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FDA warns parents on using benzocaine to relieve pain of teething babies

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday warned parents against administering benzocaine to their teething babies and advised that parents not use benzocaine at all in children under the age of 2 years unless under the supervision of a family physician.

"Benzocaine is a local anesthetic and can be found in such over-the-counter products as Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase," the agency stated. "But the use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare but serious — and sometimes fatal — condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced."

The FDA first warned about potential dangers in 2006, and since then the agency has received 29 reports of benzocaine gel-related cases of methemoglobinemia. Nineteen of those cases occurred in children, and 15 of the 19 cases occurred in children under 2 years of age, stated FDA pharmacist Kellie Taylor.

“Symptoms can occur within minutes to hours after benzocaine use,” commented Mary Ghods, also an FDA pharmacist. “They can occur after using the drug for the first time, as well as after several uses.”

For the full FDA consumer report, click here.


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Clif Bar launches 100% organic line featuring CEO’s namesake

BY Michael Johnsen

EMERYVILLE, Calif. — Clif Bar on Thursday introduced its Clif Kit’s Organic line, featuring snack bars made with 100% organic fruit and nuts.

The line was inspired by Kit Crawford, co-CEO of Clif Bar. Each bar contains just a handful of ingredients and is gluten-, soy- and dairy-free. The snack bar will be available in four flavors — berry almond, cashew, chocolate almond coconut and peanut butter.

Suggested retail price for the bars is $1.59.


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Diplomat CEO to attend White House business summit

BY Alaric DeArment

FLINT, Mich. — The leader of the country’s largest privately owned specialty pharmacy provider is going to Washington, D.C.

Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy said Thursday that CEO Phil Hagerman had received an invitation, along with other business leaders, from the White House Business Council and Business Forward to attend a one-day forum on jobs and the economy, and opportunities for collaboration between the private sector and government.

"I am extremely honored to represent Diplomat, the state of Michigan and also Flint’s business community," Hagerman said. "Diplomat’s continued growth has positioned us to be part of the Michigan delegation. In January, we had 360 employees. Today, as the nation’s fourth-largest specialty pharmacy, we employ [more than] 700 people, and we’re hiring every day."

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