HEALTH

Nature’s Bounty Co. names three new members to its Scientific Advisory Council

BY Michael Johnsen

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. — The Nature’s Bounty Co. on Tuesday announced that it has appointed three additional members to its Scientific Advisory Council. Chaired by David Katz, The Nature’s Bounty Co. Scientific Advisory Council is a group of scientists who are considered subject matter experts in different areas of science and nutrition. Each member of the Council is selected for the expertise they bring with regard to specific nutrients of interest that align with the benefit platforms around which The Nature’s Bounty Co. innovates.

“With a diverse knowledge base and deep insight into nutrition and health trends, our Scientific Advisory Council is an industry-leading resource that we rely upon to help us best leverage modern science that informs our product innovations,” stated Steve Cahillane, president and CEO of The Nature’s Bounty Co. “Developments in science and nutrition are to thank for many of the creative and innovative new products we have launched on behalf of our Nature’s Bounty, Sundown Naturals, Osteo Bi-Flex, Pure Protein and other brands. We are thankful that our new members have joined us and look forward to their meaningful contributions.”

Joining the council is David Julian McClements, professor at the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts. He specializes in the development of food-based delivery systems for bioactive components, such as vitamins and nutraceuticals, and is the author or editor of more than 10 books. He is currently the most highly cited author in the Agricultural Sciences.

Also joining is Fred Turek, a professor for the Department of Neurobiology, Neurology and Psychiatry as well as the founding Director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology at Northwestern University in Chicago. He is internationally recognized for his studies on the effect of disrupted sleep and circadian rhythm on health and disease.

Finally there is Joseph Petrosino, a professor and interim-chairman of the department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also the director of the Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research. He holds joint appointments in the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center and Department of Ophthalmology. Petrosino is the founder and chief scientific officer of Diversigen. He is recognized internationally as an expert on the human microbiome and its role in health and disease.

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OTC hearing aid bill poised for House approval, CTA says

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. — The House of Representatives is poised to pass the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, which includes the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, the Consumer Technology Association noted in a release on Tuesday. The act would create a new class of over-the-counter hearing aids and allows non-prescription hearing devices to be marketed to treat mild to moderate hearing loss.
 
“We applaud Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Joe Kennedy III. D-Mass., for working with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Ranking Member Frank Pallone. D-N.J., to successfully advance the over-the-counter provision in the broader FDA user fee legislation," stated Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “With this kind of bipartisan momentum in the House, we are hopeful that the Senate will continue to push this legislation as expeditiously as possible.”
 
Over-the-counter hearing devices will be affordable, readily available and much more in line with what American consumers are willing to spend to improve their hearing. According to CTA's Personal Sound Amplification Products: a Study of Consumer Attitudes and Behavior, price is a significant barrier for consumers seeking help for a hearing deficiency. A pair of traditional hearing aids costs anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000, a price tag that many Americans simply cannot afford.

In contrast, over-the-counter devices are expected to be one-tenth that cost, ranging in price from $100 to $600.
 
“Passing this bill in the Senate and getting it signed into law will make an immediate impact in people's lives and bottom lines," Shapiro said. "Getting over-the-counter hearing aids on the same shelves as over-the-counter eyeglasses would be a major win for consumers with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. The high cost of hearing aids, the inconvenience and the cost of doctor appointments means nearly half of online U.S. adults – 98 million Americans – have some degree of hearing loss, but don't get the hearing assistance they need."
 
In support of the possible nonprescription status of hearing devices, CTA has developed a new logo and high-performance standard for wearable hearing devices.
 

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CRN explores addition of medical food to its lobbying repertoire

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Tuesday announced it is exploring adding representation for companies in the medical food industry to its mission, following a unanimous vote by the CRN board of directors at its June board meeting to launch an examination of this burgeoning sector of the nutrition category.

“CRN’s Board of Directors believes there is enormous growth potential for the medical food industry over the next several decades as healthcare practitioners, the academic community and policy makers continue to look at the ways that nutrition contributes to better health," stated Jim Hyde, CRN board chair and VP/general manager Balchem Human Nutrition and Pharma. "We take seriously the name of our association, and incorporating ‘medical food’ along with dietary supplements and functional food to our ‘responsible nutrition’ portfolio is forward-thinking and a logical next step for CRN to consider.”

“CRN’s strong reputation was created by our 45-year history of representing mainstream companies in the dietary supplement industry," added Steve Mister, president and CEO CRN. "Several years ago, we opened our doors to functional food companies with the reasoning that we were already representing the ingredient suppliers manufacturing the ingredients that went into the food. We envision the same synergistic approach with medical food. It’s all a spectrum of nutrition that provides health benefits to consumers," he said. "If there is an interest from companies who manufacture and market medical foods, we’re open to working with those companies to ensure their interests — and the interests of their consumers — are being properly represented to Congress, regulators and in the media.”

As part of its exploratory process, CRN intends to convene the major players in the industry, some of whom are already CRN members, as part of a listening tour to determine where voids in representation exist, if CRN can fill those needs and what the regulatory and policy priorities of the medical food industry should be. “We’ve already begun talking with some of the significant providers of these products to the market, and we understand some of their concerns focus on the lack of clarity provided by FDA’s oversight of the industry, leading to some controversy and uncertainty about these products,” Mister said.

The term “medical food” is defined by Congress under Section 5(b)(3) of the Orphan Drug Act as “a food which is formulated to be consumed [orally] or administered internally under the supervision of a physician and which is intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation.”

CRN has previously expressed concerns that a more narrow interpretation of that definition offered by FDA that limits the range of available products may undermine Congressional intent for this category, thereby stifling the market’s ability to reach its potential. On the other hand, CRN fears that some companies may try to take advantage of the lack of clarity with illegitimate products, leaving the industry open to the risk that rogue players will define the industry.

“In many ways, there are similarities between where medical foods are today and the dietary supplement industry immediately following the passage of the Dietary Supplement Heath and Education Act,” Mister said. “CRN wants to work with responsible companies who want to play by the rules. We want to ensure those rules protect consumers, but also allow for industry to innovate and grow."

 

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