HEALTH

Fish oil supplements have chemical contamination, lawsuit claims

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO Three parties joined Tuesday in filing a lawsuit in California regarding omega-3 supplements allegedly contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyl.

“Consumers who want the health benefits of fish oil shouldn’t also have to take the health risks of an extremely toxic man-made chemical,” stated David Roe, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs. The lawsuit names eight makers and sellers of fish oil, shark oil, fish liver oil and shark liver oil supplements that have PCB contamination above the safe harbor limits set for human PCB consumption under California’s Proposition 65. That law requires consumers to be warned about such exposures.

“Pharmavite’s] fish oil products comply with all federal laws prescribed by the United States Food and Drug Administration and individual state laws including California Proposition 65, as well as European Commission standards,” Pharmavite, one of the named defendants, noted in response to the suit. Pharmavite also noted its fish oil products were in compliance with the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s voluntary monograph for omega-3 fatty acids and has been recognized by the United States Pharmacopeia Verification Program for omega-3 fish oil purity, potency and quality.

In addition to Pharmavite, the initial defendants named, in alphabetical order, include: CVS/pharmacy, GNC, Now Health Group, Omega Protein, Rite Aid, Solgar and Twinlab Corp.

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NFL coach to pitch Extenze

BY DSN STAFF

MONROVIA, Calif. —Can two-time Super Bowl coach Jimmy Johnson do for the supplement male enhancement category what Bob Dole did for Viagra?

That’s exactly what Biotab Nutraceuticals and its agency InterQuantum are hoping—legitimizing a supplement category that often provides the punch line for late night comics. The company signed Johnson in January to represent its Extenze male enhancement product. Biotab plans to pitch the pitchman pretty heavily to American consumers throughout the year with an overall marketing budget of $70 million.

With Extenze now sold at retail, the product scored No. 1 in sales in the mineral supplement category at mass retailers for the last quarter of 2009, InterQuantum added, citing InfoScan Reviews. Mineral supplement sales currently are up 3% to $544.5 million for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26 across food, drug and mass outlets, according to Nielsen Group data.

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CDC panel expands influenza vaccination recommendations

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA A panel of immunization experts reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday voted to expand the recommendation for annual influenza vaccination to include all people ages 6 months and older, a marked change from recommendations in the past that identified high-priority groups by age and condition, groups that apply to approximately 85% of the population.

The expanded recommendation is to take effect in the 2010/2011 influenza season. The new recommendation seeks to remove barriers to influenza immunization and signals the importance of preventing influenza across the entire population, the agency stated.

 

Discussion at the ACIP meeting focused on the value of protecting all people 19 to 49 years of age, who have been hard hit by the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus, which is likely to continue circulating into next season and beyond. Another reason cited in favor of a universal recommendation for vaccination is that many people in currently recommended “higher risk” groups are unaware of their risk factor or that they are recommended for vaccination.

 

 

Finally, new data collected over the course of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic indicates that some people who do not currently have a specific recommendation for vaccination also may be at higher risk of serious flu-related complications, including those people who are obese, post-partum women and people in certain racial/ethnic groups.

 

 

More influenza vaccine doses will be required to vaccinate all adults. However, based on current projections, more licensed types and brands of seasonal influenza vaccines will be available in the 2010-11 influenza season than has ever been available before.

 

 

Historically, uptake of seasonal influenza vaccine has been less than half of the number of persons with a specific recommendation for vaccination.

 

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