Prices of OTCs in some categories are trending up

Article gives examples of OTCs with high prices



Prices of OTCs in some categories are trending up

These days, many over-the-counter products are fetching some pretty steep prices. From tooth-whitening systems to bug repellents to glucosamine/chondroitin supplements to razors, OTC prices are edging upward and, in some cases, causing sticker shock. Here's a sampling of some of the pricier OTCs you'll find on retail shelves:

Consumers can now get a whiter smile, by means of OTC remedies, at a cost of about $37. This category is shared by Crest Whitestrips, Natural White Tooth Whitening Systems, and Rembrandt Plus Superior Bleaching Kit.

Prices are also rising in the toothpaste and toothbrush categories. Crest Plus Scope toothpaste, a new combination toothpaste with mouthwash, is being offered for $2.99. Colgate's Motion Toothbrush is $15.

Gillette has introduced Mach 3 Turbo Razor with two cartridges, and the price is enough to raise some eyebrows. Two chains are advertising the upscale razor for between $7.96 and $8.99. The female version—Venus Crystal Clear Razor—doesn't come cheaply either, at $6.99.


Some manufacturers have come up with new delivery systems to apply their products, and, while their prices are not exorbitant, they cost more than the original product. For example, Del Pharmaceuticals' Orajel Medicated Toothache Swabs, priced at $7, relieve toothache pain with a delivery system that combines the medication and applicator. Del is betting customers will be willing to pay more for the unit-dose swab, which is also being used for Orajel medicated mouth sore product.

NatureWell is also selling a higher-priced OTC with MigraSpray, a product touted for advanced relief of migraine headaches. The product retails for around $13.00.

On the dietary supplements shelf, prices for products to relieve the pain of arthritis are swelling. Joint-Ritis Maximum Strength Pain Relief is $17.99, while 80-120 count ARTHxDS Glucosamine Chondroitin appeared in a drugstore chain circular for $30.

Customers are also going to pay more for some allergy relief products. Take the example of one new product from Parke-Davis, maker of Benadryl. BenaMist Nasal Spray has an advertised sale price of $9.99.

Consumers who want 12-hour protection from mosquitoes this summer have a new premium-priced product to select. 3M's Ultrathon insect repellent is priced at $5. 99 for a 6-oz. can.

Will consumers balk at higher priced OTCs? George Dierberger, marketing/international operations manager at 3M, believes customers won't mind paying a little more in order to get value. "The benefit is that the product lasts longer. From a consumption standpoint—our product won't sweat off. If it lasts longer, it's less expensive on a per-application basis. Even though the $5.99 might be sticker shock for some folks, it's really not, because you only have to apply it once for eight hours versus the competitive products that you have to apply twice. It's a much better value for consumers."

Kyle Lentz, HBC industry analyst at Hamacher Resource Group, Milwaukee, put it this way: "People aren't afraid to pay more if a product works. For example, with glucosamine and chondroitin, some people say, 'I've noticed a difference in the way I feel.' Those who do [notice a difference] will continue to take it and pay the price. It's all about efficacy."

Sandra Levy


Sandra Levy. Prices of OTCs in some categories are trending up.

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