HEALTH

Perrigo gains entry to store-brand blood-glucose meter market

BY Michael Johnsen

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Perrigo on Thursday announced that it has entered into an exclusive agreement with AgaMatrix to sell and distribute blood-glucose monitors and test strips in the U.S. store-brand channel.

Nipro Diagnostics long has dominated store-brand blood-glucose meters with a co-branding program that includes TRUE2Go, TRUEresult and TRUEtrack.

As part of the agreement, Perrigo will sell and distribute certain products in the current AgaMatrix portfolio, as well as certain future new products.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Entering this adjacent product category has been high on our strategic priority list due to the fact that the growing diabetic community has an increasing demand for more quality, affordable healthcare options,” stated Joseph Papa, Perrigo chairman and CEO. “It is well-known that regular blood-glucose testing is critical to effective diabetes management. What is also well-known is that the cost of testing strips and supplies often prevents many diabetics from testing as often as they should."

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ViVa Beverages introduces new relaxation aids

BY Michael Johnsen

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — ViVa Beverages on Wednesday announced the national launches of Quick Beverages Sleep and Quick Beverages Relax, two new 2-oz. shots containing relaxation aids in a zero-calorie, sugar-free, berry-flavor drink.

"We live in a high-stress, amped-up, always-on-the-go society, which is why energy shots have grown into a huge category," stated Paul Fuegner of ViVa Beverages. "Quick Beverages Sleep and Relax are the all-natural alternatives to energy shots."

The two products are available at Vitamin World and on Amazon.com and currently are selling into drug stores and convenience stores. Suggested retail price is $2.99 per bottle.

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Baxter on verge of revolutionizing flu shot life cycle

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Baxter International on Tuesday announced results of a study published in this week’s issue of The Lancet that demonstrated effectiveness and tolerability of the company’s Preflucel in protecting against seasonal influenza.

If successfully brought to market, the new vaccine would antiquate conventional embryonated chicken egg production with a faster development cycle. That, in turn, would allow greater flexibility in identifying dominant flu strains closer to real-time and close the gap between projected supply versus actual demand. Presently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helps project expected dominant flu strains for an ensuing season in the spring.

The vaccine also should help expand the market for flu shots; Preflucel is free of preservatives, antibiotics and egg proteins, and is suitable for people with egg or antibiotic allergies.

The study data showed nearly 80% protective efficacy against the influenza strains contained in the vaccine and a low adverse event profile. Preflucel is manufactured using Vero cell technology, offering an innovative method of vaccine production, compared with conventional embryonated chicken egg production, which has been used for decades.

Investigators studied the safety, immunogenicity and protective efficacy of Preflucel through a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase-3 trial, conducted in more than 7,200 healthy volunteers in the United States during the 2008-2009 influenza season.

Study results indicated that participants responded positively to the vaccine, with 78.5% protective efficacy against culture-confirmed influenza infection and robust immune responses against the three viral strains contained in the vaccine: A/H1N1- (88.0%), A/H3N2- (93.3%) and B-specific (97.1%) strains.

In addition to protection, study investigators found significantly reduced duration and severity of influenza symptoms in infected subjects in the vaccinated group, as compared with the placebo group in a subsequent analysis. The vaccine was well-tolerated, with no treatment-related serious adverse events reported during the trial.

Preflucel currently is available in Austria and Czech Republic for the 2010-2011 influenza season. Baxter expects to receive approval of Preflucel in additional countries in Europe in 2011 through a repeat mutual recognition procedure.

Preflucel clinical studies involved more than 15,000 participants, of which more than 9,000 adult and elderly participants received the vaccine. The most common undesirable effects observed were pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, myalgia and malaise.

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