What future for AI in healthcare?

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One of the chapters in Nicholas Hall’s recently published New Paradigms report, entitled The Digital Revolution, provides some compelling examples of consumer healthcare companies and OTC brands that are thriving in the digital era. While key marketers like GSK were slow to invest in digital, the tide is now turning – in its 2018 annual report, GSK said it had “significantly” increased its advertising spend in online media because it is delivering a “far higher return” than traditional TV – despite continuing reservations from some companies like P&G about the way digital budgets are deployed.

One emerging technology that has an uncertain future in healthcare is artificial intelligence. Back in March, a report published by MMC Ventures (in partnership with Barclays) predicted that AI can “unlock a paradigm shift in healthcare”, particularly in diagnosis, drug discovery and monitoring. According to MMC’s research, health & wellbeing is a “focal point” for AI entrepreneurship – 21% of start-ups serve the sector, more than any other sector – and, over the next decade, “developers will have a greater impact on the future of healthcare than doctors”.

An example of innovation here is L’Oreal’s augmented reality and artificial intelligence entity, ModiFace, which has led to the launch of a consumer digital skin ageing diagnostic tool. Targeting women, its first application is Vichy SkinConsultAI – based on ModiFace’s AI-powered algorithm – launched in Canada in January 2019 and rolling out across the brand’s websites globally over the course of this year.

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However, security concerns continue to be the main stumbling block for AI. According to research published in Digital Health last month, public concern about accuracy, cybersecurity and the inability of AI-led chatbots to sympathise may be standing in the way of artificial intelligence’s successful introduction into healthcare.

A University of Westminster-led team surveyed 216 participants on a range of demographic and attitudinal variables including questions about acceptability and perceived effectiveness of AI in healthcare. The results identified three broad themes: “understanding of chatbots”, “AI hesitancy” and “motivations for health chatbots”. The team suggests that designers of AI-led chatbots need to employ user-centred and theory-based approaches to address patient concerns and to optimise user experience in order to achieve the best uptake and utilisation.

Embracing Tech and Digital Health are two of the key themes at our OTC.NewDirections Executive Conference, taking place in London on 14 November 2019! Nicholas Hall will be joined by experts from companies including Bayer, Mundipharma and J&J to review these issues, as well as others impacting our industry, including the status of Medical Cannabis in Europe, Growing Brands through Innovation and the ultimate theme of ensuring that you are Keeping Consumers in the Spotlight. To find out more, or to reserve your place, please contact jennifer.odonnell@NicholasHall.com without delay!

New technology and innovation to revive acne sales?

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For several years, the OTC acne remedies category has been in the doldrums. Global sales grew by just 1.9% in 2018, and the CAGR for the subcategory over the 2014-18 period is a lowly 1.6%. This poor performance is largely related to the US market, where sales of acne remedies fell by 1.4% to US$514mn in 2018.

That’s why the recent news that L’Oréal’s skin care brand, La Roche Posay, has introduced Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment, is very timely. Retailing for US$29.99 for a 45g tube, the topical retinoid once-daily medication is indicated for the treatment of acne in people aged 12+. The brand has also launched La Roche-Posay My Skin Track PoreScan, an AI-powered skin analysis tool (similar to Effaclar Spotscan, launched earlier in 2019) that can make personalised skincare recommendations for those concerned with clogged pores, raised imperfections and residual marks. 

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OTC.NewDirection‘s Consulting Editor, Nina Stimson, commented: “This is a major step for La Roche Posay and parent, L’Oréal, known worldwide primarily as a cosmetics player. Adapalene’s switch to OTC (at 0.1% Rx strength) as Differin Gel (Galderma / Nestlé) was approved in the USA in July 2016 as the first retinoid drug for the OTC treatment of acne, with adapalene acknowledged as the first new active ingredient for that OTC indication since the 1980s. This launch comes exactly three years later, as Differin’s exclusivity ends, and sees La Roche Posay / L’Oréal move right to the front line of registered OTC acne treatment. Differin Gel OTC sales have probably disappointed against expectations (although Nestlé’s Proactiv has also added an adapalene option to its DTC lineup) and other adapalene gels will undoubtedly also appear on US store shelves. Full marks to L’Oréal for prompt action.

There are also signs of renewed dynamism in Latin America thanks to strong investment in NPD from key marketers like Genomma. In June 2019, the company unveiled an innovative new acne remedy, Asepxia Maquiagem Liquida Autoajustavel, which features a unique technology that allows the product to adapt to various skin tones. Sold as a 30ml liquid, this latest addition to the Asepxia line is positioned to reduce acne and even skin tone, as well as mattify the skin and cover blemishes. New technology and innovation hold the key to unlocking future growth in this important OTC subcategory.

Birgit Schuhbauer, VP Global Franchise OTC and EMEA Region at J&J will take to the stage at Nicholas Hall’s OTC.NewDirections Executive Conference to explore how, with new consumer marketing opportunities with digital tools, we are Getting Closer to the Consumer than Ever. Taking place in London on 14 November 2019, the meeting will ultimately focus on the latest CHC Innovations and Technologies with presentations from companies also including Bayer, Prohibition Partners and Mundipharma. Save when you reserve your place now at the early bird booking rate. For more information, or to book your place, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

Big Data to democratise healthcare

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Another of the Infinity Zones that Nicholas Hall will be exploring in his upcoming New Paradigms report is Big Data. Healthcare is an increasing focus of the global Big 5 tech companies, namely Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba (with the latter predicted to be the “biggest of all in future” by Nicholas). All of these companies own vast reservoirs of consumer information (“big data”) that can be leveraged to provide targeted advertising and services.

In an interview with CNBC in early 2019, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said that health will be the company’s “greatest contribution to mankind” and indicated that various services would be rolled out later this year, building on the success of the new ECG-enabled Apple Watch. Over the weekend, it was revealed that Apple has acquired Tueo Health, a California startup developing a smartphone app that works with sensors to detect asthma-related issues in sleeping children and alert the parents or guardians.

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How the Tueo Health app works

In recent years, Apple has also acquired Gliimpse, a startup developing technology to aggregate medical records, and Beddit, a sleep sensor company. Apple sees its mission as “democratising” healthcare by putting its big data in the hands of consumers and empowering individuals to manage their own health via apps and dashboards. Apple’s vast user base gives it an advantage over its tech rivals, and the expected launch of its own medical devices (i.e. hearing aids) and services (i.e. blood glucose monitoring) will expand its healthcare appeal further.

As Nicholas points out, however, privacy concerns continue to plague big data initiatives and European authorities in particular have issued various fines to tech companies for breaching strict new data privacy laws (GDPR). The need for tech companies to process our personal information with ever more sensitivity will become even greater once they have access to healthcare metrics such as our blood pressure, sleep patterns, etc.

Big Data will be one of the key topics in our upcoming report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Examine each aspect of the CHC industry in 20 chapters, with a focus on major issues including Regulation, Pharmacy Point-of-Care, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil the “infinity zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

10 Infinity Zones for future CHC growth

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Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC report, due to be published later this year, outlines 10 Infinity Zones for future consumer healthcare growth, which were shared as an exclusive preview with delegates at our recent Vienna conference. Below we outline these Infinity Zones to OTC DASHBOARD subscribers, with a short description of each.

1. Prevention: A long-term theme in the CHC industry which is now taking root. Nicholas Hall presented a slide of the fastest-growing OTC subcategories by CAGR (2014-18), comparing those focused on prevention with those centred around treatment, and this showed that seven of the Top 10 most dynamic subcategories had a preventative focus.

2. Probiotics: One of these Top 10 fastest-growing subcategories was probiotics, an area of the global consumer healthcare market that has moved from adjacency into the mainstream. In the 2014-18 period, probiotics delivered more value growth (in €mn terms) than established subcategories like systemic analgesics and sore throat remedies.

3. Food Intolerance: Changing diets across the globe are causing a huge increase in food intolerance issues. Nicholas Hall is planning to provide an estimate of the size of this emerging category in his New Paradigms report, but for now he emphasised to delegates the opportunities that OTC marketers have here, notably in terms of cross-branding.

4. Natural & Organic: Like prevention, this is not a new trend in consumer healthcare, but instead one that is increasingly on the radar of major multinationals. A recent example here is J&J’s acquisition of the Zarbee’s Naturals line of OTC products.

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5. Cannabis: Nicholas Hall outlined the huge investment already being seen in this fast-growing market, especially in key countries like Australia, and outlined how the future CBD market could be split into five categories, including Rx, OTC medical cannabis via Rx-to-OTC switch, VMS & topicals, beauty & food and lifestyle marijuana.

6. Sexual Health: Nicholas Hall said that, while Bayer has made it clear that erectile dysfunction treatment Levitra will not switch, we’ve already seen the Rx-to-OTC reclassification of Viagra Connect in the UK market and it’s possible that Sanofi’s Cialis could soon follow once the company has navigated the necessary regulatory hurdles.

7. E-commerce: This year DB6 has introduced an “all channels” version of the dataset, showing that total OTC sales through all channels were worth US$174bn in 2018, of which store-based sales account for 78%, with direct sales (MLM) generating 14%. Internet & mail order currently accounts for 9% of the “all channel” universe, with sales dominated heavily by VMS supplements in China and USA. However, this channel has seen a CAGR of 20% since 2014 and will continue to increase dramatically in importance.

8. Pharmacy: Nicholas Hall also emphasised the continuing importance of bricks & mortar retailers to consumer healthcare, with Pharmacy Point-of-Care still the driving force behind recommendations and purchases of key OTC brands.

9. Big Data: The Big 5 tech companies are now dominating healthcare information, and while there are concerns about privacy, Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that his company’s “greatest contribution to mankind” will be within the sphere of healthcare.

10. Emerging Markets: Nicholas Hall said that Emerging Markets now account for a 55% share of global OTC sales (in the retail channel). Recent figures from the IMF’s World Economic Outlook forecast that developing economies will continue to outpace advanced economies.

Take a look at what the future holds for the CHC industry in our upcoming Signature report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself. The report will take a look at major issues including innovation, future competition, emerging categories and markets and M&A. You also have the option to upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

App Store trend of 2018: Self-care

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Apple’s distribution platform for mobile apps, the App Store, recently selected self-care as its trend of the year. Wellness apps designed to encourage healthy habits, improve sleep, reduce anxiety and increase mindfulness have been the major trend on the iOS platform over the past year, according to Apple.

Fittingly, one of these popular apps is called #SelfCare, launched by TRU LUV Media in summer 2018. Designed like a game, the app promotes emotional wellbeing via breathing exercises and other small acts of self-care. Another is called Shine – Self-Care & Meditation, which delivers free daily motivational messages, 5-minute affirmations and meditations, plus tips on how to reduce stress, improve sleep and increase focus.

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The popularity of such apps is good news for OTC marketers, especially those operating in lifestyle and VMS categories that focus on mental wellbeing, i.e. sedatives & sleep aids and herbal memory & brain health. Apple noted that apps for physical health, such as those that track calories and steps, have long been popular with iOS users, but emphasised that this trend towards apps for mental health is a new phenomenon.

That said, what may be somewhat concerning to OTC marketers is that this evolving definition of self-care doesn’t appear to include self-medication. While OTC New Products Tracker lists medical device launches in 2018 that incorporate an accompanying app – such as Nokia Sleep and Natural Cycles, the latter designed to aid conception – supplements or drugs backed by a mobile app are much thinner on the ground.

Review the latest new products hitting the CHC market with OTC New Products Tracker, the ideal competitive intelligence tool. We recently unveiled a major update, with eye-catching new graphs and powerful search filters that help you visualise and explore the vast archive according to your exact requirements. To trial the updated database or for a demo, please contact waisan.lee-gabell@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

 

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