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Cough, Cold and Allergy (Hay Fever) Remedies in the US

US cough remedies market: $7 billion industry in 2012

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2014-02-24 09:39:01 - Cough, Cold and Allergy (Hay Fever) Remedies in the US - a new market research report on

Schering-Plough Healthcare, the Merck & Co subsidiary responsible for the companys US consumer health operations, led the US cough remedies market in 2012 with 10% value sales. Its second ranked brand Claritin is the primary driver of the companys top position, although the brand lost share to private label. Similarly, sales of Mucinex helped propel Reckitt Benckiser to second position with value share of 10%, but the brand was also the subject of threats from private label, resulting in a one percentage point loss. Conversely, The Procter & Gamble Cos top ranked Vicks brand, which contributed 9% value share in 2012, was one of the few branded beneficiaries of the McNeil recalls.

Although there were no reverse OTC-to-prescription switches of cough,



cold and allergy (hay fever) remedies active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in 2012, there were still legislative and business developments related to both cough API dextromethorphan and decongestant API pseudoephedrine (PSE). In July 2012, the Senate introduced the Preventing Abuse of Cough Treatments Act, which would limit OTC sales of dextromethorphan products to those aged 18 years and over. Analagous House legislation dating back to 2006 ultimately failed in the Senate, but concerns about adolescent dextromethorphan abuse persist.

In the case of PSE, reports from two different consulting and research groups questioned the efficacy of prescription-only PSE laws, even as North Carolina considered the eventual possibility of joining Oregon and Mississippi with its own such law. Meanwhile, in December 2012 Acura Pharmaceuticals launched Nexafed and Westport Pharmaceuticals initiated a more limited release of Zephrex-D, both extraction-resistant forms of PSE. Under current regulations, however, both products are still subject to the same behind-the-counter restrictions as standard PSE drugs.

Recalls and private label substitution will continue to exert a strong influence over cough, cold and allergy (hay fever) remedies. Neither Novartis nor McNeil has a reliable target for re-launching recalled brands and restoring production capabilities to ensure consistent supplies. Even more unpredictable, however, is the onset, duration, and severity of flu seasons. After the 2011-2012 season proved to be one of the quietest since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began tracking flu patterns, the 2012-2013 season was notably serious. Flu activity began spiking in December, earlier than usual, subsequently overwhelming hospitals and doctors office. Boston, for example, declared a public health emergency at the beginning of January. This unforeseen flu incidence will definitely stimulate strong volume growth in cough, cold and allergy (hay fever) remedies; although it increased the popularity of private label treatments it will still somewhat restrict value growth.

Key Headlines

- Current value sales of cough, cold and allergy (hay fever) remedies marginally decline to reach US$7.1 billion in 2012
- Weak 2011-2012 flu season, recalls and increased acceptance of private label offset severe allergy seasons to curtail growth
- As a more natural alternative to other decongestants and with dual use as a sleep aid, sales of nasal decongestant plasters increase by 7% in current value sales in 2012
- Merck & Co remains category leader with 10% current value share in 2012
- Cough, cold and allergy (hay fever) remedies is predicted to record a modest 1% constant value CAGR over the forecast period

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Mike King
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