When it comes to OTC products, there is neither a shortage of products nor companies that make them.
But there are a select few that stand apart from the crowd, who refuse to settle and constantly innovate. It is these innovations that are changing the way people see OTC and helping drive sales.
In current marketing terms, these companies are called disruptors — a term that one group has described as someone with the foresight to identify the needs of an ever-changing market and then meet those needs more effectively.
These disruptors are driven by a need to offer something different and to create better OTC products and services that are more imaginative, beneficial and impactful.
For these companies, the words “business as usual” simply don’t apply. This month, Drug Store News’ Retail Excellence Awards recognize the exceptional leaders in their field who are disrupting the OTC world.
Bausch + Lomb
Bausch + Lomb, headquartered in Bridgewater, N.J., has shown consistent year-over-year growth across the company’s OTC brands while driving profitability within competitive categories. To date, it is estimated that more than 30 million U.S.-based consumers use B+L products every day, which officials said can be best attributed to the company’s patient-centric mind-set.
Company officials noted that each product or product enhancement is developed based on an unmet consumer need and built on a deep understanding of today’s consumer. This approach helps the company continually bring meaningful innovation to the market. Most recently, this innovation has resulted in an exciting Rx-to-OTC switch for redness reliever Lumify.
In addition, the company recently expanded its leading vitamin for age-related macular degeneration, PreserVision AREDS2, through the upcoming launch of PreserVision AREDS 2 Chewable Tablets. Finally, B+L capitalized on the growth of Soothe XP Dry Eye Drops by launching Sooth XP Preservative Free Dry Eye Drops.
“We look forward to continuing this innovation throughout 2018, while continuing to meet the needs of the patients that have come to rely on Bausch + Lomb as a trusted eye care brand,” said Joe Gordon, president of consumer healthcare and vision care at Bausch + Lomb.
People may not be familiar with the name Clarion Brands, but they likely are familiar with several of the company’s products, which include Albolene, Absorbine Jr. and Anti Monkey Butt Powder.
With only seven brands, its product portfolio also may not be the largest, but that’s just fine with officials at the Trevose, Pa.-based company. Its strategy is not to amass brand after brand, they said, but to focus on those they have by understanding the conditions each of its brands were created under to address and learn more about their consumers.
The company’s positioning is distinctive in that many of its brands, including Lipo-Flavonoid, and Certain Dri, are healthcare-provider recommended. “Our unique brands fill a specific niche,” said Jennifer Moyer, vice president of marketing and sales. “We go deep into these brands and hold focus groups, do quantitative research and talk to sufferers to fully understand the condition, and from there we come up with ways to specifically talk to these consumers.”
Most recently, the company added Florajen, a high-potency probiotic to its lineup. It is marketed to healthcare professionals with concomitant use with antibiotics, and unlike other probiotics, Florajen is merchandised behind the pharmacy counter. In early 2018, Clarion Brands launched a women’s-specific version.
GSK Consumer Healthcare
Global healthcare company GSK operates three world-leading businesses that research, develop and manufacture innovative pharmaceutical medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products. Its consumer healthcare business is one of the largest producers of OTC products, including some of the world’s most trusted brands — Sensodyne, Theraflu, Excedrin, Nicorette, Flonase and Tums.
Understanding consumers’ everyday healthcare needs, views and product preferences is an integral part of GSK Consumer Healthcare’s new product development process.
The company’s Innovation Labs — a research and development lab, a consumer sensory lab and a shopper science lab — were developed to work interchangeably with a product’s life cycle in mind, spanning science and research, product development and testing, and in-store layout and e-commerce design. Each lab fosters enhanced interaction and collaboration, from scientists to the sales team, enabling faster and more efficient decision-making capabilities for all new and existing GSK Consumer Healthcare products.
Among the forthcoming products from the Warren, N.J.-based company is Sensodyne Rapid Relief, a new daily toothpaste that is designed to address sensitivity fast.
“As technology becomes increasingly central to all of our lives, we consistently look at ways of harnessing digital capability to improve consumer health,” Dennis Curran, chief customer officer, said. “GSK continues to invest in state-of-the-art digital and real-life innovation with advances like our U.S. shopper and sensory labs to better connect with the emerging consumer.”
Hisamitsu America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical, headquartered in Tokyo and Tosu, Japan. The Florham Park, N.J.-based company is best known for its Salonpas brand of topical pain relief products, the leading brand in the world of OTC pain relief patches.
The company’s mission is at the heart of what they do every day: improve the quality of life for pain sufferers through its patch technologies, something company officials refer to as “Salonpathy.”
John Incledon, president and CEO of Hisamitsu America, noted that the company’s proudest innovation is that they hold the only topical NSAID approval from the Food and Drug Administration in the external pain category, which it said it obtained using a new drug application rather than an OTC monograph. “Our Salonpas Pain Relief Patch carries unique claims for duration of action and can be used for both mild and moderate pain,” he said.
Its strategies for success are heavily weighted to national advertising and promotion to support what the company considers best-in-class products. It also believes in the power of sampling, giving away more than half a million sales of their products each year.
“Perhaps, what makes us different is our humble begin