TheOTCLab Launches World’s First Fungal Nail Plaster
Dutch foot-care specialists TheOTCLab launches what it claims to be the world's first fungal nail plaster.
Fungal nail sufferers in selected European Union countries can now buy TheOTCLab’s new patented nail fungus plaster, which it claims is the first of its kind in the world.
Speaking exclusively to HBW Insight, TheOTCLab’s CEO Albert Swane revealed that TheOTCLab had so far launched its latest addition to the FungeX range of innovative nail fungus treatments – the FungeX Nail Fungus Plaster – in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway and was in the process of launching it in Portugal.
Like the other products in TheOTCLab’s FungeX foot-care range, the FungeX Nail Fungus Plaster is a European Union CE-marked medical device.
However, what set the firm’s new product apart from other brands in what was undoubtedly a crowded European fungal nail treatment market – with strong competition coming from Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC’s Scholl, Vemedia Group’s Excilor and Trimb Healthcare’s Nailner – was its unique and patented plaster application, which provided eight hours of continuous treatment while consumers were asleep, Swane explained.
Newly published clinical research had shown this mechanism to provide significant results four times as quickly (four weeks) as competitor nail fungus treatments, he continued, and encouraged nails to grow back 30% faster.
This “unique selling point” would be advertised on packs and in a 360-degree social media and television marketing campaign, he added.
Difference, Communication, Evidence
Offering consumers something different was central to TheOTCLab’s business strategy, Swane explained, alongside communicating this difference clearly on packaging and through advertising and backing up claims with robust and transparent evidence.
“Every company in the foot care category has a pen and a brush,” he pointed out. “That’s why we also created not only the FungeX Nail Fungus Plaster but also the FungeX Athlete Foot Socks.”
Launched last year, TheOTCLab’s “one size fits all” non-medicated socks treat athlete’s foot and its symptoms – itching, sensitive and irritated skin and unpleasant smell – in a single and hygienic application for the entire foot. (Also see "TheOTCLab Looks To Gain A Foothold In Europe's OTC Market With FungeX" - HBW Insight, 15 Aug, 2019.)
“The socks have been receiving great feedback,” Swane reported. “We were also awarded a prize in the Netherlands for being a top-100 most innovative company based on the socks.”
While the company’s first focus was always being unique in terms of application, Swane insisted that such innovation was wasted if it was not communicated effectively to consumers.
For TheOTCLab, this meant showing clearly on through health and efficacy claims on packaging that FungeX products offered an easier or better way to treat a foot-care symptom or disease, he said, and supporting this with social media and television advertising.
To show that its claims were supported by evidence, and that the products were indeed more convenient or effective than competitors, TheOTCLab also published all of its clinical trials on its website, he added.
Still Looking For Partners
Split into two parts, roughly 40% of TheOTCLab’s annual turnover came from its home market, the Netherlands, where Swane said the firm marketed its own brands and also selected third party brands, such as Laboratoires Diepharmex SA’s Audispray.
The rest of the company’s turnover came from its export business, he explained.
The European Union was TheOTCLab’s main export market, he continued, but FungeX products were also now available in Canada, South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait and Egypt.
“Our focus is on developing brands for niche markets,” he commented, “or markets where we think there is very little innovation.”
The UK was also still on the list of places that TheOTCLab wanted to bring its FungeX line, but the company has so far had no luck with finding a local distributor.
“We were waiting for the clinical trial to finish before trying to roll out our FungeX plasters in the UK,” Swane explained. “The question now is, do we want to launch there ourselves or with a partner?”
Meanwhile, TheOTCLab’s innovation strategy and dual business model is bringing success for the Dutch company, which was founded by Swane in 2016.
“We’re definitely growing,” Swane remarked, “so that’s good.”
"We’ve expanding our territories with partners globally,” he added, “and we’ve recently signed a deal with Ceuta Healthcare International Alliance to bring more OTC brands to the Netherlands, which will give us a boost in our home market."