HEALTH

Hatch, McCain reach agreement over Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and John McCain, R-Ariz., have come to an agreement around McCain’s Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010 (S. 3002) where McCain will not support revisiting or revising the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, according to a letter from Hatch to McCain last week.

“I want to thank you for agreeing to withdraw your support for the provisions of S. 3002 that I believe would do great harm to the dietary supplement industry,” Hatch wrote. “More than 100 million Americans regularly consumer dietary supplements as a means of improving and maintaining healthy lifestyles. Therefore, continued access to these products is extremely important to them.”

Hatch and McCain appear to be joining forces, instead, in calling for full enforcement of existing laws, such as DSHEA.

Late last month, the Council for Responsible Nutrition voiced industry concerns around S. 3002, suggesting that the bill, if passed, may have unintended consequences, including forcing some supplements with a long record of safety off the market.

However, even though it appears that revisiting industry regulation may be off the table, supplement manufacturers should still be communicating with their legislators advised John Gay, CEO and executive director for the Natural Product Association. “[S. 3002] was a wake-up call for the industry, and we had better not fall back asleep,” he said. “Other members of Congress could pick up where McCain … left off. We need to keep up the pressure on Congress, and let them know that S.3002 and bills like it are not acceptable.”

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Arkray USA helps diabetics choose health with new wellness program

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS Arkray USA on Tuesday introduced YouChoose, an exclusive patient wellness program that provides information on diabetes care and management. The free program is from Glucocard, Arkray’s line of blood glucose monitoring devices.

YouChoose is designed to help people better manage their diabetes through education, encouragement and healthy-living tools, the company stated, and includes online and offline support along with a comprehensive “Wellness Kit” that covers a variety of topics ranging from nutrition and recipes to activities and insulin levels.

The program also features “Ask Mary,” a virtual coach on the program’s Web site who offers tips and support through a blog and quarterly newsletter.

“At Arkray, we are on a mission to build a care community that empowers people to effectively manage their diabetes,” stated Jonathan Chapman, president of Arkray USA. “The launch of YouChoose is a significant new way for us to fulfill that promise.”

The patient wellness program is built around a Web site that collects and provides information around managing diabetes. It is designed to be a lifestyle tool, offering resources such as access to a diabetes specialist, a calorie counter and articles, videos and recipes. Visitors also have access to in-licensed content from dLife and Diabetic Living as well as videos on reading food labels, shopping for groceries and making healthy eating and activity choices.

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New grassroots prevention, education program to emphasize female contraception

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The MAC AIDS Fund, the Female Health Company, CVS/pharmacy, Washington AIDS Partnership and the DC Department of Health on Wednesday announced a partnership to provide increased access to, availability of and information about the new female condom, FC2, to D.C. residents.

Backed by a $500,000 grant from the MAC AIDS Fund, five local nonprofit organizations will distribute 500,000 female condoms through a grassroots prevention and education program in the neighborhoods of the city with the greatest number of HIV/AIDS cases. Additionally, female condoms will be available exclusively for purchase at 56 CVS/pharmacy stores in the District. The 3-pack FC2 Female Condom retails for $6.49.

Sales of female contraception through food, drug and mass (minus Walmart) outlets is on the rise, realizing 24.8% growth to $145.8 million in sales for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 24, according to Information Resources Inc.

Said Gordon Howard, CVS/pharmacy area VP, “CVS/pharmacy is dedicated to providing our customers with convenient access to affordable products and services that enhance their health and well-being. Ensuring access to the Female Condom at all of our stores in the District is critical to expanding awareness and use to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases. We are proud to participate in this initiative.”

“Women have become disadvantaged in prevention and treatment and we need a game-changer,” stated Nancy Mahon, the executive director of the MAC AIDS Fund. “A recent survey we published found that women are putting themselves at risk in part because they feel they can’t negotiate safe sex. Our hope is that the FC2 female condom will get us one step closer to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.”

“We are thrilled to help bring new tools to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Washington,” added Mary Ann Leeper, FHC’s senior strategic adviser. “We developed the FC2 Female Condom to give women affordable access to woman-initiated HIV prevention, and we are committed to working with the DC HIV/AIDS Administration and other public sector partners to put the power of HIV prevention in women’s hands.”

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