New contenders, category heavyweights battle for top spot in cough-cold

Last year, Drug Store News projected that GSK Consumer Healthcare’s Flonase allergy franchise would be challenged with the introduction of two new nasal corticosteroids to the market — McNeil Consumer’s Rhinocort and Bayer’s ClariSpray.

(To view the full Cough-Cold Report, click here.)

GSK Consumer Healthcare’s Flonase was up to the challenge. The brand continues to dominate allergy sales with $335.5 million in revenue on 22.9% growth for the 52 weeks ended Nov. 27, 2016 across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. And GSK Consumer Healthcare already has its next Flonase line extension in the queue. GSK Consumer Healthcare will introduce Flonase Sensimist Allergy Relief this spring.

Flonase is tantalizingly close to toppling the No. 1 allergy remedy on the market — McNeil Consumer’s Zyrtec. That brand brought in $346.9 million on 1.8% growth.

But nobody loses. McNeil generated another $25.2 million in not-yet-finished first-year sales of Rhinocort, and Bayer’s ClariSpray generated $10.4 million within its first year on the shelf.

Across the cough-cold aisle, GSK Consumer Healthcare has another heavy hitter topping the growth charts across cough-cold with Theraflu Expressmax. This brand recorded 347.1% growth on a sales base of almost $30 million.

Bayer’s Alka Seltzer Plus cold remedy is easily the leading cold tablet product on the market with $188.7 million in sales. And though the brand’s sales are down 10.4% in the reporting period, Bayer may be looking to give a boost to its Alka Seltzer Plus brand with the recent introduction of a brand boasting “dye and preservative free” that may be more appealing to consumers who want the best of both worlds — more natural cold medicines that get the job done.

Another venerable cough-cold brand that will benefit from marketing investments this year will be Cold-Eeze, which sold in January to Mylan for $50 million. “The acquisition of Cold-Eeze further builds upon our $1 billion global OTC business and helps us to enhance our presence in the U.S. OTC market,” said Rajiv Malik, president of Mylan. “We see potential to build on its success by leveraging our expertise in the respiratory area.” The 20-year-old brand includes a family of zinc-based lozenges, gummies, oral sprays, capsules and oral liquid dose forms.

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