HEALTH

GSI Commerce, GNC agree to extend e-commerce partnership

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH, Pa. GSI Commerce and GNC on Tuesday announced a multiyear extension and expansion of the e-commerce agreement between the two companies. Under the agreement, which runs through 2017, GSI will continue to provide GNC’s online store with e-commerce technology, order management and customer care operations.

“Since partnering with GSI, our online business has become an important channel for both product sales and information,” said Beth Kaplan, president and chief merchandising and marketing officer for GNC. “We are excited about extending our e-commerce agreement with GSI and expanding our relationship to include interactive marketing services.”

In addition to e-commerce services, the agreement names GSI’s digital agency, gsi interactive, as GNC’s digital agency of record and adds a full complement of marketing services that include site usability testing, paid search marketing, comparison shopping engines, affiliate marketing, display advertising, emerging media, and e-mail services powered by e-Dialog, GSI’s e-mail marketing subsidiary.

“We are very happy that GNC will continue to build its online business with GSI as its e-commerce partner,” said Scott Hardy, executive vice president of business management for GSI. “This long-term, multiyear, and expanded agreement speaks to the success of the relationship and to the opportunity in front of us for continued growth.”

GNC launched its online store on GSI’s e-commerce platform in the fourth quarter of 2005. Online sales have since become an important channel for GNC as well as a valuable extension of its brand, the company stated.

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Kimberly-Clark releases Depend gender-specific absorbent underwear

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS Kimberly-Clark on Monday introduced its first line of gender-specific adult absorbent underwear, the company stated.

The new male and female designs are tailored to fit the unique body shapes of men and women—offering superior fit and protection to help users suffering from incontinence enjoy a full and active life.

Debuting an exclusive, patent-pending design that looks and fits like regular underwear, new Depend Underwear for Men and Depend Underwear for Women will begin replacing the Depend unisex underwear early next year. The new line features customized leg openings contoured to better fit men and women and new positioning of the gender-specific absorbent to provide protection where men and women need it most.

“Kimberly-Clark and the Depend brand understand the emotional impact incontinence can have on those who suffer from this medical condition,” vice president of Kimberly-Clark North American Feminine and Adult Care, Andrew Meurer, said. “As the creator of the adult retail incontinence category and the market leader for more than two decades, we remain committed to delivering innovative product solutions that provide users the confidence and dignity to overcome the withdrawal and other emotionally-debilitating symptoms that can so often result from this condition, as well as help them maintain a normal and active life.” 

Beginning in March, Depend Underwear for Men and Depend Underwear for Women will begin rolling out in North America in eight varieties, including small/medium, large/extra large in both extra and super-plus absorbency for women, and small/medium, large/extra large in super-plus absorbency for men.

To accompany the new line’s debut, the Depend brand will also unveil more intuitive packaging for its entire product lineup. With distinctive color coding, a new absorbency scale and a more simplified sizing structure, the new packaging will help make choosing the right product faster and easier for shoppers.

“Our consumer research has found that users and caregivers can be uncomfortable shopping for adult incontinence products,” said Mark Cammarota, Depend brand director. “Quickly finding the right product remains a vital step in living with incontinence, and with a variety of options on store shelves, our new packaging designs will offer a simpler selection experience at stores.”

Beginning in late November, a sticker began appearing on current Depend unisex underwear packages to help introduce Depend Underwear for Men and Depend Underwear for Women. To coincide with the March 2009 debut on store shelves, K-C will roll out the largest integrated marketing campaign in the history of the Depend brand—including TV, print and online advertising, direct mail, in-store trial and more.

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FDA announces extension on new labeling requirements for OTCs, supplements

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced that it has extended by one year the date after which it will begin enforcing new labeling requirements—that labels of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements include contact information, either a complete domestic address or phone number, so that consumers can report serious adverse events associated with the use of those products.

The FDA will begin enforcing those labeling requirements Jan. 1, 2010, now.

“We believe that it is reasonable to allow an additional two-year period for firms whose labels do not yet meet the requirements … to bring their labeling into full compliance,” the agency stated in a guidance. “This period of enforcement discretion should be adequate to enable all firms to meet the new labeling requirements.”

Currently, under FDA’s “Drug Facts” regulations, the labels of OTC drug products may include a telephone number as a source to answer questions about the product, with the heading “Questions?” or “Questions or comments?”

After Jan. 1, 2010, the agency is recommending OTC and dietary supplement manufacturers spell out for consumers that the contact information is for purposes of reporting serious adverse events. “Although [the regulation] does not require the label to include anything other than a domestic address or phone number for the [manufacturer], FDA recommends that the label bear a clear, prominent statement informing consumers that the domestic address or phone number is for reporting serious adverse events associated with use of the product,” the agency stated in its guidance.

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