HEALTH

Greater number of allergy sufferers turn to OTC solutions, CHPA, Nielsen study finds

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — New research from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and Nielsen released Thursday indicated that more Americans are suffering from seasonal allergies and are choosing nonprescription treatments over prescription medications.

“Less than 20 years ago nearly all allergy treatment options were prescription, but now the script is flipped and most of the options are OTC,” stated Scott Melville, president and CEO of CHPA. “Access and affordability has increased significantly now that more allergy medicines have switched from prescription to OTC.”

“Chronic diseases like allergies can be a burden on health, finances and time,” added Andrew Mandzy, director of the Health & Wellness Growth & Strategy team at Nielsen. “Now people have more options than ever for self-care, like leveraging online sources to find health-related information or by using OTC medicines as a first line of defense.”

According to the research, approximately 28% of Americans in 2015 reported that they suffer from seasonal allergies, with the majority of allergy sufferers (60%) saying they choose OTC medicines alone as their preferred treatment method. This represents a 20% increase from 2009.

The study also showed 75% of allergy sufferers purchased an OTC medication either on its own or in addition to a prescription treatment in 2015, compared to just 66% in 2009, suggesting that consumers have adjusted their behavior as more OTC options have become available over the past several years.

Although a custom survey in the report also showed that fewer allergy sufferers are going to healthcare providers for treatment, survey respondents did say that HCPs remain an important resource in managing their allergies. In 2015, 28% of allergy sufferers went to see an HCP for treatment (compared to 31% in 2009), and 44% of them stated that the HCP influenced their choice of OTC allergy medicines.

“It’s gratifying to know that patients still look at healthcare providers as an important part of their allergy management,” commented Cary Sennett, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “Even though most allergy medicines are conveniently available over-the-counter today, doctors still play a vital role in allergy diagnosis and management, especially for those who have a more severe form of the disease and for those who also have allergic asthma.”

These findings are part of a multi-year study on patient behavior, preferences, treatment dynamics, and costs, which are published in the new report, “Assessing Consumer Benefits of Allergy Rx-to-OTC Switches.”

 

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HEALTH

Flu season still ‘Texas big’ in Lone Star State

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The Lone Star State remains the chief hold out with regard to extending a flu season that's been winding down. According to the latest Walgreens Flu Index, four of the top 10 markets still experiencing high levels of flu activity are in Texas, including three of the top five markets.

For the week of March 12, the top 10 markets for flu activity were:

  1. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.);
  2. Tyler-Longview (Lufkin & Nacogdoches), Texas;
  3. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, N.C.;
  4. Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas;
  5. Shreveport, La.;
  6. Knoxville, Tenn.;
  7. Tri-Cities, Tenn.-Va.;
  8. Corpus Christi, Texas;
  9. Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), N.C.; and
  10. Oklahoma City.

The Walgreens Flu Index is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranking of those experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country. The Flu Index shows which populations are experiencing the most incidences of influenza each week based on Index methodology. The data does not measure actual levels or severity of flu activity.

The Walgreens Flu Index is compiled using weekly retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens locations nationwide. The data is analyzed at state and geographic market levels to measure absolute impact and incremental change of antiviral medications on a per store average basis, and does not include markets in which Walgreens has fewer than 10 retail locations.

 

 

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Latest Clif Bar YouTube video embodies lifestyle marketing

BY Michael Johnsen

EMERYVILLE, Calif. — It's not a brand; it's an adventure. Clif Bar on Monday released a video that helps capture the "je ne sais quoi" spirit that has driven brand sales to the top of sports nutrition charts across mass outlets.

Clif Bar has been and remains the leading vendor of nutritional and intrinsic health value bars as sold in U.S. multi-outlets.  The company commands a 24.8% dollar share of that category with $590.5 million in sales on 11.5% growth for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 25, according to IRI data.

The  video (embedded above), however, does not promote bars. It promotes a lifestyle.

The idea began in San Francisco with a small group of friends who were tired of running races and hungry for a new flavor of adventure, Clif Bar noted.

"We found 13 people who thought it'd be a great idea to live in a van for three days while running around the circumference of Hawaii's big island," the narrator states. "We're here searching, but not in the grand sense of hoping to uncover a gold mine. We're searching because we're curious about [what's] around the next bend [and] to see how we feel running at 2 in the morning."

 

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