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 teenage vegetarians more likely to develop eating disorders than meat eaters
NEW YORK Teenagers who embrace vegetarianism may be attempting to hide an eating disorder, according to a new study published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Researchers at the University of St. Joseph analyzed survey data from more than 2,500 male and female teenagers and adults aged 15 to 23, finding that while vegetarians tended to have fewer weight problems than people who ate meat, they were more likely to engage in binge eating or bulimia.
The researchers in the study classified 4.3% of participants as current vegetarians, 10.8% as former vegetarians and 84.9% as having never been vegetarians. They found that current vegetarians ate more fruits and vegetables and less fat than those who weren’t vegetarians, while adolescent former vegetarians were more likely than those who weren’t vegetarians to engage in unhealthy forms of weight control, such as bulimia.
According to a study published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics, pregnant women with vegetarian and vegan diets may not get enough vitamin B12, which is more common in meat than in plants, and may increase the risk of birth defects.
FDA approves Phadia’s allergy diagnosis test
PORTAGE, Mich. Phadia on Thursday announced the recent Food and Drug Administration clearance of ImmunoCAP Rapid, the first point-of-care test to assist in the diagnosis of allergy in the practitioner’s office.
“This is another significant step in our mission to make ImmunoCAP testing available to all the clinicians managing patients with allergic disease, including asthma and rhinitis,” stated Michael Land, president of Phadia US. “In an era when the prevalence of allergy and asthma is described by many as ‘an epidemic,’ ImmunoCAP Rapid gives physicians access to additional clinical information that can help them arrive at a definitive diagnosis. They can also inform patients about the presence or absence of allergic disease while they are still in the office.”
The original ImmunoCAP Specific IgE blood test technology measures Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to indoor, outdoor and food allergens in a small sample of blood.
ImmunoCAP was the first allergy test to be cleared by the FDA as a truly quantitative test for identifying allergen sensitization. Reducing exposure to a specific allergen that is the source of sensitization is recognized by the National Institutes of Health as one of the most important steps in the effective management of allergic asthma.
ImmunoCAP Rapid is designed to be used at the point of care. Needing only a small sample of whole blood taken from the fingertip, the single-use, disposable device provides a first look at the IgE profile for patients based on the 10 most common inhaled allergens in the United States.
The results are available in 20 minutes, allowing the practitioner to quickly make evidence-based decisions. In addition, this timeframe allows the practitioner and patient to discuss appropriate treatments, including targeted exposure reduction, while the patient is still in the office.