HEALTH

Prestige Brands to acquire Blacksmith Brands for $190 million

BY Michael Johnsen

IRVINGTON, N.Y. Prestige Brands on Monday announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the stock of Blacksmith Brands for $190 million in cash. Blacksmith manages five over-the-counter brands, including Efferdent, Effergrip, PediaCare, Luden’s and NasalCrom.

 

With the addition of these five brands, OTC products in the Prestige portfolio now account for 75% of revenues and an even greater percentage of brand contribution.

 

“Strategic acquisitions in the OTC market are core to our shareholder value creation strategy,” stated Matthew Mannelly, Prestige CEO. "We are strengthening Prestige’s position in key categories with the additions of Efferdent, PediaCare and Luden’s. These three scale brands compete in attractive categories we know well.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, and is expected to close during fourth quarter 2010.

In June, Blacksmith Brands had voluntarily recalled all lots of its four children’s products in the PediaCare line, which were being manufactured for Blacksmith Brands by McNeil Consumer Healthcare at McNeil’s now-closed Fort Washington, Pa., plant. That recall was not initiated as a result of any consumer reports of adverse events, and no consumer complaints have been received about the safety or purity of the products, the company stated at the time.

 

In line with the announcement of the Blacksmith transaction, Prestige also announced the divestiture of its Cutex line of nail polish removers, the largest remaining product in its personal care segment. The sale to Arch Equity Partners of St. Louis was effective Sept. 1.

 

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FDA should consult advisory committees on DXM issue

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT While the advisory committee vote of 15 opposed and nine in favor of scheduling the all-too-common cough-relieving ingredient dextromethorphan as a controlled substance might seem like a healthy indicator as to which direction the Food and Drug Administration will act on this issue, make no mistake: it is by no means a certainty. This still may be an issue for cough-cold season 2011-2012.

(THE NEWS: FDA advisory committees forgo restricting cough-cold sales, CHPA responds. For the full story, click here)

But here are more than a few reasons why the FDA should act in concert with its advisory committees on this issue.

Restricting access to a cough-relieving ingredient as prevalent as DXM would increase healthcare costs, those opposed to scheduling the ingredient have argued. That’s because consumers in search of cough-cold relief now would need to schedule and pay for a doctor’s appointment. Such a wholesale change in the access to common cough-cold ingredients also very well may impede labor productivity as well, because those consumers who schedule that doctor’s appointment likely will miss work, and those consumers who decide to just suffer through their illness likely will be less productive at work.

More important, scheduling DXM may not accomplish its stated objective, whether that’s reducing teenage access to DXM or reducing the number of teenagers who potentially would abuse DXM. That’s because teenagers aren’t necessarily acquiring their DXM “fix” from retailers — they more easily can acquire DXM from online resources or by sifting through their parents’ medicine cabinets. And retail pharmacy already has procedures and programs in place to reduce either access or incidence. It’s something, as a group, that they’ve been doing for years.

Retailers, for example, enforce an age restriction on the sale of DXM — not selling products to minors under the age of 18 years. And the National Association of Chain Drug Stores recently testified that retail pharmacy would fully support codifying this age restriction, an approach that last year had been submitted to Congress by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Similarly, both NACDS and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association supported legislation that would restrict the sale of bulk dextromethorphan to any entity not registered with the FDA. That’s a law that significantly would inhibit any Internet sales of DXM products to minors.

The CHPA also aggressively has been raising awareness among parents and other concerned groups — teachers for example — about the abuse potential of any medicines that can be found in that medicine cabinet, not just DXM. The CHPA’s attention to this issue is nothing new — the organization actively has been addressing this concern with such partners as the Partnership for a Drug-Free America since 2003.

Last year, all of the industry’s efforts to raise awareness around the teenage abuse of medicines were combined into one comprehensive website: StopMedicineAbuse.org. The site is a portal that affords easy access to all the industry’s initiatives and interactive programs that engage parents and community leaders in the fight against teen cough-medicine abuse.

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Matthew Poli joins The Emerson Group

BY Michael Johnsen

WAYNE, Pa. The Emerson Group on Thursday announced the addition of Matthew Poli to the company, effective Sept. 20. Poli’s responsibilities will include client business development, brand management and marketing. He will work out of Emerson’s Wayne, Pa., office and will report to Rick Wellinger, Emerson president.

Poli comes to Emerson with more than 16 years of experience in marketing, sales management, trade marketing and account development — all within Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit. Most recently, Poli servied as senior brand manager of children’s Tylenol and children’s Motrin. In this P&L role, Poli was responsible for growing brand equity and market share, consumer communications and innovation pipeline development, Emerson noted.

In previous marketing roles, Poli developed the strategy extending Tylenol into the external pain-relief market, ultimately leading to the launch of Precise external pain relievers. Poli also launched Tylenol PM rapid-release gels in 2008.

“We are very excited about Matthew’s role in helping us achieve our goals we have established with our business partners,” Welllinger stated. “Please join me in welcoming Matthew, his wife Beth Ann and daughter Chelsea to The Emerson Group.”

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