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Tylenol, new products impact pain


NEW YORK — Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare division has rebounded with the return of several product lines, including products under the powerhouse brand Tylenol, which had seen sales and market share erode in the wake of recalls in 2010.

“The big story from the marketing side is that Tylenol has resumed full distribution and marketing in the last couple of years,” said Laura Mahecha, industry manager healthcare practice at consulting firm Kline & Co. “They spend a ton in terms of marketing, promotions and advertising, so that’s a boost for the category overall.”

Johnson & Johnson also has introduced new forms of Children’s Tylenol, including a chewable form for older children, such new flavors as bubblegum and strawberry, and dye-free options to meet the needs of children who are sensitive to dyes or of parents who prefer dye-free options.

Multi-outlet sales of internal analgesics rose 0.59% for the 52-week period ended Aug. 13, to about $3.9 billion, according to IRI. Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare division, however, outpaced the pack with dollar sales gains of 9.8% in internal analgesic liquids to a category-leading $251.9 million, and sales gains of 11.1% in internal analgesic tablets to $496.78 million.

New product launches and marketing campaigns also are bringing some excitement to the category. Prestige Brands, for example, has rolled out BC Sinus Congestion & Pain — the company’s first foray into analgesic cough-cold treatments — just in time for cold and flu season.

“We have a pretty robust approach to support this initiative,” said Joseph Juliano, VP of marketing for analgesics, eye care and marketing services at Prestige Brands. “We are advertising to loyal powdered-analgesic users who are looking for a solution to their cough-cold symptoms.”

Prestige also introduced Ecotrin Arthritis, an extension of its aspirin line of OTC analgesics.

Topical analgesics sales up 19.1%

Sales of topical analgesics, although small compared with sales of internal analgesic products, have been a bright spot for the category overall.

External analgesic rubs saw dollar sales grow 19.1% in the 52-week period ended Aug. 13, to $696.1 million. While Chattem’s Icy Hot and Aspercreme products are category leaders that showed double-digit sales growth, other external analgesics lines have experienced triple-digit growth, including Biofreeze from Performance Health and Lidocare from NFI Consumer Products.

Some of the product introductions provide innovations that specifically address the needs of aging baby boomers. These products include Vizuri’s PainBloc 24, an odorless roll-on analgesic designed to provide arthritis pain relief for 24 hours.

Sales of topical analgesics may be benefitting in part from consumer concerns about certain medication ingredients, particularly in the wake of warnings about the potential for liver damage from the mis-use of acetaminophen, said Mahecha of Kline & Co.

That attitude also could propel sales of pain-relief devices, such as the TENS devices from Icy Hot and Aleve, Mahecha said.


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