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Homeopathy, returning brands shape pain relief

BY Michael Johnsen

More than half of arthritis sufferers are in search of information on natural remedies, according to a recent 2013 National Arthritis Index, a survey of more than 4,500 people concerned about the condition. For as many as 70% of arthritis patients, their condition limits the activities in which they can participate. Accordingly, they are constantly on the lookout for ways to ease the pain.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

That could prove to be a boost for several new homeopathic topical remedies hitting the market. "You’re starting to see an influx of [homeopathic] topical analgesics," reported Les Hamilton, EVP of Hyland’s. "You’re going to see, within topical analgesics, leg cramps and arnica really come full force in the next 12 months. Arnica is a newer ingredient to the food/drug/mass arena that really does work, [and] arnica’s not just focused on pain, but also on bruising and swelling."

Sales of external analgesics were up 5.4% to $457.5 million for the 52 weeks ended July 14 across U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. And Boiron’s Arnicare cracked the top 10 with $9.3 million in sales, up 73.9%.

Meanwhile, sales of internal analgesic tablets were relatively flat — 0.9% growth to $3.1 billion—but that may change. Both Novartis Consumer Health and McNeil Consumer Healthcare will be making strong comebacks across their respective analgesic portfolios in the second half of this year, and retail partners are excited about getting these brand names back on shelf, suggested Stefan Merlo, director of healthcare strategy at Novartis Consumer Health.

"They’re treating them almost as if they are new launches," he said. "And they are investing [with us] in different types of displays, innovative types of [displays], so that we can make the awareness about these brands even greater."

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Wellco debuts pain relief cream for irritated skin under the nose

BY Michael Johnsen

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Wellco Brands’ debut product Healerz For Noses was selected for Walmart’s Get On The Shelf contest earlier this year. The product is a pain relief cream targeted to soothe the delicate skin under the nose. The formula contains lidocaine for pain relief, benzalkonium chloride antiseptic to help guard against infection and aloe for its soothing properties. Judging from the fact this represents an incremental sale to an allergy purchase, the product is likely viable, though the challenge will be in educating the consumer to induce an allergy care behavior change — wiping the nose with something other than tissue.

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Summertime symptoms breathe life into sales

BY Michael Johnsen

This year’s spring allergy season has been characterized by a late start. "The allergy season was very weak in February and March, and even the beginning of April [was] very weak," William Peters, CFO and VP finance for Hi-Tech Pharmacal, told analysts in July. "June was more consistent with the previous year," he added.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

Approximately l-in-20 Americans experienced allergy symptoms for the week ended Aug. 16, according to IMS Health data. That was slightly higher than the incidence level in the prior week and contributes to an MS projected 4.1% lift for the summer, which follows a 5.2% decline in incidence in spring 2013 versus the previous year. As of Aug. 16, allergies were trending higher in the South Central and South West regions.

That summertime lift in incidence is having a positive influence on sales. For the 12 weeks ended July 14, sales of cold and allergy tablets were up 5.8%, totaling $766.8 million in sales across U.S. total multi-outlets, according to IRE data. Sales of liquid formulations were up 8.9%, reaching $132.4 million.

Chattem may breathe some additional life into the category by this time next year, if the Food and Drug Administration approves its switch of Nasacort AQ, which could open the door to a new class of allergy medicines. The FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee in late July voted in favor of making the nasal corticosteroid Nasacort AQ available without a prescription.

If Nasacort AQ is approved, Chattem will become the new allergy powerhouse. "[Chattem’s] Allegra is already neck-and-neck with Claritin," noted Laura Mahecha, industry manager at Kline Healthcare. But the nasal format is not expected to become as big as the competing allergy tablets, including Allegra, she said.

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