HEALTH

MLB Players Association president challenges Congress on supplement regulation

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON For all the talk on steroid use and what impact the use of those steroids by sports stars/heroes is having on today’s youth, supplements continue to be drawn into the mix.

Steroids and supplements were linked again Tuesday, during the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing on Illegal Steroid Use by Major League Baseball Athletes, when Donald Fehr, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association challenged Congress to examine whether or not the Food and Drug Administration is doing its job in regulating dietary supplements. “Finally, as I have previously suggested, perhaps the Congress should examine whether the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act—DSHEA, as it is commonly known—is being adequately enforced,” he charged during his prepared testimony. “One of the members on the panel in his opening statement, or in one of the questions, suggested to kids buying stuff in stores. To the extent that that’s true, and I think it is, that means it is available in stores and legally.”

Later, Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., shared a story about a video he had bought for his 14-year-old son to help prepare for the ensuing youth league season. The video recommended a course of supplements, Sarbanes said. “At the end of it, the person on the videotape said, ‘So what you need is three things: You need the equipment; you need this instruction booklet on how to make sure your form is good; and then, of course, you need these supplements that you can go buy, too.’”

In response, Fehr said, “If any of you haven’t done it, please go to the drug store or GNC or somewhere else and look what’s up on the shelves. Every tree, every grass, every bush, every mineral … everything else anybody’s ever heard of is there,” he said. “When I mentioned in my prepared testimony in my opening remarks that one of the things that may bear consideration is a review of the dietary supplements act, DSHEA, to see if it makes sense—so that we don’t, in effect, advertise to kids.”

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TABS Group examines political leanings of vitamin and supplement users

BY Michael Johnsen

SHELTON, Conn. The marketing and research company TABS Group, on Tuesday released survey results of voting preferences based on purchase behavior of vitamin and nutritional supplements. “These results provide interesting insight into vitamin and supplement users and how their usage patterns can predict and explain voting behavior. The stereotype of the typical user being a hippie, earthy-type just does not hold, as heavy category users skewed significantly more Republican than Democrat,” noted TABS Group president Kurt Jetta.

“Furthermore, the results hold meaningful political, policy and marketing implications for political candidates and supplement manufacturers,” Jetta added. “First, the political parties should consider why heavy users are more likely to support one party in greater numbers than the other particularly with respect to regulatory questions that arise. Second, candidates can gain guidance into media avenues that may be more efficient vehicles to reach their target audience. Conversely, manufacturers should take note of the more conservative political leanings of much of their heavy user base and adjust their media plans accordingly.”

Among the findings:

  • Regular vitamin users are significantly more likely to be Republican than Democrat. 50 percent of Republicans claimed to purchase at least 3 types of supplements versus only 43 percent of Democrats;
  • Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats or Independents of being very heavy users of the category, defined as purchasing at least 6 supplement types (8 percent for Republicans versus 4 percent for Democrats and Independents);
  • Among likely voters in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton had a higher percentage of the preference among regular users versus non-users (44 percent as compared to 40 percent). Conversely, Democratic hopefuls Barack Obama and John Edwards had slightly higher preference among non-users than regular users. The split was 25 percent/23 percent and 14 percent/10 percent, respectively.
  • Among likely voters in the Republican primary, there was a clear difference in preference of non-users versus regular users. Non-users tended to favor the more socially conservative candidates, the TABS Group stated, including Mike Huckabee (22 percent) and Fred Thompson (15 percent). Conversely, the support of regular users dropped substantially: Huckabee with 16 percent and Thompson with 10 percent.

The survey was fielded across three days, Jan. 9 through Jan. 11, polling 1,000 nationally representative households.

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Former CHPA vp Kraushaar joins Triadvocates

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Kevin Kraushaar, former vice president of government relations for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, accepted a position as managing principal of the Washington, D.C., office of Triadvocates, the government relations consulting practice of Quarles & Brady beginning in January, the association stated in a e-newsletter Friday.

“Kevin was highly dedicated to the interests of our member companies, and has a wealth of experience and insight from 14 years on the job here at CHPA,” stated Andy Fish, senior vice president, legal & government affairs and general counsel. “We are grateful for his service to the association and its members and wish him well in his new venture.”

Kraushaar joined CHPA in 1993 as assistant general counsel and director of state government relations. He was named vice president, government relations in 1998.

Prior to CHPA, Kraushaar served as the legislative director to former Michigan Rep. Carl Pursell, who was the ranking Republican on the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

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