HEALTH

NBTY 3Q revenue up 22%

BY Michael Johnsen

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. NBTY last week posted net sales of $652 million for its third quarter ended June 30, an increase of 22%. However, overall gross profit margins fell to 45% from 51% in NBTY’s fiscal third quarter 2008, reflecting an on-going trend of private-label sales constituting a greater portion of the company’s overall sales. This is the first quarter that NBTY’s nutritional supplement private-label business of Leiner Health, acquired July of last year, has been fully integrated into NBTY’s operational results.

Private label sales traditionally have a lower gross profit and, accordingly, overall gross profit margin decreased.

Net sales for the NBTY’s Wholesale/U.S. Nutrition division, which in addition to Leiner  includes NBTY’s key retail brands like Nature’s Bounty, Osteo Bi-Flex, Rexall, Sundown, Ester-C and Solgar, increased 40% to $396 million.

Sales of Leiner private label products are outpacing overall category growth, NBTY noted — NBTY’s wholesale offerings reported a 10.5% increase for the 13 weeks ended June 27 across food, drug and mass channels, citing Nielsen Group data, as compared to 9.8% growth for the entire category.

Speaking to NBTY’s fiscal success, Harvey Kamil, president and CFO, appeared Monday morning on the Fox Business Morning C-Suite Sit-Down. Asked if dietary supplements were an expendable expense in a down economy, Kamil replied, “People look at their nutritional supplements [as] non-discretionary. They want to stay healthy.”

The core demographic shopping dietary supplements — baby boomers over the age of 50 — are particularly concerned about their health and disease prevention, Kamil added.

“We are answering the demand,” he said. “It’s a science-based industry … fish oil, vitamin D, news comes out almost every day about the benefits of these nutritional supplements. So as the science comes out, the market will move [and] consumers will be buying these products.”

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Ross Valley Pharmacy develops medication management, diabetes counseling initiatives

BY Michael Johnsen

LARKSPUR, Calif. Ross Valley Pharmacy, an independent, locally owned pharmacy in Marin County, Calif., on Monday announced the availability of personalized medication management and diabetes counseling programs.

The MM program is designed to help local residents understand and reduce risk and side effects associated with taking multiple prescription and nonprescription drugs, supplements and vitamins.

Ross Valley Pharmacy’s counseling programs offer consumers the ability to create a profile that captures key information such as prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins, supplements, blood glucose levels, medical conditions, symptoms, height, weight and food by entering information on a customized version of TheCarrot.com’s popular, easy-to-use online platform. Once consumers, their family or caregivers enter the requested information, Ross Valley Pharmacy will assess the medication and/or diabetes profile and will schedule a one-on-one counseling session to educate and provide guidance on how to improve health outcomes. Patients with diabetes will be scheduled to see a Certified Diabetes Educator who evaluates blood glucose levels, medications and diet, the independent pharmacy stated.

“Many people often leave their doctor’s office not understanding why or how they should take prescribed medications,” stated Paul Lofholm, president of Ross Valley Pharmacy. “They look to a pharmacist to fill in communication gaps, but unfortunately, a pharmacist often doesn’t have all the information needed to provide comprehensive patient counseling. For example, at least 25% of medications consumed are over-the-counter drugs … these drugs, alone or when combined with other medications, vitamins and supplements, can produce harmful side effects. Our goals are to evaluate the aggregate effects of all the drugs an individual takes, educate consumers to better manage their health and arm them with the knowledge they need to ask their physicians the right questions.”

Examples of commonly unrecognized medication problems/issues include:

  • The decongestant pseudoephedrine can raise blood pressure;
  • There is an increased risk of liver damage when taking acetaminophen with Vicodin or Percocet;
  • Combining non-prescription Prilosec with such similar prescription stomach acid reducers as Aciphex or Protonix limits absorption of other medications and can lead to anemia;
  • Anti-depressants can trigger poor balance and falls;
  • People with epilepsy need to eat proteins because seizure-controlling drugs must bind to protein to work effectively;
  • Beta blockers, used to control blood pressure, can lower blood sugar;
  • Grapefruit juice slows the body’s ability to metabolize cholesterol-lowering Lipitor, leading to elevated blood levels of the drug; and
  • Calcium supplements halve the effectiveness of thyroid medications.

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Report: Standards for glucose monitors may change

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The name of the game in diabetes management is compliance. For patients and their healthcare advocates/practitioners, compliance translates into better health outcomes that will prove to be considerably less costly over the life of the patient. And for retailers and blood-glucose meter manufacturers, compliance translates into a high-frequency/high-marketbasket consumer as compared with the average pharmacy patron.

 

So an article in The New York Times questioning the validity of meters sold in the United States could be cause for considerable concern — if American diabetics have less faith in the accuracy of their meters, then they’re likely to be less compliant in testing. And diabetics who don’t have their blood-sugar levels in check would mean poorer health, higher healthcare costs, a decline in pharmacy trips and the loss of that highly-coveted diabetes consumer.

 

As expressed in the Times report, creating a lack of faith in meter results by questioning meter efficacy is what the agency is attempting to avoid.

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