HEALTH

Study finds vitamin D deficiency could increase chance of muscle injury in athletes

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO — Vitamin D deficiency may increase the chance of muscle injuries in elite athletes, specifically NFL football players, suggested a recent study presented last week at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s annual meeting.

“Eighty percent of the football team we studied had vitamin D insufficiency. African-American players and players who suffered muscle injuries had significantly lower levels,” stated Michael Shindle, lead researcher and member of Summit Medical Group. 

Researchers identified 89 football players from a single NFL team and provided laboratory testing of vitamin D levels in spring 2010 as part of routine preseason evaluations. The mean age of the players was 25. The team provided data to determine the number of players who had lost time due to muscle injuries. Vitamin D levels then were classified based on player race and time lost due to muscle injury. 

Twenty-seven players had deficient levels, and an additional 45 had levels consistent with insufficiency. Seventeen players had values within normal limits. The mean vitamin D level in white players was 30.3 ng/mL, while the mean level for black players was 20.4 ng/mL. Sixteen players suffered a muscle injury with a mean vitamin D level of 19.9. 

“Screening and treatment of vitamin D insufficiency in professional athletes may be a simple way to help prevent injuries,” stated Scott Rodeo, co-chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

“Further research also needs to be conducted in order to determine if increasing vitamin D leads to improved maximum muscle function,” added Joseph Lane, director of the Metabolic Bone Disease Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

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Schiff Nutrition names SVP general counsel, corporate secretary

BY Michael Johnsen

SALT LAKE CITY — Schiff Nutrition on Thursday announced that Scott Milsten had assumed the role of SVP general counsel and corporate secretary effective July 12. 

“Schiff has entered a new phase focusing on growth,” Milsten stated. “I am excited to join the management team as we enhance our position as a world-class nutritional supplements company.” 

Milsten, 41, brings to Schiff six years of legal experience at healthcare companies and nine years of additional law firm experience. Most recently, he was SVP general counsel and corporate secretary at Celera, where he was responsible for the overall leadership of the legal function and played a key role in the management team that sold the company to Quest Diagnostics.

Milsten holds a juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and bachelor’s of arts in English from Duke University. 

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Report: OTC recalls mean new opportunities for smaller market players

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Product recalls over the past two years have eroded consumer trust in over-the-counter drugs; however, those same recalls represent opportunity for smaller market players to gain exposure and build brand awareness, wrote Laura Mahecha, industry manager for health care at research firm Kline, in an online report issued Wednesday. In addition, private-label brands and “natural OTCs” are enjoying strong growth. 

“The U.S. market for nonprescription drugs will see a dip in sales in 2011, primarily due to the absence of Johnson & Johnson’s brands from the market,” Mahecha noted. With their reintroduction in 2012, however, the market will return on a growth track, expecting to reach an average annual growth rate of 3% through 2015.” 

Johnson & Johnson realized a 20% drop in sales due to those recalls, Mahecha reported, and Novartis benefited the most with a 40% boost in sales in part due to the launch of the proton-pump inhibitor Prevacid 24HR and sales gains across its Excedrin brand. 

“The ability of some brands to take advantage of the new openings in the market and post high growth rates has helped offset the market leader’s declines, keeping the market at a constant level,” she wrote. “A significant boost to the market also came from the success of some new switch brands, which have seen rapid growth in the market.”

Private-label manufacturers have benefited from both the recalls and a still-challenged economy. From 2009 to 2010, while the overall market posted flat performance with 0.3% growth, private-label OTCs grew by 9.4%.

Natural OTCs, including homeopathic remedies, represent a safer treatment alternative for many consumers concerned over the recalls. “The natural trend, which has been dominating the U.S. personal care industry, has also set roots in the pharmaceutical market as customers gravitate toward natural products across the board,” Mahecha reported. 

As many as 47% of U.S. customers believe natural OTCs are as effective as traditional OTCs, according to a recent survey carried out by Kline. “Exposure alone [because of the recalls] is not what is driving consumer interest,” Mahecha indicated. “One of the other crucial findings that comes from customer surveys is that, to a certain extent, natural OTCs do not face direct competition from traditional OTCs.”

Kline will be examining trends across switch opportunities and natural OTCs in two upcoming reports: Global Rx-to-OTC Switch 2012: Forecasts and Opportunities and Natural OTCs 2011: Impact of Non-drug Products on the U.S. OTC Market

To see Mahecha’s article online, click here

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