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CRN: doctors recommend supplements

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON —More than three-quarters of U.S. physicians (79 percent) and nurses (82 percent) recommend dietary supplements to their patients. That was the major takeaway from a new study released last month by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, “Life…supplemented,” which measured attitudes and behavior related to dietary supplements among healthcare professionals. The study also found that an almost equal number—72 percent of physicians and 89 percent of nurses—personally use vitamin, mineral, herbal and other supplements either regularly, occasionally or seasonally, which is a higher percentage than the 68 percent of adults who report they take nutritional or dietary supplements, the council noted.

“This survey, which is a first for our industry, shows that healthcare professionals believe that dietary supplements are part of a healthy lifestyle,” stated Steve Mister, president and chief executive officer of CRN. “Not only are they taking supplements for their own benefit, but they’re also recommending them to their patients. The approval of our products from reputable, respectable healthcare professionals, such as doctors and nurses, should be encouraging to consumers who already incorporate supplements into their wellness routine, and a wake-up call to those who haven’t yet started to do so.”

Of the 72 percent of physicians who use supplements, 85 percent also recommend them to their patients; and of the 28 percent of physicians who do not use supplements, 3-out-of-5 (62 percent) still recommend them.

“It is common sense that physicians who personally take supplements also recommend them to their patients,” stated Donnica Moore, president of the Sapphire Women’s Health Group and a member of the study’s physician adviser team. “It’s interesting that the majority of physicians who don’t use supplements still recognize their patients may benefit from them. Although the study doesn’t provide an explanation, it may simply be that physicians recommend supplements to their patients for specific conditions that don’t apply to the physician’s own personal health.”

The number of physicians recommending dietary supplements to their patients is highest among obstetrician/gynecologists (91 percent), followed by primary care physicians (84 percent). Primary care physicians, OB/GYNs and nurses recommend supplements as often for “general well-being/prevention” as they do for special conditions, while other specialists recommend supplements more often for special conditions.

Almost three-quarters of physicians (72 percent) and even more nurses (87 percent) reported they personally ask their patients about their use of dietary supplements. Also, 40 percent of physicians and 43 percent of nurses report that when discussing supplements with their patients, they, not their patients, are the ones who bring up the subject most often.

“Our industry needs to continue this type of research,” noted Judy Blatman, vice president of communications at CRN. “It’s important that we use this as benchmark data, continuing to do these types of surveys to see what trends develop in the upcoming years. Healthcare professionals are an important audience for our industry and for our consumers, and we must continue to be proactive in this area.”

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Stick Me Designs adds style to glucose meter bags

BY Michael Johnsen

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. Stick Me Designs, an emerging accessory designer of diabetes glucose carrying cases for women, teens and children, announced the launch of their glucose meter bag collection Friday.

“While the medical supply industry is busy working on adding color, convenience and function to their meters, they’ve forgotten the most important aspect of their portability—the carrying case,” stated Rickina Velte, founder of Stick Me Designs. “We’ve taken on the task of infusing design, style and function that adds personality to an everyday necessity for people with diabetes.”

The new diabetes bags offer choices in color, fabrics, design and functionality.

The first collection features four contemporary designs created for the One Touch Ultra glucose meter and other more traditional larger-style testing meters. The bags have elastic placeholders for lancet devices, testing strips and glucose tabs or candy. They also feature interior open and zippered pockets for such everyday essentials as credit cards, identification, money, sanitizing wipes and an outside zipper pocket for other essentials.

Stick Me Designs’ introductory collection also features hand-selected faux suedes, designer upholsteries and cotton fabrics in retro and contemporary styles and colors.

Suggested retail prices will range from $32.99 to $45.99, the company reported.

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Continucare opens first clinic at Navarro

BY Antoinette Alexander

MIAMI Continucare Corp. has announced the opening of its first ValuClinic in-store health clinic within a Navarro Discount Pharmacy in Hollywood, Fla.

Similar to many other retail-based clinic models, the walk-in clinic will treat acute conditions and will be staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

According to Gabe Navarro, chief executive officer of the Miami-based pharmacy chain, Continucare was on the verge of opening a few locations in the recently acquired Sedano’s stores, so Navarro proceeded with the openings.

In October, it was announced that Navarro Discount Pharmacy would merge its operations with Sedano’s Pharmacy & Discount Store. Sedano’s is a Hispanic drug retail company with 11 pharmacies in the southern Florida market. Combined, the entity has more than 30 stores with annual revenues of more than $350 million. All of the stores are operating under the Navarro banner in the southern Florida market.

According to Navarro, plans call for Continucare to have three ValuClinics open in Navarro stores by the end of the year. It expects to have a total of 15 clinics in operation in 2008.

In late 2006 it was announced that Navarro had partnered with Express Clinics to introduce in-store health clinics to the southern Florida market; however, it is possible that partnership will come to an end.

“It is uncertain whether Express Clinics will continue to operate clinics in our stores,” Navarro told Drug Store News. “[We] should know more in the coming weeks.”

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