HEALTH

Kalorama: Despite predictions to the contrary, OTC drug market not recession-proof

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Despite predictions that consumers in recessionary times would flock to cheaper over-the-counter drugs, the world’s over-the-counter drug market grew just 3.5% in the past three years, according a report released by Kalorama Information.

"Results over the past few years may put to bed the theory that OTC drug sales go up during a recession," Kalorama Information publisher Bruce Carlson said. "It’s something that was broadly predicted, including in our own reports. It turns out that OTC drugs were affected by consumers having less cash in their pockets just as much as other products were."

According to the report, the $78 billion market for over-the-counter medicines behaved as many products in the recent recession did: almost no sales growth in 2009 and slowly increasing but below average growth in the past two years.

Kalorama supplied a few possible reasons for the slow growth: consumers reduced doctor visits and sought to trim all medical expenditures since 2009, which dampened the benefit from customers preferring lower-priced OTC drugs; lower-priced drug store brands competed well with brand-name products, reducing prices paid; and increasing numbers of patients insured through Medicaid and Medicare were better able to purchase prescription products, reducing the need for OTC purchases.


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HEALTH

Survey: Consumers would support an OTC test for HIV

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As many as 74% of consumers would support a rapid, oral swab HIV test available over the counter, according to a survey released Friday by Who’s Positive, a national HIV awareness organization.

“Our survey demonstrates widespread support for additional testing options, especially among younger generations and those who are already living with HIV,” stated Tom Donohue, founding director of Who’s Positive. "Over-the-counter testing has the potential to break down barriers and empower people who have never been tested before to learn their HIV status and, if positive, find the care and support they need."

Other key findings included:

  • 66% of the respondents who identify as a HIV-positive consumer support an OTC HIV test;

  • 80% of those younger than 30 years support an OTC HIV test; and

  • 47% of those who identify as one who performs HIV testing support an HIV OTC test.

Full survey findings will be shared at an upcoming Food and Drug Administration advisory committee meeting that will debate whether or not OraSure Technologies’ OraQuick Rapid HIV-1/2 test should be made available for sale without a prescription May 15.

The survey gathered responses from 1,569 participants; approximately half of the respondents were identified as people living with HIV/AIDS.


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Aisle7 introduces Aisle7 Wellness Shops

BY Allison Cerra

PORTLAND, Ore. — Aisle7 announced the launch of Aisle7 Wellness Shops, a targeted online marketing program that helps food and drug retailers, e-retailers and manufacturers connect with consumers who are concerned about chronic health problems, including diabetes, weight management and heart health.

"People are looking for credible answers to their health concerns for themselves and their families. They are influenced by their social circle, the Internet, mobile and experts," Aisle7 CEO Sky Lininger said. "Wellness Shops tie it all together in a cost-effective solution that gives retailers and manufacturers a complete and targeted digital program that speaks credibly to shoppers and helps them make confident product decisions."

Wellness Shops provide magazine-like content experiences that update a retailer or manufacturer’s website monthly with the latest product and lifestyle recommendations. They also provide ongoing content suggestions that can be shared with a Facebook community and used to create targeted email campaigns that drive additional traffic back to the website. Retail marketers also can contextually stream their own offers and content into a Wellness Shop using Promolink, a new promotion-focused data-linking tool.

Aisle7 noted that its Aisle7 Content Explorer, a platform launched last summer by the company, is included with the Wellness Shops. Aisle7 Content Explorer is a content marketing tool marketers can use to search and preview articles and health recommendations suitable for their campaign needs.

Aisle7 Wellness Shops are available immediately and can be licensed for time-limited or permanent campaigns.


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