HEALTH

JDRF honors Roche with Chancellor’s Award

BY Allison Cerra

INDIANAPOLIS A maker of blood-glucose meters, infusion pumps and other diabetes management tools was awarded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for its long-standing corporate partnership with the organization.

Roche was given the Chancellor’s Award at JDRF’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., and was noted as “an exceptional partner in the education and management of diabetes.” Roche and JDRF work together on the Bag of Hope program, which provides education materials on juvenile diabetes and a free Accu-Chek blood-glucose meter. The bags contain products and materials valued at about $100, which are distributed to families by local Roche and JDRF representatives.

Since 2004, Roche has committed almost $10 million to the Bag of Hope program.

“Roche is an exceptional partner in the education and management of diabetes. During the past several years, the Bag of Hope program has become the cornerstone of our outreach program to families with newly diagnosed children, and we thank Roche for its continued funding of this incredibly important educational initiative,” said Courtney Davies, national director of corporate relations at JDRF.

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CRN addresses senatorial committee about dietary supplement use by seniors

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition last week testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging concerning the committee’s “Dietary Supplements: What Seniors Need to Know” hearing.

In his remarks, Steve Mister, CRN president and CEO, reassured the more than 150 million Americans who take dietary supplements each year that “the dietary supplement industry is committed to manufacturing and marketing high quality, safe and beneficial products that have a valuable role in a wellness regimen. This industry is likewise committed to ensuring consumers receive truthful, accurate and non-misleading information on dietary supplements.”

Mister noted the supplement industry—through its five trade associations—had developed a variety of voluntary, self-regulatory programs that address issues that potentially tarnish the industry, and pointed specifically to the $1.5 million unrestricted grant provided by CRN to the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus to monitor dietary supplement ads to help ensure they are truthful and not misleading. 

Mister advised that new legislation introduced last week by Sens. Orrin Hatch , R-Utah, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, would provide additional funding and accountability for the Food and Drug Administration in further enforcing the law, and he urged Congress to support that bill.

Mister also referred to consumer research that demonstrates that dietary supplement consumers are more likely than those who don’t take supplements to also engage in other healthy habits such as trying to eat a healthy diet, exercising regularly and visiting their doctors. 

“Dietary supplements help to preserve good health and help reduce the risks of certain chronic diseases,” he said. “Vitamins fill in nutritional gaps, and are especially important when seniors fail to get a nutritious diet or aging itself reduces their bodies’ natural ability to absorb nutrients from conventional food.” 

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GSK Consumer Healthcare to update Alli label

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare last week announced it will update the Alli product label to alert consumers to certain symptoms that have been associated with rare instances of severe liver injury reported in people taking orlistat, the active ingredient in Alli. This update followed FDA’s completion of its safety review of orlistat and is being implemented in conjunction with Roche, the manufacturer of the prescription dose of orlistat (Xenical). The agency stated that a cause-and-effect relationship has not been established.

The updated Alli label will advise consumers to: “Stop use and ask a doctor if you develop itching, yellow eyes or skin, dark urine or loss of appetite. There have been rare reports of liver injury in people taking orlistat.”

“GSK is committed to ensuring that consumers and physicians understand the safety profile of orlistat and alli,” stated Howard March, chief medical officer for GSK Consumer Healthcare. “Although reports of serious liver injury in people taking orlistat are rare, GSK takes all adverse events reports seriously.”

Since Alli was made available over-the-counter in 2007, more than 10 million people worldwide have used the product. With more than 100 clinical studies involving 30,000 patients, orlistat is the most extensively studied weight loss drug in the world and continues to be a safe and effective product when used as directed to help people lose weight. More than 40 million people have used orlistat since it first became available in 1998.

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