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American Dietetic Association survey: Healthcare system should focus on nutrition

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The simple fact is — there are more fat people in this country than there are skinny people. Some 66% of Americans field a body-mass index above 25, according to the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. And as part of that figure, there are more than 72 million Americans who are clinically obese, with BMIs over 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Consider the number of chronic disease states around which carrying excess weight on the body is a contributing factor — heart disease, diabetes and osteoarthritis, among others — and you can just imagine the accountants over at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services trying to figure out how to squeeze those ever-fattening healthcare costs into future budgets.

 

 

“Policies that keep people healthy and prevent disease must be central to our efforts,” stressed ADA president Jessie Pavlinac. “It is exciting that Congress and the White House are both discussing true changes to the way the U.S. delivers health care. In particular, it is clear that prevention will take on a large role.”

 

A healthcare system that stresses the promotion of health and wellness so that disease-state management would be less necessary actually spells opportunity for retail pharmacy. Future Medicare beneficiaries may not need as  many pharmaceuticals going forward, but they would have a greater need for reliable healthcare information that could be provided by one of two trusted healthcare professionals already in that retail setting —  the community pharmacist and the convenience-care clinician.

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Zicam maker responds to FDA warning letter

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK With the agency’s latest warning letter, one thing is becoming clear: There’s a new sheriff in town. And this sheriff isn’t packing a pea-shooter.

 

Within eight weeks, the Food and Drug Administration has issued two warning letters to two companies initiating two voluntary product recalls in the over-the-counter self-care arena.Critics have been clamoring for a more aggressive and decisive FDA for some time, pointing to public-safety snafus like the contaminated heparin that leaked into the U.S. market, or the recent pervasive peanut recall prompted by salmonella contamination.

 

But swinging to such an extreme, heavy-handed approach may have its own adverse events.

For starters, there is potential collateral damage to industries on the whole. The publicized warning letters that resulted in the recall of a number of Hydroxycut products and a pair of Zicam SKUs has called into question the regulation and safety of the dietary supplement and the homeopathy industries, respectively. An Associated Press report published Thursday was critical of both industries. And debating whether or not that writer was entirely accurate in his depiction of the industry is of no consequence. The fact is the AP reaches more than 7,500 consumer media outlets between paper, radio and television. And who doesn’t believe what they read?

Then there is the actual question as to how heavy is heavy-handed? The Hydroxycut recall was based on 23 adverse event reports; Zicam a little more than 130. Even considering that those events are typically under-reported, they are nowhere near the 13,000-plus adverse events associated with Metabolife’s ephedra supplements that prompted the agency several years back to issue an out and out sales ban on that ingredient. Factor in the number of doses consumed by millions over the years for each of the ingredients, and the corresponding adverse events may seem less dramatic, and certainly less than what’s accepted across other product categories.

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Wegmans set to open store in Va.

BY Michael Johnsen

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. Wegmans announced earlier this week that it will open the doors to its new 138,655-sq.-ft. Fredericksburg, Va., location this Sunday.

The Fredericksburg store, which employs 500, will be open seven days a week from 6 a.m. until midnight. The store’s pharmacy also will be available to customers every day of the week, operating from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays.

The store’s Market Cafe offers restaurant-quality foods prepared by executive chef Douglas Jarman and his staff. Everything from specialty coffee drinks to hot panini sandwiches, burritos, an Asian-inspired Wokery Bar, freshly made sushi, pizza and subs is available in the cafe. Customers can choose to take out or dine in at the mezzanine-level cafe, with indoor and outdoor seating for 500. There’s also a Food Bar that seats 19, where chefs prepare fresh seafood and meat dishes made to order.

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