Homeopathy under increasing scrutiny

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France is the latest country in recent years to call into question the role and efficacy of homeopathy, as governments look for savings in the healthcare budget. Last week’s announcement by France’s Minister for Solidarity & Health Agnes Buzyn that homeopathic medicines will be dereimbursed in France from 1st January 2021 is another blow to this consumer healthcare niche. In 2017, NHS England recommended that doctors no longer prescribe “ineffective, over-priced and low value treatments”, including homeopathy, which is said to have no clear or robust evidence to support use.

The French decision was based on a final recommendation by the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) stating that homeopathics have little proven efficacy and should not be covered by health insurance. In its assessment, which spanned 9 months, HAS evaluated close to 1,200 homeopathic products, many of which are currently reimbursed up to 30% when prescribed. In the interim, the level of reimbursement available for certain homeopathics will be cut from 30% to 15% on 1st January 2020, allowing consumers, manufacturers and prescribers time to prepare for eventual dereimbursement.

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Voicing its shock at the decision, key homeopathic player Boiron – which markets various leading OTCs in France, such as teething product Camilia – stated that around 1,000 jobs would be directly affected by the dereimbursement, given that 60% of the company’s business is in France and almost 70% of that is linked to reimbursed medicines. A November 2018 survey by Ipsos revealed that 77% of French people have used homeopathics.

In other countries, such as Spain and the USA, there has been a clampdown on homeopathic health claims. In November 2018, as part of a new marketing authorisation process for homeopathy, the AEMPS (Spanish Agency of Medicines & Medical Devices) indicated that homeopathics with no permitted therapeutic indication must state, “Sin indicaciones terapeuticas” (Without therapeutic indication) on packaging. Likewise, in May 2018, the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists announced that all homeopathic manufacturers will be encouraged to use the new disclaimer: “Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.”

Keep up to date with the latest in-depth reporting on homeopathy by subscribing to OTC INSIGHT! We have 4 title covering the latest developments in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and North America. Click here to find out what key features OTC INSIGHT includes. To receive a sample issue or for details of subscription rates, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Tracker hits 20,000 innovations

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Our sister product OTC New Products Tracker has hit a significant milestone – 20,000 innovations added to a database that tracks consumer healthcare launch activity all the way back to the start of 2013, across 20 key markets. In this week’s blog, we look back at some of the highest-ranked innovations added to the archive over the past year.

A recent 4-star innovation is medical device Flow from Flow Neuroscience, a first of its kind home treatment on the European market. Positioned as a non-medicated alternative treatment for depression, the medical device comprises a brain stimulation headset and a therapy app. While stimulation is in use, the app acts as a virtual therapist that the user can interact with. Available in the UK since summer 2019, Flow retails for £399.

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Adjacent OTC categories have been fuelling the fire of consumer healthcare innovation in recent years, with medical cannabis / CBD and probiotics two of the most active categories in terms of launch activity. US marketer CBDfx is arguably the most pioneering innovator among the new wave of medical cannabis companies, launching several new delivery formats over the past two years, including vaping pens (January 2018), “chill shot” drinks for anxiety (March 2019), sublingual hemp strips (April 2019) and acne face masks (June 2019).

Like CBD, probiotics have also enjoyed high levels of innovation in terms of delivery formats and positioning. Two examples of probiotics targeting a new consumer healthcare niche include Elebiotic, a recent Recordati launch in Spain positioned to manage recurrent acute otitis media in infants, and Khan’s Morning, a probiotic launched in South Korea in early 2019 that is claimed to help break down the alcohol and acetaldehyde that causes hangovers.

Review 20,000+ launches and innovations with OTC New Products Tracker, the ultimate competitive intelligence tool! Products are graded with a star rating, from 1* (essentially “me too” and generics) up to 4* (1st Rx-to-OTC switches in a category, creation of a new OTC class or other major leaps in innovation). With a recently-released major update including eye-catching new graphics and powerful search filters that help you visualise and explore the vast archive according to your exact specifications, now is the perfect time to set up your free trial. For a demo or more information, please contact waisan.lee-gabell@NicholasHall.com.

Sleep disorders on the rise globally

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According to a new in-depth analysis of the global sleep aids market by Nicholas Hall’s Reports, sleeplessness and sleep disorders are on the rise, with approximately one third of the world’s population affected. Many consumers are happy to self-medicate, increasingly opting for a variety of herbal & natural, homeopathic and medical device brands, driving OTC growth in key markets like Brazil and Spain (see sample pages).

In terms of sales, sleep aids & sedatives generate an OTC total of over US$2.3bn globally, but have been characterised by low growth in recent years, and are in need of rejuvenation via new product development, adjacencies or connected health solutions. The self-medication sleep aids market (registered OTCs and a variety of supplements) also suffers from regulatory diversity across markets for common sleep aid ingredients.

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Genuine innovation is thin on the ground, but generics and “me-toos” launch frequently. Adjacencies focused on sleep offer alternatives, with other categories also entering the fray including nighttime analgesics, cough & cold remedies, menopause and other supplements. Connected Health is a key area of expansion. Sleep aid brands partnered with technology – passive (e.g. analysing sleep patterns / providing feedback) or active (improving sleep) – may break the low-growth cycle.

Comment from Ian Crook, Managing Editor, Nicholas Hall’s Reports: Sleep is a health area that lends itself easily to self-medication via sedating antihistamines and herbal & natural ingredients such as melatonin and valerian, while medical devices and digital health focused on sleep are seeing increased investment. With widespread concern over the “sleep loss epidemic” and significant implications for overall health from lack of sleep, it is imperative that consumers have access to tools to help them sleep. Raised levels of stress, anxiety and smartphone / tablet use ensure rising demand that can be tapped into by the right self-care solutions.

The full report, Sleep: Exploring Opportunities for Growth in Sleep Aids & Sedatives, is available now and more details can be found here. To order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com

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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