HEALTH

Busy Breathers gains online distribution for portable oxygen backpacks

BY Michael Johnsen

DENVER — Busy Breathers on Tuesday announced the availability of its portable oxygen backpacks on e-commerce sites Drugstore.com and Walgreens.com and in 75 Walgreens locations throughout Colorado.  

“This is an important move for the company, but also significant to the tens of thousands of people who struggle with managing an active life with an oxygen tank,” stated Michelle Staley, founder of Busy Breathers. “Busy Breather bags, especially with the new design launched in August, helps enable both parents with children who have respiratory problems and adults with respiratory illnesses to lead a more active life with their essential oxygen tank.”

Staley first developed the initial idea for Busy Breathers when her son was born three months premature and was treated in the neonatal intensive care unit of Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver for four months. After her son was released, he still needed to be on oxygen for two years, so Staley developed the Busy Breathers backpack to make it more convenient for her to juggle her toddler and an oxygen tank.

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Perrigo wins tentative approval for generic Zegerid OTC

BY Barbara White-Sax

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Perrigo has received tentative approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its abbreviated new drug application to market over-the-counter omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate capsules in the 20-mg/1,100-mg strength, the store-brand equivalent to Merck’s Zegerid OTC.

Zegerid OTC (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate capsules 20 mg/1,100 mg), a proton-pump inhibitor indicated to relieve frequent heartburn, had sales of approximately $42 million through food, drug and mass merchandisers for the lastest 12 months.

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Pet meds provide new way to draw in customers

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — One of the most common reasons that retailers give for pet-medication programs is that pets are part of the family.

As analyst Debbie Wang of investment firm Morningstar told Drug Store News in April 2012, more empty nesters and young couples putting off having children are driving increases in pet ownership, and with that comes a need for pet healthcare.

(THE NEWS: Vet, FTC meeting affirms pharmacists’ animal medication role. Click here for the story.) 

This is why retailers like Kmart and Costco have been pushing their pet med businesses and expand their presence in a pet products market-worth, by some estimates, almost $53 billion. But a bigger reason is that it helps draw customers into the store, Wang said. Pet meds in and of themselves aren’t a major profit driver: A study cited by online pet supply retailer Drs. Foster and Smith estimates that 6 million pet prescriptions were filled at pharmacies outside veterinary offices last year, while Packaged Facts estimates that total sales of prescription pet drugs, including those dispensed by veterinarians, were $6.7 billion the same year.

Convenience is another incentive. As Nutramax director of veterinary science Rob Devlin told Drug Store News in June, the availability of OTC products for fleas, ticks and heartworm and new OTC pet supplements helps turn retailers into one-stop shop. But merchandising is important: Devlin — who estimated the total market for pet health, foods and other products at $52.87 billion — suggested that pet health should be a separate block in the store from pet treats in order to distinguish health products from those that might claim to provide health benefits, but contain low amounts of nutrients.


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