HEALTH

GNC board explores possible sale of company

BY Michael Johnsen
PITTSBURGH – GNC Holdings on Monday announced that its board of directors has commenced a review of a wide range of strategic and financial alternatives to increase shareholder value, incuding a possible sale of the company. 
 
The review will include a thorough evaluation of the company's current operating plan, as well as potential value maximizing alternatives such as accelerated refranchising strategies, capital structure optimization, partnerships and other value-creating collaborations. The board is working with Goldman, Sachs as financial advisor and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as legal advisor to assist in the process.
 
"The board is committed to increasing shareholder value. After careful consideration, including discussions with a range of shareholders, we believe it is an appropriate time to undertake a comprehensive review of the company's strategic and financial alternatives," stated Michael Hines, GNC chairman. "We are in the early stages of a broad review and will take the time we need to thoroughly evaluate our opportunities to achieve the best result for our shareholders, business partners and associates. While the review is ongoing, GNC will continue to act with the necessary urgency to deliver improved financial performance by addressing our near-term challenges and continuing to execute our strategic initiatives."
 
There can be no assurance that this review will result in any specific action, or any assurance as to its outcome or timing. The company does not intend to discuss or disclose further developments related to its review unless and until the board has approved a specific action or otherwise determined that further disclosure is appropriate.
 
 
 
 
 
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Arizona, Texas top Walgreens Flu Index ‘most active’ list for 2015/2016 season

BY Michael Johnsen
DEERFIELD, Ill. – With flu activity winding down in the U.S., Walgreens on Friday announced the top markets and states for flu activity for the season, according to its season-ending Walgreens Flu Index examining aggregate prescription data from Nov. 2015 through mid-April 2016.
 
The states with the highest rates of influenza, according to the Index, were Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee.
 
Walgreens' top 10 markets with flu activity using aggregate data from Nov. 2015 through mid-April 2016 were: 
 
  1. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.);
  2. Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas;
  3. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas;
  4. Phoenix (Prescott), Ariz.;
  5. Memphis, Tenn.;
  6. Louisville, Ky.;
  7. Columbus-Tupelo-West Point-Houston, Miss.;
  8. Houston;
  9. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas; and
  10. Tyler-Longview (Lufkin & Nacogdoches), Texas. 
 
In addition to the top markets for activity, the season-ending Index also shows the bottom 10, suggesting successful prevention efforts in preparation for, and during flu season in these communities, which experienced the lowest levels of influenza.
 
The 10 markets with the least flu activity using aggregated data were: 
 
  1. Eugene, Ore.;
  2. Pittsburgh;
  3. Toledo, Ohio;
  4. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.;
  5. Portland, Ore.;
  6. Rochester, N.Y.;
  7. Augusta, Ga.- Aiken, S.C.;
  8. Boston, Mass. (Manchester, N.H.);
  9. Cleveland-Akron (Canton), Ohio; and
  10. Bakersfield, Calif.
 
The Walgreens Flu Index provides state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and is compiled using retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens locations nationwide. With the ability to generate hyper-local data, the Index continues to be instrumental in driving consumer awareness and prevention across the United States, while also serving as a tool for health departments, media and others at the local level.
 
The Walgreens Flu Index is compiled using weekly retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens locations nationwide. The data is analyzed at state and geographic market levels to measure absolute impact and incremental change of antiviral medications on a per store average basis, and does not include markets in which Walgreens has fewer than 10 retail locations.
 
 
 
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Georgia becomes state No. 33 to adopt NPLEx

BY Michael Johnsen
WASHINGTON – Georgia earlier this week became state No. 33 to adopt the real-time, stop-sale technology called the National Precursor Log Exchange, a blocking system used across the country which prevents the illegal sale of pseudoephedrine, an ingredient sometimes used in the production of methamphetamine. 
 
Aside from blocking illegal sales at the pharmacy counter, the NPLEx system provides law enforcement with valuable, real-time data on potential criminal activity. The legislation – sponsored by state Rep. David Clark, R-Buford, and Sen. Renee Unterman, R-45th district – was approved by the Georgia legislature and signed by Gov. Nathan Deal on April 26.
 
Georgia is the last state in the southeast to adopt NPLEx, as all of its neighboring states – South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina – adopted the system in previous years.
 
"CHPA commends the leadership of the Georgia legislature and Gov. Nathan Deal in the adoption of NPLEx and their participation in this successful national effort in the fight against meth," stated Scott Melville, president and CEO Consumer Healthcare Products Association. "We also applaud legislators, law enforcement and pharmacists across all 33 states working together to stop the illegal diversion of PSE, while ensuring that law-abiding citizens continue to have access to these safe and effective nonprescription cold and allergy medicines."
 
The announcement comes on the heels of a recent report from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators showing that so far this year between Jan. 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016, that NPLEx has blocked the illegal sale of 395,394 boxes of medicine containing PSE, keeping 1 million grams of PSE out of the hands of criminals.
 
 
 
 
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