HEALTH

Alcon reports third-quarter eye care sales increase

BY Michael Johnsen

HUNENBERG, Switzerland Alcon Thursday morning reported an increase in consumer eye care sales of 10.5 percent to $223.7 million for its third quarter ended Sept. 30. Sales of contact lens disinfectants grew 2.6 percent, as Opti-Free RepleniSH and Opti-Free Express multipurpose disinfecting solutions continued to maintain their combined market share in the United States.

Alcon currently fields a 38.7 percent market share of the U.S. contact lens care license market, the company reported, remaining the only branded marketer to own a greater market share than private label alternatives and exceeding market share of competitors Bausch & Lomb and AMO, which together possess less than 25 percent market share. “We gained significant market share on a global basis as a result of the product recalls by competitors in 2006 and 2007,” commented Cary Rayment, Alcon chairman, president and chief executive officer during a conference call with analysts. “We have been able to maintain the share we gained in the past two years,” he said.

“We are the only brand that exceeds private label in the U.S.,” he added. “We believe this is a result of our success in communicating the efficacy and safety of the Opti-Free RepleniSH brand to the professional channel where we get about seven out of 10 recommendations from optometrists in the U.S.”

Sales of artificial tears products increased 28 percent, led by increases in the global sales of Systane lubricant eye drops and the U.S. launch of Systane Ultra in July. “Quarterly sales have almost tripled in the last five years, reflecting increased market demand and market share gains in this segment,” Rayment said.

Alcon reported global sales of $1.5 billion for the third quarter, an increase of 14.1 percent.

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Newly released pregnancy test tells gender of baby-to-be

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNNYVALE, Calif. Consumer Genetics on Wednesday released a new pregnancy test kit that can also help identify the gender of the baby-to-be with a positive result.

As many as half of expectant parents want to know the gender of their child, the company stated, citing a 2007 Gallup Panel poll. Suggested retail price for the kit is $24.95.

Once a woman determines she is pregnant, she can use the included gender test kit as early as 7 weeks post-conception. The gender test involves a finger-prick blood sample for DNA collection and preservation. The kit is then mailed to the lab, with an additional lab fee of $199. Based on the company’s internal research study, the Consumer Genetics gender testing technology boasts slightly greater than 95 percent accuracy.

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Quigley releases OTC medication for chest relief in children ages 6 and up

BY Michael Johnsen

DOYLESTON, Pa. The Quigley Corporation on Wednesday introduced the new Kids-EEZE Chest Relief a single-ingredient, allopathic expectorant with guaifenesin to help children, ages six and up, suffering from uncomfortable chest congestion.

Kids-EEZE Chest Relief provides an alternative to the many multi-symptom children’s cold products that could potentially lead to overmedication, the company stated.

The product is available as a soft chew in strawberry and grape flavors.

“In recent years, the cough and cold remedy category has seen a growth in multi-symptom cold remedies, which has led to concerns about parents overmedicating their kids and treating symptoms their children weren’t actually suffering from,” stated Albert Piechotta, executive director of communications and investor relations at the Quigley Corporation.

“Chest congestion is a typical symptom of the common cold and one that is uncomfortable for children,” added Dr. Paul Horowitz of Discovery Pediatrics in Valencia, California. “Making a cough more productive can really make the child feel better and reduce the chances of that chest congestion turning into something more serious.”

Suggested retail price is $7.99.

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