HEALTH

Diagnostic Devices in contract with two states for Medicaid-covered blood glucose monitoring systems

BY Michael Johnsen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Diagnostic Devices on Wednesday announced contracts with the states of Illinois and Missouri around Medicaid coverage of its Prodigy line of blood glucose monitoring systems and test strips.

“We will continue working with other states for coverage under their Medicaid programs, and to demonstrate to them the savings Illinois and Missouri taxpayers will realize with the Prodigy family of products,” stated Rick Admani Abulhaj, Diagnostic COO.

A recent study by University of Florida PharmD candidates found the “talking” feature of the Prodigy AutoCode meter made a “significant improvement” in overall diabetes control and compliance among patients who took part, the company noted.

The Prodigy Voice meter for blind or low-vision diabetes patients has been honored with awards from both the National Federation of the Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind, the company added.

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3M acquires ACE bandages

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. PAUL, Minn. 3M announced that it recently acquired the ACE branded elastic bandage and supports product lines and thermometer product line (and related brands) from Becton, Dickinson and Co.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“ACE is a great extension of our consumer products portfolio,” stated Gabi Sabongi, VP, R&D and new business ventures of 3M Consumer and Office Business. “ACE brings to our company an iconic brand with admirable consumer loyalty. ACE and its related brands also broaden our channels for consumer products, including the sporting goods channel.”

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NBTY 3Q revenue up 22%

BY Michael Johnsen

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. NBTY last week posted net sales of $652 million for its third quarter ended June 30, an increase of 22%. However, overall gross profit margins fell to 45% from 51% in NBTY’s fiscal third quarter 2008, reflecting an on-going trend of private-label sales constituting a greater portion of the company’s overall sales. This is the first quarter that NBTY’s nutritional supplement private-label business of Leiner Health, acquired July of last year, has been fully integrated into NBTY’s operational results.

Private label sales traditionally have a lower gross profit and, accordingly, overall gross profit margin decreased.

Net sales for the NBTY’s Wholesale/U.S. Nutrition division, which in addition to Leiner  includes NBTY’s key retail brands like Nature’s Bounty, Osteo Bi-Flex, Rexall, Sundown, Ester-C and Solgar, increased 40% to $396 million.

Sales of Leiner private label products are outpacing overall category growth, NBTY noted — NBTY’s wholesale offerings reported a 10.5% increase for the 13 weeks ended June 27 across food, drug and mass channels, citing Nielsen Group data, as compared to 9.8% growth for the entire category.

Speaking to NBTY’s fiscal success, Harvey Kamil, president and CFO, appeared Monday morning on the Fox Business Morning C-Suite Sit-Down. Asked if dietary supplements were an expendable expense in a down economy, Kamil replied, “People look at their nutritional supplements [as] non-discretionary. They want to stay healthy.”

The core demographic shopping dietary supplements — baby boomers over the age of 50 — are particularly concerned about their health and disease prevention, Kamil added.

“We are answering the demand,” he said. “It’s a science-based industry … fish oil, vitamin D, news comes out almost every day about the benefits of these nutritional supplements. So as the science comes out, the market will move [and] consumers will be buying these products.”

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