HEALTH

Dietary supplement use on the rise

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — The National Center for Health Statistics earlier this month issued a report showing that use of dietary supplements has been on an upward trajectory over the past decade — only 40% of Americans took supplements in 1988, compared with 53% who took supplements in 2006.

Other key findings included the fact that multivitamins are the most commonly used dietary supplements, with approximately 40% of men and women reporting use between 2003 and 2006. And use of supplemental calcium increased from 28% during 1988 and 1994 to 61% during 2003 and 2006 among women ages 60 years and older.

“We’re encouraged to see the government confirm what we’ve seen about dietary supplement usage — that it’s growing,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition in a release issued Wednesday. “Sales are up for this category, and our own consumer research has demonstrated steady usage by approximately two-thirds of U.S. adults [over] the past seven years.”

More than 150 million Americans take dietary supplements each year to improve their overall health, to fill in nutrient gaps and because their doctors recommend them, Mister added.

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HEALTH

First Dietary Supplement Caucus briefing hosted for the 112th Congress

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus held its first briefing for the 112th Congress April 6 to a capacity crowd of 60 House and Senate staffers, the caucus announced Thursday.

The DSC recently was relaunched for the 112th Congress. The caucus serves as a bipartisan, bicameral group of members to facilitate discussions among lawmakers about the benefits of dietary supplements, provide tips and insights for better health and wellness, and promote research into the healthcare savings provided by dietary supplements.

In addition, the caucus brings congressional attention to the role of supplements in health promotion and disease prevention, and addresses the regulation of the supplement industry. Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; and Reps. Dan Burton, R-Ind.; Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Jared Polis, D-Colo.; and Frank Pallone, D-N.J., serve as co-chairs of the caucus.

The DSC also is made up of trade associations Natural Products Association, Council for Responsible Nutrition, American Herbal Products Association and United Natural Products Alliance.

Additional briefings will be scheduled on Capitol Hill. This was the first briefing for the 112th Congress and the ninth in a series of briefings since the DSC launched in 2005.

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Dr. Reddy’s announces market launch of generic OTC Allegra

BY Allison Cerra

HYDERABAD, India — The Food and Drug Administration has approved Dr. Reddy’s version of an allergy medication that recently received Rx-to-OTC switch approval, the generic drug maker said.

Dr. Reddy’s fexofenadine HCl tablets are bioequivalent versions of Sanofi-Aventis’ Allegra, which received Rx-to-OTC switch approval from the FDA in January.

The fexofenadine HCl Rx market had branded and generic sales of approximately $452 million for the 12 months ended last December, according to IMS Health.

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