HEALTH

GSK Consumer Healthcare to FDA: Smoke out smokeless tobacco products

BY Allison Cerra

PARSIPPANY, N.J. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is urging the Food and Drug Administration to remove smokeless tobacco products from the market.

GSK Consumer Healthcare, which manufactures such nicotine-replacement therapy products as Nicorette and NicoDerm CQ, submitted a comment to the FDA on the potential public health impact of oral dissolvable tobacco products, "calling for such products to be withdrawn from the market until their sponsors can demonstrate to [the FDA] that their marketing is appropriate for the protection of public health," the company noted in a release Tuesday.

The announcement comes after the American Heart Association issued a policy statement on smokeless tobacco products, which said that such products are not safe alternatives to smoking and are associated with heart attack, stroke and certain cancers.

GSK Consumer Healthcare also said that it is committed to working with the FDA, in addition to medical and clinical experts to make smoking-cessation products safe and available for consumers.

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FDA approves contraceptive Beyaz

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new oral contraceptive from Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.

 

The FDA announced Friday the approval of Beyaz (estrogen and progestin) tablets. The pills also contain a folate known as levomefolate calcium. Low folate levels in the body are associated with such conditions as spina bifida, and physicians recommend that women of childbearing age supplement their diets with folate.

 

 

Beyaz is based on Bayer’s Yaz. Yaz is used to prevent pregnancy, treat symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder and treat acne in girls and women ages 14 years and older.

 

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Now available at Rite Aid: Pertussis immunizations

BY Allison Cerra

CAMP HILL, Pa. One week after Walgreens announced that it was offering pertussis immunizations at its California locations, Rite Aid has followed suit.

Rite Aid said Monday that pharmacists at more than 500 Rite Aid stores across the state will offer pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccinations to individuals ages 7 years and older. The disease already has claimed the lives of nine infants in the state and is on pace to become the worst epidemic the state has seen in 50 years.

Patients in California and across the nation can go online to RiteAid.com/pharmacy/immunization/ to locate the most convenient Rite Aid pharmacy where immunizations are available. Patients are urged to call first to check availability and for questions on health insurance, which may cover some of the cost of a vaccination. Walk-ins are accepted whenever possible.

Rite Aid has been offering Tdap, the whooping cough vaccination, for the past several years, and currently is available in more than half of the states where Rite Aid operates, a Rite Aid spokesperson said.

"Helping protect against whooping cough in California is just another example of how convenient neighborhood Rite Aid pharmacists can help the community stay healthy," said Robert Thompson, Rite Aid EVP pharmacy. "Administering these shots is part of Rite Aid’s expanded national immunization program, with more than 7,000 pharmacists in more than 3,000 stores vaccinating patients against flu, pneumonia and up to a dozen other highly infectious diseases."

Walgreens announced earlier this month that it was offering vaccinations for pertussis at 150 select stores in the state.

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