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Gender-specific products target overlooked health issues

BY Michael Johnsen

The big news in incontinence is Oxytrol, which doesn’t reach store shelves until September. It’s a switched product coming from Merck Consumer Care that brings an entirely new indication to the over-the-counter space — overactive bladder in women.

Some analysts are hesitant to suggest a new OTC category will translate into blockbuster-style sales. However, overactive bladder is a lot like smoking cessation or weight loss in the sense that women don’t necessarily discuss these symptoms with their doctors, according to the National Association for Continence.

Private-label manufacturers are already bullish on the opportunity Oxytrol represents. "When Oxytrol was approved, that was an important product opportunity," said Joe Papa, chairman, CEO and president of Perrigo. "It opens up the category of overactive bladder [to switch]," he said, and that means other overactive bladder medicines like Detrol or Ditropan may have a pathway to OTC.

Targeting men with light bladder leakage in this space, Kimberly-Clark this spring launched Depend Guards and Shields and partnered with former professional football player Tony Siragusa to help promote the product. "Historically, men with light bladder leakage have been ignored by the industry," said Elizabeth Metz, Depend brand director at Kimberly-Clark. "As a result, many men have had to use products that were designed for women or look like they were."

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Retailers offer enhanced services to help quit

BY Michael Johnsen

Even though section 1201 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — the section that enables health payers to charge a 50% premium on smokers — won’t go into effect until 2015, smoking cessation will be a growing category in 2014.

This year and next, the retail market is already primed to offer enhanced smoking cessation services to customers. As they’ll be looking to recoup the return on investment in those programs, there’ll be more messaging on quit attempts more often.

And that will spur more quit attempts. "We have 11 million smokers in our market," noted former Safeway chief executive Steven Burd regarding the introduction of the chain’s stop-smoking program in conjunction with the University of California, San Francisco. "Eight million of them would like to quit," he said. "It’s not easy, and we think that working with UCSF and doing a combination of the right smoking-cessation product with some behavioral modification is really the key."

For retail clinics, smoking cessation is one of the chronic care programs that can help increase traffic. "[We’re] piloting enhanced smoking cessation and weight-management programs, and the strong growth we’ve experienced in MinuteClinic’s non-acute services is helping us to reduce the seasonality of the business," Larry Merlo, CEO and president of CVS Caremark, told analysts earlier this year.

To help pharmacies and clinics augment their smoking-cessation solutions, the Foundation for Health Smart Consumers launched a major expansion of its smoking-cessation initiative through the Inspire Program at the annual Retail Clinician Education Congress held in May. A core component of that program is a patient counseling toolkit available to clinicians online to increase the quantity and frequency of smoking-cessation interventions in the convenient care setting.

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Young consumers seek new, different condoms

BY Michael Johnsen

There hasn’t been a lot of growth in intimacy health lately, with the exception of intimacy enhancement devices, which are up 16.5% to a relatively small $26.2 million base for the 52 weeks ended June 16, according to IRI. But there is plenty of opportunity to drive growth into the category moving forward, especially with the Millennials entering the marketplace.

"People want something new and different in the category for condoms, just like they would for laundry detergent or dish soap," observed Matthew Shiflin, general manager of Jarden and distributor of Billy Boy condoms. "Fifty-six percent of condom purchasers today are 18-year-old to 24-year-old collegiate males. These are Millennials who are charged with social media and want to be wowed. They want to identify with something that’s different than the traditional norm."

"There are consumers out there who are looking for something new," added Davin Wedel, president of Global Protection, which makes One Condoms. "And there’s the potential to bring those new, younger consumers into the category."

Church & Dwight possesses the lion’s share of the male contraceptive category — a 73.9% dollar share and a 72.7% unit share across total U.S. multi-outlets. That may seem intimidating for some manufacturers, but many of the specialty condom manufacturers breaking through to mass — in addition to Billy Boy there’s Global Protection, Kimono and Sir Richard’s Condom Co. — consider themselves category catalysts.

"What we’ve been seeing across the board is that the overall base business is down anywhere from 3% to 5%, depending on the retailer," Shiflin said. As a whole, the category is slightly down by 1.2%, according to IRI data. "The only factor that’s really been sustaining additional losses and/or growing the category is the [new-to-mass-planogram] brands."

That’s not to say larger manufacturers aren’t generating category solutions to boost sales. Market leader Church & Dwight recently expanded its brand of Trojan condoms into the personal lubricant space.

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