Progressive Grocer - January 2011 - (Page 94)
Health & Wellness
A Tissue Please?
Cough and cold products, hacked by government actions, are seeing sales declines.
By Bob Gatty
ooks like the cough and cold category has caught a nasty case of the snifﬂes, and now the supermarket industry is looking to the feds for some relief.
Well, not exactly. According to The Nielsen Company, sales in food, drug and mass outlets combined, including Walmart, in the overall cough and cold category dropped 4.5 percent in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 30, 2010, compared with the same period in 2009. Units dropped a whopping 7.7 percent. The huge cold remedy category, with $3.2 billion in sales, was off 7.4 percent, with children’s remedies plummeting by 9.1 percent. Cough and cold throat sprays were off 5.2 percent, following a decline of 8.9 percent for the same period a year ago. Nasal products, cough and cold throat sprays, cough syrups, and tablets all were down signiﬁcantly — despite massive advertising efforts by the industry for everything from products to ﬁght mucus to an online “Relief Finder” by Robitussin. Is America getting healthier? Do we have fewer colds? Probably not. But one contributing factor could be recent publicity that casts doubt on the efﬁcacy of over-the-counter cough and cold products. “We want to believe these remedies will work because we’re so desperately uncomfortable when we’re sick,” John E. Heffner, MD, a pulmonologist and immediate past president of the New Yorkbased American Thoracic Society, said in a recent WebMD feature article. “But clinical trials have not found that cough medicines are any better than a placebo.” The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) begs to differ. “The important role of OTC medicines in the treatment of many conditions is demonstrated by their presence in the treatment guidelines of many leading U.S. medical associations, in the high frequency at which the medicines are recommended by health care professionals, and in the wide use of the products by consumers,” the Washington-based CHPA says in a white paper published in Pharmacy Today. One of the factors that may be attributed to the drop-off in sales of children’s products is action by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2007 that resulted in new labeling for some children’s cough and cold products, and spurred removal of some formulations from the market. FDA issued guidance that there is
no evidence the products work in children under 2 years of age, and said some medicines could even be harmful to young children. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that emergency department visits because of adverse events from cough and cold medicines declined substantially among children younger than 2 after the voluntary withdrawal of nonprescription infant products in 2007. The Atlanta-based CDC examined U.S. hospital emergencyroom visits for cough and cold medicine-related adverse events among children under 12 for the 14 months before and after the product withdrawal. While the overall number of visits remained steady, they were reduced by more than 50 percent among children under age 2.
Now FDA is considering whether to restrict in-store access to cough and cold medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, because of the number of youths who have overdosed from seeking the “buzz” that it can provide. Additionally, the industry received a blow from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the new health care reform law, which removes OTC meds from the list of eligible medical expenses for reimbursement by ﬂexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). To ﬁght back, the CHPA has led a coalition — including the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the National Grocers Association (N.G.A.) — that urges Congress to repeal that provision.
• Progressive Grocer • January 2011
A H E A D O F W H AT ’ S N E X T
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Progressive Grocer - January 2011
Progressive Grocer - January 2011
Table of Contents
Nielsen’s Shelf Stoppers/ Spotlight: Medications and Remedies/antacids
Mintel Global New Products: Salty Snacks, Meat Snacks and Popcorn, Q2-Q3 2010
Best Practices: Are We There Yet?
Store of the Month Special Edition: My H-E-B
Marketing: Circular Paradox
Gma President’s Note: United We Stand
Pg Special Events: Pg Honors 2010 Top Women, Green Grocers at Gala Event
Retailer Spotlight: Winn-Dixie’s Awakening
Category Management: Mutual Benefi Ts
Special Section: Progressive Grocer Independent: For Retailers, by Retailers
Condiments: A Matter of Taste
Butter/margarine: Promise for the Future
Desserts: Sweet Solutions
Energy Drinks/shots: Energy Drinks Get a Jolt
Winter Produce: Season of Plenty
Meat Merchandising Study: Meat to Meals
Candles/Air Fresheners: Beyond Common Scents
Front End: The Front End Checkout: A Microeconomic Model of the Store
Cough and Cold: A Tissue Please?
Whole Health: Feeling Good in 2011
Futuretech: It’s a Mad, Mobile World
Progressive Voices: Retailers’ Value Equation = Customer-Benefit Costing
Ovens and Rotisseries: Heating Up
What’s Next: Editors’ Picks for Innovative Products
Progressive Grocer - January 2011