Q4 2017 Update Now Live!

We’ve just updated the OTC DASHBOARD website with full-year 2017 data and trends for all regions and all 64 countries that we track worldwide. There’s no better way to start exploring this vast reserve of information than our new homepage, which provides at-a-glance global OTC sales by region, marketer and category, as well as an interactive global map with data on the Top 20 countries. Here, we round up some of the highlights from the latest Q4 2017 update.

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One of the major trends in Q4 2017 was the drop-off in global OTC growth. A 4.1% rise in 2017 was the lowest annual growth for the global OTC market since 2014, with Europe (+2.7%) and North America (+2.9%) at the heart of the slowdown. Asia-Pacific was up 4.3%, while the two smallest major regions – Latin America (+11.8%) and the Middle East & Africa (+6.7%) – grew fastest.

Looking at categories, Derma (+2.5%) underperformed most, while CCA growth slowed to just 4.3% by end-2017, with vitality continuing to drain out of allergy remedies (+3.1%). Cough remedies (+5.4%) and systemic cold & flu (+4.0%) also reported much lower growth by year-end, especially in Europe.

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The overall shares of the global OTC market by major category remained stable in 2017. Analgesics (+4.5%) and Lifestyle OTCs (+4.5%) were the main driving force behind OTC growth, and the Rx-to-OTC switch of Viagra Connect in the UK in 2018 bodes well for development of the erectile dysfunction category. GIs advanced by 4.3%, while VMS (+4.2%) produced another year of solid growth.

As for marketers, the Top 5 remained unchanged in 2017 despite further M&A activity and speculation; in Pfizer’s earnings call yesterday, CEO Ian Read said he has not yet received an acceptable offer for the OTC business and may decide to retain it. The major recent M&A news was that P&G has agreed to buy Merck KGaA Consumer Health and at the same time to dissolve its PGT joint-venture with Teva. By our calculations, the new P&G will rank 7th in the global OTC marketer rankings by value, and the new Teva (assuming it retains its OTC business) will rank 12th.

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Other highlights:

• Looking at OTC brand rankings, analgesics Tylenol and Advil – both of which are former global No.1 OTC brands – now trail by a fair distance behind new No.1 brand Vicks, which grew by 12% in 2017

• Abbott moved ahead of Merck KGaA to claim a spot in the global OTC Top 20, following dynamic growth of 10.6%, including double-digit rises for laxative Duphalac in Russia and antidiarrhoeal Pedialyte in the USA

Log on to OTC DASHBOARD now for access to all Q4 2017 data and trends.

What Causes the INNOVATION Slowdown in OTC from OTC INSIGHT Europe

Chris INSIGHT Header 2014The April edition of OTC INSIGHT Europe contains a full round-up from Nicholas Hall’s 25th European OTC Conference & Awards, held in the beautiful city of Luzern, Switzerland, last month. Innovation – or the lack of it – was the core theme, with the majority of delegates in agreement that a new approach is required in order to boost growth in our industry.

Several expert speakers reminded us that true innovation is about a whole lot more than traditional product line extensions or marketing campaigns; at its core is the desire to solve an unmet need and make a real difference to the consumer experience. How much successful innovation of this kind have we seen in the European OTC market over the past few years?

Frustrating regulatory issues undoubtedly play a part in limiting change of this kind, especially a risk-averse approach to Rx-to-OTC switch alongside a lack of incentives such as marketing exclusivity. As well as lobbying regulators and governments to explain the real public health and economic benefits offered by OTC, healthcare companies should also embrace problem solving, creative thinking and calculated risk-taking in order to have the best chance of nurturing game-changing innovation.

You can read more on about the the events within the OTC industry in Europe in our month OTC INSIGHT Europe periodical.