HEALTH

Benzocaine warning helps Hyland’s sales

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Last year the Food and Drug Administration warned parents against using the ingredient benzocaine in children to relieve oral pain. Children under the age of 2 years who are teething and given benzocaine should be under the supervision of a doctor, the agency warned.

"Benzocaine is a local anesthetic and can be found in such over-the-counter products as Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase," the agency stated. "But the use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare but serious — and sometimes fatal — condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced."

Yet the category is still up slightly by 1.5% to $187.1 million across U.S. multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 30, according to SymphonyIRI Group.

Hyland’s is certainly a direct benefactor of that news with sales up 96.9% to $12.2 million. A homeopathic remedy, Hyland’s has a strong following of mommy-bloggers who collectively swear by Hyland’s teething tablets and more recent teething gel. "We’re building off of the success that we’ve had over many years with Hyland’s teething tablets, colic tablets and other items specifically formulated for babies," Hyland’s president Dale Nepsa told DSN.

Church & Dwight has responded to the FDA warning with the launch of benzocaine-free Baby Orajel Naturals, a homeopathic remedy.

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Analgesics Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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Branded pain relief tablets battle for sales

BY Michael Johnsen

With private label across analgesics up an estimated 11.3% to $1.7 billion, retailers are going to need to make some tough decisions as two internal analgesic powerhouses — McNeil’s Tylenol and Novartis’ Excedrin — make their way back onto market after respective recalls. Within internal analgesic tablets, sales of store brand equivalents were up 15% off of a 2011 base of around $1.2 billion. The branded competition also were benefactors — both Pfizer’s Advil and Bayer’s Aleve generated more than $50 million in incremental sales on top of 2011 sales.

The battle for pain relief is expected to heat up this year as both Tylenol and Excedrin return to market backed by some pretty significant marketing heft. However, don’t expect other manufacturers to give up their newly captured market share without a fight. For example, when Novartis brought back Excedrin Migraine in the fall, Bayer launched with its own Bayer Migraine product.

The category as a whole should grow again in the low-single digits based on how products returning to market have performed in liquid analgesics in the past year. According to SymphonyIRI Group’s U.S. multi-outlet sales data, sales of liquid analgesics were up slightly by 1.8% to $369.4 million for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 30. It may be a harbinger of what’s to come across tablets because Children’s Tylenol and Children’s Motrin were among the first SKUs brought back to shelf by McNeil.

McNeil’s OTC comeback is being directed by Sandy Peterson, according to Johnson & Johnson chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky.

Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets is performing well within children’s teething and oral analgesic sets. A homeopathic remedy, Hyland’s received a sales boost out of a recent Food and Drug Administration consumer warning on the dangers associated with children and benzocaine, the main ingredient in Church & Dwight’s Orajel. Since the FDA publicized that warning, C&D has responded with the launch of benzocaine-free Baby Orajel Naturals, which like Hyland’s is a homeopathic remedy.

And Hisamitsu America’s Salonpas has been experiencing significant growth in the past year with sales of $35.7 million, up 48.9%. Hisamitsu last year expanded the Salonpas brand beyond patches with the launch of Salonpas Pain Relieving Massage Foam and Salonpas Pain Relieving Jet Spray.

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Analgesics Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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Turning to OTCs as first line of therapy only makes cents

BY Michael Johnsen

Just about every healthcare practitioner recommends over-the-counter medicines to their patients. And nearly 3-out-of-4 make that OTC recommendation as the first therapy option, according to a recent survey released by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. 

This is another proof point that OTC medicines play an important role in holding down cost. 

That doctor recommendation only reinforces what comes naturally to most Americans. Because use of over-the-counter medicines is prevalent among Americans, according to a recent Edelman in Health survey. And for many, it’s the first line of treatment. Overall, nearly 85% of Americans use OTCs.

As many as 69% of Americans reported that convenience was the primary driver behind their OTC purchase. But more than half (57%) noted that OTCs were less expensive than prescription medicines.

“In addition to the affordable cost and convenience of OTC medicines, consumers also value OTC medicines because they help them avoid sick days at work,” the report read. “Specifically, one-third of Americans surveyed said they have avoided taking a sick day from work in the past year because they used an OTC medication, while 88% said responsible use of OTC medications helps lower health care costs for people like me.’”

For a comprehensive look at what’s happening in the OTC space, including a story on the Edelman in Health survey, check out DSN‘s The Business of OTC report in the March 11 issue. 

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