Special delivery: Walmart expands mail offering
NEW YORK Walmart isn’t letting the lack of a physical presence in select Midwestern and Northeastern markets hinder its ability to offer prescription drugs, thanks to the expansion of a mail-order program begun earlier this year in Michigan. The program enables customers to receive a 90-day supply of approximately 300 generics for $10 via free mail delivery, or any of approximately 3,000 other pharmaceuticals that the company offers.
“Americans deserve access to quality, affordable health care and medications, yet some families today aren’t filling prescriptions because of high costs or lack of health insurance,” said Dr. John Agwunobi, SVP and president of Walmart’s health and wellness division. “Walmart strives to find innovative new pharmacy solutions that better serve all of our customers’ needs, which is why we’re so excited to offer this program to even more Americans. With this program, we’re able to provide our customers in every rural town or big city across the Midwest and Northeast with more affordable prescription medicines through a convenient, free mail delivery system.”
In a swipe at some of its competitors, Walmart noted that its program has no gimmicks, membership requirements or enrollment fees, and it’s part of the company’s ongoing commitment to help people save money on prescriptions, regardless of whether they live close to a Walmart pharmacy location.
States affected by expansion of the Michigan mail-order program include: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
BioNeutral Group presents lab results for antimicrobial used on swine flu
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.
Perrigo gears up for cough-cold season
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.