Prevention key as people forgo sick days

Prevention. That’s currently one of the predominant themes in cough-cold. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times. With the economy still undergoing a slow recovery, 90% of workers recently reported they would opt to report to work sick vs. calling out, according to the fourth annual Flu Season Survey from Staples.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

Retail pharmacy now is fully focused on capturing patients in search of prevention. Both flu shots and products focused on prevention are performing extremely well. Walgreens administered 6.7 million immunizations in its first quarter, up 34% as compared with the year ago period. And Airborne, whose sales are tracked with multivitamins, generated $108.3 million across total U.S. multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 1, according to IRI, benefiting from a lift of 24.8%.

Another key segment associated with prevention is hand sanitizers, which overall was up 10.4% to $193.5 million. GoJo last year introduced its Purell Advanced formula to great success — sales of the brand are up 86.8% to $20.6 million.

So far this season, the predominant influenza strain has been the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus. This is the same H1N1 virus that emerged in 2009 to cause a pandemic, and the 2013-2014 season marks the first season that the virus has circulated at such high levels since the pandemic.

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