HEALTH

Pa. health dept. helps smokers quit in the name of love

BY Michael Johnsen

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Friday announced it would be distributing free nicotine replacement therapy kits beginning on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, to help Pennsylvanians who want to give up tobacco “in the name of love.”

Under the Quit for Love campaign, the kits will be available through the state’s Free Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for approximately six to eight weeks, or while supplies last.

"Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease," stated Eli Avila, acting secretary of health. "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1-of-every-5 deaths nationwide is attributed to smoking. Quitting tobacco is a major step toward improving your overall health. Do it for yourself, for your friends, for your loved ones."

The NRT kits are paid for by funding from the federal stimulus program and the Master Settlement Agreement. Under this agreement, 46 states — including Pennsylvania — receive payments from the tobacco industry to offset smoking-related medical costs and to help reduce the use of tobacco products.

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AccuDial developing child-proof children’s dosing syringe

BY Michael Johnsen

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — AccuDial Pharmaceutical earlier this month announced it has developed a new patent-pending line of child-proof container enclosure systems, designed to reduce the accidental or unsupervised ingestion of liquid over-the-counter and prescription medications.

One of AccuDial’s new patent-pending designs is an innovative safety cap and oral dosing syringe system. The safety cap is permanently fastened to the container and includes an integrated one-way valve for accessing medication with an accompanying oral syringe, and a flip-top lid that covers the valve when the product is not in use.

An unsupervised child is unable to remove the safety cap or otherwise access the liquid inside the container without utilizing the oral syringe, which is intended to be stored by the caregiver separately from the product. A child also is unable to suck or squeeze the liquid from the container because of the one-way valve, which prevents the flow of the medication without utilizing the oral syringe.

In a recent study of emergency department visits for unintentional pediatric poisonings between 2004 and 2005, 82% of the visits were due to the unsupervised ingestion of pharmaceutical products by children who accessed the medications on their own.

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NAD recommends modification of Clearblue Easy Digital ad claims

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus last week recommended that SPD Swiss Precision Diagnostics, manufacturer of the Clearblue Easy Digital home pregnancy test, modify its advertising to clarify to consumers that the test only delivers completely “certain” results on or after the day of a consumer’s expected menstrual period.

The implied advertising claim was challenged before NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, by Church & Dwight, maker of First Response and Answer pregnancy test kits.

C&D charged that the claim in question was made in 15- and 30-second broadcast advertisements of Clearblue Easy Digital, and communicated the message that CBE Digital will provide completely “certain” results, regardless of whether a consumer uses the product on the day of her expected menstrual period or during the four-day episode prior to that menstrual period.

NAD noted in its decision that, according to both parties, advertising for at-home pregnancy test kits for many years primarily has focused on the products’ capability to detect pregnancy early — several days before a woman misses her period. NAD determined that it would be reasonable to conclude that consumers generally have come to expect at-home pregnancy tests to detect pregnancy prior to the day of a missed period.

SPD countered that the challenged commercials make no claim, implied or otherwise, about the early detection capability of the product, and do not falsely communicate to consumers that the product’s results are “certain,” even when the test is used before a woman’s missed menstrual period.

“Consumers might interpret our commercial against a background of some information they have assimilated from the advertising of pregnancy test manufacturers collectively,” SPD said in its advertiser statement. “We are troubled that this may be penalizing SPD for the omissions of others, and we suggest that overcoming this problem of implied messaging requires all pregnancy test manufacturers to clearly and explicitly explain the trade-off in their advertising.”

SPD noted that it would take the NAD’s recommendations into account in future advertising.

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