HEALTH

Makers of Centrum launch contest on LoveFeelingHealthy.com

BY Michael Johnsen

MADISON, N.J. — Pfizer Consumer Healthcare on Thursday introduced a new contest from the makers of Centrum multivitamins at LoveFeelingHealthy.com. Participants there can nominate women who manage to stay energized this holiday season with a smile on their face.

Nominators can share how the special woman in their lives manages to be the ultimate host, party charmer, gift giver, cookie baker, etc. Participants are asked to submit 300 words that explain how that woman does it all.

The site LoveFeelingHealthy.com also features actress Molly Shannon, who offers a few personal pointers on how she keeps her zest. "As a busy woman, actress, wife and mother, I understand what it means to play multiple roles and to take on many fun but also time-consuming projects, especially during the holidays," Shannon said. "I’m thrilled to partner with the makers of Centrum to find ‘America’s Most Amazingly Energized Woman’ because I know what an accomplishment it is for a woman to get her work done and still have energy to spare."

Five finalists will be selected, and people then will be able to cast their votes for who should be coined "America’s Most Amazingly Energized Woman." During the months of December 2010 and January 2011, everyone who visits LoveFeelingHealthy.com will be able to download a $3 coupon for Centrum Women’s or Centrum Men’s to help him or her achieve better health during the holiday season.

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Missouri gov campaigns for Rx-only PSE legislation

BY Michael Johnsen

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (Dec. 1) Gov. Jay Nixon, D-Mo., on Tuesday campaigned for a sweeping expansion of efforts to battle methamphetamine, including legislation that would make Missouri the third state in the nation to require a prescription for the cough-cold ingredient pseudoephedrine.

It’s not a new issue for the Show Me State — several local municipalities that fall between St. Louis and the Missouri capital of Jefferson City last year passed local ordinances that required prescriptions for PSE products.

And Nixon is advocating making PSE available as a prescription-only medicine even though Missouri is one of the states to have adopted the National Precursor Log Exchange, a multistate electronic PSE sales blocking system that is funded by the manufacturers of medicines containing PSE.

The governor acknowledged that pharmacies and law enforcement agencies are making significant progress on the database and that it is already stopping illegal purchases of pseudoephedrine. Gov. Nixon said more than half (590) of the retail pharmacies that sell pseudoephedrine over the counter in Missouri are connected to the database, with the expectation that all those pharmacies will be using the program by the beginning of 2011.

"The database is one of the tools we’ve put in place to help law enforcement investigate and track down meth labs, meth cooks and the ‘smurfers’ who supply them," Gov. Nixon said. "Winning the fight against meth means staying one step ahead of the criminals, however, and a prescription law is that next step."

Gov. Nixon said his administration will work with legislators to introduce a PSE prescription bill in the upcoming General Assembly. If passed, Missouri would join Oregon and Mississippi as the only states that currently have such a requirement.

Earlier this year, CHPA’s since-retired president and CEO Linda Suydam testified before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control during a hearing on "The Status of Meth: Oregon’s Experience Making Pseudoephedrine Prescription Only” that electronic tracking is more effective in deterring methamphetamine production. “When contrasted with electronic tracking, prescription mandates simply fall short,” she said. “A prescription mandate would be more expensive to consumers, sales limits from [the Combat Meth Act] would no longer apply, and there would be no system for real-time blocking of illegal prescription sales within states or across state lines.”

Suydam also challenged the effectiveness of Oregon’s prescription-only law, noting that most of Oregon’s lab reductions occurred prior to the state’s prescription mandate and that states across the West achieved similar results without such a burdensome restriction. “The industry supports federal legislation requiring nationwide tracking, and we are asking that the current paper system be modernized to provide a system that will work seamlessly and more effectively across all states,” Suydam said. “E-tracking systems like NPLEx are the most effective tool we have to systematically address methamphetamine production in this country. A multistate approach to electronic pseudoephedrine sales tracking offers more benefits for law enforcement and consumers than a prescription mandate, but without the substantial and unnecessary costs of a prescription approach.”

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CDC: U.S. flu activity remains relatively low

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — For the week ended Nov. 20, influenza activity increased slightly across the Southeast while remaining relatively low throughout the rest of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

A total of 11 states reported no influenza activity for the period, the CDC reported.

One state, Georgia, experienced high influenza-like illness activity. While ILI is a nonspecific term and may be caused by a variety of organisms, the increase in ILI in Georgia has occurred at the same time as a significant increase in the number of reported influenza B virus infections.

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