Wellco debuts pain relief cream for irritated skin under the nose
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Wellco Brands’ debut product Healerz For Noses was selected for Walmart’s Get On The Shelf contest earlier this year. The product is a pain relief cream targeted to soothe the delicate skin under the nose. The formula contains lidocaine for pain relief, benzalkonium chloride antiseptic to help guard against infection and aloe for its soothing properties. Judging from the fact this represents an incremental sale to an allergy purchase, the product is likely viable, though the challenge will be in educating the consumer to induce an allergy care behavior change — wiping the nose with something other than tissue.
Summertime symptoms breathe life into sales
This year’s spring allergy season has been characterized by a late start. "The allergy season was very weak in February and March, and even the beginning of April [was] very weak," William Peters, CFO and VP finance for Hi-Tech Pharmacal, told analysts in July. "June was more consistent with the previous year," he added.
(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)
Approximately l-in-20 Americans experienced allergy symptoms for the week ended Aug. 16, according to IMS Health data. That was slightly higher than the incidence level in the prior week and contributes to an MS projected 4.1% lift for the summer, which follows a 5.2% decline in incidence in spring 2013 versus the previous year. As of Aug. 16, allergies were trending higher in the South Central and South West regions.
That summertime lift in incidence is having a positive influence on sales. For the 12 weeks ended July 14, sales of cold and allergy tablets were up 5.8%, totaling $766.8 million in sales across U.S. total multi-outlets, according to IRE data. Sales of liquid formulations were up 8.9%, reaching $132.4 million.
Chattem may breathe some additional life into the category by this time next year, if the Food and Drug Administration approves its switch of Nasacort AQ, which could open the door to a new class of allergy medicines. The FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee in late July voted in favor of making the nasal corticosteroid Nasacort AQ available without a prescription.
If Nasacort AQ is approved, Chattem will become the new allergy powerhouse. "[Chattem’s] Allegra is already neck-and-neck with Claritin," noted Laura Mahecha, industry manager at Kline Healthcare. But the nasal format is not expected to become as big as the competing allergy tablets, including Allegra, she said.
Generic drugs make global strides
While the U.S. generic drug market has grown at a rapid pace, the international market for generic manufacturing and use has grown as well.
Last month, the India Brand Equity Foundation released an overview of that country’s generics market, saying it was "now at the precipice" of its next development stage, and noting that India’s drug exports — mostly generics — had grown more than 21.5% over the last three years and accounted for more than $13 billion in annual sales, as nearly 40% of the regulatory approval applications for new generics at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration came from Indian companies last year.
Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian generics market is poised for growth. CPhI, a group sponsoring a drug industry summit in Bangkok this month, said the region’s industry was projected to grow to $3.9 billion by 2016 as a variety of factors — including stable economies, population growth and government policies — drove generics. Among these were the Indonesian government’s plans to have 90% of the population receiving health coverage within four years.