HEALTH

Report predicts $84 billion OTC market by 2012

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Kalorama Information on Wednesday released a new report projecting that the over-the-counter market will exceed $84 billion worldwide by 2012 thanks to longer life expectancies, a greater increase in self-medicating, improved availability of OTCs thanks to recent switches and easier access to those OTC medicines.

According to the report, OTC medicines generated $68.4 billion worldwide in 2007, having grown 3.9 percent on a compound annual growth rate since 2005 and projected 4.3 percent CAGR through 2012.

“Consumers are taking an increasingly active role in self-medication, due to rising healthcare costs, a large uninsured population and ever more choices in OTC products,” Kalorama stated in a press release. “Purchasing OTC drugs is also more convenient and money is saved avoiding doctor’s visits. In fact, recent studies have uncovered that up to 40 percent of consumers do not fill a doctor’s prescription, rather substituting with an OTC alternative.”

OTC drug sales account for between 8 percent and 30 percent of total pharmaceutical sales in the majority of world regions. In developed regions, such as the U.S. and the U.K, they accounted for 7.7 percent and 15.8 percent respectively in 2007. Higher percentages of OTC sales are often found in regions that are less developed, such as India or China. 

“The state of the economy, lifestyle, culture, the time it takes to see a doctor and the condition of medical care all contribute to people seeking to self-medicate,” noted Kalorama analyst Melissa Elder. “While it’s not the optimal method of treatment, and could lead to complications and undiagnosed conditions, it is nonetheless an important factor driving sales, especially in emerging countries like China.”

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GSK applauds updated PHS guidlines for quitting smoking

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare on Wednesday released a statement commending the updated 2008 U.S. Public Health Service Guideline on Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence.

“Too many smokers lower their chances of quitting by relying on cold turkey approaches to become tobacco-free,” GSK stated. “The Guideline is an important validation of the need for clinicians to recommend the use of effective tobacco dependence counseling and medication [and] reflects considerable progress in tobacco cessation research over the past decade to help identify the most effective strategies at reducing tobacco dependence.”

The updated guideline reflects the distillation of thousands of research articles, and continues to recommend nicotine replacement products as a first-line therapy for quitting, as they “increase significantly rates of long-term smoking abstinence.”

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Study suggests link between vitamin D deficiency and depression

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO According to a study published in the May edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry, depression has been linked to a vitamin D deficiency in older adults.

The Netherlands study examined 1,282 community residents between the ages of 65 years and 95 years.

Levels of vitamin D were 14 percent lower in 169 persons with minor depression, as well as in 26 persons with major depressive order.

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