ZzzQuil awakens a sleeping giant
The sale of sleeping remedies continues to be a caffeinated business, especially across the liquids segment. The category as a whole grew by 5.9% for the 52 weeks ended April 19 with total sales of $439.6 million across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. The liquid segment, which reached $122.8 million on 14.4% growth, continues to be led by Procter & Gamble’s ZzzQuil brand, which commanded a 62.4% dollar share of the category.
The slightly larger tablet sleep aid market also continues to perform well, with $316.8 million in sales on 2.9% growth. Private-label offerings dominate the tablet end of the business, though P&G’s ZzzQuil brand possesses a 13.1% dollar share here, followed by Chattem’s Unisom SleepGels with a 9.6% dollar share.
Last year, ZzzQuil was identified as the 2013 top-selling launch in non-food health and beauty for the year by IRI’s 2013 New Product Pacesetters report, and that innovation continued to produce dividends through 2014. “Innovation in general is very, very key,” Bob Sanders, EVP of IRI told Drug Store News. “If you look at past performances, innovation drove, or was a major contributor to, the nutritional growth we had realized over the past three years, [for example],” he said. “ZzzQuil was a great example of taking the cookbook and developing a product to [address] an unmet consumer need, while at the same time leveraging your [brand] equity in [NyQuil].”
P&G is likewise leveraging its brand equity in allergy with the launch of QlearQuil. “ZzzQuil and QlearQuil are great examples of how we can offer new benefits to consumers from a brand they already trust,” said David Taylor, P&G group president, global health and grooming.
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Pharmacies harness big data to track, boost patient outcomes
Predicting the future of any industry or profession is always a tricky business, since no crystal ball can account for unexpected breakthroughs in research and development, detours on the road to progress or shifts in population movement or consumer demand. But for the healthcare industry in general and retail pharmacy in particular, at least one prediction is near certain: Information technology will play an increasingly critical role in how all health providers administer care, collaborate with one another in a team-based approach to care, and engage with patients themselves.
It’s big data in action. Spurred by urgent cost-saving mandates and the revolution in evidence-based medicine and patient empowerment, information technology has become the lynchpin of health reform.
The generation, sharing and management of ever-more-specific patient data have emerged as central concerns for the entire spectrum of healthcare providers and payers. And community pharmacy, an early adopter of automation with a long history already in the capture and use of information technology, finds itself at the hub of the data management quest.
That capability gives pharmacy a seat at the table among the stakeholders that will determine healthcare’s future.
“The combination of patient accessibility, big data and predictive analytics uniquely positions community pharmacies and their pharmacists to be key players for providing affordable, effective health care to patients,” noted Frank Sheppard, president and CEO of healthcare technology company Ateb. “Ateb’s work with our partner pharmacies to implement automated appointment-based model solutions have demonstrated remarkable and measured improvements in Medicare star measures, transitional care readmissions, immunization rates … and a host of [Health Effectiveness Data and Information Set] scores.”
“By using the sources of data available, pharmacies can take action to drive healthier outcomes in a very affordable manner,” Sheppard added.
The data generated by pharmacy dispensing and information software is a powerful tool when used in collaboration with an integrated and patient-focused system of care, added Mike Coughlin, president, CEO and CFO of pharmacy automation provider ScriptPro.
“Patient health outcomes and treatment costs depend heavily on access to needed medications and proper medication use,” Coughlin told DSN. However, he said, “Outcomes also depend on making sure all relevant healthcare providers know what the medication use history is for a patient.
“Information technologies are at the heart of these functions,” Coughlin said. “And coordination of information flows — across the spectrum of settings where there is provider/patient/ medication interaction — should be an objective of technology providers working in this space.”
Technology’s role in quest for provider status
What’s more, the leveraging and integration of patient data and prescription records to create a fully realized, team-based care and disease-prevention plan for patients goes to the heart of the pharmacy profession’s long battle to achieve full-provider status. “Pharmacy automation, both centralized and retail based, will be the empowerment tool to redeploy the pharmacist to patient-facing activities,” asserted Dr. Phil Samples, VP government and professional services for Innovation.
“The question that pharmacies need to ask is, how are they going to accomplish this?” Samples added. “Without this critical resource, pharmacies will either have to add labor or simply not have an impact on the new emerging roles that the healthcare system has planned for pharmacists.”
For pharmacists to perform those “patient-facing” clinical and preventive-health roles, they’ll also rely heavily on pharmacy automation to assume a larger share of the traditional dispensing duties that have kept them from engaging more often with patients and practicing “at the top of their license.”
For their part, health plans and insurers also are fully engaged in the quest to make full use of the data generated by every encounter between patients and their doctors and pharmacists. The goal: improving patient outcomes and, more essentially, preventing or delaying the onset of disease in the first place. “We’ve put a lot of resources into prevention and early detection and ongoing maintenance,” said Bernard Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. “We have invested billions in technology.”
“Does the electronic medical record really make a difference? Absolutely it does, if done correctly and managed correctly,” Tyson said. “We have almost 10 million people on the electronic medical record. And what we’ve done with the quality of care that’s based on the evidence of the outcomes of one treatment vs. another … shows quality going up … and variations in treatment modalities going down.”
Whatever uses any retailer makes of the flood of information generated by their pharmacy software, “organizations will need to ingest huge amounts of data quickly, reason over it and act on it in real time,” observed Joe Tucci, chairman and CEO of IT solutions provider EMC, at a gathering of information technology executives last year.
Allergy brand promotion high in pollen season
In the past 12 months ended April 19, Zyrtec (McNeil Consumer Healthcare) continues to dominate the allergy category with total retail sales of $332 million. During the same time, Claritin, Allegra and Nasacort also displayed high retail sales (see Figure 1). Among the five top brands, the average list and retail price is $13.40 and $18.45, respectively. Zyrtec has the highest average retail price of $20.03, while Claritin has the lowest average retail price of $16.79 among the five brands evaluated.
(To view the full Promo Watch report, click here.)
Nasacort has aggressively promoted since its introduction in February 2014. The average percent of units sold on promotion for Nasacort was 44% for the year, but did reach as high as 68% in April 2015. In comparison, Claritin only sold 31% on promotion during the past 12 months.
Last year, the allergy category saw an average margin increase of 4 percentage points above YAG, now at 28%. The top five brands with the highest average margin percentage were Allegra D (38%), Claritin D (35%), Zyrtec D (32%) and Zyrtec (30%) (see Figure 2).
Allergy brand sales are highly affected by spring season pollen with increased sales and promotions during the months of March and April. CPR data reveals that Chattem’s Nasacort had the highest trade spending (18%) in terms of average off-invoice and bill back allowances, while other brands were lower — Allegra (13%), Flonase (10%), Zyrtec (5%) and private label (10%).
In terms of featured activity for the allergy category, ECRM’s ad count data indicates that private label far surpassed any national brand in terms of the number of featured ads. In the last three months, private label had more than 727 circular ads while Claritin had 464, Allegra 345 and Benadryl 324 (see Figure 3).
Lastly, ECRM data indicated that price reductions are the most common type of promotion among top allergy brands. Percent of price-only promotions were:
- Nasacort: 87%;
- Flonase : 81%;
- Allegra: 83%; and
- Zyrtec: 76%.
On the other hand, Claritin had just 75% in price-only promotions.
This analysis was gathered using CPR and IRI data in terms of growth in retail sales, year-over-year margin growth and promotional spending.
CPR is a leading provider of competitive market intelligence and insights in the health, beauty and wellness industry. Learn more by visiting competitivepromotion.com.
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