HEALTH

Drugstore.com sees increase in consumer visits

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. Drugstore.com on Wednesday reported a 75% increase in the past year in the number of consumers visiting its coupon, sale and clearance pages for nonprescription health and beauty products.

The number of orders coming from customers searching for bargains is up more than 90% year-over-year, the online druggist reported.

“We see more and more consumers looking for ways to save money on products they use every day, and drugstore.com is focused on finding new ways to offer even more value. In fact we just lowered prices on more than 2,000 products,” stated David Lonczak, VP and chief marketing officer for Drugstore.com. “Since the beginning of the year, we’ve also seen more customers taking advantage of our drugstore.com dollars program, one of the highest value customer loyalty programs in the industry, offering 5% back toward a future purchase.”

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Colmers seeks feedback from UMD School of Pharmacy about H1N1 virus

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE, Md. Concerning the current outbreak of H1N1, or swine flu, Maryland’s top health official asked for feedback from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, with its network of pharmacists, on “what worked and what didn’t work,” the pharmacy school announced Monday.

John Colmers, Maryland secretary of health and mental hygiene, said during a recent meeting of the School of Pharmacy Board of Visitors that “we are not out of the woods yet. We have identified that this is a virus that is in our population, and we are in the phase now of lessons learned.”

He said his department is gathering data on medication and counseling provided by pharmacists during the outbreak.  Colmers said the availability of antiviral drugs was of great interest during the swine flu outbreak.

Although the federal government released 25% of its stockpile of medications and supplies for a possible pandemic, Colmers said, “We don’t understand the supply side.” He said a policy is needed to obtain better information on what is available during an outbreak.

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Mayer Labs to relaunch the Today Sponge

BY Michael Johnsen

BERKELEY, Calif. Mayer Labs on Tuesday announced that it will relaunch the Today Sponge, possibly marking the fourth time the over-the-counter birth control product has been introduced to the U.S. market.

According to Mayer, the product already has distribution through CVS, Walgreens and Duane Reade, three retailers who had carried the product before.

Today Sponge was originally introduced in 1983 and removed from the market due to manufacturing problems in 1994, according to published reports. The product was reintroduced into U.S. stores in 2005 by Allendale Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Synova Healthcare Group in 2007. Synova “re-launched” the Today Sponge soon after it acquired Allendale, but filed for bankruptcy protection later that year. Now Mayer has acquired the manufacturing and distribution rights to the birth control product.

“We are very pleased to add the Today Sponge to our portfolio of high quality reproductive products,” stated David Mayer, CEO of Mayer Labs. “The recent interruption of distribution was not the result of product quality or consumer demand, but was due to the previous owner, Synova Healthcare Group, filing bankruptcy.”

The Today Sponge is being relaunched with new packaging and Web site. Suggested retail price for a 3-pack is $14.99.

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