HEALTH

Jobless and underemployed scrimping on health care

BY Michael Johnsen

MENLO PARK, Calif. — The unemployed and underemployed have limited access to health care and, in many cases, are putting off seeking medical care, according to the "Long-Term Unemployed Survey" released on Monday by NPR News and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

When they are sick or need medical advice, the long‐term unemployed and underemployed are much more likely than those with full‐time jobs to say they rely on a hospital emergency room or that they have no usual place to go for care (39% compared with 15% of full‐time employees).

This rises to almost 6-in-10 among those who are both unemployed or underemployed and uninsured. Correspondingly, more than 4-in-10 of the long‐term unemployed and underemployed said that they or another family member living in their household has had problems paying medical bills in the past two years.

However, the same amount of unemployed and underemployed visited a retail clinic, such as MinuteClinic or Take Care Clinics, as did the employed (3%), suggesting that there is a significant opportunity to raise awareness around the lower-cost healthcare services that can be found in those venues.

More than half of the long‐term unemployed and underemployed reported they had postponed getting needed health care because of the cost. Almost half reported skipping a recommended medical test or treatment (46%), and 40% said they had not filled a prescription because of the expense.

While 85% of those with full‐time jobs reported being covered by health insurance, roughly half (51%) of the long‐term unemployed and underemployed said they had no health coverage whatsoever. Among those who did have coverage, the long-term unemployed were most likely to report getting it through Medicare, Medicaid or another government program (23%), while the long‐term underemployed were most likely to say they get coverage through their part‐time job or a spouse’s or parent’s employer (26%). Just 2% of the long‐term unemployed and 1% of the long‐term underemployed reported they had COBRA coverage from a former job.

Both those who are without any work and those who have been only partially employed for an extended period of time reported some specific health consequences related to their employment situation. Nearly 6-in-10 said they had difficulty sleeping or loss of sleep. More than half said they had gained or lost more than 10 lbs. as a result of being out of work, including more who reported gaining (30%) than losing (18%).

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Cardium launches energy supplements in c-store channel, targets FDM next

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO — Cardium Therapeutics on Tuesday announced the availability of MedPodium Nutra-Apps — small, pharmaceutically sealed, tasteless, easy-use capsules in pocket-sized packaging. MedPodium’s Nutra-Apps Neo-Energy and Neo-Carb Bloc products now are available in select convenience stores in the Southern and Southwestern United States, and Cardium plans to introduce two additional Nutra-Apps products — Neo-Chill for relaxation and to help reduce stress, and Neo-Sleep to help promote restful sleep. 

MedPodium’s Neo-Energy is a dietary supplement capsule that provides a customized blend of natural caffeine, green tea leaf extract and Vitamin B3.  Each of Neo-Energy’s small, easy-to-use capsules provide an amount of caffeine comparable to commonly-sold energy shots or a premium coffee. A pocket-sized pack containing four Neo-Energy capsules will be sold for approximately the same retail price as a single liquid energy shot or beverage.  I

MedPodium’s new Neo-Carb Bloc is a dietary supplement that features a custom formulation of Phase 2, a white kidney bean extract that has been clinically studied and shown to reduce the enzymatic digestion of dietary starches contained in many carbohydrate-rich foods such as pastas, rice, crackers, breads, pastries, potato chips, and donuts.

"We plan to further broaden our Nutra-Apps product portfolio with the addition of other product offerings, such as Neo-Chill and Neo Sleep and to expand distribution nationally," stated Christopher Reinhard, Cardium’s chairman and CEO. "With market traction, we plan to broaden our Nutra-Apps brand platform for potential distribution into the food, drug and mass markets."

 


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Pfizer Consumer survey reveals need for fever education among parents

BY Michael Johnsen

MADISON, N.J. — According to two new surveys of parents and pediatricians from Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, more than half of all parents report feeling anxious, fearful or helpless when their child comes down with a fever. In addition, many parents are not managing the fever correctly.

This actually is nothing new to the vast majority of pediatricians (94%) who believe that parents need more fever management education.

To that end Pfizer is introducing a fever relief program this cold and flu season to educate parents on common misperceptions and best practices when it comes to treating a child’s fever under the brand’s Children’s Advil banner. “The pediatricians surveyed consistently hear three questions about fever medications: Which type is best for my child? At what temperature reading should I give medicine? And how do I correctly dose?” commented Freda Lewis-Hall, EVP and chief medical officer for Pfizer. “Parents play a dual role when their children are sick. They need to comfort a sick child while being prepared to make informed health choices. We want to help answer parents’ questions about fever treatment so parents can help their kids get back to being kids.”

“As demonstrated in the survey, and as I see in my practice, even some of the most seasoned parents worry about fever," stated Alanna Levine, Chidren’s Advil spokeswoman. "It’s the most common reason I am paged after office hours. … I like to reassure parents with ‘fever phobia’ that fever is their friend — it is a sign that their child’s body is fighting infection. The goal of reducing the fever is really to make the child feel better. During this cold and flu season, all parents should be armed with the proper facts about fevers and how to manage them.”

The Dose of Reality survey exposed several areas where parents may be making unintended mistakes in treating their child’s fever. For example, more than half of parents surveyed (54%) wake their child up in the middle of the night just to give them fever medication. However, most pediatricians believe a sleeping child should not be awakened solely to be given fever medication, but close monitoring is always a good idea.

Also, while the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents keep their child home from school or daycare until the child is fever-free for at least 24 hours, 52% of parents admit to sending their child back to school or daycare less than 24 hours after their fever passed. The majority of pediatricians (72%) acknowledge hearing that parents send their child back to school or daycare within that 24-hour period.

Nearly 1-in-4 parents admitted to giving their children an adult over-the-counter fever medication at an estimated lower dose, rather than giving the children a medication made for children. This is something that one-third of pediatricians actually reported hearing from their patients. Parents should never give an adult product to a child. Further, while weight-based dosing is the most appropriate way to dose children’s fever medications, more than one-third of parents (36%) reported administering their child’s dose of medication based primarily on age rather than the preferred method, weight, which can result in a child not getting the optimal dose.

To identify the areas where education is most needed, Pfizer commissioned two national surveys — one of parents and the other of pediatricians. The Children’s Advil Dose of Reality study, conducted online by Harris Interactive, polled more than 1,000 parents on Nov. 4 to uncover the most common misperceptions parents have when it comes to managing a child’s fever. This was complemented by a survey of more than 250 pediatricians conducted by Sermo, to explore their views of parents’ misperceptions and topics where education was most needed.

 


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