HEALTH

FDA clears new First Response pregnancy test

BY Michael Johnsen

PRINCETON, N.J. Church & Dwight last week announced that the Food and Drug Administration cleared the company’s First Response Early Result pregnancy test for a claim that it can determine pregnancy up to six days before the day of a woman’s missed period.

“A pregnancy test with results this early sets the stage for a healthy baby and a healthy mother,” stated Mary Jane Minkin. Clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine. “This latest advancement means pregnant women can initiate a healthier lifestyle even sooner in the critical first stages of a baby’s development.”

First Response pregnancy kits work by detecting the presence of the pregnancy hormone (hCG) in a woman’s urine. HCG begins to appear in a pregnant woman 8 to 10 days after fertilization. The amount of hCG doubles every 36 to 48 hours as the pregnancy progresses. With Church & Dwight’s patent-pending Polymeric Amplification Technology, the technology differentiating First Response from other testers on the market, this tester can detect the pregnancy hormone at lower levels than ever before.

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CDC reports historic lows in flu activity

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The flu news coming out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week is that there is no flu news to speak of, at least relative to flu seasons past.

For the week ended Jan. 23, influenza activity remained at approximately the same levels as last week, the CDC reported, which is below historical levels for January.

The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness was 1.7%, falling below the national baseline of 2.3%. Only 2-out-of-10 regions (the Southeast and Southwest) reported ILI equal to their region-specific baseline. No states reported widespread influenza activity, five states reported regional influenza activity and nine states reported local influenza activity. Three states reported no influenza activity.

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CHPA to fight reverse-switch of PSE products in Mississippi with legislative line

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSON, Miss. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Saturday announced a legislative line for consumers to call in an effort to fight a move to reverse-switch cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine from behind-the-counter to prescription-only.

“CHPA has provided a phone number for Mississippians to contact their legislators which within the first day fielded scores of calls from around the state,” stated CHPA spokeswoman Elizabeth Funderburk. “We have heard their outrage on talk radio, and online posting to news web pages. And recent polling shows almost two-thirds of Mississippi voters oppose the legislation,” she said. “Everyone wants to fight meth, but Mississippians believe an electronic tracking procedure is better than the added cost and burden of a prescription mandate.”

The toll-free number is 1-866-346-8118, or consumers can visit www.StopMethNotMeds.org.

According to the poll, 74% of Mississippi consumers agree that an Rx-only requirement would create an “unnecessary burden” for law-abiding citizens, and approximately 61% oppose the law.

Last week, the Mississippi House passed H.B. 512, legislation that would impose an Rx-only mandate on commonly available cold and allergy medications containing PSE. Identical legislation is currently being shepherded through the Senate (S.B. 2339).

“Because Mississippi does not tax prescription drugs, this legislation would also divert $590,000 from the general fund annually, as well as increase the costs to Mississippi’s Medicaid program through increased doctor’s visits and prescriptions as a result,” Funderburk added. “This would be an expensive new mandate from the state on the budgets of Mississippi families and Mississippi taxpayers. There is a better way to fight meth, and that’s through establishing an electronic tracking program to stop the illegal sale to criminals.”

The survey, conducted from Jan. 14 to Jan. 23, involved 350 Mississippi state residents ages 18 years and over, all of whom voted in the last election. The survey was sponsored by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

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