Report studies emergency-room visits, deaths among children
NEW YORK The majority of emergency-room visits of pediatrics that were caused by cough/cold medicines were the result of overdosing and occurred primarily in children younger than two years of age, according to a report published in the April 2009 Annals of Emergency Medicine.
“In our sample, pediatric fatalities caused by nonprescription cough and cold medications were uncommon, involved overdose and primarily affected children younger than 2 years,” wrote Richard Dart, author of the report. “The intent of caregivers appears to be therapeutic to relieve symptoms in some cases and nontherapeutic to induce sedation or to facilitate child maltreatment in other cases.”
Researchers investigated 189 emergency-room visits. Of these, 118 were judged possibly, likely or definitely related to a cough and cold ingredient.
Of the 118 cases, 103 involved a nonprescription drug, whereas 15 cases involved a prescription medication alone. Out of the 103 cases associated with nonprescription drugs, the evidence indicated that 88 involved an overdosage. A dosage could not be assessed in the remaining 15 cases.
Several contributing factors were identified, the authors noted. Many of the patients were less than 2-years-old; some of the parents were using the medicines to sedate their child; in some cases, the medicines were administered in a daycare setting; in other cases, there was use of two separate ingredients with the same ingredient; in some instances, parents failed to use a measuring device; and some parents administered a nonprescription product intended for adult use.
“The age group of children younger than 2 years was the most commonly involved,” Dart wrote. “Their small size may facilitate inadvertent administration of an overdose. It is also harder for young children than for older children to communicate emerging adverse effects to their caregiver,” he said. “A potential contributor to the predominance of young children is the fact that the package label of nonprescription cough and cold medications does not provide dosing information for children younger than 2 years.” And hasn’t, incidentally, since late 2007 — the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and its member companies voluntarily withdrew all pediatric medicines labeled “consult your physician” for children under two in favor of “do not use” in children under two.
All cases that occurred in a daycare setting involved a child younger than 2 years, researchers noted.
NAD recommends halt of Claritin ‘RediTabs’ broadcast ads
NEW YORK The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Monday recommended that Schering-Plough, maker of the over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin “RediTabs,” discontinue broadcast advertising that features high-speed raceway images.
NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined broadcast advertising for the product following a challenge by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the maker of competing OTC allergy medications Benadryl and Zyrtec.
NAD considered whether the race car imagery and narration in the commercial imply that Claritin RediTabs OTC provides the fastest relief of allergy symptoms.
The challenged advertising features NASCAR racecars running a track as Carl Edwards, a well-known NASCAR driver, appears and explains that “speed is important” to him and that when his allergies hit, he uses Claritin RediTabs, “the fastest dissolving allergy medicine.” A statement that “Speed of dissolution does not imply speed of relief” appears simultaneously on the screen.
Following its review of the evidence, including a consumer perception survey provided by the challenger, NAD determined one reasonable takeaway from the commercial is that RediTabs provides very fast or instantaneous relief of allergy symptoms in comparison to competing allergy medicines. Further, NAD determined that the disclosure “Speed of dissolution does not imply speed of relief” contradicted, rather than limited, the main message of very fast or instantaneous allergy relief.
NAD recommended that the commercial be permanently discontinued and that future advertising avoid imagery and claims that imply that Claritin RediTabs provide very fast or instantaneous allergy relief.
Schering-Plough, in its advertiser’s statement, said it that while the company did not intend to convey a claim of instant relief, it “greatly respects NAD and the NAD process and will take this decision into account in crafting its future advertisements.”
McKesson appoints chief technology officer
SAN FRANCISCO A McKesson executive is moving up the ranks.
McKesson Corp. announced that Randy Spratt, EVP and CIO, has been promoted to the newly-created position of chief technology officer, while retaining his responsibilities as the company’s CIO.
As chief technology officer, Spratt will guide the overall technology direction for the company’s healthcare technology products, and provide support and guidance for application development processes companywide. The position will serve as a support arm to the management teams within McKesson’s technology businesses, working collaboratively with each business to optimize the quality, interoperability, and transparency of McKesson’s software development operations.
“As our healthcare system increasingly looks to technology to improve both the quality and efficiency of care delivery, we see a tremendous opportunity to accelerate our progress in providing integrated, interoperable technology solutions,” said John Hammergren, chairman and CEO of McKesson. “Randy has an outstanding track record in establishing processes that have streamlined how we plan, build and deploy our technologies internally, and I am confident that he can apply the same level of focused guidance to the development and deployment of our customer-facing solutions. At McKesson we are committed to ensuring the highest levels of customer satisfaction and to delivering a high return on investment for our customers. This decision will support world class results in both areas.”
Spratt has served as McKesson’s CIO since 2005, with responsibility for all internal technology initiatives within the Corporation. Spratt has been with McKesson for more than 18 years, most recently as chief process officer for McKesson Provider Technologies, the company’s medical software and services division based in Alpharetta, Ga.
“I am excited to be involved in the product side of our business again, and I am looking forward to working with the leaders of our software development businesses to establish broad technology plans, improve interoperability of our technology solutions, and optimize our development processes and activities,” said Spratt. “We are committed to developing best-in-class, integrated solutions that improve our customers’ business and clinical performance, and provide a more connected healthcare system that benefits us all.”