HEALTH

TechWorld Medicals product best in show at ECRM Cough & Cold and Allergy conference

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS TechWorld Medicals was awarded “Best New Product” Wednesday evening at the ECRM Cough & Cold and Allergy conference held here for its NasalCare nasal rinse starter kit.

NasalCare is a nasal-sinus irrigation system with a patented anti-backflow technology that’s been granted 510(k) approval by the Food and Drug Administration. According to the company, the anti-backflow technology helps prevent contamination and is easier to clean after use. A protective cap prevents bacteria and debris from entering the NasalCare reservoir when not in use.

As opposed to some more traditional nasal irrigation systems, NasalCare also features a positive pressure flow so that patients don’t have to tip their heads when using, noted Lilly Zhang, president of TechWorld Medicals.

The patented nasal rinse mix included with the product contains sea salts, aloe vera and citric acid/sodium citrate as a pH balancer.

Suggested retail price is $14.99 for both the adult size and pediatric version.

Sponsored by Drug Store News, the “Best New Product” honor is selected by retail buyers in attendance.

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CRN: No safety issues with fish oil

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON In response to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in California, which claimed that fish oil supplements allegedly are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyl, an organization representing the manufacturers and ingredient suppliers of such products said the claims are false.

The Council of Responsible Nutrition issued a statement late Tuesday refuting claims submitted in a lawsuit that names eight makers and sellers of fish oil, shark oil, fish liver oil and shark liver oil supplements that have PCB contamination above the safe harbor limits set for human PCB consumption under California’s Proposition 65 — a law requires consumers to be warned about such exposures. Andrew Shao, CRN SVP scientific and regulatory affairs, pointed out that the Food and Drug Administration has established a PCB tolerance level and that the lawyers in this case are “attempting to frame this as a public health concern, when in reality, fish oil has enjoyed decades of safe use.”

“PCBs are ubiquitous within the environment, which means that all fish — whether fish found in oceans and rivers or fish oil supplements — contain at least trace amounts of PCBs,” Shao said. “The FDA has established a tolerance level for PCBs in fish, which is 2.0 parts per million (ppm, also expressed as mg/kg) or 2,000 parts per billion; in comparison, the Prop 65 daily limit for PCBs for a cancer warning is 90 ng/day, which is significantly lower than what FDA deems safe.”

In line with this response, Pharmavite, maker of Nature Made products and one of the manufacturers listed in the lawsuit, said it believes the group performed a single test on one omega-3 fatty acid sample to develop their conclusions.

“Pharmavite believes that the findings presented by the fishoilsafety.com consumer group today are anomalous or in error,” the company said in a release. “The magnitude of the science supporting the benefits of consumption of fish oil far outweighs the results of this extremely limited investigation.”

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New survey finds teens lack negative perceptions about many drugs

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON While there was no significant increase in the abuse of over-the-counter cough medicines containing dextromethorphan, the 21st annual Partnership/MetLife Foundation Attitude Tracking Survey released Tuesday found an overall waning in teens’ negative perceptions about many drugs along with increases in abuse rates for alcohol, ecstasy and marijuana, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association released in a statement.

The new survey data points to the need for continued efforts to combat substance abuse among teens, the association stated. Teens in the study expressed a significant increase in the perception of these party drugs and alcohol as beneficial and acceptable.

“This survey underscores the need for continued efforts to ensure teens and parents understand the risks and consequences of drug abuse,” stated Linda Suydam, CHPA president. “We are working around the clock to ensure that parents are aware of the dangers of abusing OTC cough medicine to get high. And while we are encouraged that teen abuse rates for OTC cough medicines are not increasing, it is disheartening to see the growing belief among teens in the benefits and acceptability of drug and alcohol use.”

Lifetime abuse rates among teens for OTC cough medicines have remained relatively flat over the past few years: 12% of teens report having abused an OTC cough medicine to get high at least once in their lives. CHPA has been engaged in a long-term, comprehensive initiative to end this type of abuse with partners including the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and D.A.R.E. America. These educational efforts can be found at StopMedicineAbuse.org.

“Parents have so much power to help keep their teens drug-free,” Suydam said. “Research shows that teens who learn a lot about drugs from their parents are half as likely to abuse drugs.”  To help parents recognize the potential for cough medicine abuse among teens, makers of OTC cough medicines containing dextromethorphan have placed an educational icon on the medicine packaging, directing parents to the StopMedicineAbuse.org Web site for more information. 

The Web site also provides easy access to downloadable materials for community leaders; free pamphlets for parents in both English and Spanish; resources for additional information on talking to teens about substance abuse issues; the initiatives recently launched Twitter and Facebook fan pages; and the award-winning Five Moms Campaign, and much more. “Our member companies are steadfast in their commitment to prevent teen cough medicine abuse.” Suydam continued:  “But, we know that our work is far from over and this data shows that we need parents’ engagement and involvement more than ever.”

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