HEALTH

Nutritional, diagnostics sales give Abbott a boost

BY Michael Johnsen

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott on Wednesday posted a U.S. sales increase of 6.4% to $3.8 billion, including a 1.6% lift in domestic diagnostics sales and a 1.7% increase in U.S. nutritional sales.

In a conference call with analysts Wednesday morning, Abbott announced it would be relaunching its Ensure adult nutritional brand with the proprietary ingredient Revigor. Revigor (hydroxymethyl butyrate) is one of the key ingredients in the company’s Juven line, a nutrition line for recovering cancer patients. Along with arginine and glutamine, Juven helps slow protein breakdown and facilitate synthesis of collagen and other proteins involved in tissue repair. Ensure with Revigor will be designed “to help consumers maintain and rebuild lean body mass lost due to aging, illness, injury or surgery.”

Company officials projected nutritional growth in the upper single-digits going forward.

With regard to its diagnostics division, Abbott Diabetes Care last month announced that it has received 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for its new FreeStyle blood glucose test strips. The new FreeStyle test strips minimize interference during blood glucose testing and are designed to offer a better testing experience, the company stated. Abbott is preparing to launch those new strips nationwide in the coming weeks.

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OTC medicines impact J&J’s earnings guidance

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday updated its earnings guidance for full-year 2010 to $4.65 to $4.75 per share, reflecting the impact of the voluntary recalls announced earlier this year of certain over-the-counter medicines and the suspension of manufacturing at the McNeil Consumer Healthcare facility in Fort Washington, Pa., among other factors.

J&J realized overall sales of $15.3 billion for the second quarter of 2010, an increase of 0.6% as compared to the second quarter of 2009. Over-the-counter and nutritional sales specifically in the United States were down 27.5% to $492 million, the company reported. OTC sales outside of the U.S. totaled $649 million, up 2.9%.

The McNeil recalls and the closure of its Fort Washington, Pa. is expected to result in a $600 million sales impact for 2010, J&J CFO Dominic Caruso told analysts Tuesday morning.

Through a combination of identifying alternative sources of product and shifting production of those OTC medicines once manufactured in Fort Washington to other J&J facilities, Caruso suggested supply would be ramping back up to historical levels toward the end of 2010, beginning of 2011. “Certainly in 2011 we will have alternative sources of supply ready,” he told analysts. Caruso also noted that the quality issues associated with McNeil Consumer in both the Fort Washington and Puerto Rico plants were limited to those facilities.

The product recalls and subsequent Fort Washington closure aren’t the only factors influencing sales of OTC medicines, Caruso noted. Consumers that had migrated to private-label purchases are continuing to buy private label, he said. “Share that private label had been able to obtain during the economic downturn has been ‘sticking’ a little longer than previous economic downturns,” Caruso said.

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Christine Dumas tapped as speaker for CRN annual symposium

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Tuesday announced consumer, health and lifestyle reporter Christine Dumas is slated to join other top-notch experts as a speaker at The Conference, CRN’s annual symposium for the dietary supplement industry taking place in Austin, Texas, Sept. 29 to Oct. 2.

“If you’ve heard the term ‘social media’ but really want to understand what the term means from a big picture perspective for journalism and specifically for our industry, you’ll want to attend this session,” stated CRN annual conference chair Bill Van Dyke, president, B&D Nutritionals. “Her vast experience as a journalist and in analyzing and understanding consumer trends, makes her a very relevant addition to an already fantastic lineup of speakers for CRN’s annual conference.”

Dumas will discuss media trends in relation to the dietary supplement industry during the popular “Breakfast with…” session on the final day of The Conference.

As a reporter, Dumas’ stories have been featured on “NBC News Today” and “Today: Weekend Edition.” Additionally, Dumas has regularly appeared as a medical correspondent on Fox News Channel’s “Weekend Live” and has been featured on “Oprah” and “The View.”

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