HEALTH

McNeil Consumer to make marketing splash as OTC brands return to market

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson is preparing to turn the corner with its McNeil Consumer Healthcare business, J&J chairman and CEO William Weldon told analysts during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call Tuesday. That over-the-counter business generated $5.2 billion in the United States for the year ended Jan. 2, representing a 6.7% decline as compared to 2010.

"A big part of our consumer story in 2011 and going into 2012 has been the recovery and remediation of McNeil Consumer Healthcare business," Weldon said. "We’ve achieved all major commitments to date under our consent decree with the [Food and Drug Administration] and are working closely with FDA officials to ensure we can get high-quality products back to our loyal customers who need them." Several key products already have returned to the market, Weldon said, including Tylenol Severe Cold caplets and certain children’s and infants’ Tylenol brands. In addition, McNeil introduced a flow-restrictor packaging across its children’s medicines to help reduce dosing errors. "We will continue to invest in market support as we deliver a steady supply of our OTC brands back into the market."

Weldon noted, however, that reclaiming lost marketshare across its OTC franchises will be an uphill battle. "It will be a while until we reclaim the share," he said. "What we’re doing is getting them out as quickly as we can and what we’re getting in the market is selling. I think by the middle of 2012, we’ll have most of the products that are going to put back in the market — definitely by the end of 2012."

Johnson and Johnson anticipates re-opening its closed Fort Washington, Pa., manufacturing facility in 2013. 

Worldwide, Weldon noted that J&J is still the sixth largest consumer healthcare company, with $14.9 billion in total sales, up 2% overall. "For [our consumer segment], we saw an operational sales decline of just under 1%, given the remediation and supply issues associated with our U.S. OTC business," Weldon said. "Our consumer business saw solid growth in certain franchises like skin care and oral care, with strong performances from the Neutrogena and Listerine mouthwash brands. … We also continued to innovate, introducing Neutrogena Naturals, Aveeno Smart Essentials, Nicorette Quick Mist and Listerine Zero." The Nicorette Quick Mist is a smoking-cessation mouthspray launched last year in the United Kingdom — GlaxoSmithKline holds the license on the Nicorette brand in the United States — that is marketed as a "fast-acting, flexible and designed for life on-the-go" smoking-cessation solution. 


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Heel launches homeopathic allergy relief

BY Michael Johnsen

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Heel last week launched Adrisin, a homeopathic medicine for the temporary relief of allergy symptoms, including runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing and skin irritations. Adrisin is packaged as a 15-count individually wrapped tablets.

“We all want to use safe, natural and effective medicines to carry on with our daily lives and to feel good,” stated Kristy Anderson, bioregulatory medical advisor at Heel. “I find Adrisin to be effective when taken before allergy season starts to support the immune system and also taken as needed throughout the allergy season to manage symptoms."


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Sam’s Club expands Simply Right with vitamin line

BY Allison Cerra

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Sam’s Club has expanded its Simply Right brand to include a line of quality and affordable vitamins, the retailer announced.

Sam’s Club said its brand, which replaces its Member’s Mark line, features refined packaging and vitamins that are formulated to deliver the same benefits in a smaller pill, making it ideal for members and families who have difficulty swallowing pills, Sam’s Club said. The line includes triple strength fish oil, Co Q-10 softgels, glucosamine HCl and vitamin D3.

In line with the launch, Sam’s Club members are encouraged to scan QR codes that can be found on every bottle of Simply Right vitamins, which will lead them to brief, informative videos by acclaimed naturopathic physician Andrew Myers. The launch also is supported by a Twitter chat that will be held Wednesday and led by Myers.

"We know many of our members have made a resolution to be healthier in the new year, and in addition to a healthy diet and active lifestyle, members can rely on Simply Right vitamins to supplement the necessary nutrients needed for their overall health," Sam’s Club SVP health and wellness Jill Turner-Mitchael said. "Sam’s Club is pleased to provide our members with a broad range of high quality vitamins to meet each member’s needs at an extraordinary value, affordable for the whole family."


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