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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/25/2014 -- Analgesics in Japan declined by below 1% in current retail value terms in 2013. Systemic analgesics showed modest positive growth while topical analgesics/anaesthetic continued to shrink, which resulted in negative growth for the overall category. The fastest-growing categories were ibuprofen and combination products - analgesics due to the strong performances of leading brands. The positive growth of ibuprofen was due to the steady sales increase of Ringl IB by Sato Pharmaceutical Co Ltd. In particular, Ringl IB 200 contains the largest amount of ibuprofen as the active ingredient among OTC analgesics so that taking one tablet is effective enough to alleviate fever and pain. In addition to capsule format, the company introduced tablet format in June 2012, which contributed to the expansion of the ibuprofen market in Japan. Combination products - analgesics also increased sales in 2013, driven by the positive growth of popular products such as Eve A and Eve Quick by SSP Co Ltd and Loxonin S by Daiichi Sankyo Healthcare Co Ltd.
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Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co Inc retained its top position in analgesics in 2013. The company has a well-established presence in topical analgesics/anaesthetic and offers several brands in patch format. In particular, the company's leading brand Salonpas is the top brand in topical analgesics/anaesthetic. In 2013, Hisamitsu launched a new TV commercial featuring Kazunari Ninomiya, a member of Arashi, one of the most popular singing groups, to increase the brand awareness of Salonpas among female consumers. In the commercial, Kazunari Ninomiya acts as a manager of a massage salon and welcomes a female customer who suffers from shoulder pain. As Arashi are extremely popular among women, the TV commercial successfully attracted female consumers and helped transform the brand image of Salonpas from one for middle-aged or older men to one for women. In 2014, the company celebrates the 80th anniversary of Salonpas and plans to launch several campaigns.
Analgesics is expected to register a flat retail value CAGR at constant 2013 prices over the forecast period. While systemic analgesics is expected to grow steadily, topical analgesics/anaesthetic is expected to show negative growth. Among systemic analgesics, combination products - analgesics is estimated to be the most promising category due to the popularity of leading brands such as Eve, Bufferin and Loxonin S. Another key to possibly energise the analgesics market in Japan is introducing new OTC switches. Introducing newly switched analgesics, however, does not simply lead to increasing sales because not all OTC switches can be successful in the market. Only OTC switches that are recognised and trusted by consumers, doctors and pharmacists can be successful. Additionally, it takes time for a prescription drug, systemic drugs in particular, to be switched and introduced to the market due to possible side effects. Thus, major manufacturers are expected to seek opportunities to launch new OTC switches and explore new avenues for their existing brands to expand their customer bases.
Retail value sales of dermatologicals in Japan increased by 1% in current terms in 2013. Hair loss treatments remained the largest category in terms of retail value sales. The category's steady growth turned negative in 2012 due to the negative growth of RiUP by Taisho Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, the largest brand in hair loss treatments compared to the significant sales increase of the brand in 2011. The remarkable performance was because of research findings by the Japanese Dermatological Association that certified the effectiveness of the key active ingredient in RiUP. Therefore, compared to 2012, sales of hair loss treatments recovered in 2013. While men's hair loss treatments accounted for the majority of the total sales, women's hair loss treatments expanded its value share in 2013 with several new products launches. In addition to women in middle-age and above, an increasing number of young women in their 30s are using hair loss treatment products for prevention purposes.
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