HEALTH

Better Nutrition names Natrol Carb No. 1 supplement for weight loss

BY Michael Johnsen

CHATSWORTH, Calif. Better Nutrition magazine on Monday named Natrol Carb Intercept as the metabolism and weight loss category winner in the publication’s first annual Best Of Supplements awards.

“Our goal is to give health food store shoppers recommendations of high-quality, effective products in a range of categories,” stated Nicole Brechka, Better Nutrition’s editor-in-chief. “Shopping for supplements isn’t always easy; in fact, it’s often an overwhelming experience. Our Best of Supplements Awards will help shoppers feel confident about their purchases, as well as expose them to new products.”

The magazine conducted extensive interviews with a panel of experts, including naturopaths, medical doctors and supplement industry specialists. These experts also completed a comprehensive supplement survey and provided feedback on various supplements.

Better Nutrition, available in print and online at www.BetterNutrition.com, is an independent health food store magazine.

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Sharper Image signs with HoMedics to build product portfolio

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK One-time specialty retailer The Sharper Image on Monday announced the signing of a $540 million, five-year licensing agreement with HoMedics, a manufacturer of personal health, wellness and relaxation products that will place the Sharper Image brand across a broad range of product categories.

“The Sharper Image is an iconic brand with tremendous positive consumer awareness, and we’re extremely excited about how HoMedics can further boost our leadership in personal health, wellness and relaxation products while remaining true to The Sharper Image brand legacy,” stated Ron Ferber, president of HoMedics. “The agreement will allow us to enter into new categories that will complement our core business and will allow HoMedics to introduce new product innovations with a wider range of price points.”

“We are pleased that the strength of The Sharper Image brand has attracted a licensee of HoMedics’ caliber,” stated Federico de Bellegarde, vice president of licensing at The Sharper Image. “HoMedics is a terrific fit for The Sharper Image brand due to their extensive product development capabilities coupled with their significant relationships in the retail community. HoMedics understands The Sharper Image brand DNA and, with their newly developed products, shall set the standard for our brand objectives.”

HoMedics has been selected as a primary strategic licensee for The Sharper Image brand as it transforms its business model from a retailer to a global lifestyle brand licensor, Shaper Image stated. Under this agreement, HoMedics will offer uniquely featured products in categories including home environment, electronics, men’s personal care, men’s gifts and health and wellness.

In May of this year, a group of private investors purchased The Sharper Image brand and intellectual property and have developed a global licensing strategy for wholesale, e-commerce, catalog and direct-to-retail businesses. This approach will allow The Sharper Image brand to exist outside the confines of its historic core channels and on the shelves of retailers.

HoMedics will introduce their first collection of Sharper Image licensed products at both the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2009 and the International Housewares Show in Chicago in March 2009.

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Second Congress official pens letter to FDA; recall could cost industry millions

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., on Friday released a letter questioning how the Food and Drug Administration would oversee a voluntary kids cough-cold products label change that industry initiated last week. According to the letter, DeLauro is asking for a more immediate label conversion than allowing for products carrying old labeling to be sold through. If retailers and manufacturers are pressured to recall products carrying older labels, the costs associated with removing those products out of the supply chain could run into the tens of millions across the industry, one supplier of those cough-cold products suggested.

“Earlier this week, at the urging of the FDA, drug manufacturers announced that they will not market over-the-counter cough and cold medicine to children under the age of four-year and they will be relabeled to reflect that,” the letter stated.

“With the cough and cold season upon us, it is absolutely critical that these labels be changed expeditiously to avoid confusion and protect the health of children,” she said. “I am concerned that, if this transition takes that long [the 2008-2009 cough and cold season], the label change will have no practical effect for another year. … Although this label change is voluntary, and the result of discussions with the FDA, it is imperative that the agency do everything in its power to ensure that the medicine with the old labels are removed from store shelves quickly and replaced with the new labels. The FDA needs to act immediately so that the transition to the new label does not take longer than the upcoming cough and cold season.”

Given the urgency of the situation, DeLauro also pressed the agency for additional information on how it intends to pursue this label change, asking for responses to the following questions by Oct. 21, 2008:

• How does the FDA plan to oversee the label change?

• What resources, including funds and personnel, will be devoted to overseeing the label changing process?

• Has the FDA developed a timetable for the transition to ensure that the label changes are made before the start of the cough and cold season?

• Is FDA aware of an industry timetable for the transition to the new labels? If so, what is it?

• Given that the CHPA announcement was partly due to negotiations with the FDA, how does the agency intend to enforce the label change?

According to published reports, the voluntary announcement to switch cough-cold labeling that recommends parents not use cough-cold medicines in children under the age of four was borne out of a negotiations between the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and FDA held earlier this year.

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