HEALTH

J&J: McNeil production to slow down

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday announced that distribution of McNeil Consumer Healthcare consumer products will slow in the coming months as the company shifts production of its over-the-counter medicines to other manufacturing plants and implements additional third-party quality controls within those plants.

Consequentially, J&J doubled its projected impact from bringing McNeil fully back on line to 12 cents per share for the year. During the quarter, McNeil signed a consent decree with the Food and Drug Administration that governs all of its manufacturing operations. The consent decree allows McNeil to continue the work already initiated under a comprehensive action plan to bring its product portfolio back to full production, and identifies procedures that will help provide additional assurance of product quality to the FDA.

“The increase of 6 cents — just to be clear, from 6 cents to 12 cents — … is, in fact, related to the consent decree in two main buckets: One is the shipments from the facilities will be slowed, if you will, or [will] slow down as we implement the quality procedures and the reviews that the consent decree now requires. And … we will also embark on additional remediation efforts,” said Dominic Caruso, J&J CFO and corporate VP finance.

That slowdown in production will delay resumption of broad distribution of McNeil Consumer products until 2012 from a previous projection of the second half of 2011, Caruso said. “We expect to begin launching the products toward the back half of [2011], but the majority of the products will be launched in 2012,” he said. Caruso suggested the lion’s share of marketing that will herald McNeil’s return to market will correspond to when most of McNeil’s products are being brought back on line.

McNeil expected its products to be in full production prior to the reopening of the Fort Washington, Pa., plant.

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Lichi Super Fruit Diet gets into probiotic game

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Bainbridge & Knight announced the expansion of its Lichi Super Fruit Diet brand with a probiotic product.

New Lichi LactoSpore is a gluten- and dairy-free probiotic designed to aid in healthy digestion without uncomfortable bloating. It also helps the immune system fight off infections, the company said, and provides Bacillus coagulans, necessary bacteria.

Lichi LactoSpore probiotic will be available at leading drug stores and supermarkets nationwide.

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Dietary supplements recommended, used by pharmacists

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Pharmacists have become a go-to source for information about dietary supplements and also offer recommendations to patients, according to a study conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

According to the CRN’s "Life…supplemented Healthcare Professionals Impact Study," 93% of pharmacists recommend supplements to their customers, while 87% believe that supplements can play an important role in improving or maintaining the health of their customers.

Pharmacists surveyed said that they recommend dietary supplements to patients based on such conditions as joint health (65%), bone health (61%) and flu and colds (51%). When it came to which supplements pharmacists most often were asked about, the top three mentioned by respondents were omega-3/fish oil (mentioned by 73%), calcium (73%) and glucosamine/chondroitin (70%).

What’s more, nearly 9-in-10 pharmacists (86%) incorporated dietary supplements into their lives. Among them, 44% cited “overall health and wellness” and 40% cited “filling in nutrient gaps” as the top two reasons they personally take dietary supplements.

“Pharmacists are able to help consumers choose the types of supplements that are right for their individual wellness plan,” said Douglas MacKay, CRN VP scientific and regulatory affairs and a consultant to the “Life…supplemented” consumer wellness initiative. “A pharmacist’s training specifically qualifies him or her to take a comprehensive look at an individual’s current prescribed medications and determine if any potential drug-dietary supplement interactions or drug-induced nutrient depletions may need to be addressed. To maximize benefits and safety, it is important to talk to a pharmacist or other qualified healthcare practitioner about all the things you are taking for your health.”

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