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FDA re-evaluates DXM abuse potential; pharmacy retailers, groups respond

BY DSN STAFF

BETHESDA, Md. —The Food and Drug Administration will be re-evaluating the abuse potential of the cough-cold ingredient dextromethorphan among teenagers at the request of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

It appears the DEA may be pushing for a scheduling recommendation, a factor that could reclassify the common cough suppressant as a prescription-only medicine.

But both pharmacy retailers and the association representing makers of cough-cold medicines long have been addressing this concern—through voluntary age-restricted sales of products containing DXM, raising awareness around teenage drug abuse among parents and advocating for legislation that would restrict the sale of DXM products to minors under the age of 18.

The Consumer Health-care Products Association has been raising awareness among parents around the potential of OTC and prescription-drug abuse among teens for several years. “While these medicines [containing dextromethorphan] are safe and effective when used as directed, they can be dangerous when abused in extreme amounts, especially when combined with alcohol, illicit drugs or certain prescription drugs,” stated Linda Suydam, CHPA president. “The makers of OTC medicines have been aggressive in their efforts to prevent cough medicine abuse among teens.”

The National Association of School Nurses and the CHPA in April announced the launch of “Home to Home-room,” an educational program that teams parents with the medical expert in their teen’s school—the school nurse—to help prevent and address teen medicine abuse.

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NACDS puts a new spin on Meet the Market

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO This year the National Association of Chain Drug Stores introduced two new features to its Meet the Market format. First, NACDS hosted a Meet the Market Presentation Template webinar twice prior to Meet the Market, in which NACDS introduced a meeting template that succinctly captured all of the information retailers typically use to evaluate a new product or company.

Also new to Meet the Market were the booths of 10 service companies — trade media and professional education, merchandising consultants and marketing/media information companies — which afforded an opportunity for new and smaller suppliers to meet with these organizations.

“New companies have a need not only to meet with retailers, obviously, they have a need for their business,” noted Jim Whitman, NACDS SVP meetings and conferences. Another ongoing improvement is the productivity within each meeting, Whitman added. “We keep refining the match, the appointments,” he said.

This year, the Meet the Market format — in which smaller and new suppliers have 10-minute meetings with their category buyers — represented more than 8,000 face-to-face pre-arranged appointments.

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Retail clinic growth slowing down? Not a chance

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The news that Target is looking to expand its retail-based clinic business this year is yet one more indicator that reports of the demise of retail clinic growth have been greatly exaggerated.

(THE NEWS: Target to expand its retail clinic presence. For the full story, click here)

As the article states, Target, which opened its first clinic in 2006, is looking to open up eight new locations this September. It already operates 28 locations in Minnesota and Maryland.

It wasn’t so long ago — April to be exact — that CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic indicated that it could double its current number of clinics in five years.

Why the growth? Well, aside from the aging population and a shortage of primary care physicians, a major catalyst is healthcare reform, which will mean that 32 million people who currently are uninsured will have healthcare coverage. With emergency rooms already overflowing, and primary care physicians already over-extended, having a retail clinic nearby where patients can receive convenient, quality and affordable health care will only become increasingly important.

Meanwhile, RediClinic, which has 22 clinics in H-E-B stores in Houston and Austin, Texas, is cranking up its marketing efforts and has tapped former Duane Reade executive Jeff Thompson as VP marketing. Thompson will be responsible for RediClinic’s consumer and partner marketing activities, including developing and implementing strategic customer acquisition/retention programs, new product delivery and brand strategy.

Thompson most recently served as VP marketing for Duane Reade.

Clearly, there continues to be significant growth opportunities for clinics — both in terms of the number of clinic locations and the scope of services offered within the clinics. As mentioned earlier, there are 32 million reasons why the growth will be quite dramatic.

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