HEALTH

Pollen.com adds two new features to its site

BY Michael Johnsen

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. Pollen.com, a division of Surveillance Data, Inc., on Monday announced the addition of two new features, Pollen History and Two-City Comparison, to its site for people who suffer from seasonal allergies.

Pollen.com has also added a shopping feature for those who wish to comparison-shop for allergy-relieving products.

Pollen History provides a 30-day allergy index history by zip code. The proprietary index assigns a weighted value to key factors such as the pollen count, weather and wind speed and direction. Visitors can use the chart to track whether allergy conditions are increasing or decreasing over time. In the near future, the site will introduce a 90-day look-back, which will be the most extensive pollen history available on the web.

The Two-City Comparison Chart allows Pollen.com visitors to compare the pollen intensity in their own area with that of another location for the next four days by plugging in the two zip codes. The chart that pops up displays bar graphs showing the pollen severity levels in the two locations for each day.

“When people with allergies travel on business, vacation or relocate, they want to know how the expected pollen levels in other areas compare with what they’re currently experiencing,” stated Glenn Connery, manager of the application development/web group for SDI. “Our Two-City Comparison helps people plan their medication use and their outdoor activities a little better. The comparison feature has also been used by parents whose children have allergies and are going away to college in a different city.”

Pollen.com will soon expand both Pollen History and Two-City Comparison to include breakdowns of specific pollen sources such as trees, plants and grasses.

And the new “Allergy Buyers Club” feature allows Pollen.com users to shop online for a wide range of allergy relief and healthy home products, including air purifiers, dehumidifiers, water filters, furnace filters, vacuum cleaners and hypoallergenic bedding.

“This is a user-driven service,” Connery said. “We’re fortunate to have such an interested and involved audience, and we try to respond to their suggestions by providing the features that they want. Their feedback really makes a difference in the usefulness of the site.”

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CHPA’s Suydam receives FDA alumni award

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach on Thursday afternoon recognized Linda Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, as an honored recipient of FDA’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the association announced.

The citation for Suydam’s achievement reads: “For exceptional management of FDA programs in medical devices, radiological health and agency-wide, and leadership to fight abuse and ensure safe use of over-the-counter medicines.”

“On behalf of CHPA’s board of directors, we are pleased that Linda has been recognized for her dedication and continued commitment toward improving public health, and remain grateful to have the benefit of her extensive experience with FDA on behalf of the consumers who rely on over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements, “ stated CHPA chairman John Hendrickson, executive vice president of global operations and supply chain at Perrigo.

Prior to joining CHPA as its president in 2002, Suydam enjoyed a 21-year career at FDA, rising from an entry-level position to senior associate commissioner, the highest-ranking, non-political executive position at FDA.

Since joining CHPA , Suydam has directed the establishment of the CHPA Educational Foundation whose goal is improved public health through safe and effective OTC use; increased opportunities for synergistic cooperation between member firms by establishing the annual Market Exchange and retail immersion events; and enhanced the association’s positive relationship with the FDA through educational seminars, conferences, and joint learning opportunities.

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FDA calls for recall of supplement marketed for ED

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration today requested that SEI Pharmaceuticals, of Miami, Fla., recall all Xiadafil VIP Tabs sold in 8 tablet bottles (Lot # 6K029) or blister cards of 2 tablets (Lot # 6K029-SEI) because these products contain a potentially harmful, undeclared ingredient that may dangerously affect a person’s blood pressure and can cause other life-threatening side effects.

These lots of Xiadafil VIP Tabs bear an expiration date of September 2009 and are marketed as a dietary supplement for sexual enhancement and able to treat erectile dysfunction.

Today’s formal request follows an action by the state of Florida to prevent the further distribution of this product into consumer channels. FDA is advising consumers not to buy or use this product. The agency may take further regulatory action to protect consumers from this illegal product.

Although labeled as a dietary supplement and touted as “all-natural,” Xiadafil VIP Tabs are an illegally marketed drug that contains a potentially harmful undeclared ingredient, the FDA stated. FDA chemical analysis revealed that Xiadafil VIP Tabs contains hydroxyhomosildenafil, which is an analog of sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, an FDA-approved prescription drug for ED.

“Because these products are labeled as ‘all natural dietary supplements,’ consumers may assume that they are harmless and pose no health risk,” stated Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “But an unsuspecting consumer with underlying medical issues may take these products without knowing that they can cause serious side effects and interact in dangerous ways with drugs that a consumer is already taking.”

On May 13 Florida officials issued a “stop sale” action at SEI’s distribution facility in Miami, Fla. This action required the firm to hold, intact, violative Xiadafil VIP Tabs found on-hand at the facility. The state of Florida’s action to control the supply of the product, coupled with today’s formal request by FDA to recall this product from the marketplace, will further reduce the likelihood that this potentially dangerous product is used by unsuspecting consumers.

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