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Congressman calls for removal of kids cough-cold

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WASHINGTON The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., called on the Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Tuesday to endorse the voluntarily removal of all cough-cold products marketed by its members toward children under the age of 6.

In a letter to CHPA president Linda Suydam, Waxman wrote, “The [FDA advisory panels] found that while there was no evidence that [cough-and-cold] products were effective in children under the age of 6, there was evidence that some children had been harmed, and have even died, from taking these products. This recommendation comes on the heels of the voluntary withdrawal by Consumer Healthcare Products Association of products marketed for use in children under 2.”

Waxman commended CHPA’s voluntary withdraw of products marketed for use in children under 2 years old, but expressed disappointment that CHPA is reportedly prepared to fight the advisory committee’s recommendation on cough-cold products for children under 6 years old. “I had hoped that CHPA would show the same leadership and interest in protecting the health and well-being of children under the age of 6 as it showed toward children under 2 by similarly withdrawing those products,” Waxman wrote.

“I sincerely hope that CHPA will take prompt action to ensure that the advisory committee's recommendations are promptly carried out by your member companies,” Waxman concluded. “There is no need for CHPA to wait for the FDA to complete what will surely be a lengthy rule-making process to change the monograph for these products. American children cannot afford that kind of delay.”

Waxman has expressed a personal interest in the outcome of the original citizen’s petition—which calls for a ban on cough-and-cold products for children under the age of 6. The lead petitioner is Waxman’s former senior aide, Joshua Sharfstein, who left Waxman’s office to assume the position of Baltimore’s commissioner of health. As an aide to Waxman, Sharfstein led congressional investigations on tobacco control, healthcare disparities, substance abuse and HIV.

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