HEALTH

Safe Kids Worldwide publishes new report outlining medicine poisoning risk among children

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — According to the new report “An In-Depth Look at Keeping Young Children Safe Around Medicines,” released last week by Safe Kids Worldwide, 7-of-10 emergency department visits for medicine poisonings are due to curious young children getting into their grandparent’s or mother’s medicine that was left within reach. The report notes one of the most effective ways to reverse this trend is through safe medicine storage at home and when traveling. 

“This report clearly reinforces that parents and caregivers must always keep medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight of young children — every time they are used, especially those used every day,” stated Emily Skor, VP communications and alliance development at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. The report states that of children who visited emergency rooms in 2011 due to medicine poisonings, in 67% of the cases the medication was left within reach of the child in a purse, on a nightstand or counter, on the ground or in a misplaced area like under a sofa cushion. 

“Young children are curious, and they can quickly get into medicines or vitamins when parents and caregivers aren’t looking. We encourage everyone who spends time with small children to look at your home through the eyes of a child and to pick a place to store medicines and vitamins that is high up, out of a child’s reach and sight,” Skor said.

To remind parents, grandparents and caregivers about the importance of safe medicine storage, the CHPA Educational Foundation in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its PROTECT Initiative launched the Up and Away and Out of Sight safe medicine storage educational campaign.

 


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Legislation restoring OTC eligibility for FSA reimbursement introduced in Congress

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., and Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., last week introduced the Family Health Care Flexibility Act, repealing restrictions placed on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts in the President’s healthcare law. A provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, already in effect today, prohibits HSA and FSA participants from using their account dollars to purchase over the counter medicines without a prescription.  

According to Nielsen, 19 million American households participate in an FSA program, and approximately half (9.8 million) used their FSAs to purchase OTC medicines before the new law took effect in January 2011. 

“It defies logic for Washington to restrict and deny the flexibility so many American families need in using their health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts,” Paulsen said. “Forbidding families from using money they have set aside to purchase affordable over-the-counter medications, such as Claritin and Tylenol, not only wastes the time and money of families and individuals, but also places an additional burden on doctors and health professionals.” 

“These arbitrary and time-consuming changes are unwise and unfair to families trying to make good choices,” Johanns added. “Requiring prescriptions for aspirin or a doctor’s visit for hay-fever is not healthcare reform, it’s government overreach and interference. Families with children who have special needs are among those who rely heavily upon these accounts and they shouldn’t be punished. It’s time to restore these accounts and restore commonsense.”

“As a nation, we want to encourage Americans to make smart, efficient healthcare choices,” commented Scott Melville, president and CEO for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “Access to OTC medicines empowers consumers and allows them to take greater control over their healthcare and their healthcare spending, as do FSAs, which were designed to help Americans.”

The Family Health Care Flexibility Act would also repeal the $2,500 contribution cap for FSAs that went into effect this year. 

The legislation currently has 11 cosponsors in the Senate and 35 in the House of Representatives. 


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GNC extends Preventive Nutrition brand with 11 new supplements

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — GNC on Tuesday extended its Preventive Nutrition brand to help supplement a number of conditions, including eye health, liver health and digestive health.  

"Health and wellness is important to men and women of all ages, and their health concerns are far-reaching and can range from supporting brain health to healthy digestion and cholesterol," stated Tom Dowd, EVP, chief merchandising officer and general manager for GNC. "This extension of our Preventive Nutrition line is part of GNC’s goal of providing consumers with the best innovative products the nutritional supplement industry has to offer."

"With 11 new formulas to choose from, consumers can rest assured that they are taking a supplement that will help them support the key health concern they are focused on, such as eye health, blood pressure, digestive health or liver health," commented Joseph Maroon, chairman of GNC’s Medical Advisory Board. "For example, the Healthy Cholesterol Formula supports normal, healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It combines potent phytosterols, which support heart health, and CoQ-10 for powerful cardiovascular antioxidant support."

The 11 new formulas include: Eye Health Formula, Liver Health Formula, Brain Health Formula, Energy Enhancing Formula, Healthy Digestion Formula, Bone and Joint Health Formula, Enhanced Sleep Formula, Healthy Cholesterol Formula, Healthy Blood Pressure Formula, Cellular Antioxidant Formula and Healthy Blood Sugar Formula.


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