Innovation: CES 2021 Health & Wellness Roundup

As our infographic this week indicates, health & wellness led the way in terms of high-quality innovation at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show). Here, we highlight some of the new health & wellness products that were rewarded by judges for the key criteria of excellence in engineering, aesthetics and design, uniqueness, and the innovation they bring to the consumer market.

The winner of the Best of Innovation award in the health & wellness category was Epsy Health, a leading digital health platform for the management of epilepsy that “empowers patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals”. The Epsy app is free to download on both Apple and Android platforms, currently in the USA only, and helps in managing epilepsy by “creating a data rich diary to track seizures, medication compliance and triggers”.

The other level of recognition in each CES category is “Honorees”, i.e. products that score above the threshold in terms of innovation criteria for any given category, and there were several digital healthcare tools here, including Algocare, an IoT (Internet of Things) solution that provides personalised nutrition management at home and at work. Algocare Labs, based in South Korea, claims that the health questionnaires on the Algocare app and its unique algorithm, which analyses thousands of scientific journals, combine to deliver a tailored VMS mix to be dispensed via Algocare’s innovative device. Another CES Honoree was Oova, a high-tech home diagnostic fertility test, which measures luteinising hormone and progesterone in the urine, thanks to its cutting-edge test pads and supporting smartphone app.

Other notable consumer health & wellness innovations at CES 2021 included Flō, a handheld device for managing allergic rhinitis (or hayfever). When placed in the nose and activated, the company says the product projects lights to trigger reactions in the body which limit uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Marketer Fluo Health said it is seeking OTC approval from the FDA, and expects the device to be available to consumers later this year. Another medical device of note was Temp Pal, a smart thermometer from Taiwan-based iWEECARE, which is designed to be placed under the armpit of small children and transmits its readings wirelessly for remote monitoring – according to the company, it measures a child’s temperature within an accuracy of 0.05 degrees Celsius.

Explore the latest cutting-edge consumer healthcare devices, as well as major delivery format and ingredient trends, in our upcoming report from Nicholas Hall’s CHC New Products Tracker, Innovation in CHC: 2020’s NPD & Launch activity under the spotlight! Pre-order your copy before 31 March to save with a generous pre-publication discount. To find out more, please contact

OTCs in Action Episode 19: Rx-to-OTC switch to reduce Taiwan healthcare costs


The good news is that life expectancy in Taiwan has risen significantly to almost age 80, a trend that has accelerated since National Health Insurance was introduced in 1995, giving the country the rank of 38th in the world for life expectancy. However, the population of just over 23mn people has the second highest rate of people visiting doctors in the world. The cost of this level of care is quite high.

Switching drugs from Rx to OTC is one way the Taiwanese government plans to reduce costs and it is evaluating the switch of several Rx ingredients to OTC later this year. These medicines include non-sedating antihistamines, PPI antacids, low-dose aspirin for systemic cardiovascular indications and vaginal antifungals, among others.

Taiwanese officials have reported that, although consumers have high awareness of self-care, they lack knowledge of using OTCs, with only 34% saying they would purchase OTCs when they have a minor ailment. In addition to the very high rate of medical professional consultations, Taiwan’s restrictive advertising regulations for brand name products likely contribute to the problem.

On a more positive note, these Rx-to-OTC switches, in conjunction with an increasing number of consumer-oriented retail pharmacy chains, should encourage consumers to self-medicate when appropriate. Additionally, a medicine cost control programme, which caps health insurance coverage, is being tested by the health ministry. The prognosis for cost reduction with treatment by OTCs in Action is therefore very positive!

For more information about the OTC market in Taiwan and other Asian countries, please click on the link to access Nicholas Hall & Company’s OTC INSIGHT Asia-Pacific.