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Reckitt Benckiser vs. Bayer: Having VMS in the product portfolio good insurance for future growth

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Reckitt Benckiser on Friday made an offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of VMS maker Schiff Nutrition for $42 per share in cash, or approximately $1.4 billion — a premium of 23.5% more than the $34 per share offer Bayer HealthCare announced Oct. 30. 

Think that’ll be the final offer? Not a chance if you consider the outcome of the most recent presidential election — ObamaCare’s here to stay, and that means any business that trades on well care over sick care is a good business to be in. 

Think about it. With health insurance mandates kicking in beginning in 2014, insurers who generate a larger base of healthier patients are going to be able to realize friendlier margins. In other words, the fewer claims you have to pay out because your coverage base is relatively healthy, the greater proportion of the premiums fall to the bottom line. 

So like the vanishing deductibles touted by Nationwide that the auto insurer ties to safe driving, expect health insurers to similarly drive better health behaviors. Don’t smoke. Eat right. And for the love of McDonald’s, take your vitamins. 

Not convinced? It was only a few months ago that DSN suggested VMS had become the hotbed for merger and acquisition activity because of the potential of the category. Procter & Gamble had finished its purchase of an entire supplement platform with its acquisition of New Chapter, and then Church & Dwight came onto the M&A scene with its acquisition of gummy vitamin manufacturer Avid Health. 

And the executives leading those companies are already tapping into some pretty significant synergies. "Gummy vitamins represent about 58% of all children vitamin sales today with only about 3% of the adult vitamin category," C&D CEO James Craigie excitedly told analysts. "However, the total adult vitamin category is about 19 times [the] size of the kids’ vitamins — or about $5 billion. So we are confident there is a huge opportunity to grow the gummy form in adult vitamins. … That growth has already happened as we speak, as the gummy form is the fastest-growing segment of both kids’ and adult vitamins."

Still not convinced? 

"On a stand-alone basis, Schiff is planning more than $370 million in sales in fiscal year 2013. The relevant market is growing at 6% per annum," Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers told analysts in October, just after he said, "Schiff’s products will effectively complement our existing OTC portfolio. One example is the possible interplay between Aleve to relieve acute joint and muscle pain and Move Free to support joint health."

That’s the play a lot of traditional OTC companies appear to be reaching for. Sure, have the acute care solution at the ready because when people are in pain, they will buy pain relief. But if the overriding consumer focus favors never needing that pain reliever in the first place, it may be a good idea to have that preventive offering as part of the product portfolio, too. 

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NACDS joins advocacy, other healthcare groups in battle against prescription drug diversion, abuse

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced that it has joined pain care advocacy and other healthcare organizations in urging members of Congress to help address the problem of prescription drug diversion and abuse.  

In a letter to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; U.S. Judiciary Committee; U.S. House Committee on Judiciary; and the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, the organizations urged Congress to create a commission or advisory group to bring together all government agency stakeholders to address the problem.

The groups wrote, “[We] are committed to partnering with law enforcement agencies, policy-makers and others to work on viable strategies to solve the problems of prescription drug diversion and abuse. Although numerous groups and state and federal entities are working to reduce these problems, success remains difficult to achieve. One challenge is that many of these groups and entities are not working in a coordinated manner.”

The letter emphasized the importance of reducing prescription drug diversion and abuse without negatively impacting legitimate patient access and care.  

“While appropriate policies must empower law enforcement officials to act aggressively against individuals and entities actually engaging in diversion or abuse, diversion/abuse control actions must be balanced against the needs of healthcare providers to provide care to legitimate patients. We must ensure that legitimate patients receive critical medicines without interruption,” the groups stated in the letter.

In addition to NACDS, the following organizations signed the letter: American Academy of Pain Management; American Society for Pain Management Nursing; Center for Practical Bioethics; Inflexxion; International Nurses Society on Addictions; National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care; National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association; Pain Treatment Topics; Purdue Pharma L.P.; U.S. Pain Foundation; and the Virginia Cancer Pain Initiative.

“Due to the urgent nature of the problems associated with prescription drug diversion and abuse, the advisory group’s recommendations should be provided to Congress within one year of its creation or enactment,” the groups concluded in the letter.

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Mr. Clean celebrates milestone as it produces its 1 billionth Magic Eraser

BY Rebecca Haughey

CINCINATTI – Procter & Gamble’s Mr. Clean brand on Friday announced that is has manufactured 1 billion Mr. Clean Magic Erasers since the product’s launch in 2003.

"Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a remarkable product, and we are extremely proud to reach this landmark for the history of the brand," said Mr. Clean communications manager Michelle Lohman. "We are excited that in nine years, it has become a cleaning staple among our fans."

The water-activated micro-scrubbers of the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers reach into surface grooves, lifting away tough soils with only water. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser can be used for removing scuff marks and dirt, cleaning grimy bathroom floors and removing stains from furniture and wooden decks.

The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser product lineup includes Extra Power, Bath Scrubber and Kitchen Scrubber versions for more specific uses, and is available in six multi-sized erasers.

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