HEALTH

GSK introduces Tums Kids

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH GlaxoSmithKline last month introduced the latest in kids gastrointestinal products—a new pediatric line of Tums called Tums Kids—and its being placed in a dedicated kids gastrointestinal set in many of the larger retailers.

Tums Kids is similar in size and consistency to the company’s Tums Smoothies line, only in a “cherry blast” flavor as opposed to chocolate or vanilla. In addition, the Tums Kids chewable tablets are scored down the center so that parents can deliver half a dose for children ages two to four. “It’s a Tums product formulated for kids ages 2-to-11 that offers a dual benefit of heartburn or upset stomach relief and [it’s] an excellent source of calcium,” commented Bill Kollitz, brand manager of Tums. “It’s a unique dose specially formulated for kids,” Kollitz added.

Novartis was one of the first companies to target kids GI as a niche with the introduction of its Gas-X Thin Strips in 2006. And Procter & Gamble soon followed with its launch of a children’s version of its Pepto-Bismol franchise, featuring a bubblegum-flavored soft chew for kids called Children’s Pepto. McNeil Consumer even has an Imodium A-D Liquid for use in children now.

“What we’re seeing is an emerging trend in retail in general, specifically in the drug accounts, is a dedicated shelf set for kids GI products,” Kollitz said. “Not only for upper GI, but there’s some lower GI products as well. Tums Kids really fits into that as an incremental placement.”

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Makers of insulin pumps, glucose monitors modernize design

BY Drew Buono

MINNEAPOLIS New gadgets are hitting or about to hit the market that will take glucose monitoring into this century, according to businessweek.com.

One of these items is a, Paradigm Real-Time System, a glucose monitor made by Medtronic. The device attaches to a patients’ belt, which is connected to a needle that is lodged in the skin of the abdomen. The monitor measures the levels up to 288 times per day.

Another diabetes testing unit is called the GlucoPhone; the Food and Drug Administration recently approved it. The glucose meter attaches to some LG electronics and Motorola phones. The phone displays the results after the patient inserts a strip into it.

The move for these new innovative products came as a way to satisfy customers and increase proper diabetic testing. A recent study by Italian researchers showed that patients using the PRT System experienced 70 percent less therapy-related dissatisfaction than those who repeatedly inject themselves.

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Court rules that Washington state pharmacists may deny Plan B

BY Michael Johnsen

TACOMA, Wash. A federal judge here on Wednesday ruled in favor of a pharmacist’s right to “refuse and refer” the dispensing of any prescription for the emergency contraceptive Plan B, effectively overruling a state mandate that pharmacists in the state of Washington not decline to dispense a prescription drug based on moral beliefs unless there was a pharmacist coworker present who would adjudicate the prescription.

“The defendants [the state of Washington] are enjoined from enforcing [the anti-discrimination provisions of the new ruling enacted July 26] against any pharmacy which, or pharmacist who, refuses to dispense Plan B but instead immediately refers the patient either to the nearest source of Plan B or to a nearby source for Plan B,” concluded Judge Ronald Leighton of the U.S. District Court in his decision.

“Whether or not Plan B … terminates a pregnancy, to those who believe that life begins at conception, the drug is designed to terminate a life,” the judge wrote. “[The regulations] appear designed to impose a Hobson’s choice for the majority of pharmacists who object to Plan B: dispense a drug that ends a life as defined by their religious teachings, or leave their present positions in the state of Washington.”

The suit was filed by two individual pharmacists and the grocer Ralph’s Thriftway, which operates two supermarkets, one day before the state enacted its regulation this summer. Prior to the adoption of the regulations, Ralph’s Thriftway had been the object of a boycott organized by persons protesting the grocer’s refusal to stock Plan B. Both the store and the pharmacy manager were subsequently investigated by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy for allegedly failing to maintain an adequate stock of medicines. The Board later initiated an additional investigation in response to allegations that Ralph’s Thriftway violated pharmacy regulations by not stocking Plan B.

The American Pharmacists Association supports a pharmacist’s right to refuse and refer, but recognizing the central role of many pharmacists to the local health care system, the association emphasizes that those patients refused a prescription ought to be directed to a pharmacy or pharmacist that will fill that prescription in a timely manner.

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