Study: 53% of colds originate in workplace
Americans are hard-pressed these days to call in sick, especially for something as innocuous as a cold or even the flu. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that nearly 72% of workers typically go to work when they are sick. Workplace pressures and “presenteeism” may be causing workers to go in under the weather, as more than half (55%) of workers said they feel guilty if they call in sick.
The CareerBuilder survey was conducted nationwide from Nov. 15 to Dec. 2, 2010, among more than 3,700 workers.
That’s good news for purveyors of cold remedies, because the men and women who are sucking it up with the help of symptom relievers are likely passing their germs on to others. More than half of workers (53%) said they have gotten sick from a co-worker who came to the office sick, while 12% said they picked up a bug from someone who was sick on public transportation going to or from work.
J&J hands over germ protection
Gojo Industries this past fall reacquired its Purell hand-sanitizer brand from Johnson & Johnson and is currently putting the pieces in place to reassume a category leadership role for waterless hand washing.
The endeavor is not without its challenges. Today, hand sanitizers are a highly commoditized category. And though sanitizers certainly benefited from increased awareness associated with last year’s H1N1 pandemic, that awareness didn’t translate into sales; the $100-million-plus category is down 35.4% in 2010, according to SymphonyIRI Group data.
And retailers currently are holding an overabundance of inventory, all of which is expected to soon flood the clearance racks in the dollar store channel as the sanitizers move closer to their expiration dates.
“It’s really about driving household penetration through education and innovation,” said Tim Cleary, who joined Purell Consumer as VP sales this past fall. “There’s great brand-name recognition. Aided is 82%; unaided is 58%,” Cleary said. “But household penetration is only 29%. You’ve got this huge gap there.”
Cleary is looking toward opportunities across the 2011-2012 cough-cold season now and plans to relaunch the brand with new packaging and line extensions in 2012.
CHPA, Congress propose dose of clarity for kids
HUNTINGTON, N.Y. — Concerns over kids’ medicines and proper dosing is still a prominent issue. Children between the ages of 2 years and 12 years are inaccurately dosed up to 73% of the time, according to a report published by the American Medical Association. This increases emergency room visits in two-thirds of the cases.
In January, N.Y. Rep. Steve Israel, D-Huntington, sparked debate over proper pediatric dosing when he announced plans to introduce new legislation to homogenize medicine cups and other dosage devices commonly used to give medicine to children. Israel cited a study published in the December 2010 Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that 99% of medicine cups and dosage devices were flawed, as the impetus behind the bill.
However, the need for such a bill may be moot as the over-the-counter industry is already initiating guidelines that will standardize dosing directions and units of measuring that dose by year’s end.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association has approved voluntary guidelines, including the uniform use of tables to communicate dosing guidelines as opposed to only text, and the use of milliliters as the preferred unit for dosing with the abbreviation to read “mL.”