Report: Target forms executive committee to direct political giving
MINNEAPOLIS — Mass merchandiser Target has changed its political donation policies following a controversy that erupted last year over a donation to a socially conservative political group, according to published reports.
The Washington Blade, a gay and lesbian newspaper, reported Thursday that Target had formed a policy committee comprising senior executives that would direct political giving.
Though the retailer has long supported gay and lesbian organizations and events, it attracted controversy and calls for boycotts during the 2010 elections when it donated $150,000 to MN Forward, a group that ran ads supporting Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate, Tom Emmer, who had run as an opponent of many gay-rights initiatives, including same-sex marriage and programs to combat anti-gay bullying in schools. Emmer also had made a $250 donation to You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International and appeared on the radio show of its leader, Bradlee Dean, who had made statements that appeared to endorse violence against gay people, though Emmer later distanced himself from Dean’s statements. Emmer lost the election to Democrat Mark Dayton.
FDA wants terbutaline to carry boxed warning label
SILVER SPRING, Md. — An asthma drug widely available as a generic should not be used for preventing or treating preterm labor in pregnant women, the Food and Drug Administration warned.
The drug, terbutaline, is available as a tablet and an injectable. The drug does not have FDA approval for the treatment or prevention of preterm labor, but often is prescribed off-label for pregnancy-related issues. The agency said it had received reports of dangerous side effects in mothers who had taken the drug for such reasons, including death, but that there was no evidence that use of the drug improved outcomes for infants. The agency is requiring the drug to carry a boxed warning label, the strongest form of labeling, warning against use of the drug for complications related to pregnancy.
“Women should be aware that serious and sometimes fatal side effects have been reported after prolonged use of terbutaline in pregnant women,” FDA Division of Reproductive and Urologic Products director Scott Monroe said. “It is important for patents and healthcare professionals to consider all the potential risks and known benefits of any drug before deciding on its use.”
Under the law, a drug company only can market a drug to prescribers and consumers for the uses it has FDA approval for, but doctors still can prescribe it for unapproved uses.
Study: Homeopathic shoppers buy more
Homeopathy products, especially in the cough-cold space, appear to be doing very well. That’s good news in and of itself, but according to recent Boiron research, it gets better: People who place homeopathy in their market baskets tend to buy more by the time they get to the checkout.
“Overall, our research shows that 27% of shoppers have successfully used a natural/alternative over-the-counter medicine in the past, while 55% have not but are interested in trying,” said John Durkin, Boiron VP sales and marketing. “This suggests a substantial opportunity to increase sales,” he said. Consumers who buy homeopathic products are more valuable shoppers, Durkin added, across all channels. “Specifically in drug stores, baskets with homeopathic medicines have an average value of $42 in comparison to $21 for those that don’t,” Durkin said, citing SpinScan “Shopper Insights” for the year ended June 26, 2010.
But homeopathy isn’t selling better because it’s homeopathy, per se. Rather, it’s more of a right-place-right-time scenario. Recommended use for all of kids’ cough-cold medicines were scaled back to older than 4 years old for many allopathic formulations. That had many parents in search of a solution that was priced right, worked and could be recommended for use in their children. The answer turned out to be homeopathy.
“The past issues with pediatric cold medicines have been great for homeopathy and the natural segment,” said Michele Boisvert, president of Homeolab USA, which offers a number of pediatric cough-cold products under the Kids Relief brand. “There is certainly an increased amount of homeopathic and natural offerings on the shelves today for consumers to choose from. Now with recent recalls, it leaves the door wide open for natural options.”