HEALTH

Drugstore.com reminds FSA customers to use account money before year’s end

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. Drugstore.com on Tuesday released a statement reminding flexible spending account participants that they need to use the money left in their accounts by the end of the year or they will lose it.

 

"Drugstore.com had the first FSA-only online store, and we’re proud to be a reliable source of information to help customers save on healthcare costs now and in the future," said David Lonczak, Drugstore.com VP. "We recommend that customers make strategic purchases this year, because healthcare reform is changing FSA rules in the coming year."

 

 

Beginning Jan. 1, new regulations will reduce the number of over-the-counter products automatically eligible for FSA, Drugstore.com noted. Some of those products will continue to be covered, but only with a doctor’s prescription. Item eligibility and information will be updated online at Drugstore.com/FSA to reflect the changes.

 

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Poll: Many Americans claim to be improving their diets

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK While many consumers claim to have adjusted their diets to include more healthy foods and beverages, new data suggested that there may be a disparity between what is considered "good" by consumers and by experts.

 

Anew poll by Harris Interactive, conducted between Sept. 14 and 20 among 2,620 adults, found that the majority of all adults claimed that they:

  • Frequently or somewhat often eat healthier at home compared with when dining out (79%);
  • Drink water as opposed to another type of beverage at meals (74%);
  • Choose healthy snacks (72%);
  • Eat a balanced diet (72%);
  • Read nutritional information on packaged food products before buying it (68%);
  • Attempt to eat smaller portions (64%); and
  • Exercise regularly (57%).

All of the responses were in line with what doctors and nutrition experts recommend for people to maintain a healthy weight.

 

Harris Interactive, however, noted that some of these results may reflect what consumers think they should be doing rather than what they actually are doing. For example, while there were some differences in their replies to this question among those who are and are not overweight or obese, the differences are not very large. Most of those who are obese or even morbidly obese claimed to be doing the same healthy things that those who are not overweight claimed they were doing.

 

Relatively few people are regularly (five or more times per week) eating a full breakfast (22%); a full or well-balanced lunch (21%); or a full or well-balanced dinner (37%). Overall, 32% of consumers surveyed felt they were heavier than they should be but also felt they generally were healthy and content. Among the 32%:

  • 10% were normal weight;
  • 41% were overweight;
  • 55% were obese; and
  • 30% were morbidly obese.

 

Responses to the poll were analyzed by Americans’ body mass index.

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between Sept. 14 and 20, 2010, among 2,620 adults (aged 18 years and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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CHPA updates OTCsafety.org

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Consumer Healthcare Products Association recently relaunched its OTCsafety.org site, featuring new resources, content and expert commentaries, as well as a Spanish-language version, the association announced through its newsletter last week.

 

According to the newsletter, the new OTCsafety.org now features sections that provide in-depth information on over-the-counter medicine categories, including information around 13 treatment categories and 30 active ingredients. Each treatment and ingredient page offers background information and specific tips for safe use, including tips targeting parents, where appropriate.

 

 

There also is a new “medicine safety” section with information on everything from the Drug Facts label to safely storing medicines.

 

 

Lastly, the site features a "from the experts" section that will provide an ongoing series of articles, videos and quizzes on issues related to OTC medicines, the CHPA noted.

 

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