HEALTH

NPA to host 14th annual Natural Products Day in April

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Natural Products Association last week announced the 14th annual Natural Products Day to be held here April 6, 2011.

Natural Products Day provides an opportunity for NPA members and others in the industry to meet with members of Congress. Attendees will visit congressional offices and talk to senators, representatives and their staffs about key legislation that may impact the natural products industry.

“Natural Products Day is a great way for industry members to get a foot in the door of the policy-makers who can make a difference,” stated John Gay, NPA executive director and CEO. “Nothing makes a greater impact on elected officials than a face-to-face meeting with a constituent.”

The day will begin with a morning session led by association and government relations experts talking about effective ways to communicate with legislators and providing updates on key legislation. Following afternoon appointments, attendees will attend a reception on Capitol Hill that honors NPA Congressional Champions — legislators who have worked hard to support initiatives important to the industry.

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Survey: Most adults won’t take off from work if they have a cold

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Americans won’t take off work for something as innocuous as a cold, a new survey released Wednesday found, a fact that underscores the need for ready access to over-the-counter cough-cold medicines and better hand-washing/sanitizing practices in the workplace.

The survey, sponsored by Cadbury Adams’ Halls cough drop brand, found that 44% of Americans would consider going to work with a fever, and 32% said they would show up to work no matter how sick they get this season.

The down economy is the principal generator of a workforce culture where calling in sick is foreboded; the survey revealed that almost 1-in-5 Americans (19%) have felt pressure to head into work when they’re sick. Nearly 1-in-3 reported paid sick days are not part of their compensation package, 11% reported that taking off even one day could place them in jeopardy of paying their bills on time and 10% of Americans suggested that calling in sick may impact their employment picture, whether that means being passed on a promotion or being terminated altogether.

The Halls cold-and-flu survey was a telephone survey conducted by Kelton Research on behalf of Halls. The phone survey took place between Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 among 621 employed adults ages 18 years and older, using random digit dialing of listed and unlisted numbers.

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New alliance will crack down on adulterated products touting dietary supplement claims

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The dietary supplement industry’s leading trade associations on Wednesday joined forces with the Food and Drug Administration to support heightened efforts to address public health problems posed by products that are illegally marketed as dietary supplements but contain the same active ingredients as FDA-approved drugs or other ingredients that do not qualify as dietary ingredients.

The FDA’s concerns focus on three categories of products particularly susceptible to spiking with undisclosed ingredients: weight loss, sexual enhancement and body building, all categories in which consumers may be looking for immediate or dramatic results. In a letter to the industry asking for support to address this problem, the agency signaled its acknowledgment that there are legitimate dietary supplement products in these three categories, noting that adulterated products “undermine confidence in legitimately marketed dietary supplements in these and other categories.”

Agreeing that this issue is a high concern, the industry trade associations committed to remain vigilant in their monitoring of the full supply chain and selection of ingredient suppliers; review manufacturing and quality assurance activities to ensure the legality, quality and safety of products, particularly those most vulnerable to potential adulteration; and make use of the new tools the FDA has made available to the industry to report any suspected tainted supplement ingredients or finished products.

The industry coalition included representatives from the American Herbal Products Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Natural Products Association and the United Natural Products Alliance. The industry trade associations pledged their support to help the FDA rid the market of illegal products that both pose a danger to consumers and tarnish the reputation of the legitimate supplement industry.

The industry coalition also endorsed the FDA’s actions to use its regulatory muscle to hold accountable those who violate the law and jeopardize the public health, using tough criminal sanctions when appropriate.

Furthermore, this industry coalition supported the agency’s efforts to alert consumers to areas of potential concern and to provide tips for selection of supplements, such as buying from legitimate companies and sources with strong reputations — and not to purchase products with claims that sound too good to be true or suggest drug-like effects when they are marketed as supplements.

Consumers also should be wary of products that boast they are of limited availability, only available for a short time or are “barely legal,” as these claims may indicate there already may be legitimate concerns about their safety.

This initiative should serve as a strong warning to criminals. “Those who purposefully spike products are not legitimate dietary supplement companies, and the supplement industry is actively committed to being a part of this problem’s solution,” the coalition stated.

The efforts were praised by the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the nation’s leading Hispanic health advocacy group, said, "[the] action by the FDA will help clean up the industry, return consumer confidence about the safety of the products available and save lives."

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