HEALTH

DEA places kratom plant onto schedule I

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON – The Drug Enforcement Administration last week announced its intention to place the active materials in the kratom plant into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in order to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety.

“Kratom has been a public health target for almost five years, and its surging growth in use and availability is an unfortunate but real example of the federal government’s unwillingness to use existing authorities to enforce the law," stated Dan Fabricant, Natural Products Association CEO and executive director. "This is a necessary and welcome step, but unless it is followed with real enforcement and penalties for those who are selling it in coffee bars, on the internet and elsewhere, it will be toothless," he said. “Kratom is not an herbal supplement: it is addictive, harmful, and worse, it may be contributing to America’s opiate epidemic.  We are eager to work with the authorities and our members to help turn the tide against Kratom and ensure that it is seen as what the DEA says it is, a schedule I illegal narcotic that has no place in health or wellness."

Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are found in kratom, which is a tropical tree indigenous to Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and other areas of Southeast Asia.  Kratom has been on DEA’s list of drugs and chemicals of concern for several years.

Kratom is abused for its ability to produce opioid-like effects and is often marketed as a legal alternative to controlled substances. In addition, kratom has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. These three factors constitute a Schedule I controlled substance according to the Controlled Substances Act passed by Congress in 1970.

The FDA has also warned the public not to use any products labeled as containing kratom due to concerns about toxicity and potential health impacts. In addition, FDA has issued and updated two import alerts related to kratom products.  
 

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CVS Health introduces latest campaign benefiting Stand Up To Cancer

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Health on Tuesday launched an in-store fundraising campaign at CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide to benefit Stand Up To Cancer, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, that supports innovative cancer research that gets new therapies to patients quickly to save more lives.

Through Oct.  1, CVS Pharmacy customers can support SU2C by making a $1, $3 or larger donation at the register at 7,900 CVS Pharmacy locations or online at www.CVS.com/SU2C. The in-store fundraising campaign is part of a three-year, $10 million commitment by CVS Health to SU2C.

"With more than 1.6 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year, we know many of our colleagues, customers and communities have been affected by this terrible disease," stated Helena Foulkes, president, CVS Pharmacy. "As part of our company's purpose of helping people on their path to better health, we're proud to support Stand Up To Cancer as they accelerate research and bring new therapies to patients."

Donations made during the campaign will support SU2C's collaborative cancer research model which helps bring new treatments to patients faster. SU2C's "Dream Teams" bring together scientists from different institutions and across multiple disciplines to work together to translate their research from the laboratory to the patient.

"Because of partners like CVS Health, we're able to make progress in increasing treatment options for patients and making advancements in the fight against cancer," said SU2C co-founder Sue Schwartz. "We're thankful for the support CVS Health has given to us over the past few years by giving its customers an easy way to make a donation and joining us in our mission of making everyone diagnosed with cancer a survivor."

CVS Pharmacy customers can also support SU2C through Oct.  1, when they purchase Nicorette or NicoDerm CQ, which help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking. For every box sold at CVS Pharmacy, GSK Consumer Healthcare will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer, up to $100,000.

"Teaming up with CVS Pharmacy is a natural fit for GSK Consumer Healthcare, as both companies look to help smokers rid their lives of cigarettes and become smoke-free," said James Masterson, marketing director at GSK Consumer Healthcare. "We are encouraging those interested in quitting to quit for a cause this month."

CVS Health is also a proud supporter of SU2C's fifth biennial televised fundraising special which will air on Friday, Sept. 9. The Stand Up To Cancer telecast raises awareness and funds to support SU2C's translational research that can provide patients with new therapies to save lives now. One hundred percent of public monies pledged during the telecast support SU2C's cancer research programs.
 

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Female Health Company board member to serve as observer on Veru Healthcare post merger

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO – The Female Health Company and Aspen Park Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday announced that, upon completion of their proposed merger, Andy Love will serve as an observer to the board of directors of the combined company. 

Love is a current member of FHC's board of directors.

While he serves as a board observer, Love will participate in board meetings of the merged company, to be called Veru Healthcare.

“We welcome Andy to the Veru Healthcare Board,” stated Mitchell Steiner, CEO and president of APP and the combined company, Veru Healthcare, after completion of the proposed merger. “His insights and experience strongly complement the skill set and expertise of the Veru Healthcare board.”

“Andy is an enthusiastic supporter of the merger, having recently purchased shares of FHC stock to add to his already sizable ownership position,” added O.B. Parrish, chairman and CEO of FHC. “He has been a valuable member of the FHC Board and important link to members of the investment community. His status as observer will greatly increase our ability to continue to effectively communicate with our shareholders.”

Love has served as a director of FHC since May 2013. He served as chairman and co-CEO of Love Savings Holding Company, the holding company of Heartland Bank, from December 1985 to December 2014.

Currently, he is chairman and  co-CEO of Hallmark Investment Corporation, successor to the non-banking activities of Love Savings Holding Company subsequent to its merger with Midland States Bancorp on Dec. 31, 2014.

Love has more than 40 years of investment, banking and real estate experience. Previously, Love was a partner at the law firm Bryan Cave.

As previously announced, the Veru Healthcare board of directors will be comprised of nine members, with three directors named by FHC (O.B. Parrish, David Bethune and Mary Margaret Frank), three directors currently on APP’s board of directors (Mitchell Steiner, Harry Fisch and Elgar Peerschke, who will serve as chairman) and three new directors (Georges Makhoul, Lucy Lu and Mario Eisenberger).
 

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