Walgreens Flu Impact Report: Flu derailed 3 million travel plans
DEERFIELD, Ill. — The typical flu season always coincides with the busiest travel period of the year, and last season that spelled trouble for more than 3 million U.S. vacationers whose trips were interrupted by flu-related illness, according to the "Walgreens Flu Impact Report" released Tuesday.
The findings in part two of the survey examining the effects of influenza on people’s everyday lives, released today, showed how the flu affected Americans’ vacations, holidays, social engagements, sporting events and more.
"The one constant when it comes to flu season is that it’s unpredictable, and flu activity can generally peak any time between October and April in the [United States]," stated Cheryl Pegus, Walgreens chief medical officer. "In addition to holidays and planned vacations, there may be other engagements and important dates that fall when flu is widely circulating. There’s no planning for an ill-timed illness, and these findings from last year’s typical flu season reinforce the importance of getting a flu shot each year."
Body aches and muscle pain, as well as headache and fatigue, are the most common symptoms associated with flu and can be distressing to sick patients. There are, however, many other symptoms that are possible, especially among children. Of all the possible flu-like symptoms, it is the vomiting (65%) and diarrhea (51%) people dread the most, although they occur less frequently. Sore throat and fever/chills ranked a distant third and fourth, respectively.
"These severe symptoms that can last many days and require physician and hospital visits can be very serious, which is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continually stresses flu prevention and recommends flu shots for everyone over the age of 6 months," Pegus said. According to the CDC, on average 13% of the U.S. population gets the flu every year, with active flu seasons seeing closer to 20%, or more than 62 million Americans.
The Walgreens survey was fielded Sept. 1 to 8 to a Vision Critical Springboard America panel to a nationally representative sample of 1,200 Americans age 18 years or older. Flu Impact Report results were weighted on key demographics to allow projection of results to the entire U.S. adult population. Results are based on self-reported instances of the flu and flu-like symptoms. Projections incorporated the latest data available for average compensation and hours worked from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, population data and projections from the U.S. Census and compared against beta Flu Work Loss models developed by the CDC.
Greeting cards, gifts get greener with recycling
Americans are becoming greener, and eco-friendly products are especially relevant in the greeting card aisle. Victoria Sutton, CEO of All in The Cards, said the company has doubled production of craft recycled products for holiday 2011.
“The recycled category continues to grow for us,” she said. “Recycled cards and gift bags are on trend now. The craft look has skyrocketed for us both in the greeting card, gift bag and box categories.” Sutton said that sales on a craft recycled card have been strong when the company mixed the cards into its assortment.
“There’s increased consumer consciousness about recycled products and what that means,” said Ron Kanfi, president of NobleWorks. NobleWorks prints on demand, and can produce in-and-out spinner rack promotions containing 48 to 124 cards and as boxed Christmas card promotions.
Bill Menke, general manager of Green Paper Co., said that while customers are more informed about recycled paper, some distinctions might escape them. “In many cases, the product being produced is made from scrap from virgin pulp that has never left the mill. It’s called recycled because it’s made from scrap,” he said.
Green Paper Co.’s products, which include boxed sets of printed and blank cards, are all made from between 30% and 100% post-consumer waste. “Consumers can identify which products are made from post-consumer waste by markings on the back of the product,” Menke said.
Zacks: Warner Chilcott can withstand generic threats
NEW YORK — Drug maker Warner Chilcott’s diversified portfolio of drugs will help it weather generic challenges to its patents, according to a new report by Zacks Investment Research.
Zacks noted that Warner Chilcott recently had received a notice from Zydus Pharmaceuticals USA that the latter would seek to challenge a patent covering the ulcerative colitis drug Asacol HD in order to market a generic version by filing a regulatory approval application with the Food and Drug Administration containing a paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion that the patent is invalid, unenforceable or won’t be infringed.
The patent in question is set to expire in November 2021, though Warner Chilcott plans to sue to protect it. Zacks said other drugs made by Warner Chilcott face generic competition as well, though the firm didn’t specify which ones and took a "neutral" stance on the company.