OTCs in Action Episode 35: More play time instead of pain time in Nigeria

OTCinActionheaderThis week, OTCs are in Action in Nigeria where RB has just launched the leading global ibuprofen brand, Nurofen, for both children and adults. “Nigerians are known to be hard working, constantly seeking ways to lead a better life; they therefore do not want anything that would weigh them down or slow their pace,” Mr. Rahul Murgai, General Manager, RB West Africa, said at the launch ceremony. “Nurofen can provide them instant relief from headaches, lower back pain, cold symptoms, dental pain and fever thereby giving them more play time instead of pain time.”

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Rahul Murgai, General Manager, RB West Africa

Legitimate OTC brands that offer consumers safe and efficacious self-medication in developing countries are very important, because they offer an alternative to the under-the-counter (without a prescription) distribution of Rx drugs, which is in common practice. As governments regulate pharmaceuticals, and national healthcare programmes are prioritised, enforcement against UTC sales will become more rigourous. For the time being, the Nigerian government is curbing distribution of counterfeit and substandard drugs, with new government drug distribution centres and a ban on the flow of drugs between manufacturers / importers and retailers.

Markets such as Nigeria will benefit from these regulatory measures, encouraging investment such as RB’s launch of Nurofen. Although the OTC market is quite small at $114mn (+9%) in the 12 months to end-March 2015, Nigerian OTC will continue to grow as brands like Nurofen expand consumer options for legitimate self-medication.

OTCs in Action Episode 16: Probiotics vs Peanut Allergies

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Decades from now, could the peanut-free table in school lunch rooms be a social relic of the early 2000s?

Today, peanuts are the most common cause of fatality owing to food-induced anaphylaxis. However, there is very exciting news that OTC probiotics may play a role in eliminating the allergy for many children. Researchers at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Parkville, Australia, have announced the successful trial of a treatment for peanut allergies. In the study, researchers gave more than 60 peanut allergic children either a placebo or a dose of a probiotic (Lactobacillus rhamnosus), together with peanut protein in increasing amounts over an 18-month period. The result: More than 80% of children who received the oral immunotherapy treatment were able to tolerate peanuts at the end of the trial, compared to less than 4% of the placebo group. This is 20 times higher than the natural rate of resolution for peanut allergy. According to the announcement, “23 of 28 (82.1%) probiotic treated children and one of 28 (3.6%) placebo-treated children were able to include peanut in their diet at the end of the trial.”

Lead researcher, Professor Mimi Tang, said the study results are extremely exciting as they could potentially provide an effective treatment for food allergy: “In the study the combined delivery of probiotic and oral immunotherapy was a safe and effective treatment for peanut allergy; however, it is important to point out that this treatment must only be given under close medical supervision as we are giving peanut to children who are allergic to peanut and children did have allergic reactions. Nevertheless, the likelihood of success was high – if nine children were given probiotic and peanut therapy, seven would benefit.”

For more information, visit:

http://www.mcri.edu.au/news/2015/january/peanut-allergy/

OTCs in Action thanks the weekly newsletter, OTC.NewDirections, published by Nicholas Hall & Co, for tracking scientific advancements in healthcare as they are announced.

OTCs In Action Episode 9: Traditional Medicine minister appointed as MNC manufacturing multiplies

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OTCs are in Action in India. Indian prime minister and enthusiastic yoga practitioner, Narendra Modi, has appointed Shripad Yesso Naik to be the first minister of the Yoga & Traditional Medicines division of the Health Ministry. According to the Wall Street Journal India, this department has been concentrating on herbal and traditional remedies for 25 years, and will be supported with a 2015 budget of $144mn. Traditional medicines are used by 70-80% of the Indian population, and the Government’s focus on improving quality standards and expanding manufacturing will impact not only the domestic market, but exports as well.

Nicholas Hall & Company’s DB6 global database forecasts that the market for OTC medicines in India will grow by about 158% over the next 10 years to US$5.7bn, with a 10% CAGR. Currently, the OTC market remains ill-defined, with OTC basically a default status for products not classified as Rx, complicated by widespread sales of Rx drugs under the counter without a prescription. This is likely to change over the coming years, as health professionals, most recently the Indian Medical Association, support the creation of an OTC list in line with global standards.

Not surprisingly, multinational companies are garnering for position in India. In the past year, Nicholas Hall & Company’s OTC.Newsflash has reported the following:

– This month, J&J completed the acquisition of fruit-based electrolyte drink ORS-L from Jagdale Industries for US$122mn. The company also recently announced it was building a new $66mn manufacturing facility for personal hygiene and skin products in Telangana

– In September, Abbott opened a new plant in Gujarat, which will manufacture nutritional products specifically for the local market. The US-based MNC invested US$73mn in the facility, its third in India

– Earlier this year, GSK increased its stake in its pharmaceuticals subsidiary in India from 50.7% to 75% in a $1bn deal, following a voluntary Open Offer

This week OTCs in Action thanks Nicola Jay, editor of Nicholas Hall & Company’s OTC INSIGHT Asia-Pacific, for her expertise on the OTC market in India.