Friday, September 18, 2009

H1N1: Medical Supply Companies Working at Full Blast to Fill Orders

Do you need body bags? Sorry, can't buy them, out of stock.

Please see previous post on H1N1 vaccine manufacturers and stocks.

The current H1N1 crisis is causing rising sales of body bags, surgical masks, hand sanitizer, hard-surface disinfectants, gloves and isolation kits. It is a small boom in the medical supply industry. Distributors are scrambling to fill orders for products to prevent transmission of the H1N1.

In particular, demand for body bags is up as governments prepare for worst-case scenarios.

Pierre Barcik, president of Trevor Owen Ltd., a body bag manufacturer says: “Some of the better organized municipalities and provinces and states in the U.S. are getting on the program now and buying inventory for storage,”

“With specific products, we’re looking at a 200- to 300-per-cent increase.” But even with the boost from H1N1, these products account for only a small share of his company’s sales, says Jeff Stevens, President The Stevens Company, 2nd largest medical supply comapny in Canada.

H1N1 could be much more profitable for drug companies, and not jts J1N1 vaccine manufacturers: GlaxoSmithKline, GSK on the NYSE, is making an H1N1 vaccine, but also recently received an order for 1,750 units of its Relenza anti-viral medication from the Department of Foreign Affairs. The drug is to be used to stock its foreign missions (embassies and consulates, product destined for Canadians living abroad) , but the order also gave the government the option to buy 245,000 more doses for use in other departments.

Pharmacies will also greatly benefit, business-wise. Those who go to the pharmacy to buy masks - located at the end of the pharmacy - end up buying chocolates, toilet paper, and many other things.

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