The vast majority of analgesics continued to be sold in the systemic format in 2019, while the rest are topical analgesics/anaesthetic. In systemic formats, the tried and tested aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen remained the most popular as Croatians tend to stick with proven remedies.
Two relatively new categories, ketoprofen and naproxen, recorded strong retail value growth in 2019 and are expected to continue to do so over the forecast period. Both are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to treat inflammation and pain, such as joint pain and arthritis.
Although topical analgesics/anaesthetic recorded strong value growth in 2019, sales remained much lower than systemic formats and are likely to remain so over the forecast period, due to the massively higher prices of topical formats. Despite this, topical analgesics/anaesthetic products have found a niche among older generations who suffer from joint pain.
Croatian company, Belupo, has openly announced that its long-term strategy is to become the leader in OTC medicines. It is the largest domestically-owned Croatian pharmaceutical company with a well-developed OTC strategy and strong marketing.
No new product launches were observed in analgesics in 2019, demonstrating that manufacturers are happy with their current status. The reductions in VAT has led to smaller margins, with only moderate price increases possible over the review period, and this may have had a negative effect on plans for new product launches.
Under its relatively recent new ownership, the Voltaren brand continued to lead topical analgesics/anaesthetic in 2019. The brand builds its strength on strong awareness, with Voltaren almost becoming a synonym for the entire category.
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