Breath of relief
NEW YORK — Homeopathic supplier King Bio currently is presenting a replacement alternative for patients still seeking relief for their minor asthma symptoms in its AsthmaCare product.
It’s the kind of new product launch that almost could prevent a cough-cold buyer from hyperventilating — though that is not an advertised indication on the product’s Drug Facts Label.That’s because at the top of the year, production of Primatene Mist — the inhaler that served as the branded identity for asthma sufferers seeking a self-care solution — was halted. Primatene Mist still is cycling through sales data and currently represents an almost $50 million sales opportunity for King Bio.
New merchandising could waken sleep aids
Retailers are awakening to the possibility that their sleep aids — typically merchandised near the floor level of a set synergistically near tablet pain relievers — may deserve a placement closer to eye level. It may sound cliché to characterize sleep aids as a sleeper category — that is until you look at the 11.6% trailing 52-week dollar growth, and then back down to the floor where the sleep aids are typically merchandised.
Excluding private label, out of the top 10 brands in the category all but two products have a growing dollar base. And sales of those two brands are flat, which suggests more consumers are making their sleep aid purchase part of a planned trip.
The ingredient being credited with this sleep aid renaissance is melatonin. However, sleep- deprived consumers are trying other natural sleep remedies as well. “The economy has a great deal to do with [the sleep category growth],” said Dale Nepsa, Hyland’s president. Hyland’s Calm Forté is one of the growth drivers with an almost 20% lift in annual sales.
Biotab, makers of Alteril, even identified a new seasonal sales cycle with sleep — daylight savings time. No matter whether customers are springing forward or falling back, there is a spike in sales in the following weeks that directly corresponds to DST.
There also is a future potential tie-in opportunity to sleep apnea. It’s not so much promoting natural sleep remedies against as serious a disease as sleep apnea as it is creating a sleep center destination within the OTC space.
There is a newly approved prescription-only device expected to drive awareness to sleep apnea. Called the Winx Sleep Therapy System and not yet on the market, ApniCure is touting the device as a marked improvement to CPAP machines. And there is a return-trip opportunity — the mouthpiece and tubing need to be replaced quarterly.
Q&A: Mass challenges
Drug Store News recently spoke with Greenwood Group president Pat O’Leary about the challenges small- and mid-tier companies face in the mass market.
DSN: Has the barrier to entry into mass gotten higher for smaller companies?
Pat O’Leary: It’s a function of retailer expectations as much as anything. As they’ve become more sophisticated and the need to make a profit has become a [priority over] a more finite period of time, the manufacturers are challenged to meet those expectations. They’re not unrealistic, … [but] you have to be prepared.
DSN: How do you overcome those barriers?
O’Leary: Really understand who your consumer is. Really understand how the category is going to impact you and how you’re going to impact the category. … Retailers are looking for new products that are going to bring incremental profit.
DSN: What are some of the long-term success strategies?
O’Leary: The four Ps [pricing, product, placement and promotion]. … Get the right fit with the right retailer — you may not have to be everywhere overnight.
For the full audio Q&A, click here.