HEALTH

Meal replacement bars

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Here’s the latest in meal replacement bars — a bar that not only replaces a meal, but makes you less hungry for the next one.

The product, developed by a bariatric surgeon, first made its road show last year with ECRM and is featured here on a Walgreens endcap just opposite pharmacy.

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TBGH report: Prevalence of diabetes in Texas higher than national average

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS The Texas Business Group on Health, a nonprofit business association, on Thursday announced that not only are diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes growing in the Lone Star State, but also treatment costs associated with Type 2 diabetes are higher for Texans as compared with the rest of the country.

TBGH and its healthcare members use the annual information for the Dallas and Fort Worth/Arlington areas to help mold their community-wide diabetes care improvement initiative, called the Partnership for Peak Healthcare Performance, as well as to help validate its physician performance ratings in the metroplex.

When it comes to the use of evidence-based medical care for Type 2 diabetes patients, such as A1c tests, cholesterol tests and eye exams, Texas continues to rank lower than the national averages, the TBGH report noted. Only Austin exceeded the national average, with 78.9% of Type 2 diabetes patients receiving an A1c test in 2008, compared with 73.8% nationally. San Antonio had the lowest rate of A1c testing, with only 62.7% of Type 2 diabetes patients receiving this test, which is considerably lower than the year before when 67.7% were tested.

In 2008, the number of patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes rose sharply across Texas. The highest increase in prevalence was in El Paso, where 74% more individuals were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2008 than the year before. Other communities that also had relatively large increases in prevalence include Houston: 41%; Austin: 34%; and Dallas: 31%.

The cost of treating commercially insured Type 2 diabetes patients in Texas hospitals in 2008, regardless of setting (inpatient, outpatient, emergency room), exceeded the national averages. In fact, inpatient charges were 20% higher than the national average of $52,730, and an 11% increase over Texas hospitals’ 2007 inpatient charges of $56,765 per Type 2 diabetes patient. Houston had the highest hospital inpatient charges for Type 2 diabetes patients at $62,816 per patient, which is a 13% increase over the year before. The lowest cost market was Ft. Worth/Arlington where Type 2 diabetes inpatient charges were $52,243, which is a surprising 10% drop from the year before (2007).

Among the six Texas markets profiled, physician charges for office or clinic-based Type 2 diabetes care was highest in Dallas, at $6,992 per patient, nearly double the Texas average of $3,871 and twice the national average of $3,399.

Patient compliance (taking prescribed medications) and persistence (total length of time on therapy) in filling their insulin and anti-diabetes prescriptions in 2008 declined consistently month over month across all of the Texas markets profiled in this report. Type 2 diabetes patients in Fort Worth were least likely to continue filling their insulin prescriptions over the 12 month period. In El Paso, persistence was the lowest in (56%) for non-insulin anti-diabetic medications at Month 12, compared with San Antonio where persistence was highest at Month 12 (65%) among the markets profiled.

The complete report is available in electronic format on the TBGH website (tbgh.org/) and may be downloaded free of charge. The report was produced with assistance from Sanofi-Aventis U.S.

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NAD: Align advertising claims are supported

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Monday determined that Proctor & Gamble can support certain advertising claims for the company’s Align probiotic, including a doctor-recommended claim.

NAD determined that the body of research presented by the advertiser as evidence was sufficient to support the general claim that “Align helps restore your natural balance, building and maintaining a stronger, healthier digestive system.” However, NAD noted that P&G took appropriate action in voluntarily discontinuing certain “clinically proven” claims.

Claims at issue included:

  •  “Align helps restore your natural balance, building and maintaining a stronger, healthier digestive system.”;
  • “Align is the No. 1 Gastroenterologist-Recommended probiotic supplement that helps you build and maintain a stronger, healthier digestive system.”;
  • “Only Align contains Bifantis, which gives you a probiotic supplement that is clinically proven against five signs of digestive imbalance, providing ongoing protection against episodic constipation, diarrhea, urgency, gas and bloating.”; and
  • “Align with Bifantis is the only probiotic clinically proven to naturally protect against episodes of constipation, diarrhea, urgency, gas and bloating.”

Upon receipt of NAD’s inquiry, P&G said that it planned to discontinue the “clinically proven” claims in all U.S. media, while it conducts further research on Align. P&G, in its advertiser’s statement, said that as a “strong supporter of the NAD, P&G will honor its commitments to NAD and will as always take the NAD’s decision into account in future advertising.”

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