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California bans sale of dextromethorphan to minors

BY Michael Johnsen

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California on Wednesday banned the sale of dextromethorphan to minors, becoming the first state to pass such legislation.

The bill enjoyed the support of industry leaders, including the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “We take very seriously our obligation to educate and raise awareness about cough medicine abuse among teens,” CHPApresident and CEO Scott Melville said. “This unprecedented action by California lawmakers will help address medicine abuse and sets a high standard that we would ultimately like to see enacted nationwide.”

Dextromethorphan is a safe and effective ingredient found in more than 100 over-the-counter cough-cold products; however, some teens abuse large amounts of cough medicine containing dextromethorphan — sometimes as much as 25 to 50 times the recommended dose — to get high.

Aside from calling for a national age restriction on DXM-containing medicines, CHPA has been engaged in educational efforts to curb teen cough medicine abuse for a number of years, and introduced an educational icon on the packaging of DXM-containing cough medicines to alert parents to the potential for abuse. In 2009, CHPA launched StopMedicineAbuse.org to engage parents and community leaders in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse. Additionally, CHPA and its members are involved in a multi-pronged effort to curb the abuse of OTC cough medicines containing DXM with the help of a host of partners, including parent groups, education associations, health professional societies, law enforcement, the retail community and pharmacists.

For more information on efforts to raise awareness, visit StopMedicineAbuse.org.

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Walmart, Sam’s Club announce flu shot offering

BY Allison Cerra

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart and Sam’s Club are offering flu shot clinics to customers through their partnership with Mollen Immunization Clinics.

The clinics, located in more than 4,100 select stores and clubs nationwide, will offer flu shots for $25. Medicare Part B or private health plans may cover part or all of the cost of the immunization, Walmart and Sam’s Club noted. Additionally, Mollen is expanding its immunization menu to also include vaccines for pneumonia, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria pertussis), MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), meningitis, HPV (human papilloma virus) and hepatitis A and B. The decision was based on changing state regulations that require mandates around these immunizations for both children and adults.

"Providing flu shots in our stores is another way Walmart helps deliver access to affordable healthcare solutions to our customers," Walmart health-and-wellness division president John Agwunobi said.

Customers can visit Walmart.com/flushots or SamsClub.com/healthyliving to find specific dates, times and locations for the flu vaccination clinics.

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Rob Holston named EVP of Symphony Analytics North America

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — SymphonyIRI Group has appointed Rob Holston as its EVP of the company’s Symphony Analytics North America division.

Holston, who joined SymphonyIRI in 2009, will continue reporting to SymphonyIRI president and CEO John Freeland. Prior to joining SymphonyIRI, Holston was practice leader for shopper marketing at Deloitte Consulting.

"Symphony Analytics has great momentum and our market-leading capabilities in predictive analytics and modeling that blend consumer, shopper, market and retail views are just one more way that we can help our clients discover and activate untapped growth opportunities," Holston said. "SymphonyIRI is committed to driving the growth of our analytics business through focused and transformative innovation to support our clients’ rapidly evolving needs, and I am excited to be leading the team."

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