Jennifer Lopez to become spokesperson for whooping cough awareness
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Actress, singer and mother Jennifer Lopez is joining the March of Dimes and Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis, to create a national public awareness campaign to educate new parents and their families about pertussis, or whooping cough.
Pertussis is highly contagious and is caused by bacteria that are spread through airborne droplets from the nose and throat. As a result, a cough, sneeze or even talking very close could lead to exposure. The coughing fits can be so violent that infants cannot catch their breath and may turn blue, and it can lead to other serious complications such as pneumonia. In recent years, 90% of pertussis deaths have occurred in infants younger than four months of age.
The campaign, dubbed “Sounds of Pertussis,” focuses on educating new parents and their families about pertussis as it is making a comeback. Between2000-2003 and 2004-2007, there was a 100% increase in reported cases of pertussis. Estimates indicate that there may be as many as 800,000 to 3.3 million total adult and adolescent cases of pertussis in any given year.
The campaign’s centerpiece is a series of television and radio public service announcements featuring Lopez that are available in both English and Spanish. The PSAs, scheduled to begin airing nationally this month, encourage new and expectant parents to help protect their babies by making sure that anyone who is, or will be, in close contact with a young infant has been vaccinated against pertussis.
Because Hispanic babies may be at a higher risk for contracting pertussis, and the risk of dying from pertussis may be higher in Hispanic infants than in non-Hispanic infants, the program is being implemented as a bilingual educational initiative.
Biocodex appoints new VP, managing director
SAN BRUNO, Calif. Biocodex, manufacturer of Florastor and Florastor Kids probiotic supplements, on Thursday announced the appointment of Marc Rohman as VP and managing director of Biocodex, Inc., the French company’s U.S. subsidiary.
According to Nicolas Coudurier, international director of Biocodex, the U.S. market is a key priority for the company for its planned strategic expansion in the pharmaceutical arena.
“Florastor has been a tremendous success worldwide, and we feel there is great potential for the U.S. to be one of our largest footprints for this and other brands,” Coudurier said. “We’re thrilled to have someone with [Rohman’s] vast pharma expertise, not only on the marketing side, but also on the medical affairs side, to lead our foray into new U.S. product offerings.”
Prior to joining Biocodex, Rohman was part of the senior management team at FlowMedica where he was responsible for directing the company’s collaboration efforts for targeted renal therapy. While at FlowMedica, he also directed the collaborative pharma and other general business development efforts, as well as lead marketing, market development and general promotion of the company.
“Maximizing the potential of the Florastor brand is going to be a key priority for me, but at the same time, I will also be focusing on strategic alliances to build the company’s U.S. portfolio,” Rohman said. “Within the next five years or so, I’d like to see the U.S. arm of Biocodex bring at least two or more products to market.”
In addition to his work at FlowMedica, Rohman also worked for leading biotech and pharmaceutical companies, such as Scios, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2003, Mallinckrodt (now Tyco Healthcare), Boehringer Mannheim, Knoll Pharmaceuticals and Marion Labs.
Rohman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising from Michigan State University.
FDA to expand Plan B availability to 17-year-olds
ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday informed Duramed Research, manufacturer of Plan B, that it may market the emergency contraceptive without a prescription to women age 17 years and older, following submission and approval of the appropriate application.
Currently, the emergency contraceptive Plan B is available behind the pharmacy counter for women over the age of 18, but as a prescription-only product for women 17 years old and younger.
The FDA decision came within the 30 days mandated by a federal court to permit the Plan B drug sponsor to make Plan B available to women 17 and older without a prescription.
“The government will not appeal this decision,” the FDA stated. “In accordance with the court’s order, and consistent with the scientific findings made in 2005 by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA notified the manufacturer of Plan B informing the company that it may … market Plan B without a prescription to women 17 years of age and older.”
Plan B is manufactured by Duramed Research, which was acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in December as part of its acquisition of Barr Pharmaceuticals.