PALM BEACH, Florida, April 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirty-four million Americans are diagnosed diabetic and another 80 million more are pre-diabetic, according to 2020 statistics released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). In response, the nation's largest drug store chains are increasing shelf space and hiring staff to serve what is, by sheer numbers, America's largest consumer health & wellness category – diabetic products. The phenomenon is creating new market opportunities for America's top pharmacy retailers, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and most particularly for leading diabetic consumer product manufacturers, Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY), Glucose Health, Inc. (OTCPK: GLUC) and Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT).
At one time serving diabetic consumers meant just filling prescriptions. But today, with millions of Americans waiting around in pharmacies for diabetic prescriptions, pharmacies are increasingly allocating shelf and floor space, in order to sell high margin consumer products like diabetic foot cremes and nutritional drinks to diabetic consumers.
Take Walmart, the nation's 3rd largest pharmacy chain. Always the savvy retailer, Walmart was among the first to locate its diabetic section adjacent to the pharmacist's counter. Shelf space at Walmart is among the most coveted by manufacturers and only a few popular products make the grade. Among the diabetic nutritional beverages Walmart stocks its shelves with is GlucoDown® -- the first iced tea in America infused with special ingredients clinically shown to help maintain healthy blood sugar. GlucoDown® is made by Glucose Health, Inc (OTC: GLUC).
Right beside GlucoDown® on the shelf at Walmart is Glucerna® manufactured by Abbott Labs. Some years ago, recognizing the ever-increasing diabetic population, Abbott transformed Glucerna® from a simple meal replacement drink served in hospitals, into a diabetic "milk shake" for sale directly to consumers. And, it appears iced tea and milk shakes are very popular with diabetic consumers. Glucose Health, Inc. reported record revenues in its annual report filing last month and Wells Fargo & Co. just boosted its share price target for Abbott Labs, April 9, according to MarketBeat.com.
Another giant pharmaceutical company profiting from the diabetic consumer product growth trend is Sanofi. The star of Sanofi's consumer division is Gold Bond® Diabetic Creme. Gold Bond® ranks number one among all diabetic foot cremes, according to a 2020 report from Diabetology Care.
But, it's not just diabetic consumer products that are now on offer at your local pharmacy. Walgreens (NASDAQ: WBA) CVS and Rite Aid are adding "diabetic hubs" staffed with Registered Dieticians and Registered Diabetes Educators, to give information and support to diabetic consumers. UBS upgraded Walgreens, April 2, according to the latest analyst information from MarketBeat.com.
In summary, the nation's biggest pharmacy chains including Walmart and Walgreens are allocating more space and staffing to serve America's burgeoning diabetic population. Whether its diabetic foot cremes, iced teas or milk shakes, top manufacturers such as Sanofi, Glucose Health, Inc. and Abbott Labs are well positioned to benefit from growth in the one consumer market that shows no sign of slowing.
Other related developments from around the markets include:
Walmart (NYSE: WMT) is launching a Pickup hour for people most at-risk for COVID-19. Each day at select pickup store locations, the hour from 7 to 8 a.m. will be reserved for customers over the age of 60, as well as first responders, customers with disabilities and anyone designated high-risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the latest step Walmart has taken in its COVID-19 response efforts to better support customers who are more vulnerable to the virus. Pickup associates are also following enhanced distancing and sanitation procedures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The point of pickup is also contact-free. Customers simply open their trunk, and associates load their groceries in – no need to sign for the order. "Now more than ever, families are relying on our pickup service to help get quality, fresh groceries to their homes as safely as possible," Tom Ward, senior vice president, Customer Product said. "These are extraordinary times, and we are constantly looking for ways we can help deliver that same peace of mind to all our customers, particularly those who are most at-risk."
Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ: WBA) announced the expansion of the Walgreens Find Care™ platform to include new features and telehealth service providers, connecting patients and customers with more options to get convenient and affordable access to care from their computers and mobile devices. The launch of additional features and providers on Walgreens Find Care coincides with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to use telehealth to help address medical needs while supporting social distancing, an important step in managing the impact of COVID-19. "Connecting patients to telehealth services from trusted local providers is more important now than ever before as people turn to digital solutions to help minimize exposure to COVID-19," said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens President. "Customers can use Walgreens Find Care to help navigate their health care experience – from initial consultations to getting their prescriptions filled - without ever leaving their home."
Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) announced the launch of its third COVID-19 test, a lab-based serology blood test for the detection of the antibody, IgG, that identifies if a person has had the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Antibody testing is an important next step to tell if someone has been previously infected. It will provide more understanding of the virus, including how long antibodies stay in the body and if they provide immunity. This type of knowledge could help support the development of treatments and vaccines. This antibody test adds to Abbott's existing COVID-19 tests that are already being used, including its m2000™ molecular laboratory system and its ID NOW™ molecular point-of-care device. "We continue to contribute in a significant and meaningful way by providing new solutions across our diagnostics testing platforms," said Robert B. Ford, president and chief executive officer, Abbott. "I'm extremely proud of the many Abbott people who are working around the clock to get as many tests as we can to healthcare workers and patients."
Glucose Health Inc. (OTC: GLUC), the manufacturer of GLUCODOWN® Diabetic Friendly Tea Mix – advises GLUCODOWN® sales at Walmart increased 28% year-over-year, fiscal 2019 vs. 2018 and GLUCODOWN® sales at Amazon increased 224% year-over-year, fiscal 2019 vs. 2018. The full text of the Company's fiscal 2019 Annual Report is available at OTCMarkets.com.
Murray Fleming, CEO of Glucose Health, Inc., stated "Glucose Health, Inc. has four key strategic goals for the current fiscal year, 2020, including:
1) Amazon Growth. Amazon is the fasting growing distribution channel for the company.
2) More Pharmacy Retailer Partnerships. The company is in active pursuit of additional shelf placements at national pharmacy retailers to further increase distribution of GLUCODOWN®.
3) New Direct Response Sales. The company will establish a direct response sales channel with toll-free number and expand TV advertising on Hallmark, Game Show Network National Geographic and new for 2020, Fox News Channel
4) Increase Profit Margins. The company expects to increase profit margins through improved production methods and cost-control and selected retailer product price increases."
Glucose Health, Inc. advises it will issue its first quarter fiscal 2020 report on or about May 15, 2020.
Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY) and GSK announced that they have signed a letter of intent to develop an adjuvanted vaccine for COVID-19, using innovative technology from both companies, to help address the ongoing pandemic. Sanofi will contribute its S-protein COVID-19 antigen, which is based on recombinant DNA technology. This technology has produced an exact genetic match to proteins found on the surface of the virus, and the DNA sequence encoding this antigen has been combined into the DNA of the baculovirus expression platform, the basis of Sanofi's licensed recombinant influenza product in the US. GSK will contribute its proven pandemic adjuvant technology. The use of an adjuvant can be of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it may reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and therefore contributing to protect more people. "As the world faces this unprecedented global health crisis, it is clear that no one company can go it alone." says Paul Hudson, Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi. "That is why Sanofi is continuing to complement its expertise and resources with our peers, such as GSK, with the goal to create and supply sufficient quantities of vaccines that will help stop this virus."
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