Unmodified oral-solid tablets are meeting consumer resistance, says a German/US survey

Lozenges, powders, chewable or effervescent versions should be considered, says Hermes Pharma

Up to 55% of consumers express some difficulty in swallowing tablets or capsules—the most common form of drug ingestions—according to a survey sponsored by Hermes Pharma (Pullach, Germany), a company that develops oral-solid formulations. While the study sponsor’s interest is obvious, it commissioned a third-party surveying firm, Spiegel Institut Mannheim, to conduct the poll of 1,000 US and German consumers, balanced for demographics. The survey did not distringuish between prescription and OTC products.

According to Hermes, younger adults (16-34 years) expressed even more dissatisfaction with oral solids than the elderly (65 or older), by a 70%-44% margin—a surprising result, given the difficulty that some seniors have with swallowing. Instant drinks and chewable tablets were preferred formulations for parents tending to their children’s needs. Additionally, upwards of 8% of patients say that difficulties in swallowing pills or capsules affects their adherence to therapy.

Hermes‘ conclusions:

  • By offering an active ingredient solely as a tablet or capsule pharmaceutical and life sciences companies ignore the needs of more than 50% of their target audience and are missing a substantial market opportunity
  • Introducing products that are easy to swallow, convenient to take and taste well could improve patient experience, increase compliance, boost the effectiveness of treatment, and at the same time increase company revenues
  • Given the weaknesses exhibited by tablets and capsules, there is a significant opportunity to capture market share by formulating medicines as user-friendly dosage forms.