HEALTH

CRN meets with freshmen offices in House, Senate

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Wednesday announced the association has reached “a milestone of meetings,” having met with all 112 freshmen offices in the House and Senate within the first 60 legislative days of the 112th Congress.

“Incoming members face a daunting challenge of quickly getting up to speed on a myriad of issues and industries,” CRN VP government relations Mike Greene said. “Like so many other industries, the dietary supplement industry faces complex legal and regulatory challenges that require a focused and articulate education program if we hope to find allies on Capitol Hill. Our goal is to develop open lines of communication with legislators and to serve as a resource on potential legislative issues.”

The meetings with the new offices focused on the role of dietary supplements in good health, their value to healthcare savings and the economy in general, and the extent of the existing regulation for supplements under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, CRN stated.

“Now that we have been able to meet with so many new faces in Congress and introduce CRN and the industry, we’ll adjust our approach to reflect specific requests and proposals, such as urging support for specific legislation, co-signing letters or joining the Dietary Supplement Caucus,” Greene added. “CRN’s annual Day on the Hill in June will provide our member companies an opportunity to meet with individual congressional offices and share their concerns and ideas, not just as representatives of the dietary supplement industry, but also as employers, economic contributors and constituents.”

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Schiff buys into probiotic business

BY Michael Johnsen

SALT LAKE CITY — Schiff Nutrition on Tuesday announced its $40 million acquisition from Ganeden Biotech of the worldwide exclusive rights to use the probiotic technology GanedenBC30 in the over-the-counter and dietary supplement space, along with the brands Sustenex and Digestive Advantage, under which GanedenBC30 currently is sold.

"By acquiring the rights to the leading probiotics technology, we have entered a new, rapidly expanding category that creates accretive growth opportunities,” Schiff Nutrition president and CEO Tarang Amin said. “We intend to leverage this enviable technology and grow the Sustenex and Digestive Advantage lines. In addition, we plan to capitalize on Schiff’s brand marketing know-how, provide incremental marketing investment and use our well-established customer relationships to increase distribution.”

The assets and brands acquired from Ganeden generated net revenue of approximately $17 million for the year ended Dec. 31.

The probiotics category is growing at more than 20% on an annualized basis, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, as cited by Schiff.

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Aristides Spanellis prohibited from buying, selling LifeScan’s blood-glucose monitoring test strips

BY Michael Johnsen

MILPITAS, Calif. — LifeScan announced a major settlement regarding counterfeit packaged LifeScan blood-glucose monitoring test strips sold by Aristides Spanellis.

The settlement permanently prohibits Aristides Spanellis, a South African distributor, from buying or selling both genuine and counterfeit LifeScan blood-glucose monitoring test strips. Spanellis was one of the alleged architects of a sophisticated international operation in which authentic LifeScan test strips were purchased in such countries as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Ghana and then illegally repackaged in counterfeit packaging designed to mimic authentic U.S. boxes. These products then were exported to the United States for sale through unauthorized distribution channels at a significant profit.

“In many cases, critical product performance information was altered during this process, including calibration codes, control solution ranges, lot numbers and expiration dates,” stated Roy Albiani, director of LifeScan’s global brand protection and channel compliance team. “This was particularly dangerous for patients using insulin and could result in serious injury.”

The settlement also includes a substantial monetary payment from Spanellis and an even larger financial penalty if he violates the terms of the court-approved permanent injunction.

LifeScan believed the counterfeit packaging scheme ended in 2008 when a number of lawsuits were initiated and court-ordered seizures were obtained in the United States, Europe and Africa. Since that time, there have been no known instances of LifeScan products with counterfeit packaging in the United States.

“Even though we believe we have stopped the flow of LifeScan products with counterfeit packaging into the [United States], it is critical that we continue to pursue any and all perpetrators of these illegal activities to protect patients,” Albiani said.

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