HEALTH

FDA targets marketer that claims its products treat swine flu

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday targeted ReBuilder Medical Technologies as a renegade marketer pitching its $199 “SilverCure Swine Flu Protection Pack,” that includes shampoo, lotion, conditioner and soap that supposedly deposit traces of silver according to published reports, as a product indicated for the prevention or treatment of the new H1N1 influenza virus known as the “swine flu.”

“Once included, all websites and products will remain listed,” the FDA stated. “After FDA has verified that the products or the objectionable claims related to the 2009 H1N1 Flu Virus have been removed from the web site, this information will be added to the list.”

ReBuilder Medical is attempting to capitalize on its increased web traffic with a message for browsers: “Note: Sorry, ReBuilder Medical does not sell flu products. Reporter’s mistake. Not one of the “20 sites”, but as long as you are here, please read.” In its place, ReBuilder is pitching its ReBuilder Electronic Neuromuscular Stimulator, a device that delivers small electrical shocks for pain relief.

However, a Google search for “SilverCure swine flu,” generates the URL http://www.rebuildermedical.com/outbreak/, which at one time contained the following copy: “One oz. jar of SilverCure to swab into your nose with a fresh Q-tip to coat … Because the Swine flu virus is airborne, it may settle on your hair and then ….”

That site now features the message: “This market test has voluntarily ended.”

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HEALTH

Study shows parents speak to teens about OTC abuse

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON A new Partnership/Metlife Parents Attitude Tracking Study indicates that 65% of parents are talking to their teens about the dangers of using over-the-counter cough and cold medicine to get high, up from 55% in 2007.

“We know that parents play a critical role in keeping their kids drug-free,” stated Linda Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “It is great news that more and more parents are exercising that power and talking to their kids about cough medicine abuse just as they would about any substance abuse behavior.”

Nationwide statistics from the National Institutes of Health’s Monitoring the Future study show a slight overall decline in teen cough medicine abuse. ”That is one of the reasons the Partnership is so committed to helping parents have these important conversations with their teens.”

“The data are encouraging, since we know that kids who learn a lot from their parents about the risks of drugs are up to 50% less likely to ever use  drugs,” stated Steve Pasierb, president of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

CHPA works with the Partnership and other interested organizations on a number of initiatives targeting teen cough medicine abuse. All of the association’s efforts can be found on http://www.StopMedicineAbuse.org.

“Our member companies are steadfast in their commitment to prevent teen cough medicine abuse,” Suydam stated. “But we know that our work is far from over. With the help of such partners as the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and D.A.R.E. America, we will continue our efforts to make sure all parents are aware of this substance abuse behavior and most importantly, talking with their children about it.”

The PATS-Parents 2008 is a nationally projectable survey of 1,004 parents of children in grades 4-12 and was conducted by the Partnership with major funding from MetLife Foundation.

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Swine flu inaccurate moniker; CDC identifies 3 strains in H1N1 virus

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization renamed what had become known as the “swine flu” to H1N1 in part because sequencing results of the virus was found to contain genetic reassortment of three viruses which have been circulating in pigs in Europe, Asia and America since 1998.

The new information suggests that the progenitor virus strain was a virus circulating in swine and has evolved in humans through gradual mutations over a 10-12 year span, and has avian and human components.

The new information also provides other insight into influenza virus strains, such as the fact that influenza viruses, whether in humans or among animals, are constantly evolving genetically, along with changes in their ability to cause morbidity and mortality in humans or animals. These changes may be gradual or very rapid.

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