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OTC & Parapharmacy

A thriving sector

Estimated at nearly $74 billion, the worldwide OTC medication market ( non prescription treatments) is booming. Galvanized by the growing trend towards self-medication and policies designed to curb national health budgets, it is expected to reach $107.5 billion in 2007, a leap of 45%. The European Union is the largest consumer of OTC goods, with a market share of 32%, but the major growth is taking place in the United States and in emerging countries. China, currently fourth, is expected to be the second largest consumer of OTC medication by 2015.

Parapharmaceuticals are now more than ever a growth area for the pharmaceutical sector, as proven by the immense marketing communication budgets allocated by the leading laboratories. Indeed dermo-cosmetic and nutritional supplement brands - the core of the business - are distributed in a dozen or so retail channels: chemists, specialised stores, supermarket health and beauty counters, luxury perfumeries, etc.

A marketing conundrum comparable to mass marketing

In the light of the easy access to information thanks essentially to the internet, patients increasingly resort to self-medication because it is the quickest solution for benign health disorders, such as flu, coughs, dermatological and gastro-intestinal problems, etc. It also benefits from the current interest in nutritional supplements, a key segment boosted by slimming aids and sophisticated vitamin and mineral formulations, which also offer great potential for growth. The dermo-cosmetic sector has to take into consideration the growing expectations in terms of hypo-allergenic products from an increasingly allergic consumers base.

The marketing issues facing the OTC and parapharmaceutical sectors today are similar to those of the mass marketing sectors. Laboratories manage portfolios of brands which must integrate an emotional value whilst not neglecting shelf impact, POS advertising and consumer information.

Packaging at the heart of marketing strategies

As for food and cosmetics, packaging is a key component of strategy and the object of in-depth studies particularly concerning visual identity, attractiveness, ergonomics, service and client/patient education.

Thanks to a policy of sustained innovation Sleever International® is abble to provide OTC and parapharmaceutical brands with solutions to meet their demands in terms of graphic charter, primary packaging constraints, consumer information, legislative constraints, tamper resistance, range extensions and optimised packaging costs. These solutions have appealed to many major brand owners in these sectors including Arkopharma, Bausch & Lomb, Grupo Aché and Pierre Fabre.

Source Research&Markets, Eurostaf, IMS Health