HEALTH

Novartis outsources production to bring back top-selling OTC brands to market

BY Michael Johnsen

 BASEL, Switzerland — Progress at re-opening its manufacturing facility in Lincoln, Neb., has been slow-going, Novartis reported Thursday, but the company has contracted third-party manufacturers to resume production of Excedrin, Lamisil and Triaminic. First shipments to retailers were made in October. 

The products will be available to consumers over the course of the fourth quarter, Novartis announced. And it is unlikely that any shipments will come out of the Lincoln plant anytime this year, as the restart of commercial production is taking longer than the company originally anticipated.

"We’ve announced the launch of Excedrin Migraine, Triaminic, Lamisil and Excedrin Extra Strength," Brian McNamara, division head Novartis OTC, told analysts Thursday. "We’re continuing to focus on bringing up our biggest brands at third parties, as we speak, to relaunch for next year. The margin impact is short-term."

"I’m still not happy with the progress that we’re making in Lincoln," Joseph Jimenez, Novartis CEO, told analysts. "So we are ensuring our return to market through third-party manufacturers, which will reduce our dependence on the remediation efforts at Lincoln. … We’re making progress, but it’s just not fast enough, and we’re returning to market with co-packers," he said. "We have very strong relaunch plans in place, and we’re executing now to regain our market share."

And Novartis won’t be getting out of the consumer health business anytime soon, Jimenez added, responding to an analyst question on what parameters would have to be met before Novartis considered exiting a particular division. "Consumer health plays a very important role. While it’s not a huge division, it’s still a division that pre-Lincoln generated over $3 billion in sales and will be a good grower," he said. "Strong brands, so strong consumer loyalty as evidenced by all of those consumers in the U.S. who are writing us and asking us to bring back Excedrin because nothing else works, in their mind. So these are very, very strong brands, and Consumer Health plays a very important role."

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GelStat updates SEC filings, positions for future growth

BY Michael Johnsen

PALM CITY, Fla. — GelStat is primed to grow its OTC remedy business, according to a letter to shareholders and prospective investors released Tuesday. 

The company recently updated historic annual and quarterly reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, noted Gerald Kieft, Gelstat CEO. "GelStat is now positioned to file a form 10 and become a fully reporting company or file the required documents to become an alternative reporting company on the OTC Markets," he wrote. "Either decision will provide better transparency to the investment community."

Kieft shared with investors that GelStat plans to promote its GelStat Migraine and GelStat Sleep products in the direct-to-consumer channel. In addition, GelStat is on the lookout for acquisitions or the distribution rights to additional healthcare products. 

"We have already made significant progress on a number of the aforementioned objectives and expect to be releasing additional information soon," Kieft concluded. 

 

 

 

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Study: Aspirin may block tumor growth in certain patients with colorectal cancer

BY Michael Johnsen

 BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Aspirin has the potential to block tumor growth in certain patients with colorectal cancer, according to an editorial in the Oct. 25, 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by a University of Alabama at Birmingham oncologist. In a study that appears in the same issue, researchers examined the use of aspirin in the treatment outcomes of patients with colorectal cancer.

Researchers collected experimental data from 964 patients with colorectal cancer, separating them into two groups based on the presence or absence of a mutation within the PIK3CA gene. The authors found that the use of aspirin after diagnosis in patients with the gene mutation was associated with a 46% reduction in overall mortality and an 82% reduction in colorectal cancer-specific mortality. In contrast, aspirin use in patients without the mutation did not affect either overall or colorectal-specific mortality.

“Approximately 17% of patients with colorectal cancer have a tumor that carries a mutated PIK3CA gene,” stated Boris Pasche, director of the UAB Division of Hematology and Oncology. “Hence, more than one in every six patients with locally advanced colorectal cancer may benefit from this therapy," he wrote. “We haven’t reached the point where we can make a big leap and advise patients to take aspirin to prevent cancer recurrence after surgery, but we are accumulating more information that helps us understand the role that aspirin can potentially play in cancer.”

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