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TABS study: Demand for fish oil and vitamin D flattening; vitamin B still strong

BY Michael Johnsen

SHELTON, Conn. — TABS Group on Thursday reported a small increase of 2% to $12.2 billion in vitamin sales for the 52 weeks ended in April, according to the "TABS Group Annual Vitamin Study," now in its fifth year.

This growth came despite the percentage of U.S. vitamin users in 2012 decreasing from 71% to 66%, according to the report, which cited trade-ups, price inflation and the increased usage emanating from current buyers purchasing more vitamins as drivers behind the growth.

While multivitamins remain most popular, with 75% of category buyers purchasing, others include fish oil (43%), calcium (33%), vitamins C and D (both at 32%) and vitamin B (23%).

However, buyer growth in fish oil and vitamin D, two high-growth areas in the past five years, has stopped according to the TABS report. Only vitamin B saw meaningful gains in the 52 weeks ended in April — 23% as compared with 20% in the year-ago period. “Except for vitamin B, there were no areas of growth in attracting additional buyers, which has implications for manufacturers and retailers over the next 18 to 24 months," noted Kurt Jetta, TABS Group CEO. "We project the category remains relatively flat, with growth coming from trading up existing customers."

The survey also revealed a shift from specialty retailers toward mainstream. Target, Walgreens, CVS and online sales were all big winners, with Walmart apparently stabilizing share, while catalog and nutritional specialty retailers lost share.

“Longer term, we are bullish on the category and view this as a short-term blip created primarily from unfavorable press," Jetta said. "Macro consumer trends — aging population, migration toward self-care, higher healthcare costs — point to solid gains over the next 10 years."

The TABS Group Annual Vitamin Study was conducted among 1,000 representative respondents ages 18 to 75 years.

 


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Novo Nordisk, JDRF team on Type 1 diabetes drug development

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Novo Nordisk and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on Wednesday announced the creation of a joint research and development team to discover and develop novel immunotherapies to prevent, treat and help cure Type 1 diabetes.

"JDRF is deeply committed to developing immunotherapies, and especially auto antigen-specific immunotherapies, for the prevention and cure of Type 1 diabetes," stated Richard Insel, JDRF’s chief scientific officer. "This collaboration with Novo Nordisk affords an exciting opportunity to accelerate the time frame when these therapies may prove to make an impact in Type 1 diabetes."

The collaboration with Novo Nordisk will be run out of the company’s newly opened Type 1 Diabetes Research and Development Center in Seattle. The center’s goal is to use translational research methods to rapidly move early-stage discovery projects in immunotherapy from animal models into small clinical exploratory trials.

"It is not a coincidence that we are opening our new Type 1 Diabetes Research and Development Center in Seattle at that same time that we announce a scientific partnership between our company and JDRF," stated Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, EVP and chief science officer for Novo Nordisk. "Our new R&D center is founded on the principle of reaching out to academia, biotechnology companies and other key players in the international immunotherapy research community in order to join forces to develop the next treatment advance in the management of Type 1 diabetes."

The collaboration will focus on research originating from academia and biotechnology companies, as well as from internal research projects at Novo Nordisk.

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Stiefel acquires eczema remedy currently in phase-3 trials in the U.S.

BY Michael Johnsen

LONDON — Stiefel, a GlaxoSmithKline company, on Monday acquired the eczema remedy Toctino (alitretinoin) from Basilea Pharmaceutica.

“Toctino is an important and growing product that complements the Stiefel portfolio and offers a proven therapy for patients with a significant unmet medical need," stated Simon Jose, Stiefel president. "This acquisition gives us an immediate opportunity to develop and expand the availability of this new and innovative product of value, and reinforces Stiefel and GSK’s commitment to dermatology.”

Toctino is a once-daily oral retinoid and the only prescription medicine specifically approved for the treatment of severe chronic hand eczema unresponsive to potent topical steroids in adults. It is commercially available in 14 countries, approved in an additional 15 countries, and is in a phase-3 trial in the United States. In 2011, worldwide sales of Toctino were $34.2 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Stiefel will acquire all Toctino patent rights, trademarks and product registrations owned by Basilea, and will license certain clinical information and product know-how from Basilea. Stiefel will be responsible for the product’s further development, manufacture and commercialization worldwide.

Basilea will receive an initial payment of $226.8 million in cash from Stiefel, and is eligible to receive further payments of up to $77.7 million upon FDA approval of the product in the United States, and double-digit success payments on U.S. net sales beginning three years after launch of the product in the United States.

The transaction is subject to competition approval in Germany.

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