HEALTH

CRN and NPA: Faulty vitamin D meta-analysis only looks at half of the supplement equation

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Two associations representing the dietary supplement industry issued separate statements in response to what they characterized as a faulty meta-analysis, “Effects of Vitamin D Supplements on Bone Mineral Density: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” published last week in The Lancet.

"Most healthy adults do not need vitamin D supplements," concluded study leader Ian Reid from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. "Our data suggest that the targeting of low-dose vitamin D supplements only to individuals who are likely to be deficient could free-up substantial resources that could be better used elsewhere in health care."

Reid and colleagues from the University of Auckland conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of all randomized trials examining the effects of vitamin D supplementation on bone mineral density in healthy adults up to July 2012.

"This systematic review provides very little evidence of an overall benefit of vitamin D supplementation on bone density," Reid wrote. "Continuing widespread use of vitamin D for osteoporosis prevention in community-dwelling adults without specific risk factors for vitamin D deficiency seems to be inappropriate."

But Reid and fellow researchers may have only looked at half of the supplement equation, the associations noted. “The scientific literature supports that vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption and bone density, and therefore the two nutrients work in combination to provide a protective effect for helping to prevent osteoporosis," stated Duffy MacKay, VP scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition. "One of the serious limitations of this meta-analysis was the lack of consideration of studies that looked at how vitamin D and calcium work together. For populations that are most vulnerable to vitamin D deficiencies and insufficiencies — especially older adults — getting vitamin D from food alone is particularly challenging, and so supplementation may be warranted."

"The beneficial effect of vitamin D and calcium is due to the fact they work in tandem, and examining the outcomes of just vitamin D caused the researchers to start with a weak premise," added Cara Welch, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs for the Natural Products Association. "In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has an approved health claim for vitamin D and calcium regarding osteoporosis."

 

 

 

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Matrixx Initiatives identifies new VP marketing for Zicam Cold Remedy brand

BY Michael Johnsen

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Matrixx Initiatives recently named Lori Norian VP marketing for the Zicam Cold Remedy brand. 

Norian previously worked at Unilever and has worked on popular products including Hellman’s, Ragu, Bertolli and Altoids. Norian said she believes her experience translates well to the cold remedy brand, which is targeted primarily to women.

“Knowing how to tap into consumers’ needs and develop resonant messaging and communications strategies is the key to driving further growth for Zicam,” Norian said. 

Norian said the company’s small size and single-brand focus appealed to her as her opportunity to truly run a business. The new VP joins an all-female sales team, headed by CEO M’Lou Arnett. 

“I knew Lori had one of the best minds in the industry, and I had heard of what she had done over the years with other brands,” Arnett said. “She has unparalleled knack for planning and developing a campaign, and we’re very fortunate to call her one of our own here at Zicam.”

Norian is currently developing activations for the upcoming cold season starting this November, spanning TV, print and digital media; social media activations; consumer experiential and sampling; and in-store campaigns.

“I’m getting settled in fast, but then again, I have to — the Cold Monster is coming,” Norian said, referring to the character in the Zicam advertising campaign.

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Mark McClellan joins J&J board

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson on Monday announced that Mark McClellan, senior fellow in economic studies and director of the Initiative on Value and Innovation in Health Care at the Brookings Institution, will join the company’s board of directors on Oct. 15. McClellan will serve on the regulatory, compliance and government affairs committee, as well as the science, technology and sustainability committee.

As former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration from 2002 to 2004, and as the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for the Department of Health and Human Services from 2004 to 2006, McClellan has more than two decades of public service and academic research experience. From 2001 to 2002, he served as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and senior director for healthcare policy at the White House. During President Bill Clinton’s administration, McClellan held the position of deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy.

"McClellan has a distinguished record in the public sector, as well as a deep understanding and vision for the future of health care," noted Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson. "Mark shares our aspiration to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives and personally is committed to improving health care across the globe. He will be a valued leader on our board."

While at FDA, McClellan implemented the Critical Path Initiative, regulatory reforms to modernize pharmaceutical manufacturing and new initiatives on food safety and security. He has also led the development of performance-based healthcare payment reforms, insurance coverage reforms and a range of public-private initiatives to help improve care and lower costs. 

McClellan previously served as an associate professor of economics and medicine with tenure at Stanford University, where he also directed the Program on Health Outcomes Research. Among other well-known health organizations in which he holds positions, he is the chair of the Clinician Measure Applications Partnership for the National Quality Forum. McClellan has received the Kenneth J. Arrow Award twice for Outstanding Research in Health Economics.

A 1985 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, McClellan earned his M.D. degree at the Harvard University–Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Science and Technology, and his MPA at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He earned his PhD in Economics at MIT and completed his residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

 

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