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HealthNet launches consumer-driven medication management app

BY Michael Johnsen

REDDITCH, England — HealthNet on Monday released its PillManager mobile application across both Apple and Android platforms. The app allows consumers to track their own medication schedules and interact directly with their doctor or pharmacist for repeat prescriptions.

According to the developer, the app takes one of the most popular elements in mobile medication management — dosage notifications — and expands on it to provide users with a comprehensive handheld prescription tracking facility. They can submit a repeat request for any prescription directly to their pharmacist or doctor from within the app.

The app serves to eliminate many of compliance issues through both a reminder functionality and an automatic transmission of a letter of consent alongside every reorder. The app also maintains a full history of medications taken by the user. These records can, like reorders, be sent to a medical professional from within the app, allowing the user or another nominated individual to monitor consumption and prescription requirements.

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SymphonyIRI Group report: Hispanics hold $1.3 trillion in buying power in 2012

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Products and services targeting the Hispanic market will realize much success in the coming years, noted a SymphonyIRI Group Point of View report, “Diverse and Distinct: The Hispanic Population Delivers Numerous Segments and Opportunities — and an Exceptionally Fast-Growing Market,” published Monday.

Hispanics as a group spend nearly 8% more on consumer packaged goods than any other population and have particularly strong spending in the mass merchandise and club channels, the report noted. Presently, the Hispanic demographic accounts for more than 16% of the total U.S. population and grew by 43% over the past decade.

This rapidly growing group is expected to hold $1.3 trillion in purchasing power in 2012.

Hispanics spend 20% and 36% more in club and mass merchandise outlets, respectively, than the general population. In the supercenter channel, however, Hispanics and non-Hispanic spending per trip is about the same. Hispanics spend less per trip in other CPG outlets than non-Hispanic shoppers.
   
The full Point of View is available for free download here.

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NPF awards three scholarships

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Natural Products Foundation on Monday named the three recipients of its 2012 NPF Scholarship.

“Supporting academics to deepen the research and more widely share the evidence behind our products is critical to ensuring that natural products are embraced by the market, endorsed by regulators and accessible to consumers," stated David Matteson, chairman of the NPF Scholarship Committee.

The three students are Lauren Au of Tufts University, Taylor Kaufmann of Bastyr University and Vanessa Mardones of Memorial University.
 
Au is a doctoral student at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Au earned a Bachelor in Science in nutritional sciences, dietetics from University of California, Berkeley, and completed her dietetic internship and Masters in Nutrition and Public Health from Columbia University. Au currently is examining the influences of adiposity and skin color to serum vitamin D.
 
“My research involves determining the vitamin D intakes needed to meet recommended serum vitamin D and understanding adherence to taking vitamin D supplements in ethnically diverse children,” Au said. She plans to apply her supplement research and food policy background to a post-doctoral position in government. Au’s research will provide insight into vitamin D supplement recommendations for childhood populations.
 
Kaufmann is an anthropologist and certified medical herbalist who recently graduated from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. She is now pursuing a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University. Kaufmann plans research that aims to demonstrate the efficacy of natural products.
 
“I want to facilitate medical doctors and naturopathic doctors working together,” Kaufmann said. “The simple addition or substitution of a natural supplement to a patient’s treatment plan can increase the efficacy of some medications, or even alleviate negative symptoms. I do not believe that a patient should have to choose between allopathic and holistic or alternative medicine.”
 
Mardones is a member of the doctoral program in biology at Memorial University. Mardones is a medical herbalist and former fellow at the National Center for Natural Products Research. She is investigating the environmental and cultural parameters that affect the potency of Rhodiola rosea, an adaptogenic plant native to arctic regions of Europe, Asia and North America. Her research will examine the effects of climate change on wild populations of the plant, broadening understanding of how environmental factors influence biosynthesis.
 
“Through my research I hope to achieve results [that] help to optimize the cultivation methods used to safely and sustainably procure potent medicinal plants, and to improve the quality of medicinal plants available in the natural products industry," Mardones said.
 
“This year’s recipients illuminate the growing interest in natural products and the expanding career opportunities,” Matteson noted. “Our goal is to grow the NPF Scholarship Program to support this welcomed interest. This is a great cause that is easily supported."


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