P&G closes buy of Merck KGaA’s consumer health business
Procter & Gamble now has a larger consumer brand portfolio and geographic scale. The company announced Friday that it had completed its €3.2 billion acquisition of Darmstadt, Germany-based Merck KGaA’s consumer health business.
The company said the acquisition increases its footprint in most of the world’s top 15 OTC markets. Top brands that join the Cincinnati-based company’s portfolio include Neurobion, Dolo-Neurobion, Femibion, Nasivin, Bion3, Seven Seas and Kytta — all of which are sold largely in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
As part of the acquisition, Merck KGaA’s Uta Kemmerich-Keil — formerly president and CEO — joins P&G as the leader of P&G Personal Healthcare International, an organization that encompasses the newly combined OTC business in Europe, Latin America and Asia, as well as India, the Middle East and Africa.
“Today marks the beginning of an exciting new era for P&G Personal Health Care, as we now move forward to realize the great potential of our combined businesses,” said Tom Finn, president of P&G Global Personal Health Care. “In bringing Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Consumer Health into P&G, we have created a new healthcare organization that is well-positioned to enable consumers to live longer, healthier and more vibrant lives, as well as drive further sales and profit growth for P&G.”
Huel launches ready-to-drink meal, additional innovations
Huel, a company that focuses on creating nutritionally complete meals that are convenient, affordable and have a minimum impact on the environment and animals, unveiled its latest innovations.
The Los Angeles-based company is launching Huel Ready-to-drink, new flavors of Flavor Boosts and reformulated v1.1 Pre-blend Powders. Each of the products are vegan and contain 27 essential vitamins and minerals, protein, essential fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and phytonutrients, the company said.
“We just recently shared our $26 million investor announcement with Highland Europe. We’re beyond thrilled to continue our growth and announce our newest launches, Huel Ready-to-drink, new flavors of the Flavor Boosts, and our reformulated v1.1 Powders,” Julian Hearn, co-founder of Huel, said. “While creating these new products, our consumers who are constantly on the go were at the forefront of our minds. We wanted to create new lines that offered a solution for everyone who feels they’re unable to consume nutritionally complete meals due to their hectic schedules. We know our U.S. consumers have given us their continued support and loyalty, which is why we’re committed to expanding and providing only nutritionally complete, affordable, sustainable meals for all.”
Huel’s Ready-to-drink product comes packaged in a 16.9-fl.-oz. bottle made out of 25% recycled plastic. It is gluten-free, soy-free, low in sugar and contains 20 g of plant-based protein, the company said.
The beverage, which is available in vanilla and berry flavors, will launch on Dec. 28. The Flavor Boosts will launch Nov. 29, and the v1.1 Pre-blend Powders can be purchased on Dec. 18. Further information on the products can be found on the company’s website.
FDA cracks down on tianeptine claims
The Food and Drug Administration last week issued warning letters to two companies that the agency said were illegally marketing products containing tianeptine as dietary supplements. The FDA said the companies were illegally claiming tianeptine would treat opioid use disorder, pain and anxiety, among other claims, and that the action followed reports of adverse event caused by products with the ingredient.
Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner, said the letters — to Jack B Goods Outlet Store for Tianaa Red, Tianaa White and Tianna Green products, and to MA Labs for Vicaine — were part of a larger effort the agency is undertaking to focus on safety and weed out potentially harmful products making untested claims.
“The bottom line is this: we’ve seen growing instances where profiteers are pushing potentially dangerous compounds — often with unproven drug claims and crossing the line when it comes to what defines a dietary supplement,” Gottlieb said. “These potentially illegal activities put the entire dietary supplement industry at risk by confusing consumers, harming patients and tainting good dietary supplement products by associating them with the activities of bad actors.”
The Council for Responsible Nutrition lauded the move from the FDA.
“[The] FDA demonstrated its continued commitment to public health and the agency’s dedication to protect consumers from illegal products falsely identified and marketed as dietary supplements,” CRN senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs Duffy MacKay said. “Companies selling these illegal products, labeled as containing tianeptine, are in direct violation of the federal law and are putting consumers’ health at risk. FDA knows of serious adverse events associated with tianeptine, and the agency is aware that these companies selling this ingredient are making dangerous claims, such as treating opioid use disorder.”
CRN noted that it had previously alerted consumers that there is no research to support using a supplement to treat opioid addiction, and it is illegal for supplement makers to market products with such claims.
“Consumer safety and access to safe products are important to both CRN and the FDA,” MacKay said. “CRN recommends that consumers seeking treatment of an opioid use disorder or addiction talk to a qualified healthcare professional or a public health authority.”