HEALTH

CHPA supports efforts of Dr. Drew, Five Moms Campaign in curbing DXM abuse

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Consumer Healthcare Products Association last week announced that Drew Pinsky, a nationally renowned drug abuse expert, will be joining the Five Moms Campaign in spreading the word to parents and legislators about the dangers of cough medicine abuse.

“Parents have far more power than they realize to keep their kids drannoug-free but our legislators also play a role in preventing this problem,” stated Pinsky, who is host of the popular radio show Loveline and the star of the VH1 hits “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” and “Sober House.” “In addition to raising awareness about the dangers of cough medicine abuse, the Five Moms and I are spending [Oct. 20] on Capitol Hill to encourage our elected officials to pass key legislation that would prohibit the sale of the raw form of dextromethorphan online, prohibit the sale of OTC cough medicine to those under 18 years of age.”

In addition to supporting the efforts of Drew and the Five Moms, CHPA has included a new educational icon for parents on the packaging of OTC cough medicines. This icon serves as a mini public service announcement for parents by making them aware of the issue of cough medicine abuse among teens and pointing them to StopMedicineAbuse.org where they can access resources they need to talk to their teen.

“The makers of cough medicine are steadfast in their commitment to raise awareness about the dangers of cough medicine abuse,” stated Linda Suydam, CHPA president. “Medicines containing dextromethorphan have a 50-year history of being safe and effective when used correctly. But when abused in extreme excess, dextromethorphan can produce dangerous side effects, especially when combined with alcohol, illicit drugs, or certain prescription drugs. We encourage parents to visit StopMedicineAbuse.org to learn more about the issue and engage in conversations about the dangers of medicine abuse with their teens.”

StopMedicineAbuse.org was developed by CHPA to help drive awareness around the potential for this type of substance abuse behavior, provide tips to prevent it from happening, and encourage parents to safeguard their medicine cabinets.

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Pfizer reports 3Q profit rise, revenue drop

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Job cuts helped raise Pfizer’s third-quarter 2009 profits by 26% over third-quarter 2008, even though the company had lower overall sales, according to an earnings report released Tuesday.

The world’s largest drug maker reported profits of $2.9 billion, compared with $2.3 billion a year ago, though revenues were $11.6 billion, a 3% decrease from $12 billion in third-quarter 2008. The company said the decrease in revenues and the rise in the value of the dollar kept profits from increasing further.

Pfizer’s $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth, while giving the company a leg up in vaccines, biologics and OTC drugs, helped offset profits by requiring it to pay higher interest rates on its bonds, according to the report. The company incurred $22.5 billion in debt through the acquisition, prompting Standard & Poor’s to lower its bond rating from AAA to AA.

Such drugs as the pain drug Lyrica (pregabalin) and the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) had strong sales overseas, but primary-care drugs in general had a mediocre performance thanks to lower sales of Lipitor in the United States. Cancer drugs, likewise, had lackluster performance, despite growth in recent years in the cancer drug market in general.

Though the drug Sutent (sunitinib malate) sold well, the company lost market exclusivity in Europe for the drug Camptosar (irinotecan), and had lower sales overseas due to the strengthening of the dollar, helping to drive sales down from $389 million in third-quarter 2008 to $371 million this quarter.

Meanwhile, sales of specialty drugs — drugs prescribed by specialist doctors rather than primary-care physicians — were $1.6 billion, a 3% increase over third-quarter 2008, thanks largely to strong sales of such drugs as the multiple sclerosis treatment Rebif (interferon beta-1a) and the pulmonary arterial hypertension drug Revatio (sildenafil citrate).

“The completion of the Wyeth acquisition represents a significant milestone in the transformation of Pfizer,” Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler stated. “We are beginning to implement our integration plan in order to quickly maximize the value of our expanded and more diversified global product portfolio in key high-growth areas. With customer-centric businesses, supported by research organizations, Pfizer is now well positioned to deliver greater value to patients and shareholders.”

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Pfizer returns to consumer care with Wyeth buy

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The approval last week of the Wyeth acquisition by Pfizer marks the return of a consumer-care division to Pfizer, and a considerable one at that.

Pfizer in 2006 sold its then OTC division to Johnson & Johnson as part of an initiative to capitalize on its pharmaceutical pipeline. Then the recession hit, and the need for a significant cash-flow generator like an OTC division again became paramount to pharma companies. So in addition to the pharmaceutical symmetries inherent in the deal — biologics and vaccines — the return of an OTC division to Pfizer is consequential.

There will be a degree of continuity as Wyeth Consumer Healthare is exchanged for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare on all OTC packaging — former president of Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, Cavan Redmond, remains in charge of the division as group president, diversified businesses at the new Pfizer. In addition to OTCs, animal health and nutrition, Cavan also picks up responsibility for capsule manufacturer Capsugel.

Pfizer’s new OTC division is strongest in internal analgesics behind its venerable Advil brand — comprising 16.8% dollar share of the category, the pain reliever generated $340.8 million in sales across food, drug and mass (minus Walmart) outlets for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 4, according to Information Resources Inc., down slightly by 2.5% in an economy that continues to skew toward private label.

Other areas of significance include dietary supplements, with $189.7 million in Centrum sales (down 1%) and $53.4 million in Caltrate sales (up 3.8%); cold and allergy, where in addition to Advil Cold, Wyeth fields Alavert and Robitussin. Indeed, almost $1-out-of-every-$3 spent on cough syrups is used to buy a Robitussin product, which generated $91.5 million for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 4, up 27.2%. Across the digestives aisle is Preparation H, with more than $75 million in annual sales, and Fibercon, which generates more than $10 million annually. And in lip care, the new Pfizer division will field Chapstick, a brand with more than $80 million in annual sales.

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