HEALTH

Survey reveals Americans’ concerns over product recalls, information

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — A new Consumer Reports poll released Monday found that only one-fifth of U.S. adults were aware of having purchased food, medication or a product (other than a car) that was recalled in the past three years.

Americans surveyed believed it is important to know about product recalls, but they were not confident that they are getting adequate information delivered to them, the poll also revealed.

While only 20% of U.S. consumers were concerned that they personally missed a recall announcement in the past three years, some groups were more concerned than others. More than one-quarter of 18- to 24-year-old consumers were concerned they missed a product recall notice. This compared with less than one-sixth of all consumers ages 65 years and older. Parents of school- and/or preschool-aged children also were slightly more apt to be worried about missing such announcements than were other adults (26% versus 19%).

Consumers were more likely to find out about product recalls from the news than any other source. Nearly two-thirds of those consumers who had experienced a recent food recall and a slight majority of those who purchased a recalled medication found out about the recall from a news report.

Finding out about product recalls somewhat was more varied. While a plurality of those who purchased a recalled product were informed of the recall via the news, 1-out-of-6 found out about the recall from the manufacturer and a little more than one-tenth from family, friends or coworkers. Among the survey’s findings:

  • Of the 20% of the population who believed they purchased a recalled product, nearly 40% responded that it was for food, almost 40% for a medication and 24% for a product;

  • Less than one-quarter of Americans researched a product they purchased to see if it was recalled;

  • More than one-half of Americans said they never or rarely filled out the registration cards that come with products; and

  • Half of Americans were not confident that manufacturers and retailers shared safety information with government agencies, while two-fifths lacked confidence that manufacturers and retailers provided consumers with appropriate product recall information.

The poll was commissioned by the newly formed National School Safety Coalition, convened by Consumer Reports, the National Parent Teacher Association and the National School Boards Association. Coalition partners include the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration. The coalition distributes safety alerts and recall notices on children’s products, including toys, food, medicines and furniture, through a Consumer Reports microsite, ClickCheckandProtect.org.

The "Consumer Reports Product Recalls" survey is based on a nationally representative sample of American adults, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. A total of 2,005 landline and cellular random digit dial telephone interviews were completed among adults ages 18 years and older. Interviewing took place between Aug. 19 and Aug. 29.

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GSK Consumer Healthcare expands portfolio with Maxinutrition acquisition

BY Michael Johnsen

LONDON — GlaxoSmithKline on Monday announced its acquisition from Darwin Private Equity of Maxinutrition, a U.K. company that manufactures protein-enhanced functional nutrition products.

“This deal will give GSK a strong presence in the fast-developing protein-based sports nutrition market, appealing across a broad spectrum of consumers, from elite athletes to sports participants and those seeking additional nutritional supplementation,” stated John Clarke, GSK Consumer Healthcare president.

The deal is worth approximately $255.5 million, which includes a cash consideration for Maxinutrition shares and assumption of outstanding debt.

Maxinutrition is Europe’s No. 1 sports nutrition company by market share and has delivered sales growth of approximately 21% over the last three years, GSK reported. Maxinutrition recorded sales of approximately $56.8 million for the fiscal year ended in April.

Under the terms of this agreement, GSK will acquire Maxinutrition’s brands, including Maximuscle, the leading brand in the United Kingdom and European sports nutrition market.

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Matrixx agrees to H.I.G. Capital acquisition

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Matrixx Initiatives on Tuesday announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by affiliates of private equity firm H.I.G. Capital.

The board of directors of Matrixx unanimously has approved the merger agreement. Under the terms of the merger agreement, affiliates of H.I.G. will commence a tender offer to purchase all of the outstanding shares for approximately $75.2 million.

The tender offer is expected to commence Dec. 22, and to expire on the 20th business day following and including the commencement date. If the tender offer is completed successfully, the parties will complete a second-step merger in which any remaining shares of Matrixx would be converted into the right to receive the same price per share paid in the tender offer.

Matrixx’s shares climbed more than 55%, closing Dec. 14 trading at $7.98 per share.

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