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Greater stress, more GI problems, O-T-Cs proliferate.

NEW YORK -- Digestive health is gaining importance as a result of increasingly unhealthy fast food diets, more stressful lifestyles, growing senior populations and greater awareness of digestive conditions. Indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux remedies as well as antidiarrheal solutions make digestive health one of the most dynamic categories at retail.

Katie McNichol, principal in client insights at IRI, reports that the digestive health category overall was flat in 2018. "We saw declines in digestive probiotics were offset by heartburn and antidiarrheal segments. Private label PPIs are driving growth in heartburn, along with Pepto Bismol in antacids, and TUMS. Pepto's growth is being driven in part by a significant price increase; unit growth is much more moderate."

She says that Imodium posted double-digit dollar and unit growth, and Miralax rounded out one of the key drivers of branded growth in digestive health, laxatives.

Last year, GSK Consumer Healthcare celebrated the launch of TUMS Chewy Bites with Gas Relief, touted as the first TUMS product created to help fight both heartburn and gas by taking over everyone's favorite season--summertime. "This past summer, summertime became 'TummerTime' to help spread the word about the importance of treating heartburn and gas. In cities across the country such as New York, Chicago and Atlanta, food lovers could get on-demand delivery of TUMS Chewy Bites with Gas Relief just by tweeting," says Amy Sharon, senior brand manager for TUMS.

She points out that heartburn is quite common--up to 20% of Americans suffer from heartburn on a weekly basis. In fact, she adds that Millennials have the highest rate of heartburn and gas compared to the general population.

"Millennials are all about their food, especially in the summer. Yet the foods they love don't always love them back, causing heartburn and gas. As America's No. 1 antacid providing fast relief, we were incredibly excited with TUMS Chewy Bites with Gas Relief and continue to spread the word about heartburn and gas relief and on-demand delivery."

TUMS Chewy Bites with Gas Relief are available in 28-count bottles in Lemon and Strawberry flavor at retailers nationwide.

When it comes to heartburn, Nexium 24HR is the No. 1 choice of doctors and pharmacists. Nexium 24HR is an O-T-C medication indicated for the treatment of frequent heart-bum (two or more days a week) in adults (18 years old and older). The active ingredient in Nexium 24HR is esomeprazole.

In clinical trials, Nexium 24HR has been shown to treat frequent heartburn for up to 24 hours when taken once each morning before eating for 14 consecutive days.

The formulations of the 20 mg O-T-C capsules (Nexium 24HR) and the prescription 20 mg capsules (Nexium) contain the same active ingredient, esomeprazole, although there are differences in indications and directions for use.

For fast relief of heartburn associated with sleeplessness, Bayer offers Alka-Seltzer PM Gummies. The product is said to be the only heartburn relief offering that includes melatonin so users can fall asleep quickly. The mixed fruit-flavored gummies are soft and easy to chew.

Another important factor in the digestive category is the rise of products containing more natural ingredients. This trend is reflected in planned 2019 launches from Avrio Health. Heidi Block, head of U.S. marketing for Avrio Health, notes the launches are "about the all-important rise in natural ingredients that support digestion. "

Kiwifruit and ginger root naturally contain digestive ingredients, and Senokot--an Avrio brand--will be capitalizing on those two food items starting in 2019, according to Block.

"Building off strong year-to-date, in-market performance behind a breakthrough new creative campaign and a heritage of natural positioning, the Senokot brand will be extending beyond laxatives in 2019 into adjacent digestive health segments," Block says, adding that the launch of two new Senokot brands will be into national grocery, drug and mass retail channels. "Both new items are at the forefront of the growing naturals trend, and Senokot is the only national laxative brand that has a strong natural equity from which to leverage, making it the perfect master brand to introduce these innovations."

Senokot Kiwi Balance, which is made from real kiwis harvested in New Zealand, builds on the popularity of probiotics and prebiotics, Block notes, and the compressed chewable tablets are "clinically proven to promote digestive health and regularity, without bloating or gas."

Senokot GingerCare, she adds, capitalizes on the growing popularity of ginger--"one of 2018's hottest ingredients" --which has history in traditional herbal medicine for digestive health to help relieve occasional upset stomach and nausea.

Ready to ship out in March 2019, both new Senokot products will be available on the shelves with other stomach remedies.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is another growing area of concern with consumers. IBgard was developed by IM HealthScience using breakthrough science that enables peppermint oil, including its primary ingredient, L-Menthol, to be delivered to the small intestine --the primary site of disturbance in IBS.

In IBgard's site specific targeting (SST), peppermint oil is delivered in the form of solid-state microspheres that are pH triggered to act beyond the stomach and release in the lower gut.

"IBgard is a medical food specially formulated for the dietary management of IBS. IBgard capsules contain individually triple-coated, sustained-release microspheres of Ultramen, an ultra-purified peppermint oil," says the company.

In a recent randomized, multicentered, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, IBgard was shown to start working in as soon as 24 hours, and this benefit grew when measured at four weeks. This landmark trial included about half the patients diagnosed with the IBS-M (irritable bowel syndrome-mixed) subtype. This IBS-M subtype is estimated to represent the majority of IBS sufferers for which there is no approved product.

IBgard is available nationally in the digestive aisle in CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, and Rite Aid Corp. stores.
Antacid Tablets

TOTAL DOLLAR SALES $510.4 mil. (+0.6%)
DRUGSTORES $164.1 mil.(-1.3%)

LEADING BRANDS **   Market    Dollar    Dollar sales
                    share     sales       % change

Private Label       40.8%    866,949         +  5.1
Nexium 24HR         11.0%    $18,004         - 15.4
Prilosec OTC         8.9%    $14,618            3.3
Zantac 150           6.6%    $10,869         +  7.0
Gas X                3.9%     $6,419         +  6.3
Turns                3.8%     $6,229         + 18.8
Pepcid AC            2.9%     $4,801         +  5.6
Pepcid Complete      2.7%     $4,435         +  2.5
Turns Smoothies      2.1%     $3,508            4.2
Turns Ultra          1.7%     $2,795         +  0.0

Source: IRI

For the 12 weeks ended December 2,2018
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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Feb 4, 2019
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