HEALTH

Airborne completes settlements for marketing, product labeling suit claims

BY Michael Johnsen

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. Airborne Health on Tuesday completed the last of three settlements regarding past marketing and labeling of its products, agreeing to pay $7 million to settle investigations by 32 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia, the company announced.

“We’re putting the dietary supplement industry on notice—snake oil sales pitches will no longer be given free reign,” Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a statement, according to published reports. “Our strong coalition of states will continue to investigate and pursue companies that make false claims about dietary supplements and other products.”

Settlements to date total $30 million.

The settlement with the Attorneys General—which involves no admission of wrongdoing on Airborne’s part, the company stated—is the last of three settlements involving similar claims regarding older advertising and labeling of Airborne dietary supplements. On Oct. 6, 2008, a U.S. District Judge approved a $23.5 million settlement of a class action lawsuit. On Sept. 5, the District Judge approved an additional $6.5 million settlement with Federal Trade Commission that would be paid only if the class action settlement does not cover all consumer claims. The class action and FTC settlement funds are being divided among consumers who joined the class action and filed for refunds.

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GSI Commerce, GNC agree to extend e-commerce partnership

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH, Pa. GSI Commerce and GNC on Tuesday announced a multiyear extension and expansion of the e-commerce agreement between the two companies. Under the agreement, which runs through 2017, GSI will continue to provide GNC’s online store with e-commerce technology, order management and customer care operations.

“Since partnering with GSI, our online business has become an important channel for both product sales and information,” said Beth Kaplan, president and chief merchandising and marketing officer for GNC. “We are excited about extending our e-commerce agreement with GSI and expanding our relationship to include interactive marketing services.”

In addition to e-commerce services, the agreement names GSI’s digital agency, gsi interactive, as GNC’s digital agency of record and adds a full complement of marketing services that include site usability testing, paid search marketing, comparison shopping engines, affiliate marketing, display advertising, emerging media, and e-mail services powered by e-Dialog, GSI’s e-mail marketing subsidiary.

“We are very happy that GNC will continue to build its online business with GSI as its e-commerce partner,” said Scott Hardy, executive vice president of business management for GSI. “This long-term, multiyear, and expanded agreement speaks to the success of the relationship and to the opportunity in front of us for continued growth.”

GNC launched its online store on GSI’s e-commerce platform in the fourth quarter of 2005. Online sales have since become an important channel for GNC as well as a valuable extension of its brand, the company stated.

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Forbes names Home Diagnostics one of its 200 best small businesses

BY Michael Johnsen

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Home Diagnostics on Tuesday announced that it was named one of Forbes magazine’s “200 Best Small Companies” in the October 27 issue of that publication, which makes for HDI’s debut on the Forbes list.

“Being recognized by Forbes as one of the nation’s best small companies is a testament to the success of Home Diagnostics’ growth strategy,” stated Richard Damron, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Home Diagnostics. “National pharmacy chains, distributors and mail service providers trust our blood glucose monitoring systems to represent their own brands because we offer high-performance products at a significant cost savings to their diabetic customers. Our ability to capitalize on our unique distribution model and gain market share with competitive price points positions Home Diagnostics as a strong player in a growing $7 billion diabetes testing supplies market.”

“The Forbes list of the 200 Best Small Companies seeks to identify the strongest public companies with sales under $750 million,” said Kurt Badenhausen associate editor at Forbes. “These firms all have reasonable debt burdens and have had solid sales and earnings growth over the past five years.”

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