HDMA to work closely with officials in H1N1 response
ARLINGTON, Va. The Healthcare Distribution Management Association recently sent a letter detailing the critical role of primary healthcare distributor members in the response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic to more than 100 officials, including governors and state public health directors, the association announced Tuesday.
The association noted its distributor members’ commitment to working closely with the CDC, state and local public health officials, healthcare providers, pharmacists and manufacturers to ensure that millions of antivirals and medical products are delivered safely and efficiently to pharmacies, physicians’ offices and hospitals nationwide.
To facilitate the continuous flow of information between public health officials and HDMA distributor members, HDMA provided a list of state-specific distributor company contacts, informing state officials that HDMA members are prepared to answer questions related to emergency preparedness efforts.
“The H1N1 outbreak last spring underscored that communication is key to maximizing our country’s ability to respond to this public health emergency — across the entire healthcare supply chain, and especially with federal, state and local health officials,” stated John Gray, HDMA president and CEO. “HDMA members are working with all of these key players, to facilitate the safe and reliable delivery of needed vaccines, medicines and supplies to respond to the current influenza outbreak, as they have done for decades.”
NPA testifies against illegal steroids
NEW YORK Here’s the breakdown: Two government officials representing the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency joined Travis Tygart of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (the body responsible for keeping performance-enhancing drugs out of U.S. Olympic athletes), Daniel Fabricant of the Natural Products Association and Richard Kingham, a litigator specialized in food/drug law, before a panel of senators — less to inform the Senate around the problem of steroids sold as dietary supplements, and more to be grilled by those senators as to why those products are actually on any market.
The senators were Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Arlen Specter, D-Pa., who played a sort of good cop/bad cop routine. Hatch was the good cop, at least as the dietary supplement industry goes, as he defended the legislation governing the regulation of dietary supplements that he helped draft some 15 years ago. Specter played the bad cop — questioning the regulatory priorities of the two governing bodies present, while raising the thought of adding more regulations to the FDA and/or DEA already-underutilized toolbox.
Following the hearing, dietary supplements emerged as the unwilling participants in all of this talk around performance enhancing supplements. You almost had to wonder why Fabricant was present, except to politely remind everyone that the dietary supplement manufacturers who actually distribute product through mass-channel retailers actually fought for (as in not against) such additional regulations as certified good manufacturing practices or mandated serious adverse event reports, and as such are not likely to field illegal products.
At stake in all of this is whether or not legitimate dietary supplement players ought to seek premarket approval, a condition that if ever really implemented, would decimate any future innovation in the almost $6 billion mass-channel business (according to the latest Nielsen Company figures). It’s also a condition that wouldn’t actually do much to pull those steroid drugs masquerading as supplements off the market, unless you expect those well-respected criminals to actually file an NSA (new supplement application) that contained ingredients that would not only land their consumers in the hospital, but would also land them in jail if ever actually discovered in the trunks of their cars.
The alternative, proposed by Hatch, is to place more resources behind enforcement of the laws on the book, as opposed to creating new laws that would more likely cripple legitimate manufacturers as actually inhibit outliers from selling steroids.
CRN launches collaborative program to educate consumers on dietary supplements
WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition, creators of the consumer-wellness public relations campaign, “Life…supplemented,” on Thursday announced plans for the third consecutive year of the program upon meeting a budget goal of $1 million. The three-year, $3-million initiative encourages responsible use of dietary supplements in combination with other healthy habits, and urges consumers to assess their level of wellness by focusing on the three pillars of health: healthy diet, supplements and exercise.
“This is a collaborative program that demonstrates what an industry can do when companies work together to educate consumers who are looking for ways to take simple steps to improve their health,” stated CRN chairman Mark LeDoux. “I commend CRN for its ongoing leadership and especially thank those companies funding the program for their continued support. This program demonstrates that the industry has a commitment to urging consumers to take dietary supplements responsibly as one piece of a healthy lifestyle.”
Over the three-year campaign, 39 companies have financially supported the effort, with 25 funding companies currently signed on to support year three, including its five original Steering Committee members — NBTY, Pharmavite, Bayer HealthCare, BASF Corporation and DSM Nutritional Products.
This year, a sixth company, Wyeth Consumer Health, has increased its commitment to the Steering Committee level.
“The fact that companies continue to support ‘Life…supplemented’ year after year — particularly in this economic climate — shows that this is a sustainable campaign with responsible messages that companies can feel proud to support,” stated Judy Blatman, SVP communications, CRN, who oversees the program.
This announcement also marks the first major project coming out of the CRN Foundation, an educational affiliate of CRN. The Foundation was established earlier this year and will become the center of many of CRN’s educational activities and research projects supporting the supplement industry.
As part of the research sponsored by the “Life…Supplemented” campaign, a third annual “Life…supplemented” Healthcare Professionals Impact Study, which explores healthcare professionals’ recommendations for, and personal usage of, dietary supplements, will be supported.
This year’s study will look at registered dietitians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists. In previous years’ surveys, the campaign focused on U.S. physicians, nurses, OB/GYNs, cardiologists, dermatologists and orthopaedic specialists.
The campaign will also continue enhancements to its web site, http://lifesupplemented.org/, with emphasis on its free, interactive online tool, My Wellness Scorecard, a tool that provides consumers with a personalized wellness assessment.
The “Life…supplemented” campaign was recently awarded an honorable mention in the issue-specific web site category of the American Society of Association Executives’ 2009 Gold Circle Awards, an annual program recognizing excellence in communications. This marks the fourth award honoring the campaign, including a 2007-2008 Mercury Award win for “Web site: Health Awareness”.
“Supplement companies want to educate and celebrate the more than 150 million Americans who take their products each year; that is evident from the level of support from our funding companies and their enthusiasm for continuing the campaign,” said Judy Blatman, SVP communications for Council for Responsible Nutrition.