Q&A: Foundation Consumer Health moves from concept stage to shelves
Formed in 2014, Foundation Consumer Healthcare is bringing both venerable OTC products and new opportunities to market, Steve Howard, the company’s chief marketing officer, told Drug Store News. The following is an excerpt of Drug Store News’ interview with Howard heading into NACDS Total Store Expo.
Drug Store News: Foundation Consumer Healthcare has a strong product stable featuring such legacy breadwinners as St. Joseph and Bronkaid, among others. Is that the company’s MO — legacy brands?
Steve Howard: We aren’t simply focused on long-established legacy brands, as evidenced by our recent acquisition of Theravent — a groundbreaking OTC treatment for snoring. … But our legacy brands are strong brands with loyal consumer user bases that have performed well at retail over many years. We begin by profiling the consumer and then invest to reintroduce consumers to the product. For instance, for Bronkaid, the leading OTC asthma therapy, we recently launched a dual-language website [with] consumer messaging in English and Spanish to provide information and purchase incentives to consumers for this important therapy.
DSN: What is Theravent? What attracted Foundation Consumer Healthcare to snoring?
Howard: Snoring is exciting for a number of reasons. … With 50 million to 70 million frequent snorers in the U.S. adult population, this is a significant issue. … [It’s] the third-leading cause of divorce behind money and infidelity, [and] is a really prevalent issue. We have a full-blown national launch planned for this product, with significant resources devoted to broadcast media, as well as efforts targeting the critical sleep physician community. Our retail partners are enthusiastic about the launch, and we will be on shelf in roughly 30,000 doors in mid-September.
DSN: Overall, what’s the company’s secret sauce? What do you look for in brands you promote?
Howard: We bring a particular blend of expertise to the table. Our company consists of industry experts with deep, functional expertise in all of the areas that come together to make brands successful in the OTC space. … We have tremendous logistics [and] manufacturing partnerships, marketing expertise, regulatory legal knowledge and relationships with the retail community that make us a smart partner for either a small brand seeking to take their idea to the next level or a new-to-the-world concept that wants to commercialize its idea.
DSN: How do you seek to optimize your partnership with retailers?
Howard: [We have] people who understand what’s important to the retail community. Together with our partners at Advantage Consumer Healthcare, we have decades of [experience] manufacturing, marketing and solving consumer’s OTC health needs.
DSN: What’s the bottom line?
Howard: We’re in both [legacy and new-to-the-world brands]. … [But] the big splash [this year] is Theravent. Opportunities like Theravent don’t come around very often, and when you think about it in terms of 50 million to 70 million snorers, and our significant efforts to point out that the answer is truly right under their nose, it spells success both for the retailers and for us.
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.