crisis could also lead to changes in regulations governing the online sale of OTC medicines.

For example, Europe’s largest e-Commerce pharmacy group, Zur Rose, today submitted a request to Switzerland’s Federal Office for Public Health calling for a temporary exception that would allow mail order sales of OTC cold & flu medicines (at present, all non-prescription medicines can only be sold by mail order if specifically approved by a doctor). As well as owning Germany’s best-known pharmacy brand, DocMorris, Zur Rose is also active in France and Spain, and could be at the forefront of overcoming strict regulations governing the sale of OTC-registered medicines in those markets too.

For an in-depth look at the rising power of e-Commerce in the CHC market, order a copy of Digital Marketing & e-Commerce: Tapping the Potential of Online Sales and Digital Promotion in Consumer HealthcareThis report also explores social media, which CHC brands are employing effective digital marketing strategies, and the opportunities and challenges e-Pharma faces. For further details, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

OTCs in Action Episode 49: Cholesterol targeted in Brazil; Fatigue fought in Italy

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OTCs in Action in Brazil and Italy help consumers fight high cholesterol and low energy with dietary supplements. Abbott’s phytosterol-based Duplostat lowers cholesterol when taken twice daily, coupled with the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. The 800mg softgel capsules help reduce the absorption of LDL-cholesterol from the third week, according to Abbott.

Additionally, when used in conjunction with statins, the efficacy in cholesterol reduction is the equivalent of doubling the statin dosage without any adverse affects. Research undertaken by the Ministry of Health (quoted by Abbott) indicates that around 35% of Brazilians aged 65 years or over are affected by high cholesterol.

For more new products from Latin America, click below:

Nicholas Hall’s OTC INSIGHT LATIN AMERICA, OCTOBER 2015

In Italy, Nestlé Health Science has served up Meritene Vitachoco, Swiss chocolate squares with 12 vitamins (including A, B6 and B12) and five minerals (including zinc and iron). The product is positioned to revitalise adults and older consumers in times of fatigue and stress, especially those with insufficient dietary intake.

For more new products from Europe, click below:

Nicholas Hall’s OTC INSIGHT EUROPE, OCTOBER 2015

Italian Market Unconvinced by E-cigarettes

British American Tobacco announced in October that it is to invest $1bn over 5 years into the e-cigarette industry in Italy. While global e-cigarette consumption has undoubtedly soared since their introduction, and the debate surrounding their safety rumbles on, much of Southern Europe already seems to be over the hype.

In Italy, the introduction of e-cigarettes has led to around 6,000 stores trading them in 2012, but a May 2014 study by statistics institute Doxa revealed that over half of these have already closed, with the number of habitual users falling from over 2mn in 2013 to 800,000 in 2014. At the same time, the number of regular smokers has stayed relatively constant since 2008, while the percentage of consumers smoking cheap hand-rolled cigarettes has tripled since 2009. In Spain too, where tobacco consumption is particularly high, e-cigarette association ANCE reported in November 2014 that many of the several thousand e-cigarette stores that had sprung up across the country since 2011 have shut up shop.

As global regulators argue over their positioning in the market, consumers may be finding it equally hard to know what to make of e-cigarettes. With no firm backing as yet from healthcare professionals, they can’t be judged a completely safe substitute to NRTs or even regular cigarettes. On the other hand, as a leisure / lifestyle product, despite their ability to deliver nicotine, e-cigarettes still do not seem to afford the user nearly as much satisfaction as regular or hand-rolled cigarettes. As one character from Italian TV series Gomorrah crudely put it when asked about e-cigarettes, “it’s like comparing crap to the sweetest donut”, a feeling echoed in a number of my conversations with smokers over the past year. Furthermore, hand-rolled tobacco products often command a lower retail price for the consumer than premium e-formats, a significant factor in Southern European economies badly hit by the recession.

So while the early findings of the Cochrane Collaboration suggest that the crossover from toxic tobacco-based cigarettes to e-cigarettes is beneficial to health, manufacturers should note that there is still considerable room for innovation with regards to creating a product which delivers similar satisfaction levels to cigarettes, without the harmful toxins found in them alongside nicotine. It will be interesting to see whether Big Tobacco is able to bridge this gap in an already disenchanted Southern Europe, and whether OTC marketers of traditional NRTs take the opportunity to invest more in promoting the health benefits of their own products, particularly while doctors and pharmacists are still very much onside. Watch this space…

For more discussion and debate on e-cigarettes, please check out our weekly news bulletin OTC.NewDirections, bringing you all the latest updates on regulation and science in the self-care industry.

Key Trends around Gastrointestinals from OTC INSIGHT Europe

Chris INSIGHT Header 2014The latest issue of OTC INSIGHT Europe includes a round-up of the key trends & developments affecting the gastrointestinals category in France, Italy, Spain and the UK. It was a disappointing picture overall, with a significant decline in revenue for semi-ethicals in France dragging down the topline.

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