HEALTH

AccuDial developing child-proof children’s dosing syringe

BY Michael Johnsen

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — AccuDial Pharmaceutical earlier this month announced it has developed a new patent-pending line of child-proof container enclosure systems, designed to reduce the accidental or unsupervised ingestion of liquid over-the-counter and prescription medications.

One of AccuDial’s new patent-pending designs is an innovative safety cap and oral dosing syringe system. The safety cap is permanently fastened to the container and includes an integrated one-way valve for accessing medication with an accompanying oral syringe, and a flip-top lid that covers the valve when the product is not in use.

An unsupervised child is unable to remove the safety cap or otherwise access the liquid inside the container without utilizing the oral syringe, which is intended to be stored by the caregiver separately from the product. A child also is unable to suck or squeeze the liquid from the container because of the one-way valve, which prevents the flow of the medication without utilizing the oral syringe.

In a recent study of emergency department visits for unintentional pediatric poisonings between 2004 and 2005, 82% of the visits were due to the unsupervised ingestion of pharmaceutical products by children who accessed the medications on their own.

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NAD recommends modification of Clearblue Easy Digital ad claims

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus last week recommended that SPD Swiss Precision Diagnostics, manufacturer of the Clearblue Easy Digital home pregnancy test, modify its advertising to clarify to consumers that the test only delivers completely “certain” results on or after the day of a consumer’s expected menstrual period.

The implied advertising claim was challenged before NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, by Church & Dwight, maker of First Response and Answer pregnancy test kits.

C&D charged that the claim in question was made in 15- and 30-second broadcast advertisements of Clearblue Easy Digital, and communicated the message that CBE Digital will provide completely “certain” results, regardless of whether a consumer uses the product on the day of her expected menstrual period or during the four-day episode prior to that menstrual period.

NAD noted in its decision that, according to both parties, advertising for at-home pregnancy test kits for many years primarily has focused on the products’ capability to detect pregnancy early — several days before a woman misses her period. NAD determined that it would be reasonable to conclude that consumers generally have come to expect at-home pregnancy tests to detect pregnancy prior to the day of a missed period.

SPD countered that the challenged commercials make no claim, implied or otherwise, about the early detection capability of the product, and do not falsely communicate to consumers that the product’s results are “certain,” even when the test is used before a woman’s missed menstrual period.

“Consumers might interpret our commercial against a background of some information they have assimilated from the advertising of pregnancy test manufacturers collectively,” SPD said in its advertiser statement. “We are troubled that this may be penalizing SPD for the omissions of others, and we suggest that overcoming this problem of implied messaging requires all pregnancy test manufacturers to clearly and explicitly explain the trade-off in their advertising.”

SPD noted that it would take the NAD’s recommendations into account in future advertising.

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IRS reclassifies breast-feeding as medical expenditure

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service on Thursday reversed itself in announcing that breast-feeding supplies qualify as a medical expense.

The ruling now allows moms who are breast-feeding to purchase all supplies using a flexible spending account. Those without FSAs can deduct the expenses as part of their itemized medical expenditures, including breast-feeding expenses incurred in 2010.

“Today’s IRS ruling providing favorable tax treatment for the purchase of breast pumps and breast-feeding equipment marks an important victory for the health of women and children across the country by making breast-feeding a more practical option for new and working mothers,” said Marion Burton, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The AAP recommends that mothers breast-feed exclusively for the first six months and continue breast-feeding for at least the first year of a child’s life. As many as 45% to 50% of mothers return to work full time within six months of their infant’s birth; breast pumps allow working mothers to continue breast-feeding. “Before today, steep cost burdens could prevent working mothers from purchasing breast pumps and related equipment,” Burton said.

“Now, more women will be able to pass on the health benefits of breast-feeding to their babies, which include protections against asthma and other respiratory illnesses, bacterial and viral infections and obesity, among other ailments," Burton added. "Pre-tax dollars already cover expenses like immunizations and bandages, and thanks to today’s ruling, women who wish to breast-feed will experience these same cost savings for breast-feeding supplies.”

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