HEALTH

Wyeth’s Essner to retire in June

BY Michael Johnsen

MADISON, N.J. Wyeth on Thursday announced that its chairman, Robert Essner, 60, has decided to retire from the company effective June 27. The company’s Board named Bernard Poussot, Wyeth’s current president and chief executive officer, to the additional position of chairman upon Essner’s retirement.

“We thank Bob for his outstanding contributions in leading our company,” stated John Mascotte, chairman of the Wyeth Board’s Nominating and Governance Committee. “Bob and Bernard have been a great team for many years, and this type of well-planned succession is in the best interests of the company, its employees and stockholders.”

“Bob successfully led Wyeth’s transformation from a holding company to what is now a world leader in pharmaceuticals that has grown in annual revenue from $14 billion in 2001 to more than $22 billion in 2007,” Poussot said. “During his tenure, Wyeth became a leader in biotechnology and thanks to his commitment, we now have one of the most extensive Alzheimer’s programs in the health care industry.”

Essner has held the position of Chairman since January 2003 and served as Wyeth’s chief executive officer from 2001 to 2007.

The announcement is the culmination of a succession plan that began in April 2006 when Poussot was promoted to president and vice chairman. In January 2007, he was named president and chief operating officer and was elected to the bompany’s He became chief executive officer on Jan. 1, 2008.

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HEALTH

Nielsen releases Zyrtec OTC panel results

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK NielsenHealth, a Nielsen Company service focused on healthcare, released findings Thursday that found that 62 percent of Zyrtec OTC buyers took an allergy prescription in the last 12 months, and of those buyers, more than 53 percent claimed to be “very satisfied” with their Rx allergy medication at the time.

“This is an important finding,” stated Matt Dumas, managing director of NielsenHealth. “[It’s] a signal that OTC alternatives to allergy prescriptions may become the preference to both consumers and managed care providers in large part due to efficacy and price.”

The findings are from NielsenHealth’s newly launched Allergy Panel, one of 32 new NielsenHealth Ailment Panels being launched to provide manufacturers and retailers insights into consumer related attitudes and behaviors of patients with specific conditions.

Additional findings from the Allergy Panel found that 42 percent of Zyrtec OTC buyers who claim to experience spring time allergies have severe allergy symptoms. The research also found that 22 percent of the allergy sufferers in the panel treat their condition with Rx medication alone and 23 percent use concomitant Rx/OTC therapies. “This could have a significant impact on the holistic allergy market because it suggests that severe sufferers see OTC as an option whereas before this patient tended to migrate to Rx options only or concomitant Rx-OTC usage,” Dumas said. “It would not be surprising to see sufferers shift more to using OTC medications only over the next 6-12 months.”

The NielsenHealth Ailment Panels consist of 110,000 U.S. consumers identified as suffering from one or more ailments tracked by Nielsen, including allergy, gastro-intestinal ailments and conditions like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Each Panel tracks panelists suffering a specific condition and their actual purchases, demographics, as well as critical patient facts relating to their specific conditions and treatment regimes.

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Unilever sues Global Health Technologies over Slim-Fast infringement

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Unilever earlier this week filed suit against Global Health Technologies and other companies for infringing upon its Slim-Fast trademark.

According to court documents, Unilever is targeting the makers and marketers of Slimquick, seeking to stop distribution of the products and to destroy stock that’s already on retail shelves.

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