HEALTH

Sunpeaks Ventures debuts TV spot for blood-thinner-friendly multivitamin

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Sunpeaks Ventures last week announced national advertising support behind its Clotamin multivitamin line — a line of supplements formulated for use by patients on warfarin or other blood thinners.

"Until now, Clotamin has never been the focus of any consumer marketing," stated Mackie Barch, Sunpeaks CEO. "The product’s popularity has been built solely through positive word of mouth from our customers and through pharmacies that already carry the product."

The commercial is expected to premiere on select cable stations on April 2 and can be previewed here.

The company announced distribution gains through both Walgreens.com and Navarro Discount Pharmacies earlier this month.

Sunpeaks Ventures noted that the global anticoagulants market is projected to surpass $11.2 billion by 2015, driven by an aging global population, rising incidence of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and acute hip and knee complications, as well as emergence of innovative therapeutics targeting new and previously targeted clotting factors.


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Health Choices Coalition renews plea for FSA-eligible OTCs with no Rx needed

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the other members of the Health Choices Coalition on Friday sent letters to members of Congress urging the repeal of the requirement that prevents consumers from using their flexible spending arrangements to purchase over-the-counter medicines without first getting a doctor’s prescription. 

“Over-the-counter medicines serve as a first line of defense for American families’ healthcare needs while offering a valuable cost-savings to consumers,” stated John Gay, CHPA VP government affairs. “Repeal of this provision can save time and money for patients, physicians and our healthcare system at large."

A recent survey by CHPA revealed that primary care physicians estimated, on average, that 10% or more of office visits were unnecessary and could have been avoided by self-management, including the use of OTC medications.

As the second anniversary of the enactment of healthcare reform approaches, members of the Health Choices Coalition are urging Congress to take action in order to allow consumers to use their FSAs for OTC medicines.

“As Congress considers ways to meet our nation’s healthcare needs effectively, they should work to restore an important incentive for consumers to use efficient healthcare options that save time and money,” Gay said.


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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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