HEALTH

Merck launches Zegerid OTC

BY Michael Johnsen

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.”

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Alabama to implement e-tracking program to block PSE sales

BY Michael Johnsen

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.”

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Cobroxin to be featured on morning talk show

BY Michael Johnsen

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. XenaCare announced Wednesday that its over-the-counter pain reliever, Cobroxin, will be featured on a segment of “The Balancing Act,” a morning show that airs on Lifetime Television.

“As the only morning show in the United States dedicated specifically to educating, inspiring and empowering women, ‘The Balancing Act’ reaches an important segment of Cobroxin consumers,” stated Frank Rizzo, president and CEO of XenaCare. “We look forward to working closely with ‘The Balancing Act’s’ hosts, Beth Troutman and Kristy Villa, to help continue to educate viewers about Cobroxin and its added benefits over traditional pain relievers.” he concluded.

Cobroxin contains minute quantities of cobra venom — manufactured in accordance with the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the U.S. — as its active ingredient.

The segment is slated to air May 17 and May 31 and will feature an interview with Rik Deitsch, chairman and CEO of Nutra Pharma Corporation, the company that developed and currently manufactures Cobroxin.

Cobroxin currently is available as an advanced oral spray for treating migraine headaches, neck aches, shoulder pain, cramps, lower back pain, and neuralgia and also is available as an advanced topical gel for treating joint pain and pain associated with repetitive stress and arthritis, the company stated.

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