OTC sales up 2.4%
A 2.4% growth rate across nonprescription medicines certainly speaks volumes to the value of self-care, especially when you put that growth into a little bit of context — sales of prescription medicines only climbed 1.3% in 2008, according to IMS Health. To be sure, the prescription drug dollar volume may be some 15 times greater than that of OTC, but it certainly supports the conclusions of a February Kaiser Family Foundation survey — that 35% of consumers “relied on home remedies or over-the-counter drugs instead of going to see a doctor.”
Private-label OTC medicines were tracking 8.2% higher as compared with 2007, which speaks to the value of that self-care in a depressed economy. So not only is the out-of-work, healthcare-crunched consumer selecting lower cost nonprescription treatments over the co-pays of their doctor visits and three-tiered prescription drug plans, but they’re also reaching right past the branded option for the cheaper national brand equivalent.
So what does it mean? It means pharmacists need to be aware of this economically-driven trend so that they can a) better advise their patients as to appropriate OTC solutions, and b) help their patients identify less-costly prescriptions, generics for example, when those OTC substitutions may be less than ideal.
And it means now, more than ever, OTC manufacturers need to focus on innovative product introductions, and soon. Because as important as private label penetration is to a retailer, store brands don’t drive top line sales.
Study finds that high protein, fat diet can lead to health problems
ST. LOUIS A new study in the April issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, shows that in some cases, diets that are high in both fat and protein can lead to health problems.
The researchers, led by Christopher Newgard of Duke Medical Center, reported that rats fed high-fat diets supplemented with extra branched chain amino acids don’t have to eat as much or gain as much weight to develop insulin resistance, as do chubbier animals fed a high-fat diet alone. Moreover, those ill effects of branched chain amino acids, which include 3 of the 20 amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins, occurred only in the context of a high-fat diet.
“We’ve all made a big deal out of the fact that people in the United States eat too much fat and sugar, but we’ve underestimated the protein component,” Newgard said.
Surveys have shown that most people who overeat don’t show any particular prejudice toward one food group or another.
By comparing the metabolic profiles of obese versus lean people in the new study, the researchers found that key among the many differences between the two groups were elevated levels of BCAA in those who were overweight. They also showed that BCAA tend to climb along with insulin resistance, a condition that is a precursor to diabetes.
Sensei announces launch of mobile diabetes guide
BOCA RATON, Fl. Sensei on Wednesday announced the launch of its My Diabetes Guide mobile phone application, a program that takes patients step-by-step through the keys to healthy living with diabetes.
“My Diabetes Guide goes beyond blood glucose tracking and nutritional information research,” stated Robert Schwarzberg, Sensei CEO. “It is a comprehensive tool that takes patients, and those involved in their care, one screen at a time through all fundamentals of diabetes management. Physicians, dietitians and diabetes educators from Joslin reviewed the diabetes content, and our tech experts built an application that gives users the best chance to succeed in the evolving person-centric healthcare system.”
All content is downloaded directly to the mobile phone — the iPod touch and iPhone application is now available for download at the App Store in iTunes for just 99 cents. My Diabetes Guide will soon be available on other mobile phones as well, the company reported.
The application was designed by Sensei, a wholly owned subsidiary of Humana, in collaboration with the Joslin Diabetes Center, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
“We at Joslin are exploring every avenue to improve the self-management capabilities of people with diabetes,” stated Martin Abrahamson, medical director of Joslin. “With the proliferation of mobile phones in America, we believe this is an important avenue to reach people with diabetes.”