HEALTH

Survey: Latinos see diabetes as biggest health concern for their families

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON — A new NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health poll released Tuesday found that Latinos in America see diabetes as the biggest health problem for their own families.

Nearly 1-in-5 (19%) Latinos said diabetes is the biggest health problem facing their families. The next most cited problem, cancer, is mentioned by just 1-in-20 Latinos (5%). Diabetes was the biggest health problem reported by both immigrant (16%) and non-immigrant Latinos (22%).

"These findings are surprising," stated Robert Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. "Previous polls have shown that Latinos see cancer as the most important health problem facing the country. But when asked about their own families, Latinos cite diabetes as the biggest problem."

Researchers have long cited diabetes as a threat for the nation’s Latino population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hispanic adults are 1.7 times more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician, and 1.5 times more likely to die from diabetes.

Prior studies have shown that obesity rates among immigrants increase as their duration of residence in the U.S. increases, and suggest that this may be attributable in part to changes in lifestyle, including unhealthy diet. However, the poll suggests that Latino immigrants generally do not perceive their diets as less healthy in the U.S. About 4-in-10 (38%) immigrants said their diet is healthier in the United States, and about the same number (39%) sees their diet about as healthy. Only 1-in-5 (21%) see their diet as less healthy. 

Cuban immigrants are significantly more likely to see their diet as more healthy in the U.S. (60%) than are immigrants of Dominican (37%), Mexican (36%) or South American (21%) heritage.

Among Latinos who have received medical care during the past twelve months, about one in five (19%) rate the health services they received as fair or poor. Among Latino groups, those reporting care was fair or poor range from 24% among Latinos of Mexican heritage to 7% among those of Cuban ancestry.

Over half of all Latinos (52%) are not confident that they would have enough money or health insurance to pay for a major illness.

 

 

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FDA launches advisory committee membership nomination portal

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday launched the advisory committee membership nomination portal, an online, interactive system that allows interested individuals to submit nominations for membership to any of the agency’s 33 advisory committees.  

The portal will enable nominees to submit their application for membership on an advisory committee from the FDA’s website, creating a paperless, streamlined process that will enable the agency to accept, evaluate and ultimately nominate qualified individuals for membership in a timely fashion. 

“The portal allows applicants to complete their entire application online,” Jill Hartzler Warner, acting associate commissioner of the FDA’s Office of Special Medical Programs, said. “Applicants will experience an interactive, step-by-step process that eliminates confusion and accelerates the timeframe for submitting and processing an application.”

The system will securely store all applicant information and enable the FDA to develop metrics for assessing the entire applicant pool to identify qualified candidates to fill specific vacancies on advisory committees. Currently, applications must either be emailed or mailed to the agency.

Nominations for scientific members and consumer and industry representatives may be submitted by professional societies, industry and consumer groups, and other interested persons and organizations. Potential candidates are asked to provide detailed information concerning such matters as financial holdings, employment and research grants and/or contracts in order to permit evaluation of possible sources of conflict of interest. 

Advisory committees provide the FDA with independent, expert advice on a range of complex scientific, technical and policy issues.

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J&J’s return to market of several iconic OTC brands a success

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — McNeil Consumer Healthcare has returned approximately 75% of its OTC portfolio to store shelves, Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson chairman and CEO told analysts Tuesday. "Growth in the consumer segment was achieved in part as a result of our success in restoring a reliable supply of OTC products to the United States marketplace, and we’re starting to see them gain traction as well, once they’re back in the market," he said. Gorsky outlined a number of brands that have grown J&J’s U.S. OTC business by 21.6%, including Neutrogena, Listerine, Tylenol and Motrin. 

"And we’re going to continue backing these brands with strong scientifically based and endorsed claims to differentiate them in the marketplace," he added. "We’re also investing in things like cross channel marketing across TV, print, social media, to really support their launch and do it in a benchmark way."

Customers have not held J&J’s production woes of several years ago against the company as it brings each brand back to market in a big way, Gorsky suggested. "We still have a substantial volume that we would have to make up to get back to the earlier volumes that we saw, but every time we introduce the product to the market, Extra Strength Tylenol, if you look at Children’s Tylenol, Children’s Motrin, pediatric, we’re seeing customers respond," he said. "The other factor is, though, we’re very pleased with the partnership that’s been taking place with our major trade partners. So all the major outlets have been enthusiastic about working with us to get these brands back on the shelves."

 

 

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