HEALTH

New survey sheds light on cough-cold medicine purchases

BY Michael Johnsen

CLEVELAND According to a review of BIGresearch’s December 2009 “Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey” by WorkPlace Media, the recession economy is pressuring employees to work and perform through any upper respiratory illness during this year’s cough-cold season.

In the survey, both employed and unemployed Americans were asked how often they bought cough-cold and flu medication, and in every instance, employed Americans reported a greater frequency of purchase. In fact, when compared to the general population, employed consumers purchased over-the-counter cough medication 28% more often on a weekly basis (20% for OTC cold and flu medication).

“Employed Americans are naturally concerned about their health,” stated Stephanie Molnar, CEO of WorkPlace Media, a marketing solutions firm that specializes in targeting advertising messages to people at the office. “And the reality is, when you feel bad during the workday, you’re not going to wait until the weekend to purchase a remedy. You’re going to reach in your desk and pull something out or slip out to a local retailer and get what you need. This significant opportunity for brands is why we’ve been helping them get their cough, cold & flu advertising messages into cubicles across the country.”

When it came to actual brands, Americans turned to Vicks the most for cold and flu symptom relief and Robitussin for cough relief. However, more than half of Americans (54%) make that brand purchase decision at shelf, the survey found.

The Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was conducted by BIGresearch in December 2009 among 9,929 consumers.  For more information and complimentary research and charts, visit www.workplacemedia.com and click on “Complimentary Research.”

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HEALTH

Natural medicine maker featured on ‘Healing Quest’

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. Bionorica on Thursday announced its products and expert spokespersons are featured in two episodes of the series “Healing Quest,” currently airing on select PBS stations nationwide.

The shows began airing in January and will continue to be seen on PBS stations throughout 2010. A full schedule can be found at www.healingquest.tv.

Guests include Robert “Dr. Bob” Sears, a pediatrician and co-author of the Sears Parenting Library; Marcus Laux, a licensed naturopathic physician and co-author of Natural Woman, Natural Menopause; and Healing Quest contributor Narinder Duggal, a practicing pharmacist and internist who teaches integrated medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Sears, Laux, and Duggal all recommend Bionorica’s clinically-proven products to their patients, Bionorica stated. In individual interviews, they discuss why many Americans still are skeptical about natural remedies and other forms of alternative medicine.

“We’re delighted to spread the word about the benefits of safe and effective plant-based remedies, especially when it comes to children’s health,” stated Wolf Aulenbacher, president of U.S. operations for Bionorica. “These ‘Healing Quest’ programs will help assure parents and doctors that there are new options now available in the U.S., gentle and natural alternatives to help ensure good health for the whole family.”

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CRN responds to Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010

BY Michael Johnsen

PHOENIX Former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., together with Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., on Wednesday introduced the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010, a bill that would impose greater restrictions on the entire dietary supplement industry, in part because of the insinuation often made that supplements may contain banned performance-enhancing ingredients.

“Like many of you, I am looking forward to watching the Super Bowl this Sunday and the Winter Olympics later this month,” McCain said. “However, a little over a year ago the NFL suspended six players, including two players from one of the teams competing this Sunday, for violating the league’s anti-doping policy.”

The Council of Responsible Nutrition responded expressed its belief on what the legislation would do to the dietary supplement industry and consumers.

“CRN looks forward to the opportunity to study the legislation and find common ground with the sponsors and supporters of this legislation,” stated Steve Mister, CRN president and CEO. “Where specific provisions are extensions of positions we have already supported and lobbied for, we applaud more voices joining with ours.”

The legislation would require dietary supplement manufactures to register with the Food and Drug Administration and fully disclose all ingredients and provides the agency with mandatory recall authority if a product is found to be unsafe or harmful. However, the act also would require supplement companies to report all adverse event reports, which is more restrictive than the serious adverse event report requirement in place now.

“We do not believe that requiring manufacturers to report all adverse events — not just serious adverse events — would do anything to protect consumers,” countered Mister, because such a requirement would overburden the FDA without affording any greater consumer protection. “FDA itself has stated that this would overburden the Agency and would not help protect consumers,” he noted.

The “dietary supplement” referenced by McCain is the Nikki Haskell’s StarCaps weight-loss supplement, distributed by Balanced Health Products, which was sold in specialty outlets GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and Great Earth Vitamin Stores according to the StarCaps Web site at the time those NFL players were suspended. StarCaps contained bumetanide, a prescription-only diuretic, making it an illegal, adulterated drug. The NFL banned diuretics because they can be used as masking agents for steroids. Balanced Health recalled all StarCaps products in conjunction with the FDA in December 2008.

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