HEALTH

Albertsons uses flu shot to increase awareness around other available vaccinations

BY Michael Johnsen

BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons pharmacies have annual flu vaccinations in stock and are reminding customers that while they are getting vaccinated, it's a great time to review their immunization records and talk to their pharmacist about other health concerns, too.

"A quick trip to the store for your daily staples can also be a convenient time to chat with our pharmacists about broader health care needs," stated Mark Panzer, Albertsons SVP pharmacy health and wellness. "Our pharmacists can screen and protect customers against other vaccine-preventable diseases like tetanus, whooping cough, pneumonia and shingles, all while getting their flu shot."

By adding flu immunizations every year to a "to-do" list, patients can help prevent the spread of the flu virus. Other common, contagious (and often preventable) diseases like whooping cough and pneumonia are just as easy to be vaccinated for – and they can also be administered at the pharmacy.

"We want to do all we can to keep our communities healthy, which is why our pharmacists not only provide flu vaccinations, but take the time to do comprehensive immunization assessments and educate customers on the benefits of each vaccine," Panzer said. "With immunization coverage among adults being low, our pharmacists are well positioned to improve immunization rates for all adults and protect the health of the communities we serve."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older, with rare exceptions, get an annual flu vaccination as soon as it is available. Vaccinations help protect individuals and those around them from possible severe symptoms, flu-related complications, and hospitalization. With up to 20% of Americans getting sick with the flu annually, flu vaccination early in the flu season continues to provide the best protection.

The CDC also recommends additional vaccinations for certain age groups as detailed below, with few exceptions:

  • Adults age 19 and older: one dose of the whooping cough vaccine and one dose of the tetanus vaccine every 10 years;
  • Adults age 60 and older: one dose of the shingles vaccine; and
  • Adults age 65 and older: two different pneumococcal vaccines one year apart.

These vaccines provide protection against the 1 million cases of shingles, 40,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease and 28,000 cases of whooping cough seen in the United States on an annual basis.

All vaccines permitted per state can be administered on a "walk-in" basis with no appointment necessary and are offered at more than 1,700 Albertsons pharmacies, including those in Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, and Carrs stores.

Most insurance plans cover the flu shot and other immunizations. Everyone who receives an immunization will also receive a coupon for 10% off a grocery purchase, where permitted by law.

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HEALTH

ChopSaver trumpets all-natural ingredients in latest commercial

BY Michael Johnsen

INDIANAPOLIS — ChopSaver took to YouTube this summer in promotion of its Gosling's Original ChopSaver Lip Care product line, which has developed a cult following of sorts among accomplished musicians.

The entertaining 90-second spot, featuring ChopSaver front man Dan Gosling, touts exactly why musicians prefer a lip balm with all natural ingredients, a soft feel and a pleasant fragrance.

Gosling, a professional trumpet player turned lip balm entrepreneur, created ChopSaver in his kitchen in 2004 using arnica, a sunflower extract and natural anti-inflammatory known for reducing bruising and swelling.

The home brew gained a devoted following from musicians who, like Gosling, sought relief from wear and tear from mouthpiece pressure from brass and wind instruments. “I knew the product had to be radically different and dramatically better if I was going to compete with brands that have been around for decades,” Gosling said. “Using arnica, I set out to create the best lip balm on the market.”

The recipe combines the key ingredient of arnica with other all-natural ingredients including shea butter, mango butter, avocado oil, aloe, citrus oils and grapeseed oil – a symphony of ingredients all known for their soothing qualities.

 

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FTC imposes $6.5 million penalty on supplement outliers for making false claims

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The final three of nine defendants sued for deceptively marketing dietary supplements will settle charges that the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Maine had filed in February 2017. The agencies charged the defendants with using deceptively formatted radio infomercials and print ads with fictitious endorsers to pitch products they claimed would improve memory and reduce back and joint pain.

The proposed orders announced Wednesday bar Synergixx, an ad agency, and its principals Charlie Fusco and Ronald Jahner from engaging in a wide range of marketing practices that have caused financial injury to consumers.

The FTC and State of Maine charged all nine defendants with making false and misleading claims about the supplements CogniPrin and FlexiPrin. The claims include that CogniPrin reverses mental decline by 12 years; improves memory by 44%; and improves memory in as little as three weeks and is clinically proven to improve memory. For FlexiPrin Synergixx advertised it reduces joint and back pain, inflammation and stiffness in as little as two hours; rebuilds damaged joints and cartilage; and has been clinically proven to reduce the need for medication in 80% of users and to reduce morning joint stiffness in all users.

According to the complaint, Synergixx and Fusco promoted CogniPrin and FlexiPrin through 30-minute radio ads that were deceptively formatted to sound like educational talk shows. The complaint also alleges that Synergixx and Fusco created inbound call scripts that deceptively claimed that consumers could try the supplements “risk-free” with an unconditional 90-day money-back guarantee, without disclosing requirements for obtaining refunds and making product returns.

The complaint also alleges that the defendants failed to disclose that consumers would have to enroll in an auto-ship continuity plan to qualify for the “risk-free” trial offer, and would have 14 days or less to try the products. It also charges Synergixx and Fusco with failing to make important disclosures when they “up-sold” consumers negative option buying clubs and discount medical programs with ongoing fees, charging many consumers for poorly disclosed auto-ship continuity plans they did not want.

In addition, Jahner, whom defendants presented as an objective medical expert, was charged with providing endorsements without examining the products or exercising his represented expertise. The defendants also allegedly failed to disclose that he was paid a percentage of FlexiPrin and CogniPrin sales revenues.

The two orders announced today settle the charges against Synergixx, Fusco and Jahner, and bar them from making the false or unsubstantiated health claims challenged in the complaint, require them to have competent and reliable scientific evidence when making health-related claims and require them to clearly disclose their material connections between product sellers and product endorsers.

The defendants are also barred from misrepresenting the existence or outcome of tests and studies when they promote health products. Additionally, defendants Synergixx and Fusco are barred from employing deceptive marketing practices relating to cancellations, negative-option payment plans, upsold merchandise and deceptive pricing practices.

The order against Synergixx and Fusco also requires that when they sell products through continuity programs, they must obtain customers’ express informed consent prior to enrolling consumers into such plans, including free-trial offers that convert to continuity programs at the end of the trial period. Finally, the order against Synergixx and Fusco imposes a $6.5 million monetary judgment that is suspended based on their inability to pay.

 

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