HEALTH

Natural Products Association wins competition to expand into China

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Natural Products Association last week won a national competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce to expand its business into China.

The award was granted as part of the annual Market Development Cooperator Program, which builds public/private partnerships by providing federal assistance to non-profit “export multipliers” like trade associations that are particularly effective in reaching small- and medium-size enterprises.

“China is a huge market for finished natural products, but it’s also a huge supplier of many materials used for those products,” stated David Seckman, executive director and chief executive officer of the Natural Products Association. ”We have worked hard already to build strong relations and solid programs in China, and this award will help accelerate those efforts.

The Natural Products Association China initiative financial award is $160,669, the full amount the association requested, and will be matched with private sector funds over a two year period. The association will work with International Trade Administration partners to accomplish the following objectives:

Improve Market Access—China’s current regulatory environment is very restrictive and out of sync with international standards, the NPA found. The Natural Products Association will be working closely with the USDOC to address non-tariff barriers with China’s regulatory body, the State Food and Drug Administration. The association’s advocacy efforts will improve market access conditions for U.S. manufacturers, the association said.

Safeguard and Manage Supply Chain—Working together with its partner U.S. Pharmacopeia, the Natural Products Association will be testing shipments of raw materials to the U.S. to produce a safer, higher quality finished product that will meet increasingly higher import standards for key markets like Canada and Europe. China is a major player in this area.

Stage Trade Missions and Trade Shows—U.S. companies need to gain greater exposure and build relationships that will lead to increased exports. The Natural Products Association has established an agreement with the China Chamber of Commerce to co-sponsor an annual expo in Beijing beginning in 2008. A trade mission from the United States will be developed to coincide with this expo.

Increasing Online Communications—Establishment of a Chinese-language Web site will allow the Natural Products Association to position itself as a resource and connection point for U.S. exporters and Chinese buyers. The Web site will link to relevant Chinese organizations and contain materials aimed at educating government officials as well as consumers about the benefits of dietary supplements. Natural Products Association member companies will be listed here as well as information on trade shows, trade missions and the association’s supply chain management program. Information will be published in both Chinese and English and link back to the main Natural Products Association site.

In July, the Natural Products Association, along with USP, announced an industry-first program for testing Chinese raw materials for purity and composition. The program is in response to industry’s efforts to maintain product quality and reliability as competition to supply ingredients and raw materials as the industry grows.

Seckman noted that the program likely played a persuasive role in the award decision: “I have to believe the combination of our USP China program and our previous China presence helped us win this award,” he said.

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Adams files suit against Perrigo for Mucinex patent infringement

BY Michael Johnsen

CHESTER, N.J. Adams Respiratory Therapeutics on Thursday announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey against Perrigo for patent infringement of its Mucinex line of oral solid, extended-release guaifenesin products. Adams claims that the patents protecting Mucinex don’t expire until 2020.

Adams filed the lawsuit in response to Perrigo’s notification that it filed a Paragraph IV Certification in connection with its Abbreviated New Drug Application, which seeks Food and Drug Administration approval to engage in the commercial manufacture, use or sale of guaifenesin 600 mg single-ingredient, extended-release tablets (equivalent to Adams’ Mucinex SE), prior to the expiration of the patent. This patent infringement lawsuit will automatically stay the FDA from approving Perrigo’s ANDA until the earlier of 30 months or until a district court rules in favor of Perrigo.

Adams markets six patent-protected extended-release guaifenesin products over-the-counter under the Mucinex brand name, including a new line of 1,200 mg maximum-strength products. These products are the only available FDA-approved extended-release guaifenesin products, the company claimed. Perrigo’s ANDA relates only to guaifenesin 600 mg single-ingredient, extended-release tablets.

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Survey results show baby boomers’ pains affect their active lifestyles

BY Michael Johnsen

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa. Results from a new national “Pain Poll” survey issued Friday of 50-something baby boomers found that while 77 percent of boomers think “50 is the new 40,” unfortunately 55 percent of baby boomers said that their aches and pains have affected their ability to maintain an active lifestyle.

The good news for 50-somethings is that 72 percent of males and females surveyed by the Pain Poll feel mentally 10 years younger than the age on their driver’s license; in contrast, the poll showed that 62 percent of 50-somethings feel physically the same as or older than the age on their driver’s license.

Overall, the Pain Poll found that 92 percent of 50-somethings have experienced aches and pains, and 52 percent said they experience aches and pains on a daily basis.

“Remaining active and exercising for 50-somethings may be harder because of increased joint and early osteoarthritis pain, but at this age it is important to keep exercising because this will strengthen muscles and help to reduce stress on the joints that they support,” stated Dr. Rosa Solorio.

Solorio is working with McNeil Consumer Healthcare, with support from the Arthritis Foundation, to help educate 50-something baby boomers about the importance of exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The education initiative includes the Keep Moving program, which was initiated by McNeil.

The Pain Poll was sponsored by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the makers of Tylenol, and conducted by Harris Interactive.

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