HEALTH

Price, value sway U.S. consumers when choosing OTC medicines

BY Alaric DeArment

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. Consumers in the United States place more importance on price and value when buying OTC medications compared to global consumers, according to an online survey conducted by The Nielsen Company and the Association of the European Self-Medication Industry.

Results of the survey, released Monday, showed that Americans ranked second in considering price of OTC products important, at 30 percent, compared to 33 percent of consumers in Japan. At the same time, 17 percent of global consumers consider price. A quarter of American consumers consider whether the product is a good value for money, compared to 15 percent of global consumers.

“With increasing medical costs and a fragile economy, the U.S. consumer is more price and value centric than ever,” NielsenHealth managing director Matt Dumas said. ”These findings highlight the rising importance of generic drugs in the U.S. market, which is underscored by low OTC product loyalty scores versus global markets.”

The survey included 28,253 Internet users in 51 markets in Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East and was conducted between April and May.

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HEALTH

3M introduces Rapid Detection flu test

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. PAUL, Minn 3M on Thursday announced the nationwide availability of the 3M Rapid Detection Flu A+B Test, an innovation in the flu diagnostics market.

The 3M Rapid Detection Flu A+B Test is the first rapid flu test to provide automated results. The automated technology helps reduce user interpretation errors, which can lead to both false-negative or false-positive results. The 3M Rapid Detection Flu A+B Test will be able to deliver hospital and physician office laboratories reliable and objective electronic results in 15 minutes.

“Bringing automation to the interpretation of influenza tests is a key factor for the next generation of rapid flu tests,” said Brian Anderson, marketing manager of 3M Health Care. “Automating and storing the objective result of a flu test will help increase laboratory productivity and minimize the potential for human error, which can contribute to improving patient outcomes.”

Requiring less than three minutes of prep time, the 3M Rapid Detection Flu A+B Test detects positive or negative results and differentiates influenza A and influenza B. In addition to providing automated results, the technology also enables labs to export data through laboratory information systems, further reducing the potential for reporting error by eliminating the need for manual recording and transferring of patient results. The test also reads and stores lab results, giving lab technicians more flexibility in time and test management.

“Properly interpreting test results is critical, especially considering that most flu antiviral medications have a 48-hour recommended therapeutic window for prescribing, so false-positives or even delayed test results may result in misapplication of therapy or may reduce its effectiveness,” stated Christine Ginocchio, director of microbiology, virology and molecular diagnostics at North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System. “Having an automated reader almost eliminates the potential for misinterpreting results, leading to a faster and more informed treatment decision, which results in better patient outcomes.”

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Consumer Product Safety Commission requests comments on iron shipping compliance requirements

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md The American Herbal Products Association on Thursday noted that certain dietary supplements containing iron may fall under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, passed in January, which requires that products subject to a consumer product safety rule (like those containing iron) include a Certificate of Compliance when shipped in commerce on and after Nov.12.

For dietary supplement manufacturers, products subject to a consumer product safety rule are those that contain over 250 mg of elemental iron and are required to be in childproof closures by regulations promulgated under the “Poison Prevention Packaging Act,” a statute administered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, AHPA noted.

CPSC has issued a “Request for Comments and Information,” seeking, in particular, comments on the use of electronic certificates to facilitate the “accompanying” and “furnishing” requirements as well as comments on the issue of multiple certifications for the same product, AHPA reported. “The American Herbal Products Association is reviewing CPSC’s request for comments to determine what comments if any to submit,” stated AHPA president Michael McGuffin. “The association is committed to keeping members abreast of any developments and will provide guidance as needed.”

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