OTC product sales increased 2.4% in 2008, new research reveals
LITTLE FALLS, N.J. Manufacturers’ sales of over-the-counter drugs grew by 2.4% to $18.3 billion in 2008, according to the latest research in Nonprescription Drugs USA 2008: Market Analysis and Opportunities from worldwide consulting and research firm Kline & Company, released Tuesday.
Private-label OTC medicines were up 8.2% over the same time period, within which antacids and allergy medicines posted the highest growth last year, driven primarily by increases in sales of private-label omeprazole (Procter & Gamble’s Prilosec OTC) and cetirizine (Johnson & Johnson’s Zyrtec).
Allergy, asthma, and sinus medications were up 17.3% as a result of strong sales from Johnson & Johnson’s Zyrtec brand switch from Rx-to-OTC, as well as its equivalent private-label cetirizine; feminine products was another area that grew 7.3% in 2008 as a result of strong sales growth of personal lubricants, as well as the Rx-to-OTC switch brand Plan B by Barr Laboratories.
“By contrasting the overall growth rates for OTCs with the growth rates for private-label products we can easily make the case that more Americans were seeking value and using private-label in 2008,” stated Laura Mahecha, industry manager at Kline’s Healthcare practice.
Not all categories suffer from higher private-label growth, however, as some are able to maintain growth for branded products.
“During tough economic times, consumers are willing to spend more for some brands they are loyal to and that offer good efficacy,” Mahechas said.
If consumers view brands as being a commodity or not offering special advantages, conversely, they may be able to make the trade-off to private-label.
“As the recession continues into 2009, we expect to see increased ‘value messages’ as part of branded advertising to combat the impacts of private-label erosion. Branded OTCs may use advertising messages to stress the brand’s value, efficacy, safety, and possibly longer-lasting doses, which translates into fewer doses and therefore, costs less,” Mahecha said.
According to preliminary research for Kline’s upcoming report Impact of Recessions on the U.S. OTC Market, past declines during recessions have not been particularly steep for the industry. OTC sales declined two years in a row — from 1999 to 2000 — with overall manufacturers’ sales dropping 0.6%, and then it declined again from 2000 to 2001 by 0.5%.
Study finds specific probiotic strain safe for human consumption
CLEVELAND The results of a safety study to be published in the May issue of Food and Chemical Toxicology demonstrated that the probiotic strain bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 is safe for human consumption, even in massive amounts.
Many experts recognize the health benefits of probiotics, but some have stressed that probiotic strains must first demonstrate safety before recommendations can be made about their widespread use.
“Some probiotics manufacturers want things both ways, suggesting, for example, that clinical studies done on their particular strains apply only to their probiotics, but then staking claim to safety studies conducted on different strains,” stated Andrew Lefkowitz, president and CEO of Ganeden Biotech, which sponsored the study. “It is our belief that both the benefits and the safety of probiotics are specific to individual strains and should be demonstrated by studies.”
Probiotics, also referred to as friendly bacteria, are becoming increasingly popular with consumers for several health benefits. However, safety studies do not exist for many strains of probiotics. Most food manufacturers require some evidence of safety for any ingredient they put into their products, but few probiotic manufacturers are able to cite safety testing on their particular probiotic strains and instead refer to the safe history of use of probiotic strains in general.
“While Bacillus coagulans has always intrigued me as a probiotic strain due to its ability to survive commercial conditions and gastric acidity, I didn’t know much about its safety and efficacy because there was little published data to review,” stated Gary Huffnagle, author of The Probiotics Revolution. “Now that the studies are being published, it will be much easier to recommend it to consumers and to food manufacturers looking to enhance their foods with probiotics.”
Study reveals babies born to smokers have increased risk of SIDS
VICTORIA, Australia Monash University researchers have found that babies born to a mother who smokes are more likely to be slower to wake or respond to stimulation – and this may explain their increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, researchers reported last week.
Scientific director of the Ritchie Centre for Baby Health Research Rosemary Horne and researcher Heidi Richardson compared babies of mothers who smoked both during the pregnancy and after the baby was born, with babies who lived in a smoke-free environment.
Horne said the study suggested that maternal smoking can impair a baby’s ability to respond to external stimuli, which may explain their increased risk of SIDS.
“Those babies whose mothers smoked did not have as many arousals overall and the progression of the arousal response through the brain was also impaired,” Horne said. “Mothers who smoked while pregnant and continued to smoke afterward significantly increased their baby’s chances of succumbing to SIDS.”
The study involved 12 healthy, full-term infants born to mothers who smoked an average of 15 cigarettes per day. Their arousal responses during daytime sleep were monitored and compared with that of healthy infants who were born to non-smoking mothers.