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Supplement industry fights for awareness

BY Michael Johnsen

The September 2012 issue of Consumer Reports revealed that the dietary supplement industry still has a tough road to hoe in distancing responsible players in the nutritional sector from those purveyors of illegally marketed drugs and other quackery products. 


The report, titled “10 Surprising Dangers of Vitamins & Supplements,” fingers many dangers that actually are no surprise at all, but rather are characterizations that organizations like the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association have been trying to fight for years.


Consumer Reports’ first “surprise” danger was that “supplements are not risk free,” citing the 6,300 serious adverse events associated with supplements that the Food and Drug Administration fielded over the past five years. Not in the Consumer Reports report, however, were the 471,291 SAERs associated with allopathic medicines that the FDA had fielded in just one calendar year within that same timespan.


The supplement industry has been working on raising awareness among healthcare practitioners around appropriate supplement use. CRN on Aug. 23 hosted a webinar on common drug-supplement interactions for pharmacists through Pharmacist Society, and for nurses practitioners through the website Generation NP.


Consumer Reports’ second “surprise” danger was the misnomer that “some supplements are really prescription drugs,” pointing to the number of illicit online sites shilling erectile dysfunction drugs as natural supplements or anabolic steroids as sports nutrition. “If a [company] makes disease-state claims or includes a drug [in their product], then it’s not a supplement,” countered John Shaw, NPA executive director and CEO. “The legitimate supplement industry … wants the criminals selling these illegal drugs out of business.”


Last month, both industry groups announced their support behind the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act, a bill to protect consumers by providing the Drug Enforcement Administration with new enforcement tools to identify and quickly respond when new designer anabolic steroids are created and marketed as dietary supplements.


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Stone cold pain relief

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson Consumer earlier this summer put the freeze on pain with the launch of its Bengay Zero Degrees line extension, an external analgesic rub that makes its home alongside the frozen peas in the freezer. According to the company, it’s the first and only topical pain reliever that can be stored in the freezer. Sales of the Bengay brand were up 6.4% to $8.9 million for the 12 weeks ended July 8 across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart), according to SymphonyIRI Group data.

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Q&A: Shot of energy

BY DSN STAFF

Drug Store News recently sat down with Tom Hadfield, CEO of AeroDesigns, to discuss the company’s new delivery system for energy — the AeroShot Energy— and the brand’s inherent point of differentiation.


Drug Store News: What is AeroShot?

Tom Hadfield: AeroShot Energy is a revolutionary new way to get your energy. It’s an air-based boost of energy, an aerosol delivery of 100 mg of caffeine, about the same as a large cup of coffee, plus a mix of B vitamins. … The core advantage for us is it’s a very quick and highly convenient way to get your energy. It’s a patented system that’s quick to use, but it’s also quick to take effect, so it’s energy right when you need it.

DSN: What is the marketing strategy for year one?

Hadfield: Following strong sales in the Northeast, … AeroShot Energy now will be launching with major national drug store and c-store chains in the fourth quarter. We’ve already captured the attention of major national media [personalities], including Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres. … We’re also making a significant investment in a national marketing campaign that includes print advertising, integrated radio promotions [and] sampling teams at college campuses.

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