HEALTH

NPA to host legislative day

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Natural Products Association last week announced it will host its 15th Annual Natural Products Day to help educate policy-makers on the value of dietary supplements here on March 27.

The day begins with an issue briefing and advocacy training so attendees learn how they can participate in the policy-making process and advocate for their interests. Afterwards, pre-arranged meetings at congressional offices offer the chance to talk to senators, representatives and their staffs about key legislation and regulatory activities.

There is no charge to attend the event.

Specifically, NPA will be working to educate members of Congress about the potential impact of the draft new drug ingredients guidance. NPA has called for a substantial rewrite of the draft guidance that is consistent with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.

In addition, NPA encourages congressional support for the Family and Retirement Health Investment Act, which would allow Health and Flexible Spending Account dollars to be used for supplements and meal replacement products. NPA opposes the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act, which would add unnecessary regulations on supplements that could limit their availability to consumers.

“It’s especially important this year to educate the public and Congress about the implications of the draft NDI guidance and proposed legislation. Attending Natural Products Day is a great way to make sure that policy-makers hear our strong, united voice,” stated NPA president Jeff Wright. “We are seeing growing concern in Congress about potential overreach by federal regulators, including the FDA. This is the time for us to seek more support for our industry.”


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For every $1 spent on OTCs, the healthcare system saves up to $7

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — For every dollar spent on over-the-counter medicines, the U.S. healthcare system realizes a savings of between $6 and $7, or $102 billion all told, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association announced Tuesday with the release of this new study, "The Value of OTC Medicine to the United States."

"This study is the first of its kind to assign a dollar value that captures how our entire healthcare system relies on OTC medicines for affordable healthcare," stated Scott Melville, CHPA president and CEO. "When you consider that every dollar spent on an OTC medicine saves our system $6 to $7 in avoided cost, it is paramount that our policy-makers do all they can to encourage consumer access to OTC medicines for self-treatable conditions."

Melville added that the study findings underscore the importance of reversing a provision in the 2010 Affordable Care Act that prohibits consumers from using their flexible spending arrangements to purchase OTC medicines without first getting a prescription. At the time this provision was enacted Jan. 1, 2011, an estimated 19 million working American families purchased OTC medicines.

According to the study, an estimated 240 million people rely on OTC medicines for symptomatic relief of the seven most common self-treatable conditions. The study evaluated how consumers would treat these seven conditions if they did not have access to OTC medicines. The total value equates to the total direct savings from avoided clinical visits and diagnostic testing ($77 billion) and use of less costly OTC medicines, rather than more costly prescriptions ($25 billion). 

The study also found that by keeping the American workforce healthy and at work, OTC medicines offer $23 billion in potential additional productivity benefits from avoided doctor’s office visits and time not having to be away from work for medical appointments. Americans would make an additional 450 million doctor visits annually, which equates to 56,000 medical practitioners working full time, if they did not have access to OTC medicines and instead saw a physician to get a prescription.

"Over-the-counter medicines are people’s first line of defense. It’s their home health care; it’s what they turn to in order to take care of themselves and their families," said Jane Delgado, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. "The availability of safe and effective OTC medicines empowers patients to take a more active role in their personal healthcare management. Access to safe and affordable OTC medicines is key to accomplishing that goal."

Booz & Co. surveyed 3,200 consumers for the study, which is the first to measure the aggregate cost savings of OTC medicines as used for those seven most common self-treatable conditions in the United States, CHPA noted. 

For the full study, click here.


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J&J recalls one lot of Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort lotion

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson Consumer Cos. last week voluntarily recalled from retailers one lot of Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort lotion that was distributed in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

This is not a consumer level recall and no action is required by consumers, the company stated.

This recall is being initiated as a precautionary measure after testing of a product sample by the Food and Drug Administration indicated that the lot exceeded the specifications for common bacteria.

J&J has voluntarily initiated this recall out of an abundance of caution. This action is not being undertaken on the basis of adverse events and the potential for adverse health effects is remote. Other lots of Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort lotion are not affected by this recall and remain available.

The lot number (0161LK) and UPC code (38137-0036456) for the recalled product is embossed on the tube.


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