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NAD determines Chattem can support its advertising claims supporting Nasacort 24HR

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division on Wednesday determined that Chattem can support certain advertising claims for “Nasacort Allergy 24HR,” an over-the-counter allergy relief medication. The claims were challenged by Merck Consumer Care.
 
NAD considered whether the advertising implied that Nasacort provides relief for ocular allergy symptoms; is more effective than medicines in other classes of allergy medication, including Claritin; or provides 24-hour relief with a single dose.
 
In this case, the key issue for NAD was whether the advertiser’s scientific evidence was sufficient to provide a reasonable basis for its claims that “Nasacort and nasal sprays in the same medication class are considered the most effective treatment for hay fever and other respiratory allergies” and that Nasacort is “the most effective OTC medicine for the treatment of nasal allergy symptoms.”  
 
The challenger contended that Chattem offered no head-to-head testing to support its broad superiority claim regarding other over-the-counter medication, nor did it provide head-to-head testing against other oral antihistamines, oral nasal decongestants or decongestant nasal sprays. In addition, the challenger noted that Chattem failed to address commonly used combination drug products, like Claritin-D, which treat more symptoms of allergies, including nasal congestion and ocular symptoms.  
 
It was Merck’s position that, in order to substantiate its categorical claims that Nasacort is (a) the “most effective treatment for hay fever and other upper respiratory allergies” and (b) the “most effective OTC medicine for the treatment of nasal allergy symptoms,” Chattem must have head-to-head tests showing that Nasacort is statistically significantly superior to the products in every other class of medications on both points. 
 
However, NAD noted in its decision that there can be “no question that when making comparative performance claims, head-to-head studies of the parties’ allergy relief products remain the gold standard of claim substantiation. At the same time, NAD recognizes that head-to-head testing is not the sole way to provide support for comparative performance claims, particularly when there is strong scientific consensus with regard to product efficacy.”
 
Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that the advertiser established a reasonable basis for each of the challenged claims. 
 
NAD recommended that Chattem modify the claim that “INSs, such as Nasacort Allergy 24HR, can help clear up the full range of allergic rhinitis symptoms, including nasal congestion, for 24 hours,” to clearly convey that Nasacort is indicated for use in treating nasal allergy symptoms.
 
Chattem, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “values the self-regulatory process and appreciates NAD’s close attention to the record in this matter.”
 
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. 
 
 
 
 
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Angel Soft debuts tissue soft packs

BY Ryan Chavis

ATLANTA — Angel Soft, a brand from Georgia-Pacific, announced the introduction of Angel Soft Facial Tissue Soft Packs, which are both crush and water resistant, according to the company. The tissue packs are available in both in-home and on-the-go sizes. The in-home pack has 165 sheets while the on-the-go pack contains 72. The packaging is available in five patterns.

"New flexible and water-resistant soft packs will allow Angel Soft consumers to use facial tissue in more places. With soft, crush-resistant packaging, our consumers won't have to waste tissues because boxes get crushed or wet," said Mara Lapp, senior brand manager at Georgia-Pacific. "Both of these things make the new Angel Soft Facial Tissue soft packs a great value, which is what Angel Soft is all about."

Angel Soft Facial Tissue Soft Packs are now available at select retailers across the country.

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Study: Pharmacist adherence interventions help lower overall health costs

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH – Community pharmacists can dramatically help their patients stick to their prescription regimens, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. The findings, reported Monday in Health Affairs, also suggest that greater adherence to medications can lead to a reduction in emergency room visits and hospital admissions, thereby lowering healthcare costs for a variety of chronic conditions, including diabetes and asthma.
 
About 70% of all Medicare patients get their prescriptions filled at neighborhood drug stores, but pharmacists can do more for patients than just prepare medications, said lead investigator Janice Pringle, associate professor and director of the Program Evaluation and Research Unit, or PERU, at Pitt's School of Pharmacy. She noted their training, knowledge and community accessibility perhaps makes them the ideal health professionals to help people learn how and why to take their medications.
 
"This untapped resource could be harnessed and used to improve public health and reduce overall healthcare costs," Pringle said. "If people took their medications as prescribed, diabetes would not evolve and worsen, blood pressure would normalize, cholesterol would be reduced dramatically and the risk for severe health problems, such as heart attack or stroke, would be reduced. Patients would live longer and probably enjoy a higher quality of life."
 
For the study, dubbed the Pennsylvania Project, 283 community pharmacists were trained at short workshops by PERU staff to ask customers a few quick questions about medication adherence using established survey tools. They also were taught to have a brief dialog with patients whose screening scores indicated they were at risk of not taking their medications as prescribed by their doctors. The conversation might include questions and reassurances about side effects or to request that the patient talk to the pharmacist after taking the medication for a little while to report how they were feeling.
 
During 2011, 29,042 people had prescriptions filled at 107 Rite Aid pharmacies that implemented the screening and brief intervention approach, or SBI, and 30,454 people who went to 111 "control" pharmacies that didn't use SBI.
 
The research team then reviewed insurance claims data to evaluate medication adherence with a measure called "Proportion of Days Covered," or PDC. A PDC of 80%, meaning the medication was taken for at least 80% of the expected period, is considered to be the minimal medication dose needed to achieve the desired clinical outcome. PDC80 values were calculated for both the intervention year and for 2010, the year prior to SBI implementation.
 
For the five classes of common medications the researchers reviewed, PDC80 rates increased in the SBI group during the intervention compared to the control group, ranging from 3.1% for beta blockers to treat high blood pressure to 4.8% for oral diabetes drugs. About 75% of the net improvement was due to patients who were at high risk for poor medication adherence achieving the PDC80 benchmark after the intervention. Healthcare costs dropped by $341 annually per person for SBI patients taking oral diabetes drugs and by $241 for SBI patients taking statins to lower cholesterol.
 
"The cost savings demonstrated by the Pennsylvania Project should draw the attention of many payers to the value of leveraging pharmacists in the community where their members live to improve health and wellness and reduce overall healthcare costs," said study co-author Jesse McCullough, director of field clinical services at Rite Aid. "This is another area where the value of the pharmacist to the healthcare system is demonstrated."
 
"High quality medical care is a 'team sport' involving physicians and other providers, nurses, care managers, health plans and well-trained pharmacists," said Michael Madden, VP and chief medical officer at Gateway Health Plan, which provided pharmacy claims data for the study. "Improving medication adherence rates improves quality, public health and saves money, and this study demonstrates the value pharmacists can add."
 
"The Pennsylvania Project demonstrated that realizing untapped clinical performance value from a network of pharmacies is as much about the ability of a health plan to foster a supportive environment as it is about the ability of a pharmacy to execute an improvement effort," wrote study co-author Mark Conklin, VP at Pharmacy Quality Solutions. "The relationship between the two entities, based on shared objectives and continuous learning, is the key ingredient."
 
 
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