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Kline: Recalls, economy and FSA prescription requirement driving store-brand OTC growth

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Significant product recalls and the ongoing recession have driven consumer behavior change in the OTC aisle, according to a new report published Tuesday by Kline. In addition, road blocks to savings, such as reimbursement of OTC medicines under flexible spending accounts, were recently put in place with the new requirement that those medicines now to be prescribed by a physician in order to qualify for reimbursement. Approximately 1-in-5 respondents have used FSAs to purchase OTC drugs or nutritional supplements in the past, the report noted.

According to the report, titled "Nonprescription Drugs USA – Consumer Research," consumers are addressing the economic challenges by seeking out lower-cost nonprescription drug brands either by choosing the least expensive alternative — often private-label or store-brand OTCs — or by shopping at value-focused retailers more often. Other consumers noted they are using coupons and stocking up on OTC drugs when they are on sale, regardless of need, as a result of the recession.

“The impact and profound magnitude of ongoing economic uncertainty is borne out by more than half of respondents in Kline’s survey disclosing that they’ve changed how they purchase OTC drugs," stated Laura Mahecha, Kline’s healthcare industry manager. "Specifically, nearly a quarter of those surveyed choose private-label OTC drugs whenever possible because of their perceived cost advantage.”

Growth behind private-label OTC drugs was also driven by a spate of recalls over the past few years. Private-label adult acetaminophen realized a near 14% sales increase over 2010, as the largest direct beneficiary of Johnson & Johnson’s flagship brand Tylenol’s being out-of-stock for extended periods in 2010 and 2011, the report noted. Similarly, in the children’s pain-control segment, sales of private-label acetaminophen saw an increase of more than 30% compared to 2010. Competing brands Advil (Pfizer), Aleve (Bayer) and Bayer Aspirin have also enjoyed substantial sales increases in 2011, up 7.3%, 6.0% and 8.9%, respectively, over 2010 sales numbers.
 
“The analysis suggests that consumers, challenged by the recession and the fragility of brand loyalty, have been able to replace the recalled brands adequately over the past two years," Machecha said. "At the relaunch of recalled brands, Johnson & Johnson will need to invest heavily in brand marketing, and even after doing so, it may take several years to regain a fraction of the brand’s previous sales and market shares.”

Last week, Louise Mehrotra, Johnson & Johnson VP investor relations, told analysts that McNeil would be fielding a limited portfolio featuring key brands through 2013.

"It’s awfully difficult to predict the pace at which we will ramp up, but we will obviously not be spending on the relaunch of those products until we are confident that the supply situation is stabilized and we can provide a consistent supply to the market," added Dominic Caruso, J&J VP finance and CFO. "So, I think we are going to monitor that and not get too far ahead of that quite frankly, because we want to ensure that there is first a consistent supply of product; and then of course, we will invest significantly behind that once we achieve that. As we said before, we think the return of the products at the market will continue for the balance of 2012 and into 2013."


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Kline: Once again, professional skin care market sees boost

BY Allison Cerra

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — The professional skin care products market realized a 5.3% gain in 2011, according to a new report from Kline.

In the latest "Professional Skin Care Global Series: Market Analysis and Opportunities" report,  Kline found that sales for the European market came close to pre-recession peak levels, rising 4%, while China and South Korea posted growth of 9.3% and 9.5%, respectively, within the professional sector.

Klien said that spas, salons and medical care providers were stimulating traffic by modernizing facilities and implementing new communication tools, such as social networking, and tablet devices that enable therapists to complete medical questionnaires or recommend products without interrupting the treatment. The increase in the number of locations through franchised networks or chains, particularly in Europe, and increasing skin care product distribution through other professional-type outlets, such as hair salons or medical care providers, is successfully increasing revenues, the report noted.

Spas and salons, which is the largest channel in the United States, did experience a sales decline as spas continued to reduce the number of brands carried, underperforming spas were closed down and more salons and hotels divested their spa business to refocus on their core businesses. Another factor, a surge in at-home beauty devices, reportedly has impeded business in the spas channel, Kline said.

Kline also noted that while sales through beauty institutes and salons — the largest purchase channel in Europe, representing almost 60% of the market — increased by 3.7% in 2011, the strongest growth was seen in the medical care providers channel in both Europe and the United States.

"What’s interesting to note is that professional products in South Korea are sold comparable to the U.S. market through the Internet and home shopping channels, where especially local brands actively develop e-commerce by operating their own online shopping websites, as well as entering larger platforms run by Internet home shopping channels, such as G Market and GS Home Shopping," Kline industry manager Karen Doskow said. The channel posted nearly 18% growth in 2011.

Meanwhile, the European market was highly fragmented with leading brands Guinot and Clarins. The U.S. market is relatively consolidated, with the top five brands accounting for a 38% market share. Brands entrenched in the medical care providers channel, such as SkinCeuticals and SkinMedica in the United States and Dermaceutic and Pangaea Laboratories’ Medik8 in Europe, posted the strongest gains in 2011.

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The Little Clinic expands into Atlanta area with four new clinic openings

BY Michael Johnsen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Little Clinic on Monday announced the opening of two convenient care clinics within Kroger in the Atlanta area. Two additional clinic openings are slated for August, which would bring the total number of locations in Georgia to six.

“With the addition of four more locations in 2012, there will be a convenient location of The Little Clinic in several Atlanta-area communities,” stated Johnett Thompson, regional clinical director for The Little Clinic. “Our quality of care is further supported by our convenient and affordable services, and we see that these benefits resonate with our patients’ busy schedules.”
 
“Our goal in offering The Little Clinic in Kroger stores is to provide more convenience and fulfill the unique needs of our customers,” added Glynn Jenkins, director of communications and public relations Kroger’s Atlanta division. “Shoppers can visit The Little Clinic, fill their prescription and pick up their groceries, which is a great one-stop shopping experience.”

In related news, The Little Clinic also opened a location inside the Stapleton King Soopers store in Denver, Colo. There currently are 12 Little Clinic locations within King Soopers stores in Colorado.

The Little Clinic is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kroger.


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