HEALTH

Drugstore.com delivers in three focus areas, CEO says

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. So far, so good. Drugstore.com on Thursday announced that it is delivering on three areas of focus in what has become an exceedingly challenging retail environment.

“I’m very pleased to announce that we’ve made substantial progresses in all [three] of these areas in the first quarter, posting one of our strongest quarters to date, despite facing a very tough economy,” Dawn Lepore, Drugstore.com CEO and chairman, told analysts Wednesday evening.

The three focal points for Drugstore.com included a focus on growing its over-the-counter and vision businesses at a faster rate than overall e-commerce; a focus on driving bottom-line improvements and a focus on incremental growth for the year.

So the scorecard so far —OTC revenue grew over 11%, well ahead of recent e-commerce industry trends, and the beauty business grew at an even faster pace, increasing 14%, despite a decline in the beauty industry.

Gross margins were at 28.2%, delivering adjusted EBITDA of $5.6 million to the bottom line, which is more than double the adjusted EBITDA the previous-year period.

“I believe our record performance in the first quarter offers evidence that we can continue to grow in a difficult economic environment, while also improving the strategic positioning of the company,” Lepore said, suggesting that the online retailer will be able to maintain its improved performance through the remainder of the year.

Looking forward, Drugstore.com plans to launch its Medco Health Solutions-branded OTC web site in the second quarter, with a notable ramp in the second half of the year. “We believe our partnership is on track and we are in active conversations with other potential partners,” Lepore said.

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American Med Tech offers home protection kit

BY Michael Johnsen

CHARLES TOWN, W. Va. American Med Tech on Monday offered a specially-assembled home protection kit for swine flu based on the germ killing power of silver.

“We spent the entire weekend assembling swine flu kits from existing inventory already boxed in pre-paid overnight FED-EX boxes,” stated David Phillips, American Med Tech CEO. “We have been selling our nano-silver based medical hygiene products for the last 5 years. Our silver ion based products were developed as a cure for the highly contagious skin disease Molluscum Contagioisum and to protect the delicate skin of diabetics.”

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CDC updates cases count for swine flu

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday updated the number of confirmed swine influenza. So far there are now 64 confirmed cases, with the majority of cases being traced to a high school in Queens, New York. New York has confirmed 45 cases, California 10, Texas six, Kansas two and Ohio, which is new to the list, with one.

Separately, New Jersey is investigating as many as five cases in that state.

 

CDC has activated its emergency operations center to coordinate the agency’s emergency response. Yesterday, CDC issued a travel warning recommending that people avoid non-essential travel to Mexico.

http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

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