Laboratoires McNeil maintained its lead in the France eye care market in 2012, with a 29% value share. Its key brand is Dacryosérum, which continues to remain popular due to the higher prescription propensity associated with this product, considering that it is amongst the few remaining standard eye care products which are still reimbursed at the rate of 30% by the French Social Security. With this partial state subsidy, all formats of Dacryosérum offer an excellent price advantage, thus accounting for the highest demand and value sales in France.
OTC standard eye care products are positioned at 55% for red eye and 30% for dry eye, and are used to treat benign eye issues, often due to mild conjunctivitis, eye fatigue and infections. According to trade sources, almost 80% of the French population continue to deem eye care as very important; 83% consider the waiting time for a visit to an ophthalmologist as being too long (resulting from a shortage of ophthalmologists in France), and they do not hesitate to make use of eye care products as remedies for benign eye ailments. Drops were the most common format in standard eye care in 2012, accounting for an 85% share of value sales.
Over the forecast period, eye care is expected to see a negative constant value CAGR of 1%. The advent of cheaper alternatives, such as mass distribution close substitutes, is likely to intensify the price competition in eye care. The advent of further liberalisation, supported by the continued de-reimbursement plan of the French authorities, will lead to further democratisation of OTC eye care in France, as the distribution of such products gradually shifts to supermarkets and hypermarkets.
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