Human Capital Index: APAC countries lead the way

In 2017, the World Bank announced the Human Capital Project, involving an index that would track the knowledge, skills and health that people accumulate throughout their lives, to enable comparison of this data across countries. The main idea behind the project is to end extreme poverty and prompt investment in people through nutrition, healthcare, quality education, jobs and skills. Last week, the World Bank published its latest report, involving Human Capital Index (HCI) data for 157 countries.

In terms of methodology, the HCI measures three components:

1. Child mortality (probability of survival to age 5)

2. Schooling, i.e. both quality of education (harmonised test scores) and quantity (expected years of school)

3. Health, via two proxies (healthy growth among children under 5, and adult survival rate)

Each of these measures is then tallied up, with a final index score of between 0 and 1 assigned to each country. Leading the way in 2018 are four Asia-Pacific countries with scores of 0.88 (Singapore), 0.84 (South Korea and Japan) and 0.82 (Hong Kong). Below we’ve created a graph of the Top 10 countries globally.

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Various smaller European countries, plus Australia and Canada, make up the rest of the Top 10. Germany (0.79) is just outside the Top 10, with the UK (0.78), Italy (0.77) and France (0.76) not far behind. Various major economies, including the USA (0.76), Russia (0.73), China (0.67), Brazil (0.56) and India (0.44), all rank outside the global Top 20.

For access to the full report and dataset, follow these links: PDF / website.

Less than a week to go until Nicholas Hall’s 5th Asia-Pacific Consumer Healthcare Conference, which will take place in Singapore! You can join Google, McCann Health and GSK, plus many more major players to discuss key issues surrounding the complex APAC landscape. You can view Nicholas’ opening session 09:00-10:00 Wednesday 17th October HERE. The Panel Discussion, “Is the Avalanche of Personal Data Helping or Hindering the Health of our Consumer?”, with Kantar Health, McCann Health, DevHub Startup & Incubation Centre, and BiblioSexual, will take place at 16:30-17:30 on Wednesday 17th HERE. For details of the full agenda, or to reserve your space and join us on 17-18 October, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com without hesitation.

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NRF forecasts strong US holiday season sales

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According to a report this week by the National Retail Federation, US holiday retail sales (in November and December, and excluding automobiles, fuel and restaurants) are forecast to increase 4.3-4.8% this year vs the same period in 2017, to total US$717-721bn. This upturn compares to an average annual increase of 3.9% over the past five years.

In 2017, health and personal care store sales accounted for 17.8% of this total (US$59.3bn), a growing share compared to the year before (17.4% share in 2016, or US$56.9bn). If this trend of growing US retail sales in the holiday period – plus a growing share for healthcare sales – continues as forecast in 2018 then OTC marketers active in the US market can expect a strong finish to the year.

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According to NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz: “Last year’s strong results were thanks to growing wages, stronger employment and higher confidence, complemented by anticipation of tax cuts that led consumers to spend more than expected. With this year’s forecast, we continue to see strong momentum from consumers as they do the heavy lifting in supporting our economy. The combination of increased job creation, improved wages, tamed inflation and an increase in net worth all provide the capacity and the confidence to spend.”

NRF’s holiday forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales. The number includes online and other non-store sales.

Explore growth opportunities in the CHC industry with Nicholas Hall’s specialist M&A boutique, which works with a number of strategic and financial partners to assess potential opportunities — for buyers and sellers — and is well placed to discuss the current business climate and possible synergies. To find out more, please contact ammar.basit@NicholasHall.com

Apple Watch Series 4 “first ECG product offered OTC”

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At its autumn keynote event last week, Apple announced upgrades to several of its products, including the Apple Watch Series 4. The smartwatch’s potential as an essential healthcare device is now being more fully realised, with Apple receiving Class II “de novo” FDA clearance for the Apple Watch’s innovative ECG and atrial fibrillation (AFib) features. COO Jeff Williams called Apple Watch Series 4 “the first ECG product offered over-the-counter directly to consumers”, though AliveCor has contested this claim.

One of the announcements that drew the greatest applause at the event was the unveiling of the new ECG app, which can take a reading and provide results in around 30 seconds. Results are derived not just from the second-generation electrical heart sensor in the back crystal of the watch, but also electrodes in the Digital Crown, which must be pressed down by fingertip during the reading. Users are then given a heart rhythm classification, with a normal rhythm classified as “Sinus Rhythm”.

Apple Watch ECG

A new operating system (watchOS 5) also ensures that the new electrical heart sensor intermittently works in the background, notifying users if their heart rate appears to be too high or low, or if there are signs of an irregular heart rhythm, such as those suggestive of AFib. If detected, the new Apple Watch prompts users to “talk to your doctor”, while also ensuring that all recordings, along with associated classifications and any noted symptoms, are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with health professionals.

Another innovative healthcare feature is Apple Watch Series 4’s ability to detect falls, thanks to it new gyroscope and accelerometer. This hardware allows for analysis of wrist trajectory and impact acceleration – after a fall, an alert is sent to the user, which can be dismissed or used to initiate a call to emergency services. If no movement is sensed for 60 seconds after the alert, the new Apple Watch will automatically call emergency services and send a message along with location to emergency contacts. Such features are likely to broaden the appeal of the Apple Watch among an older demographic, and more importantly have the potential to save lives.

Nicholas Hall will visit the stunning city of Vienna on 2-4 April 2019 to lead our 30th European CHC Conference & Action Workshop! Focusing on the central theme of Keeping Up with the Digital Consumer, this meeting will also feature a workshop from The CHC Training Academy, enabling you to Embrace Digital Transformation. To find out more about this pivotal meeting, early bird booking rates, and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Elizabeth.Bernos@nicholashall.com

 

Bangladesh: Amazon eyeing 2020 entry

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As today’s OTC DASHBOARD hot topic report shows, the e-commerce market in Asia-Pacific is undergoing rapid change, with China passing new e-commerce laws that will take effect in January 2019, while India has also just released draft rules for the online sale of medicines. Amazon also last week unveiled a new Hindi version of its website.

Yet all this upheaval is not isolated to the major markets of India and China. Amazon announced over the weekend that it is planning to begin operations in Bangladesh within the next couple of years, to compete with its arch e-commerce rival Alibaba, which is already present in the country via Daraz. With a population of just over 166mn, Bangladesh is an attractive and fast-developing market.

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According to local reports, however, resistance from local e-commerce players in Bangladesh is likely to be strong. Many are opposed to the government’s new Digital Commerce Policy, which allows foreign companies to have 100% shares in local e-commerce ventures (previously it was capped at 49%).

Key areas of sensitivity will be pricing and investment in the local economy. The e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-Cab) is in favour of protection for local e-commerce companies and is reportedly working on a list of policy recommendations, including foreign firms having to host their websites locally, as well as ensuring 90% of staff are locals and that companies have a logistical presence in the country.

Explore the digital landscape at Nicholas Hall’s upcoming OTC.NewDirections Executive Conference. Other topics on the agenda include Medical Device Regulations, Medical Cannabis, Switch and Smart Probiotics. This will be an inspiring day on 12 September in London, focusing on Where Innovation Meets Regulation. For details of the full agenda or to reserve your place contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com

Alibaba buys in to “digital silk road” vision

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According to a report in the FT over the weekend, Chinese e-commerce retailer Alibaba is close to agreeing a deal with Russian internet company, Mail.ru, and sovereign wealth fund, Russian Direct Investment Fund, to form a joint-venture e-commerce company.

As highlighted in our earlier blog on Chinese investment in Africa, there is a clear vision from China and Chinese companies to invest in the physical infrastructure for a new silk road (Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative) connecting Asia, the Middle East and Europe, and this latest news on a China-Russia e-commerce tie-up underlines the appetite for a digital silk road too.

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In October 2017, the Russian Government approved a Ministry of Health bill to allow the online purchase and home delivery of OTCs, which came into force in January 2018. As a result, Mail.ru announced the launch of its online pharmacy in April 2018. At present, established western e-commerce giants like Amazon are largely absent from Russia, giving Alibaba the freedom to chart new territory in a market of 147mn consumers at an opportune time.

As the FT article points out, Alibaba is also fighting back against Amazon in certain markets, like Indonesia, where the US retail giant has stolen a march. For example, Alibaba has invested heavily in two e-commerce companies, Tokopedia and Lazada, both of which market goods, including healthcare products, across southeast Asia.

Explore the digital landscape at Nicholas Hall’s upcoming OTC.NewDirections Executive Conference. Other topics on the agenda include Medical Device Regulations, Medical Cannabis, Switch and Smart Probiotics. This will be an inspiring day on 12 September in London, focusing on Where Innovation Meets Regulation. For details of the full agenda or to reserve your place contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com

Apple and Google make new healthcare moves

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Two stories emerged last week that underlined the importance of healthcare to tech giants Apple and Google. First, CNBC reported that Apple was hiring engineers tasked with developing new health sensors, while later in the week it was reported that Google is working on a new healthcare and fitness AI assistant called Google Coach.

As both companies well know, healthcare is a notoriously tough market to crack, given the need for precision technology and the regulatory hurdles. In Apple’s case, some of the disappointment that accompanied the launch of the Apple Watch was related to the lack of healthcare features – the device’s optical sensor only tracks heart rate – so the beefing up of its health sensor team could mean new features further down the line, such as heart rhythm monitoring or even non-invasive blood sugar monitoring.

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As for Google, despite the failure or lukewarm reception of previous ventures like Google Health and Google Fit, the company remains committed to the healthcare market. Reports indicate that the company is working on a new venture, Google Coach, which will leverage AI technology to offer not just fitness tracking, but also workout routines, medication reminders, meal plans, etc.

Like Apple, Google is planning to integrate these new features with its wearable devices, known as the Wear OS range, with support for other Android devices likely to follow. Google is also reportedly working on “conversational notifications”, which group several alerts into one larger notification to avoid turning off users with information overload. Perhaps the AI performing these conversations may one day recommend OTCs.

Nicholas Hall will visit the stunning city of Vienna on 2-4 April 2019 to lead our 30th European CHC Conference & Action Workshop! Focusing on the central theme of Keeping Up with the Digital Consumer, this meeting will also feature a workshop from The CHC Training Academy, enabling you to Embrace Digital Transformation. To find out more about this pivotal meeting, early bird booking rates, and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Elizabeth.Bernos@nicholashall.com

Perrigo to revive flagging OTC allergy sales?

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According to the latest MAT Q1 2018 data, global growth of OTC allergy remedies has slowed to just +0.2%, compared with a rate of +3.7% in the year-ago MAT Q1 2017 period, and +10.3% in the MAT Q1 2016 period. A drop-off in Rx-to-OTC switch activity has been a key factor, so last week’s news that Perrigo has signed an agreement with Merck & Co for exclusive rights to market, sell and distribute a non-prescription version of Nasonex (mometasone furoate monohydrate) in the US will be a welcome boost for the category.

Financial terms were not disclosed and the deal is subject to receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals. Nasonex is currently available on prescription only in USA, where it is marketed by Merck & Co. The corticosteroid anti-inflammatory nasal spray is indicated for the treatment of the symptoms of seasonal allergic or perennial allergic rhinitis in people aged 18+ years. In those markets where the product is available OTC, such as Australia, it is marketed by Bayer.

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Perrigo has often been first to launch private label equivalents of recently switched OTC brands – generic versions of Flonase and Zegerid OTC were launched in 2016, while a copy of Nexium 24HR was launched by the company last summer – but this deal marks a new phase for Perrigo into switching brands.

As Perrigo Executive VP & President, Consumer Healthcare Americas, Jeff Needham, commented: “This product in-licence is the first of its kind for Perrigo. As other similar products that have previously switched from prescription to OTC status, we are working diligently to bring this important product to consumers and customers more quickly than the average 5-year OTC switch timeframe. This strategic investment into the OTC category creates an innovative product offering for Perrigo. We expect to execute the Rx-OTC-switch, fully penetrate this market with a branded offering and provide a future store brand alternative.” 

Comment from Ian Crook, Managing Editor, Nicholas Hall’s Reports: Nasonex enjoys dynamic growth in the handful of markets where it has been switched to OTC by Bayer and generated sales of US$23mn in 2017 (+28% CAGR 2013-17). In the brand’s largest market, Australia (where it switched in 2014), award-winning advertising helped it build a strong presence among consumers; it ranked 4th with sales of US$10mn (+5%) in 2017, comfortably the No.1 in the nasal sprays segment. How the brand will fare in the USA — if and when Perrigo successfully navigates the switch process — remains to be seen. Nasal steroid switches in the USA have historically driven high growth among allergy remedies, but later arrivals like Nasonex are unlikely to make as big a splash as previous INS switches.

Perrigo is one of the Top 20 OTC players profiled in the 2018 version of our bestselling OTC YearBook. This essential annual report also gives an extensive, up-to-date overview of the OTC industry across the globe, including reviews of M&A activity, Top 15 markets and major OTC categories, plus much more. For more information or to order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.