HEALTH

Matrixx reports Q2 decline but hopes new campaign will boost business

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Matrixx Initiatives on Monday reported a decline of 17% in net sales to $21.3 million for the company’s second quarter ended Sept. 30. The decline, Matrixx president and CEO Bill Hemelt explained to analysts Tuesday morning, represented a course correction of sorts. The sales decline was “due to lower upfront buys by retailers,” Hemelt said. Last year, all of the hype around H1N1 drove retailers to heavily stock in cough-and-cold supplies. This year, that industry level has dropped to more historical levels, Hemelt suggested, particularly across the drug channel.

Hemelt shared with analysts the company’s new advertising campaign, which begins airing in earnest a week following the November elections. The new campaign features three iconic TV moms — "The Brady Bunch’s" Florence Henderson, "Family Ties’" Meredith Baxter and "Seinfeld’s" Estelle Harris — who make up the “Mom Squad” and save cold sufferers from various treatment myths, such as “freezing out” a cold or consuming onions to help relieve the cold.

“We believe our new creative will continue to differentiate our products from general symptom relief products and help increase consumer awareness,” Hemelt said. “All of these [initiatives] will be supported by strong retail marketing support that has already begun,” Hemelt added during his conference call with analysts.

 

Last week, Matrixx released a new national survey of U.S. adults that found the majority of Americans are misinformed about what causes the common cold, and how and when they should treat it. Nearly three-quarters of consumers (72%) believed there was not much they could do about a cold except mask the symptoms and wait it out. The top five myths about colds that pharmacists reported were most difficult to debunk:

  • Antibiotics can kill the germs that cause colds;
  • Changes in the weather can cause colds;
  • Getting wet and chilled can cause colds;
  • Sitting in a draft can cause colds; and
  • Avoiding changes in temperatures will help prevent colds.

 

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Arena, Eisai receive complete response letter for lorcaserin

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO The Food and Drug Administration declined to approve a regulatory approval application from Arena Pharmaceuticals and Eisai for a drug to treat obesity, the two companies said Saturday.

 

The FDA issued a complete response letter for the drug lorcaserin, designed for weight management and weight loss in patients who are overweight or obese and have at least one co-morbid condition. The FDA issues a complete response letter when it finishes reviewing an approval application, but issues remain that preclude final approval.

 

 

The FDA told the companies that it found problems regarding tumors in the mammary glands of rats receiving the drug and issues surrounding the efficacy of the drug in some patients.

 

 

“This is an important step for us toward the FDA’s approval of lorcaserin,” Arena president and CEO Jack Lief said. “While the complete response letter provides us with recommendations from the agency, we intend to meet with the FDA to obtain further clarity on the approval path and timeline.”

 

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CHPA names Melville its new president

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON —Scott Melville has been named the new president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, succeeding Linda Suydam, who is retiring after eight years with CHPA. The news becomes official Nov. 1.

Prior to the announcement, Melville served as SVP government affairs and general counsel for the Healthcare Distribution Management Association. Before joining HDMA, Melville was as an attorney and head of government relations for Cephalon. A veteran facilitator, familiar with health care and the vital role over-the-counter medicines and natural products play in today’s healthcare system, Melville also is a former staffer for Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif.

At CHPA, Melville will have an opportunity to bring all of his decades of experience as a healthcare sector advocate to bear. With healthcare reform on the line and millions of baby boomers hitting their 60s, CHPA chairman Christopher DeWolf said that Melville’s “experience in public policy, coalition building and working with government officials and key stakeholders will be invaluable in guiding the industry through the rapidly changing healthcare environment.”

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