Help Remedies, the New York-based creator of minimalist over-the-counter medicine, launches the bold statement "Take Less", calling out big pharma for its excesses and promoting the idea of moderation in OTC drugs. In a category that traditionally promotes more, extra, bigger, faster, etc., boutique pharma company Help (helpineedhelp.com) is communicating a unique message, that less – less drugs, less dyes, less coatings – is sometimes more. Help's "Take Less" message and products are now available nationally at Walgreens, so that people across the country will have access to simple answers to basic healthcare issues.
Founded in 2008 by former advertising executives Richard Fine and Nathan Frank, Help began as a passion project – a response to personal distrust and confusion with OTC products, packaging and language. The brand quickly amassed a cult following for its sleek, eco-friendly packaging, clever product monikers, and online wit amid a characteristically staid category.
After their initial launch, Help discovered some problems bigger than packaging. "Drug companies' ongoing need to make more and sell more results in a proliferation of complicated and unclear products – mixed active ingredients, higher dosages, unnecessary dyes and coatings. All of this nonsense makes for a confused consumer, who very often has little idea what drugs they are actually consuming when they reach for a bottle of pain medicine," said Help Co-Founder and CEO Richard Fine.
More than an incidental annoyance, this confusion can actually be dangerous. According to the National Safety Council, increases in accidental overdoses of over-the-counter, prescription, and illegal drugs are one of the fastest-rising causes of accidental death in the United States: An estimated 25,000 people die of unintentional poisonings from these substances each year.
Help hopes to improve this situation by promising consumers less:
- Less drugs – All of Help's medicines are made with single active ingredients. help, I have a headache, for example, contains only acetaminophen, whereas some other headache medicines contain two or three drugs.
- Less dyes – Help's drugs are made with no dyes and the fewest possible coatings. Much of the coating and colors on popular drugs is decoration with no medical benefit.
- Less confusion – Each product is titled after the symptom it is meant to solve, e.g., help I have allergies, instead of a brand name, so people understand clearly what they are taking and what they are taking it for.
OTC confusion and overdose is a concern among pharmacists. Help's newly appointed Medical Director, Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) David Pompei, was well aware of these problems when he first came across help I have a headache in his local drugstore. "Some people think that by adding more warnings to the label you solve the problem of confusion in the drug aisle. But the truth is, the longer the label, the less likely people are to read it. When I saw Help I immediately recognized what it represented – a badly needed move towards simplicity." said Pompei.
While the company encourages consumers to "Take Less", Help isn't an anti-drug company; in fact they are a drug company; one that understands and values the importance of medicine, yet thinks that simplicity and moderation are desperately needed in the industry.
The "Take Less" message and Help's seven OTC products debut this month in over 8,000 Walgreens stores nationwide. With current retail distribution including Duane Reade, Pharmaca, select Target stores, and boutique hotels, this national expansion provides Help's simple, moderate approach to medicine to an ever-greater consumer base.