SLOUGH, England As a possible taste as to what innovation Reckitt Benckiser will bring to the U.S. market with its Boots Healthcare brands, Reckitt last week announced the launch of two healthcare products to be introduced into its European markets.
The first is a convenience version of its liquid heartburn reliever Gaviscon—Gaviscon Liquid Sachets. “Consumers genuinely think that the liquid is better than the tabs … but normally when you’re on the go they typically use tablets,” commented Bart Becht, Reckitt Benckiser chief executive officer, in a conference call with analysts last week. “They would like to use the liquid but they can’t because that is not an on-the-go format. … So what we’re providing is liquid sachets,” he said, where a consumer can tear off the top of the pouch and drink one dose. “That’s going to market as we speak.”
The second product launch is a fast-acting ibuprofen pain reliever Nurofen Express. “Nurofen Express is already launched in the U.K. and is now going to get gradually rolled-out to markets,” Becht said. “Clearly there’s a regulatory process so this will take several years just to be clear before it will be fully rolled-out … [but] this product provides the pain relief twice as fast as standard ibuprofen products.”
Reckitt Benckiser executives have not yet confirmed that they will launch their entire platform of Boots Healthcare products into the U.S. market—it’s too soon following the acquisition of Adams Respiratory, they’ve said—but the fact that Adams affords Reckitt Benckiser an established entry into the U.S. healthcare market was one of the selling points in acquiring Adams, Becht explained. “What’s the benefit [of the Adams acquisition]? It clearly provides a healthcare infrastructure in the U.S. which is the largest consumer healthcare market in the world. … It was very strategic for us as a company because it’s one of the few targets that allows us to get a healthcare infrastructure in the U.S., which we don’t have. And to build that organically is extremely difficult and costly.”