HEALTH

Report: Primary care physicians decreasing, giving way to retail clinic use

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK The shortage of primary care physicians is bound to escalate as long hours, lower pay, less prestige and more administrative headaches are turning doctors instead toward more lucrative subspecialties, according to a recent USA Today report.

With primary care losing its pull, retail-based health clinics will play an increasingly important role in the frontline for wellness and preventative-care programs.

The number of U.S. medical school students going into primary care has plummeted 51.8% since 1997, USA Today reported, citing data from the American Academy of Family Physicians. The AAFP, which represents more than 93,000 physicians, predicts a shortage of 40,000 family physicians in 2020, when demand is expected to spike.

The report also states that the U.S. healthcare system has roughly 100,000 family physicians and will need nearly 140,000 in 10 years. At the core of the demand: The 78 million Baby Boomers who begin to turn 65 in 2011 and will require increasing medical care.

Furthermore, the need for more doctors will rise if Congress passes healthcare legislation that extends insurance coverage to a significant portion of the 47 million Americans who lack insurance, USA Today reported.

Finding a physician will become more difficult, waits for appointments will grow longer and more people will turn to emergency rooms, which are already overflowing, Ted Epperly, president of the AAFP, told USA Today.

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BioNeutral Group presents lab results for antimicrobial used on swine flu

BY Michael Johnsen

NEWARK, N.J. BioNeutral Group on Thursday announced that independent lab test results conducted at Microbiotest of Sterling, Va., demonstrated that its Ygiene Consumer Grade Antimicrobial totally eradicated the novel H1N1 virus within 20 seconds of contact.

“We are well on our way to achieving our objective to have the fastest-acting, least-expensive, longest-lasting, simple-to-use, green formulations to eliminate swine flu from home, office, schools and public gathering places,” stated Andy Kielbania, chief scientist for Bioneutral Group. “This mild formulation can come into daily contact with skin and clothing, providing added protection against H1N1 and other dangerous organisms for the general population and the broader healthcare sector, as well.”

Ygiene is one of a few antimicrobials actually tested against the specific H1N1 virus, the company stated.

The formulation will be presented to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for regulatory approval, the company stated.

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Perrigo gears up for cough-cold season

BY Michael Johnsen

ALLEGAN, Mich. Perrigo is steeling for a potential volatile cough-cold season this year, because even as news of the continued H1N1 pandemic dominates the American conscience, the fact is recent cough-cold seasons have been historically weak.

“The H1N1 influenza outbreak is a cause for concern for all of us,” commented Perrigo president, CEO and chairman Joe Papa to analysts. “We take this outbreak very seriously and our retailers are preparing for the flu season right now,” he said, noting that the category represents approximately 12% of Perrigo revenues.

Outside of cough/cold, however, Perrigo’s next fiscal year looks very promising, especially given an economically-driven move to private label and the better value equation of store brand, over-the-counter products. “The overall OTC consumer market was up 4% in the [fourth] quarter versus last year as national brands were essentially flat,” Papa said, discussing Perrigo’s fourth-quarter results for the fiscal year ended June 27. “Store brands gained 13% on the strength of new product launches and increased market share … the analgesic and gastrointestinal categories were up more than 4% during the quarter. National brands were relatively flat in those categories but store brands grew 9% and 20% respectively in those categories.”

Overall consumer healthcare fourth-quarter net sales increased 9% to $407 million, results that are pared against the very successful launches of omeprazole and cetirizine. “That means this is a 9% incremental growth on top of those launches last year,” commented Judy Brown, Perrigo EVP and CFO. “Approximately 7 percentage points came from both new and existing product sales growth and another 9% came inorganically from the acquisition of JB Labs, Unico, Diba and Brunel.”

Perrigo is projecting revenue growth of between 6% and 8% in the coming fiscal year. “Our plan does factor in competition in the gastrointestinal and smoking cessation category during the year,” Brown said. “We are also aware of the FDA reviews related to acetaminophen-containing products and believe the impact to our consumer healthcare business will be limited during the transition to new product lines.”

Perrigo is planning to launch as many as 20 new products in the coming year, including potential private-label competition to Schering-Plough’s laxative MiraLax (brand sales of approximately $200 million and growing 20% per year) beginning in Perrigo’s fiscal second quarter this fall.

Perrigo also plans to launch store-brand versions of Reckitt Benckiser’s cough/cold remedy Mucinex and McNeil Consumer Healthcare’s Monistat-1 this year. Annual brand sales for Mucinex are approximately $150 million, Perrigo reported.

Monistat-1 currently has $80 million in annual branded sales, Pap stated.

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