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Medical Indicators takes new approach to thermometers.

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- If Ronald Benincasa, president and chief executive officer of Medical Indicators Inc., has his way, the days of the glass and mercury thermometer are numbered.

Under new ownership and management for about a year and a half, the company began selling disposable dot-matrix thermometers last June to hospitals, clinics and school systems. In the fall it introduced reusable dot-matrix thermometers under the NexTemp name, as well as wearable TraxIt thermometers, which provide consistent readings over a period of time to the retail market.

"There's nothing else like TraxIt on the market," says Benincasa. "Think of it as a band-aid that takes a person's temperature. It is the first wearable product that meets government standards for the definition of a thermometer. It stays on for two days, and a parent just lifts a child's arm to take a reading. After two days it is peeled off and thrown away like a used band-aid."

The heart-shaped device is designed to be placed in the underarm or groin area and to be used for frequent temperature checks. It is especially useful for children or noncompliant patients, as it is noninvasive and comfortable.

NexTemp, which Benincasa sees as a companion product for the rest of the family, is an oral thermometer that can take the place of the traditional glass-and-mercury or ear thermometer.

"It goes under the tongue for a minute and records the temperature as dots turn black sequentially," he notes. "A user can wash it with hot, soapy water or run an alcohol swab over it and put it back in its wallet card carrier, and use it over and over again. It has a five-year life and is totally nontoxic."

Benincasa believes NexTemp will play a role in banishing glass-and-mercury thermometers from the home. "Many countries have outlawed glass-mercury thermometers," he says, "and they're already on their way out of hospitals here because of their toxicity."

Safety, accuracy and ease of use are the key selling points for NexTemp. "The instruction sheet is one paragraph," comments Benincasa, "as opposed to ear thermometers, which were popular for a while, but you needed a Ph.D. to use them and they never gave you the same temperature twice. NexTemp is affordable and incredibly sophisticated, but it doesn't overpower the user.

The NexTemp single pack carries a suggested retail price of $1.99. "We're coming out with a family three-pack at $3.99," Benincasa says. "People don't share toothbrushes; why should they share thermometers?"

The TraxIt retails at a suggested price of $3.99 for a package of eight units.

Benincasa believes 1999 will be a year of rapid expansion for Medical Indicators. "Our products are in Rite Aid, Longs [Drug Stores], Walgreens and Target [Stores], and we're in negotiations with several other chains," he comments. "We've been doing some radio ads on 'Dr. Laura' [a reference to the popular radio show featuring Dr. Laura Schlesinger], some television spots with astronaut Jim Lovell and print ads in such major magazines as fFamily Circle, Woman's Day and Redbook.

Medical Indicators Inc.

5963 La Place Court, Suite 111 Carlsbad, Calif. 92008

Key contact: Ronald Benincasa President and chief executive officer

Web site: www.medicalindicators.com

Phone: (760) 930-0909

Fax: (760) 930-0844
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Comment:Medical Indicators takes new approach to thermometers.
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 7, 1999
Words:537
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