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Antacids expect some upset

BY Michael Johnsen

Sales of antacid tablets are up almost 3%. And while nobody is suggesting that upward trajectory is going to change anytime soon, there will be a decent amount of volatility in the coming year.


Proton-pump inhibitors Prevacid 24HR and Zegerid OTC now have been on the shelf for a little more than a year, and those products appear to have generated accretive sales to the category, as opposed to stealing share from their competitors. In fact, only two antacid brands realized a decline in sales over the past year — Procter & Gamble’s Prilosec OTC and McNeil Consumer’s Pepcid brand family.


The less-than-4% decline in Prilosec OTC sales is nominal, considering the brand faced down both PPI introductions and continued store-brand erosion, and it still is the No. 1 antacid by a more than $150 million margin. Sales declines across the Pepcid brand are attributed to the number of product recalls McNeil Consumer had to make in the past two years.


The volatility in the category will be generated by McNeil’s Pepcid and GlaxoSmithKline’s Tagamet. McNeil is close to relaunching many of those recalled products — some in late 2011 and the rest in 2012 — and the speculation is the marketing behind that reintroduction will be considerable. And GlaxoSmithKline’s Tagamet HB 200 is one of the brands on the sales block, suggesting any acquiring company will at least breathe some new marketing life into that brand through social media.

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Digestives Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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WAG offering free 
diagnostic screenings

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens last month announced its offer of free blood-pressure checks, along with complementary healthcare professional consultations, as its contribution to the Million Hearts campaign, sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


“Participation in this campaign is another example of the opportunity our pharmacists and Take Care Health [System] providers have to drive positive health outcomes through their face-to-face interactions with patients,” suggested Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreens.


And Crawford should know — Walgreens has been providing free screenings for some time now. The chain in February announced its Walgreens Way to Well Commitment, promising more than $100 million in preventive healthcare resources, health testing services and charitable programs over the next four years.


And the pharmacy’s AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour has been traveling around the country, providing an expected $14 million worth of free health tests, including total cholesterol levels, blood pressure, bone density, glucose levels, waist circumference and body mass index.


Walgreens already has realized the kind of impact complementary testing can have — between November 2009 and November 2010, Walgreens administered nearly 300,000 blood glucose and A1C tests with more than 25% of patients testing “at risk.”

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Chill out

BY Michael Johnsen

IRVING, Texas — Unwind from the grind. That’s the tagline iChill Beverages is using to compel consumers to pick up its iChill relaxation shot, the yin to 5-Hour Energy’s yang.


If sales of 5-Hour Energy, or any energy shot for that matter, are any indicator, sales executives at iChill Beverages won’t be “chillaxing” anytime soon. Across the single-shot category, sales are up 37.7% to $189.7 million, according to SymphonyIRI Group across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart) for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 7.

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