Private labeler Activis revs up for Tylenol shortfall

Private-label drugmaker Activis says it has boosted manufacturing capacity five-fold to meet retailer demand for pain relievers following the Tylenol recalls. Among those retailers are big guns CVS, Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

Gaps on the analgesic aisle display shelves mark an opportunity for retailers to boost their own brands and take market share from such venerable and now vulnerable J&J brands as Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl, absent due to product recalls following manufacturing problems so out of hand that they forced plant shut-downs.

Debate continues over whether the Tylenol brand damage is irrevocable, with strong support for both sides. Shortages of the drugs continue. One branding consultant says that brand loyalty will drive a comeback when supplies become plentiful, and that it's "six times more likely that consumers will give them benefit of doubt." But the poor economy had already been driving consumers to stores' private-label brands, and consumers may decide to stick with them.

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