HEALTH

Schiff: Advertising, not BOGOs, driving joint care category sales

BY Michael Johnsen

SALT LAKE CITY — Schiff has realized some sales success reducing its reliance on promotion across the joint health category — a category that has been defined by the prevalence of buy-one, get-one deals over the past few years — the company told analysts Thursday in a discussion on fiscal 2012 third-quarter results.

"[Overall] net [third-quarter] sales grew 25% over the same period last year, driven by a 53% increase in branded sales," Schiff director, president and CEO Tarang Amin said. "Importantly, all key brands grew with contributions from our probiotic business acquired in June, new product introductions and benefits from a significant increase in advertising." During the fiscal third quarter, selling and marketing expense as a percent of net sales was 24% versus 14% last year, or about an additional $8 million, according to Amin.

Amin credited that increase in consumer advertising with growing its joint care brands despite fewer promotions at shelf. "A great example is Schiff MegaRed, which continued its rapid growth even at a 60% price premium relative to fish oil. Our MegaRed efforts also included gaining over 75,000 likes on Facebook and product sampling on the Dr. Oz show," Amin said.

That success across Schiff’s joint business is measured against one year ago, when the joint business was trending negative. Amin attributed last year’s decline to two factors — continual price discounting across the category and a lack of new product introductions. "We continue to see price discounting from some of [the] competitors," Amin said. "And it’s a bit perplexing because as we followed our strategy between advertising and product innovation, we’ve seen much stronger growth rates than the rest of the categories. So I do believe, over time, people are going to take a look at who’s actually growing share and who’s not, and that should change tactics."

Schiff currently is focused on its MegaRed joint product, a proprietary formula of krill oil and astaxanthin to promote joint health. Over the fourth quarter, Schiff will be testing a new Move Free item, which maintains and repairs cartilage, and Move Free Lean, which provides joint relief and support to leaner bodies.

In addition, Schiff is gearing up for several line extensions across its probiotic portfolio that will feature BC30 probiotics technology as a key point of differentiation.


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Natrol launches supplement line featuring gummy and fast-dissolve formats

BY Michael Johnsen

CHATSWORTH, Calif. — Natrol on Thursday announced the launch of a new line of supplements that will ship later this year.

The new line includes several existing and new vitamins and supplements in an alternative form of adult gummy vitamins and fast-dissolve tablets. For example, Carb Intercept 3 is a calorie-burning and carb-controlling capsule that helps metabolize fats for energy. Tropical Thin is a weight-control product that features a unique fruit blend of ingredients, such as coconut, raspberry ketones and African mango. Laci Le Beau fast-dissolve tablets help promote elimination of impurities and reduce belly bloat. What’s more, Natrol also has partnered with Bikram Choudhury, founder of “Bikram Yoga,” on Vedic Mantra, a complete line of 10 herbal Ayurvedic supplements formulated specifically for the Yoga enthusiast.

“We know that our customers already embrace a lifestyle of wellness that enriches the mind and body," Natrol senior director of marketing Lisa Sheppard said. "With these new products, we are both expanding our choices to a variety of multipaced daily routines, as well as opening up new options for lifestyles with specific needs."


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An aspirin a day to keep the oncologist away

BY Michael Johnsen

LONDON — Evidence supporting the daily use of aspirin to help prevent and possibly treat cancer was published Tuesday in a collection of three papers — two in The Lancet and one in Lancet Oncology.

Previous studies have established that daily aspirin reduces the long-term risk of death due to cancer (Lancet 2007, 2010, 2011). However, the short-term effects were less certain, especially in women, as was how the risk/benefit of aspirin changes over time. In the first paper (The Lancet), lead author Peter Rothwell, professor at the University of Oxford and John Radcliffe Hospital, studied individual patient data from 51 randomized trials of daily aspirin versus no aspirin to prevent such vascular events as heart attacks.

They found that aspirin reduced the risk of a cancer death by 15%, compared with control groups. This improved to a 37% reduction risk of a cancer death for those on aspirin from five years and onwards. The reduction in cancer deaths on aspirin resulted in a 12% reduction in nonvascular deaths overall during the trials. In these trials of primary prevention, the reduction in nonvascular deaths accounted for almost all (91%) of the deaths prevented. Daily low-dose aspirin reduced cancer incidence by around a quarter from three years and onwards, with similar reductions in men (23%) and women (25%).

Although the reduced risk of major vascular events in these trials was initially offset by an increased risk of major bleeding, both these effects diminished over time, leaving only the reduced risk of cancer from 3 years and onwards (an absolute reduction of 3 cases per 1,000 patients per year, 12-per-1,000 control versus 9-per-1,000 in aspirin groups). The authors also found that case-fatality from major extracranial bleeds also was two-thirds lower on aspirin versus control groups.

"Alongside the previously reported reduction by aspirin of the long-term risk of cancer death, the short-term reductions in cancer incidence and mortality and the decrease in risk of major extracranial bleeds with extended use, and their low case-fatality, add to the case for daily aspirin in prevention of cancer," Rothwell said. "In view of the very low rates of vascular events in recent and ongoing trials of aspirin in primary prevention, prevention of cancer could become the main justification for aspirin use in this setting."

A second article in The Lancet reported the effect of aspirin on cancer metastasis (i.e., how cancer grows/spreads). In this study, the authors collected new data on metastases of cancers that were diagnosed during all five large randomized trials of daily aspirin (75mg or more daily) versus control for the prevention of vascular events in the United Kingdom.

They found that, with a mean follow-up of 6.5 years, allocation to aspirin reduced risk of cancer with distant metastasis by 36%, risk of adencarcioma (common solid cancers including colon, lung, and prostate cancers) by 46%, and of other solid cancers (e.g. bladder, kidney) by 18%. These reductions were due mainly to a reduction by almost half in the proportion of adenocarcinomas that had metastatic disease.

The third study, published in The Lancet Oncology, also looked at aspirin’s affect on metastases, this time using a systematic review of observational versus randomized trials. They found that observational studies showed a 38% reduced risk of colorectal cancer, matching well to the 42% reduction shown by randomized trials. Similar matches in risk were found for oesophageal, gastric, biliary and breast cancers.


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