Branded pain relief tablets battle for sales

With private label across analgesics up an estimated 11.3% to $1.7 billion, retailers are going to need to make some tough decisions as two internal analgesic powerhouses — McNeil's Tylenol and Novartis' Excedrin — make their way back onto market after respective recalls. Within internal analgesic tablets, sales of store brand equivalents were up 15% off of a 2011 base of around $1.2 billion. The branded competition also were benefactors — both Pfizer's Advil and Bayer's Aleve generated more than $50 million in incremental sales on top of 2011 sales.

The battle for pain relief is expected to heat up this year as both Tylenol and Excedrin return to market backed by some pretty significant marketing heft. However, don't expect other manufacturers to give up their newly captured market share without a fight. For example, when Novartis brought back Excedrin Migraine in the fall, Bayer launched with its own Bayer Migraine product.

The category as a whole should grow again in the low-single digits based on how products returning to market have performed in liquid analgesics in the past year. According to SymphonyIRI Group's U.S. multi-outlet sales data, sales of liquid analgesics were up slightly by 1.8% to $369.4 million for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 30. It may be a harbinger of what's to come across tablets because Children's Tylenol and Children's Motrin were among the first SKUs brought back to shelf by McNeil.

McNeil's OTC comeback is being directed by Sandy Peterson, according to Johnson & Johnson chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky.

Hyland's Baby Teething Tablets is performing well within children's teething and oral analgesic sets. A homeopathic remedy, Hyland's received a sales boost out of a recent Food and Drug Administration consumer warning on the dangers associated with children and benzocaine, the main ingredient in Church & Dwight's Orajel. Since the FDA publicized that warning, C&D has responded with the launch of benzocaine-free Baby Orajel Naturals, which like Hyland's is a homeopathic remedy.

And Hisamitsu America's Salonpas has been experiencing significant growth in the past year with sales of $35.7 million, up 48.9%. Hisamitsu last year expanded the Salonpas brand beyond patches with the launch of Salonpas Pain Relieving Massage Foam and Salonpas Pain Relieving Jet Spray.


The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Analgesics Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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