OTC sales up 2.4%
A 2.4% growth rate across nonprescription medicines certainly speaks volumes to the value of self-care, especially when you put that growth into a little bit of context — sales of prescription medicines only climbed 1.3% in 2008, according to IMS Health. To be sure, the prescription drug dollar volume may be some 15 times greater than that of OTC, but it certainly supports the conclusions of a February Kaiser Family Foundation survey — that 35% of consumers “relied on home remedies or over-the-counter drugs instead of going to see a doctor.”
Private-label OTC medicines were tracking 8.2% higher as compared with 2007, which speaks to the value of that self-care in a depressed economy. So not only is the out-of-work, healthcare-crunched consumer selecting lower cost nonprescription treatments over the co-pays of their doctor visits and three-tiered prescription drug plans, but they’re also reaching right past the branded option for the cheaper national brand equivalent.
So what does it mean? It means pharmacists need to be aware of this economically-driven trend so that they can a) better advise their patients as to appropriate OTC solutions, and b) help their patients identify less-costly prescriptions, generics for example, when those OTC substitutions may be less than ideal.
And it means now, more than ever, OTC manufacturers need to focus on innovative product introductions, and soon. Because as important as private label penetration is to a retailer, store brands don’t drive top line sales.
Elations distributing glucosamine and chondroitin beverage supplement
CINCINNATI Elations on Wednesday announced new distribution of its glucosamine and chondroitin beverage supplement to more than 500 club stores in March, driving shipment volume for the month up by 65%, as compared with any single month throughout 2008.
“Elations continues to deliver what customers want and we’ve been receiving positive consumer feedback and testimonials to attest,” stated Mike Burton, Elations director of marketing. “That said, when our consumer asks, we listen. This year we are relaunching the product with an improved taste. We’ve also commissioned a clinical study with data that speaks to the efficacy of the product and how quickly relief can be felt. We will be announcing the results of that clinical with the introduction of the new formula in May.”
The supplier attributed the strong growth in part to a television campaign coupled with digital media and sampling programs. The convenience messaging communicated through these mediums, pitting Elations’ once-daily liquid format vs. the hassle of taking multiple pills, is resonating with baby boomers, the company stated.
Elations is currently available in raspberry white grape and cranberry apple flavors for a suggested retail price as high as $8.49 for a six-pack.
Reducing sugar, increasing fiber intake may curb Latino teens’ risk for Type 2 diabetes
CHICAGO Reducing sugar intake by the equivalent of one can of soda per day and increasing fiber intake by the amount equivalent to one half cup of beans per day appears to improve risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes in Latino adolescents, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Almost 40% of Mexican American adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 were overweight or at risk for being overweight from 2003 to 2006, according to background information in the article.
“Latino children are more insulin resistant, and thus more likely to develop obesity-related chronic diseases than their white counterparts,” the authors wrote. “To date, only a few studies have examined the effects of a high-fiber, low-sugar diet on metabolic health in overweight youth, and to our knowledge, none have tested the effects of this type of intervention in a mixed-sex group of Latino youth.”
Emily Ventura of Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California and colleagues conducted a 16-week study to examine if reductions in added sugar intake or increases in fiber intake would affect risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes in 54 overweight Latino adolescents (average age 15.5). Participants were split into three groups: control, nutrition (receiving one nutrition class per week) or nutrition plus strength training (receiving one nutrition class per week along with strength training twice a week).
The results: 55% of participants decreased their sugar intake by an average of 47 grams per day (equal to the sugar in one can of soda) and 59% increased their fiber intake by an average of 5 grams per day (equal to the fiber in a half cup of beans) across all intervention groups, including controls. Participants who decreased their sugar intake had an average 33% decrease in insulin secretion and those who increased their fiber intake had an average 10% reduction in visceral adipose tissue volume.
“A reduction in visceral fat indicates a reduction in risk for Type 2 diabetes, considering that to a greater degree than total body fat, visceral fat [fat surrounding the internal organs] has been shown to be negatively associated with insulin sensitivity,” the authors noted. “Our results suggest that intensive interventions may not be necessary to achieve modifications in sugar and fiber intake. Accordingly, nutritional guidance given in the primary care or community setting may be sufficient to promote the suggested dietary changes in some individuals. … In addition, policies that promote reduced intake of added sugar and increased intake of fiber could be effective public health strategies for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes in this high-risk population.”