HEALTH

Pfizer drops application to switch Viagra to OTC

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Pfizer has withdrawn its application to switch 50 mg Viagra tablets from prescription to OTC in the European Union, the drug maker announced Thursday.

The company said it considers Viagra a suitable candidate for OTC availability and meets the European Commission’s criteria for OTC switches.

However, in a letter to the European Medicines Agency, Pfizer said it would withdraw the application to fully consider comments from the EMEA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, recognizing that there were concerns regarding the proposed supply of the tablets without prescription in the EU. Pfizer said the withdrawal would allow evaluation of further information and additional data that may be required to allow any future assessments.

“Viagra has a proven safety profile that has been well-established in extensive post-marketing studies and in more than 120 clinical trials,” Pfizer vice president of medical and regulatory affairs Rory O’Connor said in a statement. “We will continue to work with regulators in Europe to improve the availability of our medicines to patients and physicians and the benefits they get from our therapies.”

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General Nutrition Centers reports revenues up 4.8 percent for quarter

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH General Nutrition Centers last week reported revenues of $414.2 million for the period ending Sept. 30, a 4.8 percent increase over the year-ago quarter.

One of the positives helping to drive that growth for the specialty retailer is GNC’s partnership with Rite Aid—Rite Aid added 126 GNC store-within-a-store centers over the quarter—which contributed to an overall 19.4 percent lift across GNC’s manufacturing wholesale segment. “Revenue in this segment is generated primarily by third-party sales at our South Carolina manufacturing facility and wholesale and consignment sales at Rite Aid and drugstore.com,” said GNC executive vice president and chief financial officer Michael Nuzzo during a conference call with analysts last week. “The growth in this segment was the result of increased third-party sales and additional license fee revenue for Rite Aid store-within-a-store openings … Rite Aid now operates 1,682 GNC store-within-a-store locations across the U.S., versus 1,293 stores last year,” he said.

“As you can see from store openings, which have accelerated, [Rite Aid is] still very pleased with the strategy of GNC store-in-store concepts, and they clearly still show significant improvements in their results when they have a GNC store inside a Rite Aid store versus where they do not,” Nuzzo added.

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J&J pulls online Motrin ad after negative social networking site reactions

BY Jenna Duncan

LANGHORNE, Pa. Health and personal care giant Johnson & Johnson was urged to take down an online video ad for Motrin brand ibuprophen geared towards mothers who suffer pain from carrying babies during the day after some Internet users responded that the ad was insensitive, reports said.

The video interstitial featured a barrage of moving text and line art images which showed back, neck and shoulder pain related to carrying babies in slings and packs. Some viewers took issue with the use of language that suggested carrying a baby all day was “in fashion,” as well as other statements related to motherhood and pain.

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