Congress sounds off: Affordable hearing aids will happen in 2018
One OTC category expected to emerge in the coming year is hearing aids, which, when paired with in-store hearing aid service centers, will become a powerful solution set. Earlier this year, CVS Pharmacy opened seven hearing stores-within-stores in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area, with plans to expand significantly by year’s end.
That OTC solution set already has advocates throughout Congress. “Just as someone can correct minor sight loss by purchasing reading glasses from their local pharmacy, so too should they be able to correct minor hearing loss,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. The bipartisan legislation supporting OTC hearing aids, which is a part of the FDA Reauthorization Act, was passed by Congress in early August.
Older consumers won’t be the only ones shopping OTC hearing aids. “The fastest-growing segment is [consumers] 18 to 30 years old because of gaming and music,” said Robert Barone, head of marketing and clinical development at iHear Medical, which is offering an FDA-approved OTC solution set. Manufacturers appealing to this age group will need to keep aesthetics in mind, he added. “The stigma [associated] with hearing loss is big,” he said.
The market for discrete hearing aids is only going to get bigger. The number of adults ages 20 years or older with hearing loss is expected to gradually increase from 44 million in 2020 (15%) to 74 million by 2060 (23%), according to a study published earlier this year by JAMA.
Consumers’ dreams come true with new sleep solution sets
No longer a dormant category, sales of sleep aids continue to climb at a rate of 3.9% for the 52 weeks ended June 11 across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. While that entire category was lifted with the introduction of Procter & Gamble’s ZzzQuil line, which still figures prominently, it only started there.
The sleep category is included as “new and emerging” because the opportunity has grown from the sick-care model of old in which such sleep aids as melatonin and ZzzQuil dominated. Today, savvy retailers are creating a destination solution center that incorporates
holistic remedies that have anything and everything to do with sleep — sleep trackers to measure quality sleep, sleep-inducing pillows, white noise generators and soothing aromatherapy options. These kinds of solution sets help empower consumers along their healthcare journey.
EarlySense in July presented new research indicating that its EarlySense Live home-based sensor accurately detects sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing in children when compared with polysomnography, the testing process used in clinics to detect sleeping disorders. The at-home solution leverages EarlySense’s core medical monitoring technology, which has been successfully implemented globally in hospitals, rehab and skilled nursing facilities.
“Sleep apnea is a significant health risk that affects millions of people worldwide, and can result in reduced productivity and poor school performance,” said Zvika Shinar, EarlySense’s chief scientist. “It also is associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease if left untreated. Despite this, it remains a severely under-diagnosed condition.”
There is even a place for snoring solutions in this new set. This fall, Foundation Consumer Healthcare is launching Thrivent, a new snoring solution with better sleep for both the snorer and his significant other in mind. “With 50 million to 70 million frequent snorers in the U.S. adult population, this is a significant issue,” Steve Howard, chief marketing officer at Foundation Consumer, told Drug Store News. “Snoring is the third-leading cause of divorce behind money and infidelity,” he said. “It is a really prevalent issue, and is a significant contributor to our ability to get a good night’s sleep.”
Another indicator that snoring could become a significant piece of the sleep pie? Earlier this year Sleep.ai introduced an anti-snore wearable that can detect and track snoring patterns via the investment site Indiegogo. The device sells for $89, and within a few months they raised 164% of their $50,000 goal.
But the legacy market of actual sleep aids that brings consumers to the newly dubbed sleep solution sets in the first place is still going strong. According to a Vicks survey released earlier this year, 87% of Americans have experienced trouble falling asleep. In fact, two-thirds of Americans said they had trouble falling asleep at least once a month, and nearly half reported that they experience this trouble at least once a week.
Q&A: Boiron’s Wittenberg talks company’s baby aisle debut
Boiron, long known for its Oscillococcinum flu relief and Arnicare pain relief solutions, is planning to capitalize on new opportunities in the baby care aisle this fall. Drug Store News recently discussed the new products the manufacturer of homeopathic remedies will be introducing at NACDS Total Store Expo with Boiron’s Gary Wittenberg, VP of national accounts.
Drug Store News: What is Boiron’s current focus?
Gary Wittenberg: Boiron is focusing on its new baby platform. Innovations in cold and teething medicines have been far and few between, [and] Boiron’s delivery system in both categories relies on a convenient, single liquid dose. [That] sterile packaging eliminates the need for a preservative. And the premeasured amount is convenient and portable, making it easy to take on the go. Its plastic packaging is also BPA-free.
The company is emphasizing the unique administering system while launching its new ColdCalm Liquid Doses recommended for children as young as 6 months of age, and promoting its Camilla teething medicine to fulfill parents’ unmet needs. The formulas do not contain flavors, dyes, lactose, sugar or artificial sweeteners. The only inactive ingredient is purified water.
Boiron USA plans to support these products through targeted digital marketing, sampling moms at several baby-themed consumer expos, public relations efforts and social media tactics. Sales are also driven though doctor recommendations. Boiron USA’s medical team makes office visits and attends roughly 50 medical trade shows per year, including pediatrician events for its new baby platform.
DSN: What are the opportunities in baby care? Given the recent teething recalls, are there
Wittenberg: The trend of consumers looking for natural and safe products continues to be strong and steady. This is especially true of mom looking for health options for her family. Placing more focus on the baby category is the next step in Boiron delivering the good-for-you products that today’s consumers want.
As a liquid dose, Camilia undergoes a different manufacturing technique than tablets or gels. Retailers should be assured that Boiron’s Camilia has a remarkable safety record. Since Boiron debuted Camilia in the United States 23 years ago, the company has not filed any serious adverse event reports with any regulatory authority worldwide, including the Food and Drug Administration. Camilia is registered with 18 regulatory authorities and marketed in 17 countries, mostly in Europe and North America.
DSN: What’s the bottom line?
Wittenberg: Boiron helps drug store chains further entice natural channel crossover shoppers with the convenience of one-stop shopping. The company has an established reputation and a large presence in the [cough-cold and flu] category with its flagship Oscillcooccinum flu medicine, Coldcalm and Chestal cough syrups; in the external pain category with its Arnicare Gel and Arnicare Cream; and the first aid category with its Calendula Burn, Calendula Cream for skin irritations and Arnicare Bruise.