Reports: Meningitis outbreak prompts calls for inquiry into compounding pharmacies
NEW YORK — Members of Congress are calling for an inquiry into compounding pharmacies amid a meningitis outbreak that has infected 119 people and killed 11, according to published reports.
The New York Times reported that Democratic and Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration, had called for an inquiry into laws and regulations governing compounding pharmacies. The committee, of which Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan is chair, includes Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Diana DeGette, D-Colo. and Frank Pallone, D-N.J. The Times reported that Upton supported opening an inquiry, along with three other Republican members of the committee.
According to the Times, the infections are linked to injectable methylprednisolone acetate, a compounded epidural steroid drug produced at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. Health officials originally thought the infections stemmed from Aspergillus fungus that had contaminated the drug, but officials in Tennessee determined that it was another, much rarer fungus called Exserohilum.
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Method’s latest product line packaged with ocean, post-consumer recycled plastic
SAN FRANCISCO — A cleaning product company is launching a limited-edition product that is bottled in innovative and sustainable packaging.
Method said its two-in-one hand and dish soap, available exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide, is packaged in bottles made from a blend of plastic recovered from the ocean and post-consumer recycled plastic. Method partnered with Envision Plastics to develop a new recycling process to make the bottles. The process allows plastics recovered from the ocean to be cleaned, blended, and then remanufactured into high quality recycled plastic that is the same quality as virgin high-density polyethylene plastic.
"Our goal with ocean plastic packaging is to show that the most viable solution to our plastic pollution problem is using the plastic that’s already on the planet," Method cofunder Adam Lowry said. "Method’s ocean plastic bottle demonstrates in the extreme that recycling is possible. By recycling and reusing plastic to make our bottles, we turn off the tap of plastic flowing into our oceans and take the first, most important step toward solving the ocean plastic problem."
Available in two fragrances — sea minerals and sweet water — Method’s limited-edition soap carry a suggested retail price of $4.99.
Consumers plan to spend more this holiday season, NPD finds
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — It seems that consumers’ holiday spending intentions are more positive than last year, according to NPD’s 11th annual holiday retail study.
Among 3,618 respondents polled in September, 10% said they plan on spending more this holiday season, compared with 9% in 2011; 67% said they plan to spend about the same, compared with 64% last year; and 23% said they plan to spend less, compared with 27% in 2011. But as additional consumers are willing to spend more this holiday season, their shopping timeline differs from 2011: More consumers already started their holiday shopping by this time last year (16% this year versus 17% in 2011), while the number of consumers who said they would begin their shopping before Thanksgiving rose from 19% in 2011 to 21% in 2012.
"Looking at this year’s responses, I see a light at the end of the tunnel with more consumers telling us they plan to ‘spend about the same’ and less planning to ‘spend less,’" said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD. "While consumer confidence seems to be up retailers will still face some challenges. They will need to develop creative ways to lure shoppers into the stores."
So where will consumers head to when they start their holiday shopping? Half (50%) said they will shop at discount retailers (i.e., Kmart, Target and Walmart); 38% intend to shop online and 28% said they intend to shop national chains, such as Sears and Kohl’s, among others. However, NPD found that there is an increased emphasis on shopping at off-price stores, drug stores and specialty stores (rising 1% to 2%), compared with 2011.
"Retailers at all levels are likely to be challenged this year with the channel lines increasingly becoming blurred. Among the competition for traditional retailers this year are drug stores and supermarkets," Cohen said. "Now that consumers are less attracted to sale prices and more attracted to selection, as well as convenience, stocking the right items will be essential to drive foot traffic."
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