HEALTH

Fitbit launches three new fitness trackers

BY Michael Johnsen

DUBAI, UAE — Fitbit on Tuesday unveiled three new activity and sleep-tracking products: Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge. 
 
Fitbit Charge is a high-performance wristband that delivers all-day activity tracking, real-time fitness stats and Caller ID on the wrist for people who want to step up their everyday activities to improve their overall health. Fitbit Charge HR is an advanced tracker that delivers continuous, automatic wrist-based heart rate, Caller ID and all-day activity tracking for active users. And Fitbit Surge is a sleek Fitness Super Watch that offers the best of GPS, continuous wrist-based heart rate, all-day fitness tracking and smartwatch functionality in one device.
 
"Our mission has always been to deliver innovation through exceptional, wearable design in a way that empowers consumers with greater knowledge of their overall health," said James Park, CEO Fitbit. "That being said, we understand that everyone's approach to fitness is different. With the addition of these new products, Fitbit offers the widest variety of trackers — at affordable prices across all mobile platforms — ensuring that everyone can find the right fit for their lifestyle and their goals."
 
Fitbit Charge will be available on Nov. 17 on Fitbit.com and at retailers nationwide. Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge will be available broadly in early 2015.
 
 
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AAC: Cold-and-flu season a good time to remind consumers about not doubling up on acetaminophen dosing

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition on Tuesday kicked off its annual “Double Check; Don’t Double Up” campaign, reminding consumers to double check their medicine labels to avoid doubling up on medicines with acetaminophen when treating cold and flu symptoms.
 
A majority of people (seven-in-10) will use over-the-counter medicines to treat their cold and flu symptoms, and many of these medicines contain acetaminophen.
 
Acetaminophen is found in more than 600 prescription and OTC medicines, including pain relievers, fever reducers, sleep aids and numerous cough, cold and flu medicines. It is safe and effective when used as directed, but there is a limit to how much can be safely taken in one day. The current maximum dose over a 24-hour period for adults is 4,000 milligrams. Taking more than directed is an overdose and can lead to liver damage. 
 
“People may use a medicine to treat their cold or flu symptoms on top of a medicine they are already taking, not realizing that both might contain acetaminophen,” stated Tolu Akinwale, spokesman and registered pharmacist. “The Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition arms pharmacists with tools and resources to help us remind patients who are taking a prescription medicine with acetaminophen to also check the labels of any over-the-counter medicine they take.”
 
More than 50 million Americans use acetaminophen weekly. The Coalition is targeting these consumers through outreach to its member and partner networks, educational material distribution with an emphasis on retail pharmacies, and partnerships with online health information sites. Coalition members are urging cold and flu sufferers to follow four key acetaminophen safety steps:
 
  1. Always read and follow the medicine label;
  2. Know if medicines contain acetaminophen, which is listed on the front panel of packaging and in bold type or highlighted in the “active ingredients” section of OTC medicine labels, and sometimes listed as “APAP” or “acetam” on Rx labels;
  3. Never take two medicines that contain acetaminophen at the same time; and
  4. Ask your healthcare provider or a pharmacist if you have questions about dosing instructions or medicines that contain acetaminophen.
 
“Cold and flu season is a very appropriate time to remind consumers to double check their medicine labels and not double up on two medicines with acetaminophen at the same time,” commented Emily Skor, executive director of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation, a founding organization of the Coalition. “Educating consumers on safe acetaminophen use allows them to safely get the relief they are seeking from this important pain reliever.”
 
The AAC is a group of leading health, healthcare provider and consumer organizations. The Coalition formed the Know Your Dose campaign to educate consumers about safe acetaminophen use in order to prevent liver damage.
 
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Gryphon Investors acquires majority stake in C. B. Fleet Co.

BY Michael Johnsen

 

LYNCHBURG, Va. — Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco-based middle market private equity firm, announced Monday that it has acquired a majority stake in C. B. Fleet Co. Fleet’s management team, along with several additional investors, will hold minority stakes alongside Gryphon. 
 
Fleet Labs, headquartered in Lynchburg, Va., and family-owned since its founding in 1869, operates in the personal healthcare and over-the-counter industry with product lines including Summer’s Eve, Fleet, Norforms, Pedia-Lax, Phazyme and Boudreaux’s. The company has a presence in North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America. 
 
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
 
“Fleet Laboratories has a commanding position in the OTC and personal healthcare product areas, which we have closely followed for several years," stated Dennis O'Brien, a partner at Gryphon. "We believe the OTC sector is poised for continued expansion as consumers migrate toward more economical non-prescription products and that Fleet has unique and differentiated capabilities to serve these markets. Additionally, the company’s strong brand advantage in the personal healthcare segment under the leading feminine hygiene brand, Summer’s Eve, is a springboard for strong future growth.”
 
As part of the transaction, Steve LaMonte, a Gryphon advisor and a senior executive in both OTC and personal healthcare businesses who has held leadership positions at Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Schering-Plough, will become chairman of the board. CEO Jeff Rowan and the existing management team will remain with the company.
 
"Fleet Laboratories has a long history of innovation and responsiveness to customer needs, which is coupled with a growing acceptance and awareness of OTC and personal healthcare products among consumers, resulting in a well-run company with a bright future," commented Keith Stimson, also a Gryphon partner. "We welcome Jeff and his team and look forward to working with them on the growth initiatives that will allow Fleet to continue to deliver exceptional results and reach its full potential as a leading player in its industries. Fleet Laboratories is a true platform that provides an excellent opportunity from which to make numerous add-on acquisitions in desirable categories.”
 
Houlihan Lokey acted as exclusive financial advisor to Gryphon and TM Capital acted as exclusive financial advisor to Fleet on the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal advisor to Gryphon and Hunton & Williams and Edmunds & Williams were the legal advisors to Fleet Labs.

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