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OTC PRODUCT EXPIRATION DATES ARE INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT

Executive Summary

OTC PRODUCT EXPIRATION DATES ARE INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT to consumer purchase decision-making, according to a chain drug industry executive interviewed for a survey of health trends commissioned by NACDS. "I see people looking at the expiration dates now," the executive said. "In fact, we're on a drive now, talking to manufacturers, because nobody has paid much attention to this date yet. The FDA required it, so they stuck it into some corner and you couldn't even read it." The Proprietary Association adopted expiration dating guidelines at its annual meeting in May. The survey found that self-diagnosis kits, such as blood pressure and glucose monitors and colon/rectal cancer detectors, are examples of product areas which are increasingly important as consumer items, the report states. Most executives interviewed for the NACDS report said they saw this trend continuing. As for other self-help health care products, vitamin sales are also increasing. The NACDS report, prepared by Young & Rubicam of New York, is based on a survey of consumers, executives and managers. Altogether, 158 people, including 78 consumers and 45 industry professionals, were interviewed for the study. "Emerging Consumer Health Values: Implications for Tomorrow's Drug Stores Today" was previewed at the NACDS annual meeting in April. From interviews with consumers, three groups of "health-responsible beliefs" were identified and correlated with common personality types. [The] most consistent healthful living practices are found among Inner-Directeds," followed by Achievers and Belongers. While concerned about healthy living, Achievers practice it with "less commitment and intensity than Inner-Directeds." The Belonger's approach is "commonsensical, not progressive," The two most progressive groups, Inner-Directeds and Achievers, "welcome the declassification of prescription drugs to over-the-counter status. They see this as allowing more choices in self-treatment, as well as keepting OTC drugs competitive and therefore less expensive." The third group, however, is more reluctant about evaluating high-tech medications, and they prefer to have guidance. From the viewpoint of drug store owner/managers, the report states, one of the most important trends in the industry is "product proliferation, primarily in over-the-counter medications and health and personal care products." For example, the report adds, "more and more antihistamines and analgesics have and are expected to 'come off of' prescription status." Owner/managers interviewed for the report said that as a result "customers are requesting more information about these medications and appear to need help in thinking about how to responsibly self-medicate."
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