Merck launches Zegerid OTC
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Merck on Thursday announced that its Zegerid OTC (omeprazole 20 mg/sodium bicarbonate 1100 mg capsules) solution for frequent heartburn now is available at retail.
Zegerid OTC is the only OTC proton-pump inhibitor product with two active ingredients, combining omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate, which protects the omeprazole in this product from acid in the stomach and allows it to be absorbed.
“To date, all other OTC PPIs have used an enteric coating to prevent the medicine from being broken down by acid in the stomach prior to absorption,” explained Michael Rahmin, a gastroenterologist at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J. and one of Castle Connolly’s 2009 Top Doctors in the New York Metro Area. “Zegerid OTC capsules do not need an enteric coating, because the sodium bicarbonate offers built-in protection against stomach acid, so the omeprazole can be absorbed by the body and get to work treating frequent heartburn.”
“With its strong history as an effective prescription product, we are excited to bring Zegerid OTC directly to consumers,” stated Bridgette Heller, president, Schering-Plough Consumer HealthCare, a division of Merck. “Our consumer healthcare division is already home to a variety of industry leading OTC products, including Claritin, Dr Scholl’s, MiraLax, Afrin and Lotrimin. We are confident that Zegerid OTC will quickly join this list of highly regarded household brands.”
Alabama to implement e-tracking program to block PSE sales
WASHINGTON The Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Tuesday expressed its support for Alabama law HB 528, signed into law by Gov. Bob Riley, that calls for implementation of a real-time electronic sales tracking system to block illegal purchases of cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine.
CHPA also commended Rep. Frank McDaniel, D-DeKalb and Marshall, and Sen. Lowell Barron, D-DeKalb, Jackson and Madison, for securing bipartisan support for this important piece of legislation which passed through both chambers unanimously.
Alabama joins nine other states — Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Washington — that have adopted e-tracking.
“We applaud Gov. Riley and the Alabama legislature for implementing a solution that will fight domestic meth production while maintaining consumer access to important cold and allergy medications,” stated Linda Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “This system offers an effective solution to reducing meth labs and is the only solution that works across state lines.”
The makers of PSE-containing medicines are providing an industry-funded system to allow law enforcement to identify “smurfers” or those who try to illegally violate limits in state and federal law on the amount of PSE-containing medicines individuals can purchase in a given period of time. E-tracking poses no new barriers to consumers, collects only the information already required under federal law, and enables law enforcement to find the meth labs that would otherwise go undetected.
According to a recent poll conducted by David Binder Research, more than three-fourths of Alabama voters support an e-tracking system. The poll also found that voters believe e-tracking will help law enforcement receive the information they need to identify those who are purchasing illegal amounts of medicines containing PSE. As many as 78% of those surveyed agree that e-tracking will be “a huge help to law enforcement.”
CDC continues to urge citizens to receive H1N1 flu shots
ATLANTA The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still is recommending people who have not yet gotten their H1N1 flu shots that they do so. H1N1 vaccine is widely available, CDC officials noted.
In a conference call with reporters on Monday, the CDC that H1N1 has “not gone away,” with regional activity still being reported throughout the southeast, most notably in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Hospitalizations attributed to H1N1 have been on the rise for three consecutive weeks.
“The H1N1 flu has made 2009-2010 flu season one of the most challenging in recent memory,” suggested U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. “It’s persistent in the southeast and now those states are experiencing more local and regional activity,” she said. “We’re at a critical moment in our national response to this virus and we need to continue to urge Americans to get vaccinated, especially people at high risk from complications from H1N1.”
To date, approximately 60 million Americans have been infected and there’s been 265,000 hospitalizations, the CDC reported. Close to 12,000 people have died from H1N1, about one-third the number of deaths attributed to influenza in a typical year. However, 11,000 deaths occurred in people under the age of 65, Anne Schuchat, CDC director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, noted. “That’s much more deaths in a particular year among younger people than what we typically see with seasonal flu. We estimate that the rate of death in young people is probably five times higher than what we would typically see with seasonal influenza.”