*Insight led approach drives shift from prescription-based to consumer-focused opportunities
*Ongoing commitment to women’s and baby’s health with Femibion
*Double digit sales growth reported for Q1 2015

DARMSTADT, Germany--(Antara/BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Consumer Health business of Merck has reported very strong net sales in Q1 2015, driven by the continued success of consumer-focused innovation amongst its key brands.

Consumerizing key brands for strategic growth

Merck’s Consumer Health division has delivered significant growth through applying consumer insights to a number of key strategic brands that have traditionally been associated with the prescription space.

For example, in Germany Merck’s vitamin D supplement Vigantoletten® has been recently transitioned from the Merck Serono business to the Consumer Health business. To drive growth, Consumer Health launched the new, consumer appealing Vigantoletten Sticks. These fast melting micro pellets, supplied in sachets, deliver real innovation to the consumer as they have a great taste and can be taken without water – providing more convenience and ease of use for a product previously targeted rather toward healthcare professionals.

Similarly, for Floratil® in Brazil, Merck adopted a high profile marketing strategy which sought to tackle the issue of diarrhea – a taboo subject in many countries. Moving the product from behind the counter to visible-in-store, branded displays, the campaign, which included outdoor, print, digital and PR elements, resulted in 70% of competitor users and 46% of non-users surveyed considering using the product; also, annual sales of Floratil in Brazil grew organically above 20% in 2014 compared with 2013.

Thirdly, in Indonesia, Merck faced significant challenges around value creation for the former prescription-driven Vitamin B supplement Neurobion®. The Marketing team took a dual approach which combined the best of its direct-to-consumer knowledge, with continued engagement with Key Opinion Leaders. Through re-branding, the creation of new packaging and a national Neuropathy Awareness Campaign, the brand became the largest multi-national company OTC brand in Indonesia for the first time. Sales significantly outstripped projections, supported by strong consumer uptake.

“Our business has increasingly applied a consumer-centric innovation and commercialization approach to brands traditionally associated with the prescription space, driving interest and engagement with consumers. As our sales demonstrate, this approach is delivering significant growth”, said Uta Kemmerich-Keil, CEO and President of Merck’s Consumer Health business, who has just celebrated one year in position. “Consumerization underpins our core ‘3 x 3 business strategy’ of generating a minimum 3% market share and at least 3 leading brands in our key target countries.”

A commitment to women’s and baby’s health

2015 also marks several milestones for the company, including the 20th anniversary of the launch of Femibion®, the popular metafolin and multivitamin supplement of Merck’s Consumer Health business, which is specifically designed to meet women’s nutritional needs during planning, pregnancy and lactation.

As part of its commitment to continuously developing its products on the basis of the latest research and professional recommendations, Merck Consumer Health has launched a new formulation of Femibion with vitamin D in Germany. The vitamin D dose of 800 I.E. corresponds to the vitamin D recommendation of the German Society of Nutrition for pregnant and nursing women.1

2015 starts in good financial shape

In the first quarter of 2015, Merck’s Consumer Health reported sales of € 217 million representing 13% organic growth (excluding 7% growth based on currency effects) versus Q1 2014 (€ 180 million). This strong performance was driven by 25% organic growth on last year in both Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Europe reported a solid performance of 3% organic growth, and Middle East/Africa2 7% organic growth year on year. Key brands driving these positive results were Neurobion, Dolo-Neurobion, Nasivin and Kytta.

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About Merck’s Consumer Health Business

Brands of the Consumer Health business, such as Dolo-Neurobion®, Neurobion®, Bion®, Seven Seas®, Nasivin®, and Femibion® are innovative leaders in key markets, backed by science and trusted by consumers worldwide. The Consumer Health business is with over 2,600 employees globally active in over 40 markets. Since 2014, the portfolio comprises of brands with annual total sales of about $ 1 billion. Consumer Health is a business of the Healthcare business sector within the Merck Group with global headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany. For more information please go to www.merck-consumer-health.com.

All Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

Merck is a leading company for innovative, top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. The company has six businesses – Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Allergopharma, Biosimilars, Merck Millipore and Performance Materials – and generated sales of around € 11.3 billion in 2014. Around 39,000 employees work for Merck in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of customers, and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company operates as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore and EMD Performance Materials.

1 Vitamin D (Calciferole), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V.

2 Including selected European markets such as Russia, Italy, Greece and Switzerland.


Merck Consumer Health
Dr. Lars Atorf
+49 6151 856-3114

Source: Merck

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Reporter: PR Wire
Editor: PR Wire
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