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Supplement trade requests NDI comment extension

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Five trade associations representing the dietary supplement industry on Wednesday collectively requested a time extension to provide comments concerning the recent draft guidance on new dietary ingredient notifications that was recently issued by the Food and Drug Administration.

In the July 5 Federal Register notice, the FDA allowed for a 90-day public comment period. The trade associations are requesting an additional 45 days, which would extend the deadline to Nov. 17. "We applaud the FDA for the release of this document and welcome the opportunity to provide comments with respect to the draft guidance," the associations stated in its letter.  "However, members of our respective organizations believe additional time is needed to adequately prepare meaningful feedback for the agency’s consideration."

The five trade associations include the American Herbal Products Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Natural Products Association and the United Natural Products Alliance.
 

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Topco institutes OTC substitution program for generic Rx

BY Michael Johnsen

SKOKIE, Ill. — Topco, a member-owned cooperative serving the food industry, recently kicked off an initiative substituting its TopCare-branded over-the-counter medicines for the equivalent prescription pharmaceutical, where appropriate, in an effort to save patient dollars and promote the TopCare brand.

"We have developed a number of marketing tools to educate the pharmacists, retail employees and other member teams," Curt Maki, Topco VP health and beauty care/general merchandise program management and pharmacy, told Drug Store News. "We also have developed tools directly targeting consumers through various tactics and messaging, and will be working with our member stores to help them inform their customers on the program."

Specifically, where generic versions of recently switched medicines like Prilosec OTC are available without a prescription, participating supermarket pharmacists are able to substitute the equivalent TopCare product, omeprazole in this case, in place of a prescription heartburn remedy like Nexium. Depending on the prescription drug insurance plan, the co-pay for an OTC equivalent could total less than the co-pay associated with a generic prescription, Maki said. In other cases, the actual retail price of the TopCare brand could also be less than the generic prescription co-pay. "This program works very much like a generic prescription substitution," Maki said. "But instead the pharmacist switches the drug with a TopCare OTC product, and it is adjudicated through the pharmacy and health plan, accordingly."

Topco’s health and beauty care program specializes in procuring health, beauty and personal care products under the TopCare brand, which represent $300 million in annual retail sales. Participating grocers include Giant Eagle, Harris Teeter, Hy-Vee, Meijer, Wegmans, Weis and Winn Dixie.
 

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Television fitness trainers to battle it out on the weight-loss shelf

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Are you ready to ruuuuuumble?!

"Biggest Loser" trainer Bob Harper recently placed a diet aid opposite former "Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels on weight-loss shelves in what could become the battle royale of media-savvy weight-loss specialists. These products aren’t merchandised side-by-side, at least not at this CVS in Lebanon, Pa., but neither are Harper and Michaels on the same reality show anymore.

This fall, Harper will be coaching "Biggest Loser" contestants for the show’s 13th season on NBC, while Michaels has signed on as co-host of the syndicated "The Doctors" health advice program for the coming season.

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