HEALTH

Sanofi: Rolaids will be relieving heartburn with its return to the market by the end of the year

BY Michael Johnsen

PARIS — During a quarterly conference call Thursday, Sanofi president of global operations Hanspeter Spek noted that Sanofi’s consumer arm Chattem will be relaunching the heartburn remedy Rolaids.

"We plan to relaunch the product, which has been absent of the American markets for production problems on the side of J&J," he told analysts. "We intend to launch the product by the end of 2013, which will further accelerate the performance of Chattem in the United States."

Sanofi has been very pleased with Chattem, Spek said, noting that Sanofi is now the third-largest consumer healthcare company globally behind Johnson & Johnson and Bayer. "The portfolio is growing by 9.9%, which is a good growth, I believe. The overall OTC market is growing in 2012 about 4%, 4.5%," he said. 

 

 

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HEALTH

Report: New FDA switch paradigm could bring $36 billion in prescription revenue to the front end

BY Michael Johnsen

MONMOUTH BEACH, N.J. — A new switch paradigm could open the door to $35.7 billion in OTC opportunity, according to a new report recently released by Francesco International. 

Titled "A New FDA-Driven Rx-to-OTC Switch Initiative: The Expansion of Conditions of Use," the report outlines new potential Rx-to-OTC switch candidates that would qualify under a new switch paradigm under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration, and identifies possible building blocks in developing a switch application. "For example, combining a drug with new smartphone technology could create potentially valuable OTC opportunities in several therapeutic categories," the company stated. Enabling access to OTCs through technology or consults with retail pharmacists and clinicians could bring prescription-only medicines like statins into the mass market, Francesco noted. Other potential switch candidates identified by Francesco in the report include medicines for hypertension, benign prostate hyperplasia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and erectile dysfunction. "Under these new conditions of safe OTC use, the quality of life for the consumer could be significantly enhanced, and overall healthcare costs could be reduced without the need for constant physician involvement," the company added. 

“There is the chance for change as the major stakeholders are now starting to re-think their business models, and some of these new opportunities, especially those from the new healthcare legislation and the contribution of new technology, are becoming apparent and actionable," stated Steve Francesco, CEO of Francesco International. "The FDA sees this as an opportunity. As experts on the subject, we can see some new conditions of safe use having a potentially huge positive impact on both public health, as well as healthcare industry sales and profit."

The FDA last year held a public meeting attempting to identify switch pathways that would expand the class of medications considered appropriate for sale without a prescription today. The FDA is working with Brookings Institute and a number of switch experts, including Francesco International, on the Nonprescription Safe Use Regulatory Expansion initiative. Brookings hosted one meeting in December; the next is planned for May 9.  


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Smoking rates significantly higher among mentally ill, report finds

BY Alaric DeArment

ATLANTA – Smoking among adults with mental illnesses is 70% higher than among those without them, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC, collaborating with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, found that 36% of adults with a mental illness are cigarette smokers, compared with 21% of those without mental illnesses. Mental illnesses affect nearly one-in-five adults in the United States, according to the report, and among them, smoking prevalence is especially high among those in younger age groups, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, those living in poverty and those with lower levels of education. Differences were also found between states, with ranging from 18.2% of mentally ill adults in Utah to 48.7% of those in West Virginia.

"Smokers with mental illness, like other smokers, want to quit and can quit," CDC director Tom Frieden said. "Stop-smoking treatments work, and it’s important to make them available to all people who want to quit."

The study, which combined data from the CDC and SAMHSA, found that smokers with mental illnesses smoked an average of 331 cigarettes per month, compared with 310 among those without mental illnesses.

"Special efforts are needed to raise awareness about the burden of smoking among people with mental illness and to monitor progress in addressing this disparity," SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde said.

SAMHSA and the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center have developed a portfolio of activities designed to promote tobacco cessation efforts in behavioral health care, including the 100 Pioneers for Smoking Cessation Campaign, which provides support for mental health centers and organizations in their smoking-cessation efforts.


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