Health Headlines in the Spotlight

Bausch Health Companies new name, new culture

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., once Canada’s most valuable company by stock market value, is changing its name to Bausch Health Companies Inc. as it works to move beyond the issues that tarnished its reputation and caused its market value to plummet.

The company, which has been working to turn itself around in recent years after facing political and regulatory scrutiny for its relationship with a mail order company and large increases to drug prices, said the switch will come this July and involves changing its stock market ticker symbol to BHC on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.

Chairman and CEO, Joseph Papa said the company considered several options before determining that the chosen moniker reflects the full scope of its activities, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices and over-the-counter consumer products.

The name change only involves its corporate identity with brands such as Bausch & Lomb and Salix retaining their identities.

Weight Watchers uses more ‘influencers’ to make gains as lifestyle brand

Weight Watchers has J.P. Morgan saying the weight loss company is poised for “outsized” growth as it looks to add more big-name celebrities through its partnership with Oprah Winfrey.

Winfrey, who owns about 8 percent of Weight Watchers’ stock and is on the board of directors, signed a promotional deal that lasts until October 2020. Her role as a Weight Watchers spokeswoman is a critical asset for the company given her marketing clout and her wide network of influential senior leaders across companies in the U.S.

Weight Watchers influencers like Winfrey are able to reach out to members and keep them motivated as they follow the progress of celebrity endorsers who are going through weight loss and health improvement programs themselves. 

The goal is to increase engagement with specific demographics through the steady sharing of information on social media rather than traditional weight loss ads as it seems to be working as Weight Watchers moves from a weight loss brand to a lifestyle brand.

Aphria is growing in more ways than one

Aphria announced recently that they are offering 19 million shares to raise $225 million for new and expanded cannabis facilities in Canada, as well as potential global expansion and acquisitions.  $55 million of those funds are earmarked for a huge investment for a new extraction facility in Leamington, Ontario. 

The company said the new extraction facility will be able to process more than 200 tonnes of cannabis annually, will help it prepare for what’s expected to be a significant product category as the Federal government finalizes legalizing cannabis for recreational use this summer.

Other plans for the capital raised are to invest $20 million at its Aphria Diamond facility to increase capacity by 20 tonnes annually and allow for alternative growing techniques, and another $10 million to add 10 tonnes of capacity to its Aphria One operation.

So, it looks like things are growing in more ways than one for Aphria.