OTC: the war of pharmacy shelves

In the past years in France, the market for major pharmaceutical brands has been attacked by generics. The first brand managers’ reactions was to transfer some of their medicines to OTC: freedom of tariffs, and getting closer to consumers. The “front” then moved on the shelves of pharmacies, where brands try to be the most visible and the best placed … using improvised or highly innovative and thoughtful marketing strategies … back on recent successes that we CDMOs were able to accompany by our advices and our achievements!

OTC: the war of pharmacy shelves

A beautiful brand, a beautiful positioning, no competitors, the ideal!! Unfortunately, in real life, even if the brand is beautiful, there are too much competitors too trying to find their place. This is where the CDMOs can support the brand managers … All the pharmaceutical companies that managed to sell their in-house developed medicines in the 1980s and to shape a well-known brand faced at the early 21st century the arrival of generics that have initiated the end of the golden age of these beautiful brands … The OTC has become king, and the internal R&D, more expert and less rapid has given way to outsourcing (production of course … see article on CDMOs: the 10 key points to choose), but also the development and registration of new drugs or medical devices to expert CDMOs, having available products ready to market under licenses.

A brand new product, to gain visibility

Brand managers did not ask for so much. Products ready to be put on the market within 6 months, very ready, just a decor to create: the dream! A touch of marketing creativity, and voila, a flagship product, we build a range that fills the shelf and makes pharmacists happy while ejecting competitors from the shelf ;-).

But this touch of creativity can be declined from the simplest to the most innovative.

Seawater sprays: the color … simple but effective!

The typical example of a mature market in France is the seawater DM nasal hygiene: isotonic seawater, hypertonic, hypertonic supplemented with plant extracts or minerals, micro diffusion spray, etc … All brands – Sterimar, Physiomer, Prorhinel, Humer, etc … – have the same products, so how to differentiate in pharmacies?

The example comes from Therabel with its brand Belivair who decided to mark its difference by this beautiful purple color that stands out clearly competing packs in blue and white colors! A simple and effective way to stand out in a mature market and dominated by a few recognized brands.

The bigger we are, the more we take space … obvious!

In the same market, other competitors have chosen standard colors but have choosen 150ml packs when the standard is rather 125ml, and have added a case with larger dimensions (60mm side and 200mm high) against 52mm side and 175mm high) so that in the linear their product, positioned at substantially the same price as competitors, seems much more “seller” to patients … obvious!

Humer, inspiring innovation

For me, the brightest marketing idea of OTC products of the last few years comes from Humer “Rhume des foins” whose case, besides being quite imposing compared to the bottle inside has a face “spring” for the claim allergic rhinitis and an “autumn” face for the seasonal rhinitis claim: BRILLIANT !! The pharmacist can store and get rid of issues of shelf-life … the product lives two seasons in the year, it should just return it to redo its shelve.

So, you who are going to launch your new product and who are looking for solutions to be more visible in the pharmaceutical line, what solution will you choose?