Segment sales spike for summer
The same weather factors that are boosting allergy sales as the allergy season is extended may be having a substantial impact on the sales of anti-itch ointments, up 10% to $528.2 million across U.S. multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended April 20, according to IRI, and insect bite treatments, which totaled $13.6 million and were up 19.4% over the same period.
(For the complete category review, including data, click here.)
“We’ve found that poison ivy is greatly affected by weather patterns. Over the last couple of years, spring has been late, cold and wet,” said Lisa Leverich, director marketing at Tec Laboratories. “A wet spring makes for a later, [more lush] poison ivy season. However, July is usually the peak month for poison ivy.”
Rising temperatures and an increase in rainfall throughout much of the country also help boost mosquito and tick populations, according to the National Pest Management Association.
Another factor driving anti-itch is the CrossFit trend, Leverich added. “With the CrossFit trend exploding across the country, people are getting down and dirty in the elements. Warrior and mudder competitions also are hot beds for brushing up against poison ivy.”
Weather has less of an impact on other first-aid categories, such as accessories and bandages, though summertime does see a sales spike in these categories as more and more people venture into the outdoors. And though sales of actual first-aid kits were down 4.6% to $47.2 million across U.S. multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended April 20, such first-aid kit marketers as Johnson & Johnson have identified an opportunity to build incremental sales through its concept “Build Your Own First Aid Kit,” whereby consumers fill a first-aid kit with J&J branded first-aid merchandise. The concept first was introduced through Target in 2009, but it has expanded to other retailers after successfully increasing the first-aid market basket size.
Lubricants, Plan B boost sales
Overall, the intimacy health category generated more than $870 million in sales, trending up in the low single-digits. Sales of condoms, the largest piece of the business, totaled $380.7 million across total U.S. multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended April 20, and was down slightly by 1.8%. The growth is coming out of the personal lubricant ($213.4 million, up 2.9%) and emergency contraceptive ($253.2 million, up 12.3%) sectors.
(For the complete category review, including data, click here.)
Church & Dwight last year introduced the Trojan brand name to the personal lubricant space with Crazy Sexy Feel. Overall, C&D lubricants generated $18.5 million in sales, ranking the relative newcomer the third-largest personal lubricant brand manufacturer with a dollar share of 8.7%. And though overall sales of Johnson & Johnson lubricants were down 26.4% to $82 million, that lubricant franchise is about to get a fresh makeover as Reckitt Benckiser incorporates its newly bought KY brand into its Durex portfolio.
Niche marketer Lil’ Drug Store Products has carved out profitability in the personal lubricant space by targeting couples trying to conceive. Sales of its PreSeed lubricant were up 26.8% to $3.6 million. And the company is currently launching Replens Silky Smooth — targeting baby boomer women — to meet a demand for post-menopausal intimacy. “Research showed that 78% of Replens Moisturizer users also were using a lubricant, but many water-based lubricants tend to dry out and need to be reapplied during intimacy,” said Doug Marquardt, director of marketing for Replens. “To better enhance intimacy, Replens Silky Smooth was developed to last longer than most leading lubricants. Since Replens Silky Smooth is a premium silicone lubricant, it only needs to be applied once.”
Within the emergency contraceptive sector, the Food and Drug Administration recently ruled that generic equivalents to Teva Pharmaceutical’s Plan B emergency contraceptive can be sold alongside Plan B without any behind-the-counter merchandising restrictions or a requirement to verify the age of the purchaser. In the past year, Gavis Pharmaceuticals launched its My Way emergency contraceptive, and has thus far generated $8.1 million in sales. That has yet to make a dent into Plan B, however. Overall Plan B sales totaled $138 million, up 44.5%.
Prescribers weigh-in on proposed label rule
A survey co-released by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and the National Coalition on Healthcare reveals that 8-in-10 healthcare providers have serious concerns about a proposed Food and Drug Administration rule on generic drug labeling.
A random phone survey of 150 physicians, 150 physician assistants and 150 pharmacists conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson Universi-ty’s PublicMind on behalf of GPhA found strong reservations about many of the rule’s key provisions among all three groups.
The study comes as the FDA considers more than 100 responses to its controversial proposed rule, “Supplemental Applications Proposing Labeling Changes for Approved Drugs and Biological Products,” which would dramatically alter the current regulations to allow generic medicine manufacturers to change their safety labels without prior FDA review and without immediate access to the drug’s complete safety data
“Doctors, physician assistants and pharmacists are on the frontlines of health care in America, and large majorities said that provisions of the proposed rule would create confusion, take up essential time and impact their likelihood to prescribe generic drugs,” said Ralph Neas, president and CEO of the GPhA. “Most importantly, 81% of those surveyed believe FDA approval should be required prior to generic drug safety label changes.”
“The proposed rule raises significant concerns for practicing pharmacists, particularly in regard to patient confusion and effective risk counseling,” added Thomas Menighan, EVP and CEO of the American Pharmacists Association. “Pharmacists devote a great deal of time to counseling patients on appropriate medication use, and as the survey indicates, 67% of pharmacists asked are concerned that they will not have sufficient time to effectively address issues created by this proposed regulation.”
Other key findings of the study include:
- 79% of physicians, pharmacists and physician assistants say they have heard “nothing” about the proposed rule;
- 76% of prescribers and dispensers say their patients would be at least “somewhat confused” by the proposed changes, which would allow multiple safety labels for the same drug; 53% said it would be “very’ confusing even for themselves;
- 71% anticipate the new rule would increase the amount of time they need to spend with patients reviewing patient history and the new labels;
- 68% believe they would not have the time required to keep current with the labeling changes; and
- 77% are at least “somewhat concerned” the proposed new rule could impact legal liabilities; even more pronounced among pharmacists (85%).