James Dudley Management

James Dudley Management

Self Medication in Europe to 2003 Upper Respiratory Tract Remedies

A combination of de-reimbursement and a poor cough and cold season had a major adverse impact in 1997 on Europe’s $2.2 billion respiratory tract non-prescription market. However, there is considerable room for optimism in this highly seasonal market says a new category report from James Dudley International Ltd ‘Self Medication Respiratory Products in Europe to 2003’. 

Despite the vagaries of market seasonality, underlying trends indicate future market growth of between 5% and 6% for Europe as a whole. 

The report which covers Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and the UK shows that in Western Europe Italy and Spain have shown the highest rates of growth i.e. 105% and 107% respectively since 1991. While Germany showed only 3% growth and Belgium 7% over the same period. 

The emerging Central and Eastern European markets showed the highest rates of growth between 1991 and 1997 with Russia at 352%, Poland at 326% and Czech Republic at 144%. 

Overall the market for non-prescription upper respiratory tract remedies grew 29% between 1993 and 1997. The market is expected to grow by around 23% between 1997 and 2001. By 2003 the market is expected to be valued at around $2.9 billion. (Graph 1) 

The report highlights a number of key issues which have influenced growth trends since 1991. 

These include:- 

- The effects of healthcare reform on the prescription generated business in the semi-ethical sector 

- The weak performance of the German market which has undermined overall European growth 

- The growth of cold and flu remedies across the region 

- The performance of Central European markets despite the financial and political difficulties in Russia 

- The consolidation of market leadership around Europe’s top six companies in the upper respiratory remedies category. 

Semi-ethical Prescription Business takes a Hit from Healthcare Reform 

The reduction in prescription generated growth rates in the semi-ethical sector is due in the main to healthcare reforms either through de-reimbursement, for example Belgium, Italy and Spain or through higher co-payments as is the case in Germany and the UK. 

Graph 2 shows the impact of de-reimbursement and increased co-payments on the semi-ethical and compares these to the growth in self-medication consumption. 

At the same time it can be seen that self-medication has grown to compensate for the decline in prescription business. 

Germany - The Key Problem 

Germany represents the single largest factor in the performance of the European upper respiratory tract non-prescription market. 

Representing almost a third of the European market Germany’s overall weak performance has contributed to the overall slow rate of growth. This was due to healthcare reforms, particularly the increase in prescription charges in 1993 and 1997. Belgium also showed low growth over the 1991 to 1997 period but it represents less than 5% of European market turnover. 

Table 1German Non-prescription Upper Respiratory Market % Growth Rates by Subcategory 1991 - 1997

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