HEALTH

CRN supports FDA with ban on bulk sale of caffeine to consumers

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Thursday announced an update to its recommended guidelines for caffeine-containing dietary supplements that discourages the marketing and sale of powdered pure caffeine directly to consumers.
 
“Our member companies are taking responsible steps to protect consumers,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO, CRN, "by following the advice of the Food and Drug Administration and asking the industry to support the agency’s consumer advisory that warns of safety concerns for consumers purchasing powdered pure caffeine in bulk. Even though our member companies do not sell this ingredient directly to consumers, as industry leaders we are demonstrating support for FDA’s efforts and urging the entire industry to do the same.”
 
CRN has added a section to its caffeine guidelines specifically calling on its members not to market powdered pure caffeine to consumers. The addition clarifies that it is not intended to limit marketing or selling of powdered pure caffeine in bulk form as a business to business transaction.
 
“Caffeine is one of the most studied and safest ingredients on the market. Powdered pure caffeine itself is a legal and legitimate ingredient for ingredient suppliers to sell to manufacturers who understand how to appropriately measure and formulate it at safe levels to be used as an ingredient in finished dietary supplement products,” Mister said. “But for consumers, there’s no legitimate use for powdered pure caffeine, and given its very high concentrated form, there’s a real potential safety issue.”  
 
According to FDA’s December 2014 consumer advisory, these products “are essentially 100% caffeine,” with “a single teaspoon of pure caffeine [being] roughly equivalent to the amount in 25 cups of coffee.”
 
CRN’s updated recommended guidelines for caffeine-containing dietary supplements are available on the association’s website. The original guidelines were released in April 2013 and included recommendations on disclosure of total caffeine content; label advisories for conditions of use; serving size and daily intake recommendations; and restraints against marketing in combination with alcohol. CRN members were expected to comply within 12 months of its release. Today’s update is effective immediately. 
 
CRN’s science-based guidelines on caffeine-containing dietary supplements have been developed as part of the association’s self-regulatory initiatives. CRN also has recommended guidelines for iodine in multivitamin/mineral supplements for pregnancy and lactation; and for labeling of protein in dietary supplements and functional foods; as well as best practices for enzyme dietary supplement products.
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SoloHealth partners with Cleveland Clinic, changes name to Pursuant Health

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — SoloHealth announced Thursday a new collaboration with Cleveland Clinic Wellness Enterprise, a subsidiary of Cleveland Clinic.  
 
Using insights gathered from consumer engagements and behavioral change experts from Cleveland Clinic Wellness, the company has developed a highly convenient and clinically valid health-and-wellness platform delivered through health kiosks, mobile access points and online. The company now offers a comprehensive solution including health risk assessments, coaching, incentive management, challenges and an integrated lab screening network, all supplemented by non-invasive biometric data collected from the kiosks.  
 
Initial employer wellness programs delivered through this platform have achieved engagement rates as high as 91% for employees and 70% for spouses, proving that the high engagement levels the company achieves with publicly-available kiosks carry over to workplace wellness programs.
 
"We are excited to partner with Cleveland Clinic Wellness to bring our collective health-and-wellness programs to market, with new offerings for employers and health systems, in addition to our traditional focus on consumers," said Larry Gerdes, CEO. "Cleveland Clinic Wellness offers industry-leading coaching and behavioral change expertise that, coupled with the national SoloHealth engagement network, creates a unique health-and-wellness offering that is already used by more than 3 million people per month," he said. "Many health-and-wellness programs struggle with low engagement rates and a lack of clinical validity. Our engagement platform, in partnership with Cleveland Clinic Wellness, provides a highly-effective solution."
 
"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to reach and support many individuals towards healthier living through our actionable, clinically-developed, web-based programs focused on nutrition, resilience and physical activity improvement," said Joe Sweet, director of operations and business development for Cleveland Clinic Wellness Enterprise. "Working with established partners to distribute educational content and programs is important to our mission."
 
SoloHealth also announced that effective immediately it will rename the company Pursuant Health (www.pursuanthealth.com) to better align with the company's mission of engaging individuals to manage their health and improve outcomes. Since late 2012, SoloHealth has performed over 73 million health screenings through its national network of 3,600 FDA-cleared, HIPAA-compliant self-service kiosks. The kiosks are conveniently located within major retail pharmacies, worksites and hospitals within 10 miles of 79% of the U.S. population.
 
The decision to change the company name from SoloHealth to Pursuant Health represents a more refined focus to develop programs that help individuals improve their health and self-manage chronic conditions. With the unique opportunity to educate millions of consumers each month, the company felt a responsibility to work with a leading clinical partner to develop content and evidence-based programs that improve outcomes outside of kiosk engagements. The SoloHealth brand will be fully-transitioned to Pursuant Health by the end of 2015. 
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CDC seeks more quitters with launch of 2015 “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is launching its 2015 “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign with a series of powerful new ads featuring former smokers who suffer from smoking-related illnesses, including vision loss and colorectal cancer.
 
Ads also highlight the benefits of quitting for smokers’ loved ones and the importance of quitting cigarettes completely, not just cutting down. Beginning March 30, these ads will run for 20 weeks on television, radio, billboards, online and in theaters, magazines and newspapers.
 
The CDC’s  Tips national tobacco education campaign has helped prompt millions of smokers to try to quit since it began in 2012. It also has proven to be a “best buy” in public health by costing just $393 to save a year of life.
 
“These former smokers are helping save tens of thousands of lives by sharing their powerful stories of how smoking has affected them,” said CDC director Tom Frieden. “These new real-life ads will help smokers quit, adding years to their lives and life to their years.”
 
In 2014, Tips ads had an immediate and strong impact. When the ads were on the air, about 80% more people called the national quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, for free help. Since 2012, Tips ads have generated more than 500,000 additional calls to the toll-free quitline number.
 
One of this year’s new ad participants is Marlene, 68, who started smoking in high school and began losing her vision to macular degeneration at age 56. Besides quitting smoking, the best chance for slowing her vision loss is a drug that must be injected through a needle into her eyes. To date, she has had more than 100 shots in each eye. “This will probably go on for the rest of my life,” Marlene said. “If I’d had a crystal ball many years ago, I would never have put that first cigarette in my mouth.”
 
The ads also feature:
 
  • Mark, 47, an Air Force veteran who used cigarettes and smokeless tobacco through two tours of duty in the Persian Gulf.  He quit in 2009 when he developed rectal cancer at age 42;
  • Julia, 58, who smoked for more than 20 years before developing colon cancer at age 49, followed by surgery and months of chemotherapy. She needed an ostomy bag taped to a hole in her abdomen to collect waste;
  • Tiffany, 35, whose mother died from lung cancer when Tiffany was 16. She quit smoking when her own daughter turned 16 so she could be around for important milestones in her daughter’s life. Tiffany’s ad will run as a public service announcement; and
  • Kristy, 35, who tried using e-cigarettes to quit smoking cigarettes but ended up using both products instead of quitting. Kristy then suffered a collapsed lung, and was diagnosed with early COPD before she quit smoking completely. 
Nationally, about 3-in-4 adult e-cigarette users also smoke cigarettes. If you only cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke by adding another tobacco product, like e-cigarettes, you still face serious health risks. Smokers must quit smoking completely to fully protect their health — even a few cigarettes a day are dangerous. Kristy’s ads will be featured on the radio and in print.
 
“All the Tips ad participants are heroes,” said Tim McAfee, senior medical officer in the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “By courageously sharing their painful personal stories, they’re inspiring millions of Americans to make the life-saving decision to quit smoking.”
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