Matrixx posts small decrease for off-season quarter
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Matrixx Initiatives reported a slight 1.2 percent decline in cough/cold and allergy/sinus sales through its fiscal first quarter ending June 30, with net sales falling to $8.5 million for the out-of-season quarter, but only because the company has $1 million in reserve in anticipation for higher-than-normal returns on last season’s cough/cold products as retailers prepare to pull together the planogram for the 2008/2009 cough/cold season.
That translates into a net loss of approximately $2.3 million for the quarter, which is not too drastic given the quarter only represents 7 percent of the company’s annual sales.
“Overall, we are pleased with the sales results for this out-of-season quarter,” commented Carl Johnson, president and chief executive officer. “We continued to see the Zicam brand realize high consumer consumption growth rates,” he said, noting that Zicam dollar sales and units sold increased approximately 21 percent each for the 12 weeks ending June 15, according to scan data across food, drug and mass with the exception of Wal-Mart.
Medicare bill sees other effects
WASHINGTON One of the issues involved in the H.R. 6331 bill, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, was the delaying of the Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies.
The DMEPOS competitive bidding program went into effect July 1 and was estimated at saving Medicare $1 billion per year, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services already had signed contracts with 325 suppliers to provide specified medical equipment and supplies to Medicare beneficiaries in 10 communities, according to a CMS press release. The bidding program was set to expand to an additional 70 communities next year.
But since the act was passed after the program became effective, all contracts awarded will be terminated, and DMEPOS payment rates in effect prior to July 1 will be reinstated retroactively, according to CMS. The act also pushes the expansion of the bidding program to 2011.
While the president’s main objections to the legislation had to do with its potentially negative impact on Medicare prescription programs, he expressed concern with stopping the DMEPOS bidding program after bids had been awarded.
In his message to the House on July 15 when he originally vetoed the bill, the president called the program an “important reform” that would produce significant savings for Medicare and its beneficiaries. Passage of H.R. 6331 “would leave the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund vulnerable to litigation because of the awarded contracts,” he said. “Changing a policy in mid-stream is also confusing to beneficiaries who are receiving services from quality suppliers at lower prices.”
Walgreens, Nutrition 21 ink supply deal
A company that manufactures nutritional supplements for blood sugar, cardiovascular health, memory and joint pain will partner to sell some of its products at Walgreens under its own brand and Walgreens’ private label.
Nutrition 21 announced the agreement Tuesday, whereby it will sell three new chromium picolinate products under its Finest Natural brand and one product under the drug store chain’s Gold Seal label starting later this summer or in early fall.
“Walgreens commitment is a major milestone in our move to expand our retail nutrition supplement business by working with industry-moving retailers to meet the growing needs of health-conscious consumers,” said Michael Fink, one of Nutrition 21’s chief operating officers.
Nutrition 21’s product line includes Chromax, Core4Life Advanced Memory Formula, DiabetesEssentials, Iceland Health Maximum Strength Omega-3 and Iceland Health Joint Relief.