HEALTH

Merck explores sale of animal health, consumer care divisions

BY Michael Johnsen

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Merck on Monday reported on its intent to explore strategic options for its animal health and consumer care businesses. The company expects to complete the process and take action, if any, in 2014. 

Exploring strategic options for its animal health and consumer care businesses to determine the most value-creating option for each and could reach different decisions about the two businesses, Merck stated. 

Over the last four months of 2013, the company announced plans to close or sell manufacturing operations at Swords, Ireland; La Vallée, France; Arecibo and Barceloneta, Puerto Rico; and completed the sale of its active pharmaceutical ingredient operations at Oss, the Netherlands; and announced closure of the Summit, N.J. site.

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Alere Wellbeing publishes book touting Quit For Life smoking-cessation program

BY Michael Johnsen

SEATTLE — After years of successfully helping tobacco users quit with the Quit For Life Program, Alere Wellbeing has launched a new book designed to bring that expertise to the everyday consumer. Anyone wanting to quit tobacco can now purchase a copy of Quit Smoking for Life, written by health writer Suzanne Schlosberg with the help of Quit Coaches from the program.

Within the pages of this book, tobacco users will find a five-step plan that makes quitting achievable for everyone. With Quit Smoking for Life, smokers will map out every aspect of their quit — the date they will stop smoking; how they’ll occupy their hands, mouth and mind; and how they will cope with stress, nicotine cravings and being around smokers. Preparation is the crucial step, yet most smokers just wing it — and fail, Alere stated.

In fact, just 4% to 7% of tobacco users who try to quit on their own have success, though 69% of smokers say they want to quit.

The Quit Smoking for Life plan involves strategies such as “mini-quits,” tobacco proofing and nicotine replacement medications, which are often used incorrectly, according to Alere Wellbeing. It includes a pull-out workbook, as well as quitting stories from people who have beat nicotine addictions and lots of realistic, supportive tips from professional quit coaches.

The Quit For Life Program, backed by the American Cancer Society, has an average quit rate of 47%. However, many people do not have access to the Quit For Life Program, as it is available only through select employers and health plans. The book, also backed by the American Cancer Society, fills this gap and allows access to the methods proven successful for more than 2 million tobacco users.

Quit Smoking for Life offers the expertise of 200 trained Quit Coaches – the same Quit Coaches accessed by participants in the Quit For Life Program. The book is endorsed by Michael Fiore, the director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at University of Wisconsin and a nationally recognized expert on tobacco, and Daniel Eisenberg, the medical director of Cardiology at Saint Joseph Medical Center.

The book is available on Amazon.com, and is sold in leading bookstores, including Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books and Books A Million. It is also available at airport bookstores.

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NBTY recognized as one of the ‘Most Socially Responsible Compan[ies] of the Year’ by the Best in Biz Awards

BY Michael Johnsen

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. — NBTY has been named a silver winner in the category “Most Socially Responsible Company of the Year” by the Best in Biz Awards, the company announced Thursday. 

NBTY leverages multiple avenues to channel product, monetary and other contributions to ensure that the help it provides has a wide berth. NBTY takes a multifaceted approach to the contributions it makes over the course of a year, including but not limited to: support of disaster relief and recovery efforts, the work that it does to manufacture, label  and distribute vitamins through Vitamin Angels, and the extensive work of NBTY Helping Hands, the company’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate, which in 2012 donated substantial funds to charitable organizations benefiting children, the hungry, the homeless, veterans and the disabled. 

Best in Biz received more than 500 entries this year. Winners were determined by an independent panel of 50 judges from news, business and technology publications, as well as broadcast outlets and analyst firms, such as Bloomberg, Businessweek, the Chicago Tribune, Computerworld, Crain’s New York Business, the Dallas Morning News, Fast Company, Financial Times, Fortune, Inc. magazine, Reuters, the San Francisco Chronicle and USA Today

“I was impressed by the social conscience shown in several of the entries,” stated Kat Bryant, associate editor at the Phoenix Business Journal, who served on the Best in Biz Awards 2013 judging panel. “Not all big businesses are just out to make money these days; an increasing number are looking to make a difference — within their own ranks, in the communities they serve directly and even worldwide. It does my heart good.” 

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