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Study: Use of milliliters as a dosage measurement unit cuts down on pediatric dosing errors

BY Michael Johnsen

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. — According to a recent study published in Pediatrics, use of milliliters as a dosage measurement unit, as opposed to teaspoons and tablespoons, cut down significantly on medication dosing errors when parents administered medicines to their children. 
 
With the use of teaspoons and tablespoons, medication errors were common. As many as 39.4% of parents made an error in measurement of the intended dose; 41.1% made an error in the prescribed dose. Furthermore, 16.7% used a nonstandard instrument. 
 
Compared with parents who used milliliter-only, parents who used teaspoon or tablespoon units had twice the odds of making an error with the intended and prescribed dose.
 
“This study underscores the importance of standardizing dosing instructions, which [the Consumer Healthcare Products Association] has long supported as a way of helping parents to appropriately treat their children’s symptoms with over-the-counter medicines," the association stated in response to the study. “The makers of OTC medicines fully support using mL as the standard unit of measurement on all liquid OTC medicines. In 2009, CHPA expressed this industry commitment by adopting voluntary guidelines that specify mL as the preferred unit of measure. Alternatively, a mL unit can be used together with a ‘teaspoonful’, but manufacturers should avoid use of a ‘teaspoonful’ unit alone. The study affirms that consumers do understand instructions with milliliters."
 

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Report: Walgreens readying a flagship opening in Hawaii

BY Michael Johnsen

HONOLULU, Hawaii — Walgreens is set to open its latest flagship store in February, replacing what had been its first store in Hawaii when Walgreens entered the state seven years ago, according to a report in the Honolulu Star Advertiser published Thursday
 
According to the report, the store will have two floors and a three-level parking garage that one day could be topped by a 20-story tower.
 
The new store will be about 20,000 square feet and will feature an interior of the store replete with an Hawaii theme, "boasting slanted walls representing mountains and clouds on the ceiling. There also will be representations of waves," the report noted.
 

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GMDC videocast: There is a lot of potential within Rx-to-OTC switch if done right

BY Michael Johnsen

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — About 30% of top-performing OTC drugs today were once prescription-only medications noted Dave Wendland, VP Hamacher Resource Group, on Thursday during a videocast hosted by GMDC titled "Rx-to-OTC: Getting it Right at Retail."
 
"From a numbers standpoint, Rx-to-OTC switch represents 13% of total OTC sales," he said. Looking forward, there is a potential $36 billion book of business to be had out of future switches. 
 
There are a number of external factors that are helping to drive switch considerations, Wendland noted, including a growing and aging population and an increased focus on consumer empowerment and education. "If consumers are able to self-diagnose, self-treat and self-manage, then the [Food and Drug Administration] looks favorably on that switch," Wendland said. According to a study conducted by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, 73% of Americans would rather treat themselves at home than see a doctor.
 
Wendland noted that the FDA is open to more complex switch paradigms, provided the risk-benefit ratio continues to skew toward less risk and greater benefit. A few years ago the FDA formed the NSURE panel (Non-prescription Safe Use Regulatory Expansion) to explore the benefit of using pharmacists as a resource in the switch of a medicine, to potentially implement such technology as healthcare kiosks in the switch of a medicine, and to realize the benefits of switching more medicines for chronic conditions.
 
There are a number of examples of the benefits switched products have brought to the overall healthcare paradigm. Take nicotine replacement therapies, for example. There was a 150% to 200% increase in their purchase and use in the first year of switch, Wendland said. "That has resulted in a $2 billion social benefit every year," he said. Another example is heartburn medicines; consumers save on average $174 per year in saved prescription costs and doctor visits, Wendland noted, citing CHPA statistics. 
 
For retailers, there are three primary benefits of an Rx-to-OTC switch. First, the switch peaks consumer interest and brings them into the store. Second, there are collaborative advertising opportunities with manufacturers on promoting the switched products. And third, that increased foot traffic equates into potential add-on sales. As much as 50% of first-year volume of most switch products is sourced from the parent Rx product, Wendland noted. That means the other 50% are potential new patients to the category. 
 
"Execution, however, is key," Wendland said. There are the "four P's" that every switch manufacturer should consider: make sure they have the product available, priced right, placed on shelf properly and with a solid promotion campaign to support the switch.
 
"The most successful OTC switches achieve 60% or higher distribution within eight weeks of product launch," Wendland said. 
 
 
 

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