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BIOMERICA LAUNCHING PRIVATE-LABEL OTC PREGNANCY TESTS

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

BIOMERICA LAUNCHING PRIVATE-LABEL OTC PREGNANCY TESTS modeled after Warner-Lambert's e.p.t. home pregnancy test and Johnson & Johnson's Fact Plus. Newport Beach, Calif.-based Biomerica plans to begin shipping Fortel Midstream, a knock-off of e.p.t., and Fortel Plus, designed after J&J's product, during the first half of 1994. Biomerica's two new tests were among a number of new entries into the OTC testing market announced at the Private Label Manufacturers Association's annual trade show in Chicago Nov. 14- 17. Other private-label versions of over-the-counter pregnancy tests launched at the trade show included Clinical Diagnostics, Inc.'s Sure Check one-step pregnancy test and Qualis' BioSentry one-step home pregnancy test. Biomerica's Fortel Midstream is comprised of a test stick and a desiccant (drying agent) and requires no urine collection, Biomerica said. The test stick features two viewing windows -- a control window that shows whether the test is working properly and a larger test window that shows the results of the test. On the other side of the test stick from the viewing windows are two absorbent windows through which a consumer urinates to begin the test; the stick must be held in the urine stream for at least six seconds to function properly. At five minutes, a result can be read in the viewing windows -- a rose/pink color band will appear in the test window if the result is positive; the absence of a color band indicates a negative result. Fortel Plus contains a test device, a urine dropper and a moisture-absorbent packet. Consumers are directed to collect urine in a cup, fill the dropper with urine and deposit six drops of urine into a well on the test device. After five minutes, a color band appears in a control window to indicate that the test has been completed; the test is invalid if the color band does not appear. As with the Fortel Midstream, the presence of a color band in the test window indicates a positive result, while the absence of a color band signifies a negative result. Biomerica estimated that Fortel Midstream will carry a retail price of $ 8.99 while Fortel Plus will be priced around $ 6.99. According to Biomerica, e.p.t. and Fact Plus tests are retail priced at $ 12.99 and $ 13.99, respectively. Biomerica primarily manufactures and markets in vitro diagnostics for the physician's office and clinical laboratory markets. However, the company entered the OTC test market with EZ Detect tests for hidden blood in the stool and urine. EZ Detect has been available in retail outlets including Sav-0n, Osco and Hook Drugs, and recently gained distribution by McKesson ("The Tan Sheet" Sept. 20, In Brief). Chester, S.C.-based Clinical Diagnostics' Sure Check one-step pregnancy test is copied from J&J's Fact Plus. Clinical Diagnostics expects to make the product available both under the Sure Check control name as well as to private-label customers. In the meantime, the company said it is in the process of creating a broker network and has been in contact with about 30 broker firms. Qualis' Bio-Sentry one-step home pregnancy test is expected to begin shipping to retailers at the beginning of January. In addition to being offered under the Bio-Sentry name, the test also will be available to private-label customers including several "major chains," the company said. The Bio-Sentry test also is modeled after J&J's Fact Plus home pregnancy test. The OTC pregnancy test is Qualis' first foray into the home diagnostics market. The Des Moines-based company mostly manufactures personal care and dermatological OTCs, particularly focusing on "niche" products such as lice treatment items, medicated powders and antiseptic skin cleansers. The products are available to customers including Osco, Walgreens, Thrifty, Eckerd and Bergen Brunswig under both the company's name and private- label brands. At present, Qualis is looking to expand its children's first- aid product line, which it currently makes for Topco under the Jungle Land brand name, to other private-label customers. Copied from J&J's No More Ouchies, Itchies, Burn and Germies products, the Topco line includes Jungle Land Good-Bye Bums, Good-Bye Itches and Good-Bye Ouches.
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