HEALTH

ProPhase plans intensive marketing campaign for next cough-cold season

BY Michael Johnsen

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — The lackluster cough-cold season will necessitate a greater need for marketing and promotion next season, ProPhase Labs chairman and CEO Ted Karkus said on Thursday in announcing first-quarter results for the period ended March 31.

ProPhase Labs reported higher net sales of 87.5% to $6 million for the period though the company incurred a net loss of $688,000, or ($0.05) per share. That sharp increase in net sales were "attributable to the success of our marketing efforts in late fiscal 2011," Karkus noted. "Our marketing strategies led to increased consumer purchases in late fiscal 2011, as a consequence of which, our retailers placed larger stock replenishment orders in the first quarter of 2012 to maintain their inventory levels," he said.

However, the second half of the cough-cold season never materialized, which means there is still plenty of inventory in the supply chain. To help move more of that inventory out of the stores and into consumer medicine cabinets for the next season, ProPhase will need to increase its marketing presence.

"In order to continue to grow revenues from year to year, we plan to continue to invest strategically in a fully integrated marketing campaign in conjunction with in-store promotional support [for the 2012-2013 season]," Karkus said. "These increased expenses in building our brand impact our short term profitability … We believe that our current capital reserves are sufficient to fund an effective marketing campaign for the 2012-2013 cold season in order to continually increase the value of the Cold-Eeze brand."


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HEALTH

Kalorama: Despite predictions to the contrary, OTC drug market not recession-proof

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Despite predictions that consumers in recessionary times would flock to cheaper over-the-counter drugs, the world’s over-the-counter drug market grew just 3.5% in the past three years, according a report released by Kalorama Information.

"Results over the past few years may put to bed the theory that OTC drug sales go up during a recession," Kalorama Information publisher Bruce Carlson said. "It’s something that was broadly predicted, including in our own reports. It turns out that OTC drugs were affected by consumers having less cash in their pockets just as much as other products were."

According to the report, the $78 billion market for over-the-counter medicines behaved as many products in the recent recession did: almost no sales growth in 2009 and slowly increasing but below average growth in the past two years.

Kalorama supplied a few possible reasons for the slow growth: consumers reduced doctor visits and sought to trim all medical expenditures since 2009, which dampened the benefit from customers preferring lower-priced OTC drugs; lower-priced drug store brands competed well with brand-name products, reducing prices paid; and increasing numbers of patients insured through Medicaid and Medicare were better able to purchase prescription products, reducing the need for OTC purchases.


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Survey: Consumers would support an OTC test for HIV

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As many as 74% of consumers would support a rapid, oral swab HIV test available over the counter, according to a survey released Friday by Who’s Positive, a national HIV awareness organization.

“Our survey demonstrates widespread support for additional testing options, especially among younger generations and those who are already living with HIV,” stated Tom Donohue, founding director of Who’s Positive. "Over-the-counter testing has the potential to break down barriers and empower people who have never been tested before to learn their HIV status and, if positive, find the care and support they need."

Other key findings included:

  • 66% of the respondents who identify as a HIV-positive consumer support an OTC HIV test;

  • 80% of those younger than 30 years support an OTC HIV test; and

  • 47% of those who identify as one who performs HIV testing support an HIV OTC test.

Full survey findings will be shared at an upcoming Food and Drug Administration advisory committee meeting that will debate whether or not OraSure Technologies’ OraQuick Rapid HIV-1/2 test should be made available for sale without a prescription May 15.

The survey gathered responses from 1,569 participants; approximately half of the respondents were identified as people living with HIV/AIDS.


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