HEALTH

Exergen increases TemporalScanner Thermometer promotion

BY Michael Johnsen

WATERTOWN, Mass. Exergen Corp. recently announced a 300% increase in promotional support for its TemporalScanner Thermometer targeting both trade and consumer markets.

The consumer advertising program targets new mothers and includes print advertising in magazines, radio advertising and an enhanced national public-relations program.

The multimillion media buy includes such pregnancy magazines as Fit Pregnancy, New Parent Media Magazine, You and Your Family, Motherhood, Pregnancy Magazine and Pregnancy & New Born. The radio campaign includes the Westwood One Radio and ABC Radio networks with spots on Don Imus, Phil Valentine, Tony Bruno and Paul Harvey shows, as well as drive time and other news/talk shows.

“We feel the time to invest in marketing is when others are cutting back,” stated Exergen president Francesco Pompei. “We are committed to supporting our brand and will continue to increase awareness among moms and moms-to-be.”

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Safeway promotes awareness of heart disease with free health screenings

BY Michael Johnsen

PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway on Wednesday announced the offering of free blood pressure, BMI and cholesterol level screenings at store pharmacies to promote heart health and prevent the number one killer of women: heart disease.

As part of the company’s “Love Your Heart” campaign, a wellness program to draw attention to the importance of knowing the risk factors of heart disease, Safeway expects to conduct 36,000 free heart health screenings nationwide. The free screenings are available to women and men and will take place from Feb. 4 through Feb. 24 in Safeway pharmacies, including Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s and Carrs pharmacies. 

“Most women are unaware that heart disease claims more women’s lives than any other disease or illness,” stated Dave Fong, SVP of pharmacy at Safeway. “Only 8 % of women consider it the biggest threat to their health. … Our goal is to educate women about the risk factors and help them take control of their health.” 

The screenings, a $40 value, are sponsored by Safeway, Campbell Soup Company, Kellogg’s, Healthy Choice, Diet Coke, Fresh Express, StarKist, Barilla PLUS, and Health Magazine. Screenings will be conducted by nurses or pharmacists at store pharmacies. 

Safeway is also offering savings on special heart healthy products throughout the store. Customers can easily locate these products at the “Love Your Heart” displays in all stores. Heart health informational brochures, containing special product offers, will also be found in specially marked displays. 

Safeway’s “Love Your Heart” campaign is part of the company’s ongoing health and wellness initiative to provide customers with affordable and convenient ways to take control of their health. For example, Safeway pharmacies administer a variety of flu and other vaccinations, where law permits. Safeway is a partner with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute on The Heart Truth campaign, which introduced the popular Red Dress logo as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002. 

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ISAPP unveils five criteria for consumers to consider in choosing probiotics

BY Michael Johnsen

DAVIS, Calif. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics on Wednesday unveiled five key criteria that consumers should consider when selecting a probiotic product — strain specificity, clinical proof, packaging and the quality and quantity of probiotics in a product.

Titled the “Ps and Qs of Probiotics,” these criteria were developed to help consumers select credible, effective probiotic products in a crowded market. “These new guidelines set a high standard that few probiotic products currently on the market can meet,” stated Susan Abeln, principal scientist, Procter & Gamble research and development. P&G markets the probiotic Align.

The new guidelines, however, appear more geared toward healthcare professionals than consumers. For example, ISAPP suggests that not all probiotics are created equal: “Probiotics within the same genus (or group), such as Bifidobacterium, do not necessarily provide the same benefits. A probiotic is defined by its genus (e.g. Lactobacillus), species (e.g. rhamnosus) and strain designation (often a combination of letters or numbers). The names sound complicated, but they are important to connecting the specific probiotic strain to the strain’s published scientific literature.” Literature that such healthcare professionals as pharmacists and retail clinicians may have a greater degree of familiarity with, as compared with consumers.

In fact, the ISAPP identifies the pharmacist as a valuable resource to help consumers sort through complicated research. “Make certain that product claims of health benefits are based on sound research done on the particular probiotic,” the ISAPP suggests. Check product Web sites to see study results. Your pharmacist or healthcare provider should be able to help you sort through the scientific language.”

To help consumers navigate the aisles in search of beneficial probiotic products, ISAPP suggested consumers look for some key information on the label. For example, the strain of probiotic, along with information on colony forming units, idenitifies how many living microorganisms are in each serving. However, ISAPP cautions consumers that more CFU does not necessarily equate to a better probiotic. For that they need to double back and check the strain and CFU against the appropriate clinical trial — some probiotics deliver benefits with as few as 50 million CFU.

Consumers also should look to the label to identify suggested serving size and what health benefits will be realized through consuming the strain identified on the packaging. Information on proper storage conditions is important as well — storing some probiotic products after opening, even at room temperature, can render the strains ineffective. Packaging also should contain information on expiration dates, ISAPP noted.

ISAPP also suggested that responsible manufacturers will post corporate contact information on their product lableling. “Some products labeled ‘probiotic’ do not have clinically validated strains or levels in the product,” ISAPP noted. “Although the scientific definition of probiotic stipulates that products be clinically evaluated, not all manufacturers abide by that.”

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