HEALTH

CHPA addresses economy, OTC abuse at annual conference

BY Michael Johnsen

NAPLES, Fl. The big issue addressed by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Friday at its 2009 Annual Executive Conference was, without surprise, the economy.

“Much has changed since we met last year in Washington, D.C.,” said Linda Suydam, CHPA president, in her annual state of the association address.

But as challenging as the economy may be, Suydam said that “American consumers are counting on this industry. We are certain that millions of consumers look to us” for continued access to safe, effective and affordable healthcare.

To that end, CHPA has significantly stepped up its consumer education efforts in the past year, from outlining a plan to address the safety and efficacy questions raised around pediatric cough/cold medicines, which is “by far the biggest education initiative ever undertaken by this association,” Suydam said, referring to the abuse of over-the-counter medicines like dextromethorphan.

Incidentally, thanks in part to the association’s outreach to 24 million parents through its Five Moms campaign, the abuse of DXM is in fact down and awareness around the dangers of abusing DXM is up.

Going forward, CHPA plans to make consumer education around the proper use of OTC medicines one of its hallmarks, especially across the association’s consumer education web site.

“We are positioning OTCsafety.org as the preeminent home of OTC information … period,” Suydam said.

The association is also looking to step up its lobbying activity, both on the national and state levels, Suydam added. For example, CHPA is strongly supportive of increased regulatory control over the distribution of raw ingredient dextromethorphan, and plans to support a national age limit on the sale of products containing dextromethorphan.

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Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. elects two to its board of directors

BY Allison Cerra

EVANSVILLE, Ind. Mead Johnson Nutrition Company announced Thursday that its board of directors has elected Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., and Elliott Sigal, M.D., Ph.D., to the board. The company said that these additions increase the size of its board to 11.

“We are pleased to have Dr. Altschuler and Dr. Sigal join our board of directors,” said James Cornelius, Mead Johnson Nutrition board chairman. “We’re looking forward to working with them and benefiting from their insights and experience.”

Dr. Altschuler is president, CEO of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a position he has held since 2000. He joined Children’s Hospital in 1982 as a Fellow in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. Currently, Dr. Altschuler serves on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Miracle Network.

Dr. Sigal is currently EVP, chief scientific officer and president, research and development for Bristol-Myers Squibb. Since joining Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1997, Dr. Sigal has held positions of increasing responsibility in genomics, discovery research and clinical development. He has more than 25 years of combined experience in medicine, research and management.

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Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. receives scientific endorsement from EFSA

BY Michael Johnsen

EVANSVILLE, Ind. Mead Johnson Nutrition Company announced Wednesday that it is the first infant formula manufacturer to receive scientific endorsement for a health claim on infant formula by the European Food Safety Authority.

The EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies recently published their favorable opinion for a health claim on docosahexaenoic acid and the visual development of infants. The NDA agreed that the scientific evidence submitted by Mead Johnson supported the statement that “DHA contributes to the visual development of infants.”

To bear this claim, the NDA panel stated that a formula should contain at least 0.3% of the total fatty acids DHA. The EFSA opinion said, “the panel could not have reached this conclusion without considering the studies claimed by the applicant [Mead Johnson] as proprietary.”

To date, this is the only positive EFSA opinion on a Health Claim for infants under the new 2006 European Commission Regulations, which restricts the use of health claims on foods, including foods for infants and young children, without EFSA endorsement of the scientific evidence and adoption by the European Commission. Only health claims compliant with this new regulation will be allowed in the European Union.

“Mead Johnson is extremely pleased with EFSA’s positive opinion,” stated Dirk Hondmann, SVP global research and development for Mead Johnson. “Their opinion recognizes the value and quality of our long-standing strategy of investing in pediatric nutrition research and development, and it exemplifies our mission to create nutritional brands and products trusted to give infants and children the best start in life.”

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