HEALTH

Flu season winding down, but not without a fight

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK This year’s cold and flu season is coming to a close, as illness activity has decreased for the fourth consecutive week, ended March 15. Still, 32 states have reported widespread flu activity, versus the 42 states that had reported widespread activity the week prior.

But even with the decline in flu activity, this year’s season is proving stronger when compared to the year-ago season. “Although flu activity is declining, we believe current heightened flu activity versus [last year] remains a significant positive for both Rx and front-end comps in March,” commented Deborah Weinswig, Citi analyst, in a March 24 research note. 

As much as 3.4 percent of illness activity reported through the U.S. Influenza Sentinel Provider Surveillance Network for the week ended March 15 were attributed to flu-like illnesses, versus a national baseline of 2.2 percent, Weinswig said. In addition, seven regions reported illness activity above their region-specific baselines, including East North Central, East South Central, Mountain, New England, South Atlantic, West North Central and West South Central.

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Intlekofer resigns at Nutrition 21

BY Michael Johnsen

PURCHASE, N.Y. Nutrition 21 on Friday announced that Paul Intlekofer has resigned as chief executive officer and as a director of the company.

“We thank Paul for the many years of service that he has given to the company, and appreciate his desire to work in the vicinity of his home in Baltimore,” stated John Gutfreund, the company’s chairman. “He will serve as a consultant to the company.”

Gerard Butler and Michael Fink have been elected to serve as interim co-chief executive officers.

Both Butler and Fink were previously executives at Prestige Brands Holdings and Block Drug Company.

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FDA launches updated Web site

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration this week unveiled a new Web site—a Web site that features a “layered” approach that enables FDA surfers to find information quickly.

“Structure is improved to provide for easy scanning; content is presented in plain language to make it more understandable,” the FDA stated in introducing the new Web format. “In a nutshell, we listened to you. We tested the usability of our Web site by asking our key audiences. We sampled more than 188 consumers, healthcare professionals and industry representatives and other audiences. … This usability data pointed us to improvements to make the home page easier and more satisfying to use.”

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