HEALTH

Sanofi Pasteur: H1N1 vaccine production starts now

BY Michael Johnsen

SWIFTWATER, Pa. Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the Sanofi-Aventis Group, on Wednesday announced it has received the new influenza seed virus, which means production against a possible H1N1 vaccine begins immediately.

“As a company committed to protecting human health, Sanofi Pasteur looks forward to quickly understanding how this virus performs in a vaccine manufacturing environment and developing a working seed that will enable large-scale production,” stated Wayne Pisano, president and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur. “This is an important step for engaging Sanofi Pasteur’s resources and expertise to support public health authorities and the directives they provide us.”

Receipt of the seed virus means that Sanofi Pasteur will begin the development process, called “passaging,” that will yield a “working seed.” Passaging is the process for acclimating virus to grow in a production environment at optimum yield. The passaging process is expected to take approximately two weeks. Following quality controls, Sanofi Pasteur will be prepared to begin industrial production as soon as directed by public health agencies.

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HEALTH

Study: Misunderstanding of OTC cold product directions common

BY Michael Johnsen

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. A study published Tuesday on the journal Pediatrics’ Web site determined that misunderstanding of dosage directions for pediatric over-the-counter cold products is common and could result in harm if medications are not given appropriately.

Researchers, however, used “old” kids cough-cold labeling as part of the study — labeling that advises parents to “consult a physician” in children under the age of 2. Today, kids’ cough-cold medicines advise parents to “not use” any cough-cold product in children under the age of 2; the industry voluntarily removed all products carrying the previous label recommendation from store shelves in fall 2007. And in January 2008, the Food and Drug Administration made it official — no kids’ cough-cold product could be marketed to children under the age of 2.

“While this study focuses on products that are not available, it does shine light on an issue that is still very germane,” commented Heinz Schneider, VP science and medical affairs, Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “In contrast to the artificial scenario created by the study authors who asked a small cohort of caregivers to look only at the front of product packages to determine appropriate use, the makers of OTC medicines want to remind parents to read the entire label before giving any medicine to a child. There is no substitute for reading and following the OTC Drug Facts label. The label provides specific dosing instructions, including when to contact a doctor for more information.”

Researchers interviewed 182 caregivers of infants of less than 1 year in age; 87% were the infants’ mother, the mean education level was 12.5 years and 99% had adequate literacy skills, though only 17% had greater than 9th-grade mathematical skills.

When examining the front of the product label, 86% of the time parents thought these products were appropriate for use in children less than 2 years of age. More than 50% of the time, parents stated they would give these OTC products to a 13-month-old child with cold symptoms. Caregivers were influenced by the dosing directions only 47% of the time.

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WRatings Corp. reveals Colgate-Palmolive as top consumer goods co.

BY Michael Johnsen

HERNDON, Va. The wRatings Corp., an independent stock research firm, last month revealed the results of the 2009 “Most Competitive Retail & Consumer Goods” study, finding that the recession has had a significant impact on consumer shopping behavior; 55% of the consumer-packaged goods companies among the top 20 rankings traded spots, with Colgate-Palmolive laying claim to the top spot.

“The competitive companies remaining in first quarter 2009 are on track to emerge from the recession with  greater customer and economic strength than their rivals,” wRatings stated. “Various reasons exist for their durability, but most critical are access to real-time data along with the ability to transform your business faster than ever before.”

To arrive at the rankings, wRatings asked consumers how well companies meet their expectations every quarter. The consumer ratings are categorized by nine competitive moats, or barriers to entry companies create to protect against rivals taking their customers and, ultimately, their profits. Each W Score blends a company’s historical  economic profit with its competitive moat scores.

Top 20 Most Competitive Consumer Goods Companies:

1. Colgate Toothpaste2. Mountain Dew/Diet MD3. Budweiser/Bud Light  4. Vaseline5. Kellogg Cereals6. Sam Adams/SA Light7. Weight Watchers8. Kleenex Tissue9. Clorox Products10. Gildan Activewear11. NIKE Products12. Marvel-Branded Products13. Coke/Diet Coke14. Crocs 15. Pepsi/Diet Pepsi16. Hormel Foods17t. Heelys17t. HNI Office Furniture  19. L’Oreal  20. Newport Cigarettes

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