Targeting the pain relief market

75 per cent of shoppers look for specific symptom relief on pack

The largest OTC category – pain relief – was worth a staggering £543.9 million at the last count. We round up the latest campaigns, launches, and even relaunches, that are driving the analgesics market

Worth a buoyant £353.5 million, ‘adult analgesics’ is the strongest sector within the pain relief category. A One Poll survey commissioned for painkiller Syndol in April 2014 stated that 57 per cent of the UK population were regularly using analgesics to treat migraine and headaches.

Last year’s Migraine and Headache Awareness Week created some leverage in the category, with a campaign to support management, correct dosing and best practice for migraine and headache sufferers in pharmacies. Migraine Action and Nurofen Express were partnered to offer activation packs, window and point-of-sale display materials, leaflets, and tools to help pharmacy staff engage with sufferers. Pharmacy staff can still log into RB’s online tutorial at www.rbforhealth.co.uk/tth to learn more about tension-type headache.

RB’s head of professional relations and medical marketing Dr Samantha Bradley reports that the awareness week was a success in pharmacies across the UK. “We are pleased that so many pharmacies got involved with the campaign and made use of the activation packs to refresh their knowledge and assist customers in making appropriate treatment decisions. We hope pharmacy teams will be encouraged to continue to proactively support customers, reinforcing important messages about onset of treatment and correct dose to improve outcomes.”

Simon Evans, chief executive of Migraine Action, says many pharmacy teams are now more actively engaged with their patients, discussing dosage and medication options. “In the longer term, we hope that patients re-examine how they treat their condition and continue to use their local pharmacy for support,” he says.

Brand support

The pain relief brand Syndol is enjoying a renaissance after its reformulation and relaunch in December 2014, following a period of absence from pharmacy shelves. Syndol Headache Relief Tablets no longer contain the antihistamine doxylamine succinate, but a triple-action formula of paracetamol (500mg), codeine phosphate (8mg) and caffeine (30mg). A consumer-facing website, at www.syndol.co.uk, offers facts and lifestyle tips supporting the relaunch.

September 2015 saw the addition of RB’s new sinus pain brands Nurofen Sinus and Blocked Nose and Nurofen Sinus Pain Relief to its portfolio, targeting the £96 million decongestant category. It is currently the only ibuprofen sinus range on the general sales list, containing 200mg of ibuprofen and 5mg of the decongestant phenylephrine.

RB’s marketing director for Nurofen, Craig Shaw, explains that this is a significant development in the sinus pain market. “We know that there is huge brand loyalty, with 66 per cent of shoppers looking for well-known brands that they can trust to be efficacious when they buy their winter medicines,” he says. “We also know that 75 per cent of shoppers look for specific symptom relief on pack, so clear signposting on packaging is key to enabling a customer to make an informed purchase.”

The topicals


The topical analgesics market is worth £82.9 million – less than adult analgesics, but this segment has experienced the healthiest growth at 12.2 per cent, compared to 2 per cent across the total pain relief market. This is not surprising, given that 40 per cent of people claim to have suffered five or more bouts of muscle or joint pain in the past 12 months.

Adding momentum to this market, The Mentholatum Company released its new Deep Heat Muscle Massage Roll-on Lotion last September. The drug-free, herbal formulation in a rollerball format targets sore muscles with a warm, massaging motion.

Mentholatum thinks the new product will warm up the ‘heat’ category. Group product manager Dagny Graham expects the product to appeal mostly to women aged 25 to 50 who exercise regularly. She explains: “Deep Heat is the market-leading heat therapy brand and we are very excited to bring this new drug-free product to the market. Heat therapy is an effective and popular way to ease muscular tension and tightness, as heat brings an increased blood supply to the muscle, along with oxygen and nutrients. When heat is combined with massage, it helps loosen those knots, relaxing the muscles and soft tissue, helping them to move and stretch more easily.”

The new product, hashtagged #rollonrelief, is being backed with magazine and digital advertising in 2016, and a presence at sporting expos and events such as the Ski and Snowboard Show, Outdoor and Adventure Show, Be:Fit London and the London Marathon Show.

Heritage anti-inflammatory brand Movelat bounced back into the public eye in September 2015 when it featured in a slightly unusual press and consumer campaign. The gel/cream was used to sponsor the Back to Netball campaign by England Netball, to encourage people to manage minor aches and pains and get back into sport.

Denika Fletcher, from producer Thornton and Ross, explains: “We know that lots of people are held back from sport due to minor and short-term injury and so the Back to Netball campaign really strikes a chord with what Movelat is all about. We loved the idea of supporting England Netball and making it really easy for people to get back to sport, as it aligns perfectly with the brand’s core values of not letting aches and pains hold you back.” Pharmacists can get more Movelat resources and case studies from the Movelat website.

Natural pain relief

Recent research reports that GOPO, a natural anti-inflammatory produced from the seeds and husks of rosehip, can reduce pain and improve wellbeing for osteoarthritis sufferers. During a double-blind, randomised and placebo-controlled trial, 47 patients with osteoarthritis symptoms were given GOPO or placebo over three months. The outcome was that patients reported significantly reduced pain and stiffness, and better sleep, mood and wellbeing.

Miriam Luff, joint health brand manager at supplier G R Lane, explains: “Recent headlines in regard to the health concerns surrounding long-term use of paracetamol may mean increasing numbers of joint pain sufferers are looking into alternative options and seeking guidance from pharmacists. Nutritional supplements are a popular option for those wanting to support joint health and many people are keen to look for something that can be taken long-term. It’s important for pharmacists and customers to be aware of the evidence supporting OTC options for joint pain, and GOPO is the only rosehip-derived compound to have been rigorously evaluated in multiple randomised, controlled, clinical trials.”

Headaches and migraine: the facts

  • According to NHS figures, headaches and migraines affect around 10 million people.
  • One in seven UK adults suffer from migraines.
  • Women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men.
  • A survey of over 600 pharmacy staff by Communications International Group in June 2015 found that consumers are keener than ever to treat symptoms immediately, with ‘speed’ being a key factor.
  • But 63 per cent of suffers still wait around 20 minutes to treat their pain (One Poll survey June 2015).
  • There are around 190,000 migraine attacks in the UK every day.
  • 25 million work and school days are lost each year because of migraine and headaches.

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