HEALTH

LifeScan kicks off sweepstakes for blood glucose monitoring system

BY Michael Johnsen

MILPITAS, Calif. LifeScan earlier this week kicked off its “What’s Your Color?” Giveaway, an online sweepstakes that offers entrants the chance to win one of 10,000 OneTouch UltraMini Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems in the color of their choice—limelight, pink glow, jet black, and the original color, silver moon.

“Many of my patients feel self-conscious about testing in public,” stated Steven Edelman, clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego, and founder of the non-profit organization Taking Control of Your Diabetes. “Having a cool, colorful, small device like the OneTouch UltraMini may help them be a little bit more open with their diabetes and allow them to test on a more regular basis.”

The sweepstakes will run Aug. 15 through Nov. 30 at www.UltraMiniColor.com.

In addition to the new colored meters, 100 of the 10,000 winners will be selected at random to each receive an iPod nano, which will also be provided in the winner’s choice of color and engraved with a personalized message selected by the winner.

The iPod nanos will be pre-loaded with diabetes-related podcasts.

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Natrol posts impressive sales increase

BY Michael Johnsen

CHATSWORTH, Calif. Natrol on Wednesday posted a 17.8 percent increase over second-quarter 2006 sales to $19.5 million for the period ended June 30. Natrol attributed the sales increase to a strong performance from new products that offset a $900,000 decline out of the planned discontinuation of Ester-C.

“In addition to good financial results, we made excellent strategic progress with our business,” stated Wayne Bos, Natrol president and chief executive officer. “The acquisition of [Medical Research Institute] closed late in the quarter and further diversified our business. MRI provides not only a premium brand but contributes a strong, science-based pipeline for further penetration and market development of higher-growth areas of the nutraceutical business.”

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Leiner moves forward in its re-entry of the OTC market

BY Michael Johnsen

CARSON, Calif. Leiner Health Products Tuesday morning stated in a conference call with analysts that the company is continuing to move forward in re-entering the over-the-counter market following the voluntary closure of its Fort Mills, S.C. OTC manufacturing facilities following a failed Food and Drug Administration inspection of its facilities.

Leiner reported that retailers have been supportive of the company’s return to the OTC sector, especially given the fact that Perrigo is currently the only OTC store brand manufacturer in the market. Dr. Reddy, which had previously sourced its OTC offerings from Leiner, “to our knowledge has yet to ship any product” since the deal between Dr. Reddy and Leiner had been terminated in April, Bob Kaminski, Leiner chief executive officer said.

Prior to Leiner’s voluntary suspension of OTC products, the company marketed more than 80 different OTC products with approximately 915 different SKUs.

“Our goal is to emerge from the challenges we faced here to be a best-in-class supplier,” Kaminski said. Toward that end, Leiner has restructured its quality assurance team, naming John Johnson to the lead post in, and hopes to have OTC manufacturing capability back in place within six months. “As part of our efforts in this area, we recently recruited John Johnson to join Leiner’s team as senior vice president, quality and compliance,” Kaminski stated. “John, who was most recently the senior quality executive for Mayne Pharma, has more than 30 years’ experience and a demonstrated track record in successfully driving quality initiatives.”

Leiner begins meeting with the FDA Aug. 15 regarding reinstituting its OTC production facilities. Kaminski noted that Leiner is on schedule with its plans to get back into the OTC market, but would not move forward until Johnson and his team are comfortable, and the FDA has granted approval.

Following FDA approval, Leiner will begin negotiating with retailers on a ramp-up program for its OTC business. Kaminski explained that the company’s product mix will be different from before, and that retailers are expected to cede Leiner back into the mix on a dual source basis, meaning that on a short term basis Leiner will not realize the volume of business it had before the Fort Mills plant closure (where it had been a single-source suppliers on certain SKUs for some retailers) and in the long-term may gain business by becoming the secondary source of product in categories in which it had not participated before.

For the first quarter ending June 30, Leiner recorded net sales of $107.4 million, a decrease of 34.4 percent compared to year-ago. Leiner reported a net loss of $27.5 million, compared to a net gain of $2 million in the year-ago quarter.

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