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Gender-specific products target overlooked health issues


The big news in incontinence is Oxytrol, which doesn't reach store shelves until September. It's a switched product coming from Merck Consumer Care that brings an entirely new indication to the over-the-counter space — overactive bladder in women.

Some analysts are hesitant to suggest a new OTC category will translate into blockbuster-style sales. However, overactive bladder is a lot like smoking cessation or weight loss in the sense that women don't necessarily discuss these symptoms with their doctors, according to the National Association for Continence.

Private-label manufacturers are already bullish on the opportunity Oxytrol represents. "When Oxytrol was approved, that was an important product opportunity," said Joe Papa, chairman, CEO and president of Perrigo. "It opens up the category of overactive bladder [to switch]," he said, and that means other overactive bladder medicines like Detrol or Ditropan may have a pathway to OTC.

Targeting men with light bladder leakage in this space, Kimberly-Clark this spring launched Depend Guards and Shields and partnered with former professional football player Tony Siragusa to help promote the product. "Historically, men with light bladder leakage have been ignored by the industry," said Elizabeth Metz, Depend brand director at Kimberly-Clark. "As a result, many men have had to use products that were designed for women or look like they were."

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