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Pain's everywhere; non-Rx treatments make gains.

NEW YORK -- External and internal over-the-counter analgesics are being used to manage pain for a wide range of ailments including headaches, minor aches and pains, sore muscles, and chronic pain. These ailments can be related to many factors, including such chronic conditions as arthritis, cancer, obesity and heart disease.

Katie McNichol, principal in client insights at IRI, says the internal analgesic category is essentially flat to up slightly, more so on dollars than in unit sales. "Tylenol continues to be the top grower in the category. It has been for several years running, as the brand continues to 'relaunch' post its recall era. Excedrin and Motrin both posted more moderate growth, outpacing the category trends. "

She notes that overall private label is underperforming the category on a dollar basis. "There is not much news in the category right now in terms of innovation, with the exception of Aleve Back and Muscle which launched this year ... appealing more to the overall pain market. "

Joseph Juliano, vice president of innovation for Canada and marketing services at Prestige Consumer Healthcare, says one of the big trends he is seeing is continued strong growth in the external analgesics category, as it is significantly outpacing both internal analgesics growth and the overall health care category. "A proliferation of more user-friendly forms (sprays and roll-ons) and premium offerings (TENS devices, lidocaine formulas) are key drivers of growth. Favorable demographic (aging population) and psychographic trends (increased emphasis on physical fitness and exercise) are also helping to drive up 11% compound annual growth rate over last five years (versus up 2% for internal analgesics and up 3% for health care products). "

He says there are some new trends in the drug channel, pointing to a significant increase in private label offerings as the external analgesics category has grown. Store brand external analgesics were the fastest-growing segment of the category this past year, up 23%.

Juliano says consumers are always looking for speed of relief and duration of relief when it comes to body pain. "They want to be able to effectively manage the pain so it doesn't interfere with their day-to-day responsibilities and/or enjoyment for life. So recent innovation has been focused on delivering against one or both of these two key benefits."

He notes that the company offers a range of pain relief solutions within internal analgesics that target different types of body pain. "Goody's Back & Body and BC Arthritis are powdered analgesics that deliver effective relief at the speed of powder. They are two of the fastest-growing segments within our analgesic portfolio and are a great option for consumers specifically looking for speed of relief. Additionally, BC Sinus Congestion & Pain and BC Daytime Multi-symptom are great products for relieving the aches and pains that come with cold and flu season."

He adds that BC and Goody's Powder are specifically designed to offer consumers fast pain relief. "They can be used either as an alternative to external analgesics or in conjunction with certain external products to help manage body pain. The internal analgesic category is still roughly four times larger than the external analgesic market, so we know there are many consumers who prefer this type of delivery form."

As for new products on the horizon, Juliano says the company is currently working on a number of new product ideas for BC and Goody's that would offer differentiated benefits and/or potentially treat different types of pain occasions. "We look forward to continuing to introduce new products into the market in the coming years that improve on existing options and help consumers better manage and treat their pain."

When it comes to headaches, Excedrin's Extra Strength is a clinically proven formula of two pain fighters plus a booster, designed to relieve headaches. Excedrin Extra Strength is an O-T-C medicine that has a fast-acting formula that delivers powerful relief from headache symptoms --for some, relief starts within 15 minutes, the company states.

Last fall, GSK Consumer Healthcare introduced Excedrin Limited Editions as an extension of the brand's We See Your Pain, a program designed to help unite head pain sufferers and unveil the often invisible pain they endure through creative visualizations.

By listening to consumer commentary on social media, Excedrin found that people describe headaches with far more vivid imagery than other types of body pain. While common, headaches are unique and often inexplicable.

"People describe headaches with such vivid imagery--waves crashing, a wrecking ball, gears grinding," says Sonal Modi, brand manager, Excedrin. "Through our We See Your Pain campaign, we demonstrated a new kind of understanding and relief for head pain sufferers. We want headache sufferers to know we understand their pain, we know what causes it, and we're here to help."

Meanwhile, Advil Liqui-Gels Minis from Pfizer have the power of Advil in a 33% smaller capsule. Advil Liqui-Gels contain the same amount of pain reliever as original Advil (200 mg), but are made with solubilized Ibuprofen--a liquid form of the pain reliever in Advil. The liquid form allows the product to be absorbed into the body quickly for fast pain relief. "Consumers get fast, powerful pain relief for their tough pains in an easier-to-swallow size," states the company.
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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Feb 4, 2019
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