HEALTH

Consumers taking to take-home test kits

BY Michael Johnsen


More and more, there is a new niche being carved out of the take-home test kits being offered through pharmacy. It used to be only pregnancy and ovulation test kits that were available in that space. Now there is a plethora of offerings, including tests for drug abuse, screenings for such conditions as high cholesterol, paternity tests and tests for sexually transmitted diseases. And the space is expected to continue to grow. “We see four key drivers of this trend,” said Steve Smith, Identigene director of marketing.


A shortage of family care physicians, the growing number of patients without insurance and people without enough insurance are funneling patients toward legitimate, yet less expensive, diagnostic options. Add to that the growth of retail clinics, which is contributing to increased awareness that diagnostic options are available through the local pharmacy. “Consumers are becoming more comfortable purchasing all manner of healthcare products in pharmacies,” Smith said.

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Pump up the iron

BY Michael Johnsen


It’s not often a niche brand manufacturer attempts to resuscitate what has been for years a commoditized category. But that’s exactly what Meda Consumer Healthcare will be attempting to do with iron — establish a good/better/best proposition to a supplemented category best defined as mediocre. For the 52 weeks ended April 16, mineral supplement sales were down 3.3% to $534 million across food, drug and mass (including Walmart), according to Nielsen Group data.


“Every category thrives on innovation because new science brings new benefits that attract a new generation of consumers,” Jeff Cohen, VP and general manager of Meda’s consumer arm, told Drug Store News. “Without news, the [iron] category has defaulted to becoming commoditized.”


Meda is setting the stage for that good/better/best proposition in part through its recent acquisition of a few GlaxoSmithKline legacy brands last year — Geritol Tonic and Feosol — and its pre-existing premium-positioned Bifera iron supplement product. “Strategically [that creates] an opportunity to re-segment the market,” Cohen said. “We envision bringing a differentiated line with differentiated benefits, and a price value with those benefits,” he said.


And the consumer need for iron is on the rise, Cohen said. Young women with heavy menstruation, pregnant women, the aging population — these are all traditional iron markets. But yet-to-be targeted is a rapidly growing segment: active baby boomers and recreational athletes. For example, the approximate 75 million endurance athletes, such as marathon runners or bicyclists, experience heavy iron loss and need supplementation. “There is a segmentation opportunity,” Cohen said.


According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is the leading nutritional disorder in the world, with up to 80% of the world’s population being iron deficient and as many as 30% suffering from iron deficiency anemia.

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CRN, AANP launch online supplement resource

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition earlier this month announced the launch of a microsite as part of its joint education campaign with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Foundation. The new microsite, available via the CRN website, is a hub for resources and information about nurse practitioners in general, as well as their attitudes about and usage of dietary supplements, the association stated.


“This microsite will provide information showcasing the important role that nurse practitioners and dietary supplements play as part of a comprehensive approach to wellness,” said Judy Blatman, SVP communications at CRN. “It will allow us to have a central location to house information and news related to this effort. As a healthcare practitioner group, nurse practitioners are growing in numbers, and as more consumers learn about the value of nurse practitioners, their influence will continue to grow as well.”


The microsite additions will be comprised of fact sheets and statistics about nurse practitioners and will contain joint press releases from the organizations. It will have a different feel than CRN’s primary website, with a unique layout and format.

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