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REPORTERS Notebook

BY DSN STAFF

Supplier NewsMatrixx revealed plans earlier this month to enter the antacid market with a product called Xcid in 2009. According to the company, the acid-neutralizing category currently is measured at about $500 million.

Xcid, featuring “from the makers of Zicam” on the packaging, will contain maximum strength quantities of calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide in a liquid format and will be launched with three flavors. Liquid antacids are considered highly efficacious among consumers, said Carl Johnson, Matrixx president and chief executive officer, but there aren’t many good-flavored products currently on the market.

Matrixx also will be entering the oral care market in 2009 and potentially will target the analgesic sector for future product development.

Natrol earlier this month announced that the company is developing a line of four anti-aging supplements, the first of which will reach the market within the next 18 months as the product and patents are finalized, said Wayne Bos, president and chief executive officer. “We’re at the early stage of positioning the business model and the go-to-market strategy with new, unique marketing. It’s stemming from technology that Medical Research Institute [which Natrol acquired in June] has been working on. We’re looking to create a unique line of premium, patented, proven anti-aging supplements.”

Natrol believes the opportunity in anti-aging products for the older-than-45 demographic may be larger than that for bone/joint-health dietary supplements, which represents a $700 million category, Bos said.

According to the company, approximately 110 million people are over 45, and this age group has more disposable income than any other segment. While approximately 15.8 million people are affected by osteoarthritis, the preventive market is estimated to encompass 50 million people, Bos said. “If you can imagine, if 1 percent of this over-45 age group spent $320 per annum [on anti-aging supplements] it would represent an approximately $350 million opportunity.”

Bayer HealthCare last month acquired the Citracal brand from Mission Pharmacal Co. for an undisclosed amount. “This acquisition further affirms our strategy and commitment to grow our consumer health segments, and will help to solidify our No. 2 position in the global OTC market,” stated Arthur Higgins, chairman of Bayer HealthCare. “The Citracal brand offers very attractive growth potential both in the critically important U.S. market and for our nutritionals portfolio, which is a key growth driver for us now and in the future,” added Gary Balkema, president of Bayer HealthCare’s consumer care division.

Citracal primarily is sold in North America and saw net sales of $47 million for fiscal 2007. This acquisition will increase Bayer Consumer Care’s U.S. market presence, which includes such brands as One-A-Day.

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Kroger appoints Going as Michigan division president

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI The Kroger Co. announced Wednesday that it has named Rick Going president of the company’s new Michigan division.

Kroger currently operates 138 stores in the state; Going will oversee operations in them, effective immediately.

During his 26-year tenure with Kroger, Going has held a number of district- and division-level leadership positions at the store and has served as vice president of Retail Operations and vice president of Merchandising for Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division.

“Rick brings extensive experience in operations and merchandising to this new role,” said Don McGeorge, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. “We look forward to his leadership as he works with our associates to build on Kroger’s growth in Michigan by focusing on our customers to create even better shopping experiences for them.”

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NACDS responds to “misleading” New York Times article

BY DSN STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has fired back at The New York Times after the publication ran an article in its Sept. 18 issue titled, “The ‘Poisonous Cocktail’ of Multiple Drugs.”

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

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