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Switch, new launches to bring resurgence

BY Michael Johnsen

What a difference a year will make. While sales of antacid tablets were down 1.3% to $2 billion for the 52 weeks ended July 14 across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI, the entire category ought to have made a significant resurgence by this time next year.

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

The Rx-to-OTC switch of the last big-name proton-pump inhibitor in the pharmaceutical space is currently under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration. Should AstraZeneca’s Nexium be approved as an over-the-counter remedy, a $6 billion book of prescription business in the United States could make the switch, according to IMS Health data compiled over 2012. That shift from prescription-only to OTC doesn’t translate dollar-for-dollar, but it does spell plenty of opportunity for all OTC antacids in May 2014 — which is when Nexium patents expire and presumably is Pfizer’s target launch date for the switch.

GlaxoSmithKline’s Tums continues to sell well as the value proposition. At less than $4 per unit, Tums is by far the least expensive top-10 antacid on the market. But Bayer Consumer will ramp up the competition with its recently launched Alka Seltzer Fruit Chews, and Chattem is planning a relaunch of the venerable Rolaids brand later this year.

Another hot category is probiotics, with the leading brands all up by double-digits for the 52 weeks ended July 14: Phillips Colon Health ($58.7 million, up 19.9%), Culturelle ($20.1 million, up 33.7%), Sustenex ($9.4 million, up 16.6%) and Align ($6.9 million, up 117.8%).

According to a survey conducted by Dannon each year, 68% of Americans are aware that probiotics play a key role in maintaining digestive health. A separate study published Aug. 19 in Pediatrics found that the babies of pregnant women who supplement with probiotics were less likely to have allergies.

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Pfizer brings fast-dissolving Advil tablets to the U.S.

BY Michael Johnsen

MADISON, N.J. — Pfizer Consumer recently launched its Advil Film Coated tablets, and the first-to-market formulation marks the debut of Advil Ion Core Technology in the United States. This fast-dissolving technology along with a unique, specially formulated ultra-thin coating, is engineered for speed, going to work in minutes.

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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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