HEALTH

CMPI survey: 61 million workers avoided missing work, thanks to cough medicine

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Results of a new survey released Thursday by the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest found that the majority of adult consumers and parents in the United States rely on over-the-counter cough medicines: 68% of adult consumers agreed that OTC cough medicines allow them to stay productive at work and school, and 60% of parents reported that these medicines allowed their children to stay productive at school.

From that survey, CMPI determined that as many as 61 million consumers in the past 12 months have avoided missing work, school or other scheduled appointments and 8.5 million households in the past 12 months have children ages four or older who have avoided missing school or daycare due to illness because their parents had access to OTC cough medicines to manage their symptoms.

“OTC cough medicines empower consumers to take control of their own healthcare, and offer families a vital option for cost-effective treatment that is available in real-time when illness strikes, especially during cough and cold season,” stated Robert Goldberg, CMPI VP. “This research is an indicator of what consumers want — they want convenient and affordable access to the medicines they trust to treat their symptoms — and their family members’ symptoms — and get them back to school or work without the hassle of having to see a doctor or take time off.”
 
The Cough Medicine Consumer Insights National Survey — a telephone survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older — offers key insights into consumer preferences during cough and cold season, and revealed American parents and adult consumers rely on OTC cough medicines as a first-line defense to treat symptoms in both their children and themselves.
 
Over the previous 12 months surveyed, more than half of adults (57%) reported taking OTC cough-cold medicines and 71% of parents had administered these medicines to their children older than age 4 to alleviate symptoms.

Consumers believe continued education is the most effective way to ensure appropriate OTC cough medicine use. The majority of adult consumers surveyed (87%) believe OTC cough medicine packages provide the necessary information to ensure appropriate use, and 85% said educating parents about the appropriate use and storage of medicines is the most effective way to ensure appropriate use.
 
While 94% of surveyed adults agreed that they “know what medicines are in my home and how much of each I have,” only 74% agreed that “medicines in my home are in a place where my children cannot access them” — pointing to the need for ongoing education about safe monitoring, storage and disposal of OTC medications in the home, particularly homes with young children and teenagers.

“Consumers recognize that continued education is one of the best ways to ensure these medicines are used appropriately," Goldberg said. "Purchasers of these products who have children at home should keep these — and all medicines — in a safe, secure place."
 
To read the key findings from the Cough Medicine Consumer Insights National Survey and the full presentation, click here.


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Insulet, LifeScan ink deal

BY Allison Cerra

BEDFORD, Mass. — Insulet and LifeScan have entered a partnership through which the latter’s OneTouch blood-glucose monitoring technology will be integrated into the former’s OmniPod Personal Diabetes Manager.

The nonexclusive worldwide agreement, which has an initial term that will run through 2017, will involve LifeScan providing its glucose monitoring technology to Insulet, who will be responsible for the development, design and approval of the integrated device. Insulet, however, maintains an exclusivity option to be declared, at its discretion, upon commercialization of the integrated PDM. This option would make LifeScan the exclusive blood-glucose monitoring technology integrated into the OmniPod PDM and provide additional compensation to Insulet.

"The easy to use, tubeless OmniPod is the most innovative technology available in the insulin pump market, so we are thrilled to integrate with LifeScan’s market leading OneTouch blood-glucose monitoring technologies," Insulet president and CEO Duane DeSisto said. "Our team has commenced development efforts on a new PDM which we expect to be commercialized in 2013. The new integrated PDM will work with the next generation OmniPod, which is currently awaiting 510(k) clearance."


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Study: CholestOff helps reduce LDLs by 5%

BY Michael Johnsen

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — A study published in the November 2011 International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition demonstrated a nearly 5% reduction in “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol when Pharmavite’s CholestOff was added to the National Cholesterol Education Program therapeutic lifestyle changes diet, Pharmavite announced Wednesday.

“The results of this study are both statistically significant and clinically relevant,” stated study co-author, Kevin Maki. “The study demonstrates that this supplement containing free (non-esterfied) phytosterols, when added to the NCEP’s TLC diet, significantly reduced the levels of both total and LDL cholesterol among the study participants, all of whom had elevated cholesterol initially. The FDA has concluded ‘[t]he scientific evidence establishes that including phytosterols in the diet helps to lower blood total and LDL cholesterol levels,’ and this study demonstrates that this dietary supplement formulation of free (non-esterified) phytosterols perform this function.”

Most clinical trials examining the effects of phytosterols on cholesterol have used such food forms as margarine-type spreads, orange juice, yogurt and yogurt-based drinks. In contrast, few have investigated the effects of phytosterols as supplements. The Food and Drug Administration concluded in 2010 that the formulation of phytosterols in dietary supplements can play an important role in cholesterol reduction in addition to a healthy diet and exercise.

“This study adds to the body of knowledge that supports the use of this dietary supplement of phytosterols in the appropriate daily dosages as an effective approach to lower LDL cholesterol in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program,” said Belinda Jenks, director of scientific affairs and nutrition education at Pharmavite and coauthor of the study. “These study results could be useful to healthcare providers and their patients considering options to reduce bad cholesterol, especially as this free-phytosterols supplement, CholestOff, can easily be added to a cholesterol-lowering regimen without negatively impacting a person’s diet or caloric intake.” 


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