HEALTH

Alabama to implement e-tracking program to block PSE sales

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Tuesday expressed its support for Alabama law HB 528, signed into law by Gov. Bob Riley, that calls for implementation of a real-time electronic sales tracking system to block illegal purchases of cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

CHPA also commended Rep. Frank McDaniel, D-DeKalb and Marshall, and Sen. Lowell Barron, D-DeKalb, Jackson and Madison, for securing bipartisan support for this important piece of legislation which passed through both chambers unanimously.

Alabama joins nine other states — Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Washington — that have adopted e-tracking.

“We applaud Gov. Riley and the Alabama legislature for implementing a solution that will fight domestic meth production while maintaining consumer access to important cold and allergy medications,” stated Linda Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “This system offers an effective solution to reducing meth labs and is the only solution that works across state lines.”

The makers of PSE-containing medicines are providing an industry-funded system to allow law enforcement to identify “smurfers” or those who try to illegally violate limits in state and federal law on the amount of PSE-containing medicines individuals can purchase in a given period of time. E-tracking poses no new barriers to consumers, collects only the information already required under federal law, and enables law enforcement to find the meth labs that would otherwise go undetected.

According to a recent poll conducted by David Binder Research, more than three-fourths of Alabama voters support an e-tracking system.  The poll also found that voters believe e-tracking will help law enforcement receive the information they need to identify those who are purchasing illegal amounts of medicines containing PSE. As many as 78% of those surveyed agree that e-tracking will be “a huge help to law enforcement.”

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Consumers deem cough-cold season ‘slightly worse’ than last year, survey shows

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. More people felt the 2009-2010 cough-cold season was “about the same” or only “slightly worse” than the year prior, a recent national survey of 1,017 Americans sponsored by Matrixx Initiatives found.

A little less than half, 42%, characterized this past year’s season as about the same historically with regard to illness levels, and 21% suggested it was slightly worse in large part because of the H1N1 pandemic hype.

 

“While this year’s flu pandemic thankfully proved less severe than initially expected, it’s important to remember that preparation and early treatment are the best defenses against the common cold, which can strike year round,” stated Tim Tucker, immediate past president of the American Pharmacists Association. “Unlike most cold medications that just mask symptoms, zinc products … can reduce the duration of [a] cold if taken within the first 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms.”

 

 

The perception of heightened illness rates may have been lacking this season, but almost everyone prepared for the worst this year, the survey found. The Zicam Cold & Flu Report revealed that 95% of people said they took proactive steps to stay healthy and combat cold and flu.

 

 

The top things people did to proactively prepare themselves to stay healthy this year included: frequent hand washing (85%); avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth (46%); liberal use of antibacterial gel (34%); avoiding shaking hands during cold and flu season (31%); and frequently sterilizing commonly used items in the home and office (26%).

 

 

Consumers’ biggest concern about getting the flu or a cold was feeling lousy (36%), followed by getting others sick (19%).

 

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Rite Aid promotes allergy health with AAAAI

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology again have partnered to help allergy sufferers with free 16-page allergy guides available in Rite Aid stores nationwide and online at riteaid.com, the retailer announced Monday.

According to the AAAAI, each year, allergies affect as many as 50 million Americans. Additional resources for allergy sufferers can be found at www.aaaai.org including an allergist locator, a pollen monitoring database for local conditions and The Virtual Allergist, an interactive tool to help patients better understand their symptoms before consulting with a board-certified allergist or Rite Aid pharmacist.

Visitors to www5.riteaid.com/health/allergies can also sign up for electronic alerts to their e-mail account, cell phone and more through Pollen.com.

Rite Aid is offering several reward programs including a three-month program that offers customers $10 or $25 Rite Aid gift cards with either $25 or $50 purchases of select allergy and health products. Customers also can take advantage of a six-month Rite Aid Allergy Rewards program, earning a $20 Rite Aid gift card by purchasing $75 of Zyrtec and/or Benadryl. Details of both programs can be found at www5.riteaid.com/health/allergies.

Rite Aid’s focus on allergy awareness is part of its yearlong commitment to health and wellness. Each year Rite Aid offers free information, answers and education on health and wellness topics including skin care, oral health, diabetes, weight management and heart health.

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