HEALTH

RAD posts positive January comps amid strong flu season

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid reported a 0.3% increase in comps for the month of January, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

The increase included a 4.2% increase in front-end comps, 2.4% of which came from sales of OTC flu products. Pharmacy comps decreased by 1.4%, while same-store prescription count increased 5%, 3.4% of which came from flu-related prescriptions and flu shots. Total store sales for the four-week period, which ended Saturday, decreased 0.5% to $1.91 billion.

The retailer’s January comps beat analyst estimates, particularly on the front end. Guggenheim Securities had forecast a 0.5% decrease in front-end comps, as well as a 2.5% decrease in pharmacy comps and a slightly larger decrease in overall comps.

Comps for the 47-week period that ended Saturday increased 0.1%, including a 1.6% increase in front-end comps and a 0.7% decrease in pharmacy comps as same-store prescription count increased 3.7%.

Total store sales for the 47-week period decreased 0.6% to $22.83 billion.


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ERSP recommends weight-loss supplement manufacturer modify claims

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program on Wednesday determined the National Weight Loss Institute can support general weight-loss claims made in direct-response advertising for Prevoxin, a dietary supplement intended to promote weight loss, but recommended the marketer modify or discontinue certain claims.

Following its review of the case record, ERSP determined that the two clinical human studies on 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone, or 7-Keto DHEA, provided reliable support for the marketer’s establishment claim of 200% increased weight loss when using the product in combination with diet and exercise. However, ERSP found the evidence did not provide adequate substantiation for the claim that Prevoxin can help users “lose 3x as much body fat.”

Regarding claims pertaining to the “pharmaceutical quality” of Prevoxin, ERSP recommended that NWLI clearly present the related disclosure independently of the disclosure that qualifies weight loss results in order to prevent any ambiguity.

ERSP also recommended the marketer discontinue the testimonial at issue as the relevant disclosure did not adequately convey the results consumers can generally expect to achieve from use of the product. 

The company agreed to modify future advertising claims in its marketer’s statement.

ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP pursuant to its ongoing monitoring program.


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Monistat survey: 75% of women experience yeast infections, but misconceptions persist

BY Michael Johnsen

TREVOSE, Pa. — Research has shown that three in four women will experience candidiasis, more commonly known as a vaginal yeast infection, and 67% are embarrassed by it, Insight Pharmaceuticals announced Wednesday, citing an independent survey commissioned for Monistat.

"Yeast infections are a perfectly normal part of life for women," stated Jennifer Moyer, VP marketing for Insight Pharmaceuticals. "A yeast infection doesn’t mean you did anything wrong; it’s like getting a cold. Yet our survey confirms that most women feel embarrassment about having a yeast infection. That’s adding unnecessary distress to a normal condition … so we are on a quest to end that embarrassment through education."

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that less than half of women surveyed (45%) feel comfortable talking openly about yeast infections with a friend. By contrast, the majority of women felt at least somewhat comfortable discussing menstruation (85%) and urinary tract infections (82%) with friends. Close to one in ten would not be comfortable talking openly about yeast infections with anyone, even their doctor.

Many women also think that suffering from a yeast infection is a cause for judgment: close to one-third (29%) of respondents indicated that they would be at least somewhat worried that other people would judge them if they knew they had experienced a yeast infection.

"We see many patients who are experiencing yeast infections, yet we find that women are often embarrassed to discuss their symptoms during appointments," stated Allison Hill , OB/GYN and member of The Mommy Docs, a group of three doctors featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s "Deliver Me," as well as a forthcoming eponymous series on public television. "As OB/GYNs, we see and hear everything. There is nothing a woman could reveal to us that would surprise or upset us, so there should be no reason for patients to be ashamed of having a yeast infection."

Other survey findings indicated that there are many misconceptions surrounding treatment options. More than one-third (36%) of women believe that yeast infections can be cured using a feminine cleansing product or cream designed exclusively to relieve itching and other symptoms; in reality, such products do not do anything to treat the infection. Furthermore, more than one in five women (23%) believe that yeast infections can only be cured with prescription treatment. However, Monistat 1 provides relief from symptoms as soon as four hours after the first dose, which is four times faster than the leading prescription treatments, Insight Pharmaceuticals noted. 

"While we always recommend that women visit their doctor if they’re experiencing a yeast infection for the first time to confirm the diagnosis, the condition is easily cured with over-the-counter treatments such as Monistat," Hill said. "Most yeast infections take around seven days to be completely cured, but if symptoms don’t subside after a week, one may be experiencing another infection such as bacterial vaginosis, or an STD such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. In that case, a woman should see her doctor to confirm that it isn’t something more serious."


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