HEALTH

Swisse Wellness launches supplement line at Walgreens

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A line of OTC products from Australia will hit the shelves of Walgreens Friday.

Swisse Wellness announced plans to roll out its line of multivitamins and other products in October 2012, hiring actress Nicole Kidman as the spokeswoman for the brand.

An announcement on the company’s website noted that the release would coincide with Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday as it touted its Ultivite multivitamins, Swisse Ultiboost Liver Detox and Swisse Ultivite + Energy.

"Here at the new Swisse HQ in Chicago, we’re brushing up on our NFL knowledge before the big game," the announcement read. "We’re more accustomed to Aussie Rules Footy, taking in a Grand Final at the G, watching the tall timber fly for a specky or launch a screwy, shouting ‘Chewy on your boot!!’ to the opposition lining up for a sausage roll. We’ve heard NFL is a bit different. But from what we’ve learned so far, there are a few things our football games have in common: this is a time to catch up with friends, eat lots of food, and cheer on your team!"


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HEALTH

NCPDP releases updated acetaminophen white paper

BY Alaric DeArment

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A standards-development organization for the pharmacy services industry has updated a white paper on protecting consumers and patients from accidental overdoses of the painkiller acetaminophen.

The NCPDP announced the updated white paper, "NCPDP Recommendations for Improved Prescription Container Labels for Medicines Containing Acetaminophen Version 1.1."

The NCPDP mobilized healthcare industry participants in 2011 to explore the issue of acetaminophen overdose, recommending that the industry implement measures to help patients avoid overdoses by enabling them to identify when their prescription medicines contain the drug, compare active ingredients on OTC and prescription drug labels and avoid the use of multiple medicines containing acetaminophen. Such pharmacy retailers as Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart and Target have implemented or committed to phased implementation of the NCPDP’s recommendations to produce prescription labels with the complete spelling of acetaminophen and eliminate use of such abbreviations as "acet" and "APAP" while prioritizing the standard acetaminophen warning label in the top-three warnings for prescription medicines.

"Liver injury from acetaminophen overdose remains a serious public health problem," FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Janet Woodcock said. "NCPDP’s leadership in working with the pharmacy system industry to develop and implement these voluntary standards continues to be an effective complement to FDA’s regulatory and educational efforts to improve the safe use of acetaminophen-containing medicines."


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RAD posts positive January comps amid strong flu season

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid reported a 0.3% increase in comps for the month of January, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

The increase included a 4.2% increase in front-end comps, 2.4% of which came from sales of OTC flu products. Pharmacy comps decreased by 1.4%, while same-store prescription count increased 5%, 3.4% of which came from flu-related prescriptions and flu shots. Total store sales for the four-week period, which ended Saturday, decreased 0.5% to $1.91 billion.

The retailer’s January comps beat analyst estimates, particularly on the front end. Guggenheim Securities had forecast a 0.5% decrease in front-end comps, as well as a 2.5% decrease in pharmacy comps and a slightly larger decrease in overall comps.

Comps for the 47-week period that ended Saturday increased 0.1%, including a 1.6% increase in front-end comps and a 0.7% decrease in pharmacy comps as same-store prescription count increased 3.7%.

Total store sales for the 47-week period decreased 0.6% to $22.83 billion.


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