HEALTH

Florastor products to be sold at CVS/pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN BRUNO, Calif. As part of its continued expansion throughout the U.S. retail market, Biocodex, the U.S. distributor of Florastor and Florastor Kids, has secured distribution through CVS/pharmacy beginning this month, the company announced. Florastor will be placed on-shelf in the stomach/digestives aisle, while Florastor Kids will be available upon request behind the counter.

According to Dan Harper, director of sales for Biocodex, the stomach/digestives aisle is the most appropriate spot for this product – in the company of popular anti-diarrheal remedies.

“While Florastor is technically a dietary supplement, it is used successfully by many to manage digestive ailments and diarrhea, so it makes sense for it to be available in the section where the consumer will be looking for those types of items,” Harper said.

“When Florastor was first introduced to Americans, the idea of probiotics was not well understood by mainstream consumers or even traditional medical practitioners,” stated Marc Rohman, U.S. VP and GM of Biocodex. “However, as Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of probiotics, particularly yeast-based probiotics such as Florastor, expanding distribution into the chain stores was the next logical step to meet the demand we’re seeing.”

According to Rohman, sales of Florastor have grown annually, even without widespread on-shelf availability, as a result of increased pharmacist and consumer awareness of the probiotic category, word-of-mouth and physician recommendations.

The latest chain shelf space acquisitions are the result of Biocodex’s work with Morgan & Sampson USA, with which Biocodex teamed to help manage its growth and distribution within the U.S. retail trade.

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FDA approves Perrigo’s laxative generic

BY Michael Johnsen

ALLEGAN, Mich. Perrigo on Tuesday announced that it has received final approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its abbreviated new drug application for over-the-counter polyethylene glycol 3350, powder for solution, a generic equivalent to Schering-Plough’s MiraLAX laxative.

Perrigo said it would begin shipping immediately.

Estimated brand sales MiraLAX for the 12 months ended Aug. 28 were $200 million, Perrigo stated.

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Study finds sleep apnea patients may have GI tract conditions

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea also tend to have additional gastrointestinal tract conditions, a new study found.

In a paper presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO in San Diego, researchers analyzed prospective clinical study data of 42 adult patients with proven OSA verified in overnight polysomnography. Every patient also underwent an upper GI endoscopy to evaluate their gastrointestinal health.

Pathological GI findings were found in vast majority of patients (83.3%), 59.5% of them showing two or more findings. The most frequent observed pathology was hiatus hernia (64.3% of patients), followed by erosive esophagitis (45.2%), histological esophagitis and erosive gastritis (both 21.4%), duodenal ulcer (7.1%), and biliary reflux (4.8%).

Approximately 12 million Americans have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by episodes of reduced or no airflow throughout the night.

From their findings, the authors concluded that patients who appear to suffer from OSA should not only be investigated in sleep laboratory, but should also be referred to a gastroenterologist for additional diagnostic exams in order to provide a comprehensive treatment approach.

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