HEALTH

American Red Cross recognizes Tender for relief efforts

BY Michael Johnsen

Tender, a leading manufacturer of insect repellents and bite treatments, has been formally recognized by the American Red Cross for its support of relief efforts following one of the most destructive hurricanes ever to strike Puerto Rico.

In September 2017, Tender contributed over 15,000 units of Repel Bite, a DEET-based insect repellent, and After Bite, a pharmacist-preferred insect sting and bite treatment, as part of Hurricane Maria relief efforts led by American Red Cross New Hampshire and Vermont Region. The Red Cross then distributed the supplies, valued at nearly $30,000, to affected residents, offering protection from expanded mosquito populations during the cleanup and reconstruction processes.

“Mosquitoes thrive in the wake of hurricanes because of the abundance of standing water, and we knew we had an opportunity to help,” Jason Cartwright, CEO of Tender, said. “We are humbled to receive such an acknowledgement from the Red Cross. Moreover, we’re grateful that Tender Corp.’s contribution made a positive impact on the lives of those affected by this devastating storm.”

In February, Maria Delvin, CEO of American Red Cross New Hampshire and Vermont, and Jessica Blais, American Red Cross regional philanthropy officer, visited Tender Corp.’s headquarters in Littleton, New Hampshire, to present a plaque in recognition of the company’s vital support during hurricane response efforts.

“The local partnership with Tender allowed us to quickly mobilize vital products to an area that was severely devastated by this storm—and for that we are grateful,” says Blais.

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CRN calls on FDA for greater enforcement at the border

BY Michael Johnsen

The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Tuesday commended a recent FDA announcement reporting an increase in scrutiny of potential unsafe, counterfeit or unapproved medicines from entering the country, but called on the agency to follow through with increased enforcement.

“Every year thousands of packages are found to contain FDA-regulated products and a surprising percentage of those products are illegal. These products come in all different shapes and forms – some with sophisticated packaging and others in nondescript plastic bags,” Scott Gottlieb, commissioner FDA, noted in a blog posted last week. “They include unapproved products; counterfeit or substandard drugs; and purported dietary supplements being sold for weight loss, sexual enhancement, bodybuilding or pain relief. Many products promoted as dietary supplements contain potentially dangerous undeclared drug ingredients.”

“We applaud FDA for increasing its efforts to prevent illegal drugs with hidden ingredients from entering the United States. The responsible industry has been adamant about the need for FDA to increase the effectiveness of its regulation of dietary supplements, and we have been fighting for more resources for the agency to achieve this,” Steve Mister, president and CEO CRN, said. “Shifting the paradigm for how the agency screens products at international mail facilities is a positive step, but increased intelligence is only valuable if it is used appropriately.”

Mister wants the increased scrutiny to result in recalls and import alerts so that business partners and recipients of these ingredients here in the U.S. can be on alert to discontinue their affiliations with potentially nefarious sources. “We also urge the agency to make public the identities of the perpetrators and to refer them for enforcement by the Department of Justice. Bad actors deserve public scrutiny and criminal prosecution, and FDA has the authority to take these actions,” Mister said.

Gottlieb reported that, using a new screening device, as many as 65% of packages screened tested positive for the presence of undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients, results that were later confirmed in an FDA laboratory. While the packages were not randomly selected, many were identified beforehand as suspicious packages, that’s still an alarming rate.

CRN also cautioned against taking FDA’s findings out of context and making generalizations about the dietary supplement industry as a whole. The percentage of samples that tested positive for the presence of undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients, while disturbing, is not generalizable to the mainstream dietary supplement market, Mister argued. “The agency was targeting high-risk packages at international mail facilities with additional surveillance; it specifically identified products it suspected of containing illegal ingredients, and unfortunately, in many of those packages, it found them. High-risk international mail packages are not a representative sample of the U.S. marketplace as a whole.”

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Wisconsin becomes 15th state to restrict DXM sales

BY Michael Johnsen

Wisconsin on Wednesday became the 15th state to restrict the sale of cough/cold products containing DXM (dextromethorphan), a cough medicine that has the potential to be abused, especially among teenagers.

Teenagers younger than 18 would need a prescription to purchase a product containing DXM, the new law states.

Authored by Wis. Sen.Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, and Wis. Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill into law Wednesday.

While millions of Americans use products containing DXM to safely treat their cough symptoms, according to the 2017 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) annual Monitoring the Future survey, one in 30 teens abuses OTC cough medicine containing DXM to get high.

“The Consumer Healthcare Products Association thanks Gov. Walker for signing this important bill into law as well as Sen. Stroebel and Rep. Kremer for their leadership and commitment to passing legislation aimed at addressing the issue of teen OTC cough medicine abuse,” Scott Melville, CHPA president and CEO, said.

In 2012, California became the first state to prohibit sales to minors. Since then, governors from Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Nevada, Oregon, and now Wisconsin, have all signed similar laws.

“The two most important tools in combating teen OTC cough medicine abuse are public policy efforts and education,” said Melville. “We are confident that this new law will help raise awareness about the issue with parents, while ensuring access for the millions of families who responsibly use products containing DXM to treat common cough symptoms.”

CHPA has long supported state efforts to limit teen access to DXM and has worked to increase parental and community awareness of OTC cough medicine abuse through its StopMedicineAbuse.org campaign. As part of the campaign, CHPA launched a retailer education initiative in 2017, providing educational materials to retailers in states with age-restriction laws to improve retail employees’ understanding of the new law and how to enforce it.

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