Combinations: Matches made in marketing heaven?

The question: will there be a time when supplements are bundled with OTC or even Rx to do an even better job of addressing specific health conditions? Vicks DayQuil is advertising its bundled cold-symptom-relief OTC product with 1,200mg vitamin C. Bayer, meanwhile, has run into regulatory review with its product combining aspirin and sterols. What does the future look like?

"This is a very forward-thinking concept that may provide consumers with great benefits. However, there are probably too many regulatory hurdles that need to be overcome in order to properly sell such a concept. This is coupled with the fact that many consumers are turning away from OTC and Rx products that are often with significant side effects

—Paul Dijkstra, CEO, InterHealth Nutraceuticals.

"If using an OTC or a supplement helps people reach that quality of life aspect they aspire to, then they will use it. But for right now the difference remains that OTC focuses more on treatment of sickness or symptoms and supplement products focus more on prevention of sickness and/or the onset of symptoms."

— Patrick Luchsinger, marketing manager, North America, Lipid Nutrition

"It is about time validated clinically proven health benefits of natural health ingredients are openly brought to the public as OTC or even prescription drugs. We foresee this happening even more in the future. It is no secret that pharmaceutical-product development is in our plans; it may even be happening sooner than one might think."

— Tina Sampalis, chief scientific officer, Neptune Technologies and Bioressources

"It is possible but unlikely to occur under the current business and political environment. Consumers understand that Rx and OTC have side effects and are a different class of trade. In the US there would have to be a dramatic switch in perception and classification of supplements to allow this to occur."

— Frank Assumma, director of marketing, Natural Health Science

"If the FDA agrees to the request from the pharma industry that obesity will be defined as a disease, then the possibility of using a high-DHA product to reduce weight by turning on genes that produce proteins that increase the body's metabolism as a supplement will be out."

— Baldur Hjaltason, sales manager, Epax

"I am not sure supplements will be bundled with OTC products, since the two industries have different regulations. However, there are many supplement-marketing companies that sell directly to health professionals, and whose product lines are sold and 'prescribed' by doctors and chiropractors."

— Ron Udell, president, Soft Gel Technologies

"This is the direction that Germany has gone, and they have better standardisation and clinical studies that support herbal extracts to target specific health conditions, and physicians who prescribe information."

— Brien Quirk, director of R&D, Draco Natural Products

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