HEALTH

Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus hosts inaugural meeting

BY Michael Johnsen

Reps. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., welcomed members of Congress, their staff and healthcare stakeholders to an inaugural meeting of the new Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus to a standing room only crowd on March 15, the National Center for Homeopathy shared Tuesday.

“I think it’s important for patients to have all the facts and latest research when it comes to therapies and treatments available to them when making medical decisions,” Coffman said. “This is why it was my honor to welcome the Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus members to Capitol Hill last week.”

“Through this Caucus we are having conversations about how Congress can solve the major healthcare issues of this country and better meet the healthcare needs of everybody, including integrative health and wellness options,” Polis added. Other caucus attendees included representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Air Force Medical Service.

Registrants were also representatives from as many as 30 medical groups, insurers, hospitals, service providers, learning institutions, health care lobbying firms and patient groups that support integrative healthcare. “This caucus is the start of an important conversation to shift our healthcare paradigm from a reactive model to whole-person preventive outcomes,” said Len Wisneski, chair Integrative Health Policy Consortium, the organization that helped host the event. “American’s have spent billions of dollars out-of-pocket on complementary and integrative care. It is time that Congress and healthcare payers and systems respond by including all credentialed and licensed providers and evidence-based care approaches into the choices available to all Americans.”

“I was excited to be part of the inaugural congressional caucus proceedings,” Peter Demitry, executive director, National Foundation for Integrative Medicine, said. “The various organizations and stakeholders that attended and presented to Congress were very well informed with articulate, rational arguments that were well received by the United States legislators. I think there was clear consensus that the time to fix U.S. health care policy is now and NFIM is happy to be both meeting and joining these various dedicated stakeholders.”

 

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Sanofi helps dispel allergy myths ahead of the season

BY Michael Johnsen

Every spring, allergies take control of the lives of millions of Americans, affecting their work, their family time and even how well they sleep at night. Something else affects those millions of allergy sufferers, according to a new survey from Sanofi released Tuesday, big misconceptions about allergies may keep people from getting needed relief.

To help put those misconceptions about allergies to rest, Sanofi has teamed up with science educator and television personality Adam Savage, along with allergist Neeta Ogden, to dispel those misconceptions with credible information.

“There are misconceptions that exist about many topics in life that people just accept as the truth, and allergies are no different. My mission is to challenge those misconceptions and really get to the bottom of them using science and logic,” said Savage, best known as former co-host/executive producer of the Discovery Channel series “Mythbusters.” “By shining a light on these misconceptions, I hope to inspire allergy sufferers to be more curious about their condition and figure out the best way to manage it based on real facts.”

Operating out of Bridgewater, N.J., Sanofi conducted the allergy survey in early 2018, just before the start of the season. According to the survey:

More than half of allergy sufferers believe allergy symptoms are inevitable, and that you can’t control them. The fact is, there are many ways allergy sufferers can take back control. For example, they can make small changes to their daily routines like washing their hair at night and not sleeping near their pets;One in four allergy sufferers believe allergies are only an issue during the day. That’s another misconception: Allergies can also result in restless and sleepless nights, leaving people tired and unable to function properly the next day;Nearly 40% of allergy sufferers believe all allergy pills make you sleepy/groggy. While it’s true that some first-generation antihistamines can make you sleepy, second-generation antihistamines that have been on the market for years offer non-drowsy relief;Nearly 40% of allergy sufferers believe nasal sprays are difficult to use. However, some nasal sprays are ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your nose, so you can deliver relief right to the source of your nasal allergy symptoms; andOne in four allergy sufferers believe all over-the-counter allergy medicines are the same. But in reality, different medicines have different formulas and active ingredients, which means they may treat different symptoms and provide different kinds of relief.

“I often hear allergy misconceptions first-hand from my patients. I also hear many of them say they do the same thing every year when it comes to managing their symptoms, even if they don’t think it’s working well enough,” said Ogden, an adult and pediatric allergist, asthma specialist and immunologist. “It’s important for allergy sufferers to break this cycle by learning more about this condition and being prepared to manage it as early on as possible by finding a treatment that works for them.”

Sanofi has a long-standing commitment to helping allergy sufferers. The company makes three allergy products that are available over-the-counter at pharmacies, at full prescription strength.

Allegra is an antihistamine that offers fast, non-drowsy relief from allergy symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, itchy watery eyes, and itchy nose or throat. Relief starts in just one hour and stays strong for 24. Meanwhile, Nasacort Allergy 24HR is a scent and alcohol free nasal spray that provides 24-hour relief of sneezing, itchy runny nose and the toughest nasal allergy symptom – congestion. It does this by blocking the body’s responses to allergens and reducing inflammation in the nasal passages. And Xyzal Allergy 24HR is an antihistamine that offers continuous, maximum strength relief of sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes and itchy nose or throat. In fact, Xyzal provides all night and all day allergy relief that can help allergy sufferers get a better night’s sleep and a better day’s productivity.

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GSK buys Novartis out of joint venture in $13B deal

BY Michael Johnsen

GlaxoSmithKline on Tuesday announced it has reached an agreement with Novartis for the buyout of Novartis’ 36.5% stake in their Consumer Healthcare Joint Venture for $13 billion.

“The proposed transaction addresses one of our key capital allocation priorities and will allow GSK shareholders to capture the full value of one of the world’s leading Consumer Healthcare businesses,” Emma Walmsley, GSK CEO, said. “For the Group, the transaction is expected to benefit adjusted earnings and cash flows, helping us accelerate efforts to improve performance. Most importantly it also removes uncertainty and allows us to plan use of our capital for other priorities, especially pharmaceuticals R&D.”

GSK is initiating a strategic review of Horlicks and its other consumer healthcare nutrition products to support funding of the transaction, and to drive increased focus on OTC and Oral Health categories. Combined sales of these products were approximately $777.5 million in 2017.

The majority of Horlicks and other nutrition products sales are generated in India, with the Horlicks range widely recognized as a portfolio of premium nutrition products. In India, these products are sold by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, a public company listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange. The strategic review will include an assessment of GSK’s 72.5% shareholding in the company.

The Consumer Healthcare Joint Venture was formed as part of the three-part transaction between GSK and Novartis which was approved by shareholders in 2014. Last year, GSK’s Consumer Healthcare business reported sales of $11 billion. Since 2015, the unit’s sales have grown 4% on a 3 year CAGR basis (2015-2017 at 2014 CER) with an overall improvement in operating margins from 11.3% in 2015 to 17.7% in 2017.

Under the terms of the original transaction, Novartis had the right require GSK to purchase its stake in the Joint Venture.

With category-leading power brands, increased focus on science-based innovation and improved operational efficiencies, GSK Consumer Healthcare is well positioned to deliver sales growth, operating margin improvements and attractive returns, the company stated. The business expects operating margins to approach ‘mid-20’s’ percentages by 2022 at 2017 CER.

The transaction is subject to approval by GSK shareholders as Novartis is treated as a related party under U.K. Listing Rules, and the GSK board intends to unanimously recommend that shareholders vote in favor of the transaction.

 

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