HEALTH

Rite Aid introduces interactive higi health stations across the chain

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Higi on Tuesday announced an agreement with Rite Aid to become the sole provider of health stations in stores nationwide. The company will deploy approximately 4,100 higi Stations across the United States beginning in the second quarter of 2014 and projects completion of the rollout by early 2015. 

With the availability of higi Stations in Rite Aid stores, both Rite Aid customers and associates will be able to conveniently measure their weight, BMI, pulse and blood pressure with the additional ability of having this data securely stored in their private higi online account for ongoing reference and progress comparison. By using their local higi kiosk regularly, Rite Aid customers and associates will also likely see an increase in their “higi Score,” a proprietary measurement exclusive to higi that positively recognizes each users increased engagement with their health. 

“We are very excited to be expanding higi on a national level through this new relationship with Rite Aid,” Jim Farrell, president of higi, said. “Our primary goal is to help people take an active role in their personal health and well-being. Now Rite Aid customers and associates nationwide will be able to measure their personal body data through the higi Station and integrate that information into their lifestyle – allowing users to engage in their health in convenient and rewarding ways.”

“Rite Aid is pleased to be the first national drug store chain to select a health station provider like higi,” Dan Miller, Rite Aid SVP pharmacy, said. “Higi was chosen because of the high quality, ease of use and effectiveness higi Stations offer, which ultimately supports Rite Aid’s long term commitment to provide access to great health and wellness tools for our customers and associates.”

The higi Stations will encourage people to approach personal health from a broader perspective by focusing on lifestyle choices and community interactions along with standard aspects like diet and exercise. The tools produce a higi Score between one and 999, generated by a proprietary algorithm that measures a person’s body stats, social engagement and personal interactions. In addition to engaging with their score at higi Stations, higi users can also use the mobile app and higi website, which provide wellness-related content and activity tracking tools. 

 

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Nasacort Allergy 24HR Nasal Spray reaches store shelves

BY Michael Johnsen

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Sanofi and its U.S. consumer healthcare division Chattem on Tuesday announced that Nasacort Allergy 24HR Nasal Spray is now available over the counter in the United States to relieve seasonal and year-round nasal allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion, in adults and children 2 years of age and older.  

Nasacort Allergy 24HR is the first and only nasal corticosteroid to be available at full prescription strength without the need for a prescription.  It works differently than other over-the-counter treatments to relieve the full range of nasal allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion, by stopping more of the chemical responses that cause those symptoms.  

"Now that Nasacort Allergy 24HR is available over the counter, the millions of people who suffer from seasonal and year-round allergies have easier access to the gold standard treatment for nasal allergy symptoms," said Zan Guerry, Chattem CEO.

The launch will make Chattem an allergy powerhouse with an expected half billion or more in allergy product sales between its brands Allegra and now Nasacort. 

Kline Healthcare’s industry analyst Laura Mahecha projected Nasacort Allergy’s annual sales potential to reach as high as $200 million. 

 

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House introduces bill to place age restriction on DXM purchase

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Reps. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, and Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, last week introduced bipartisan legislation — the Preventing Abuse of Cough Medicine Treatment Act — that would help combat the abuse of dextromethorphan by placing an age restriction on its purchase. 

“Millions of Americans use these cold medicines responsibly to gain relief from coughs and colds," Braley said. "However, these medicines are available at every supermarket, drug store and convenience store in the country, giving teenagers unlimited access to purchase and abuse them. As a parent, I’m always focused on what we can do to protect Iowa’s children — and after researching this issue, it became clear that something needed to be done.”

"We must protect teens from abusing medicines like DXM, educate teens about the risks associated with this destructive behavior and deter teens from purchasing these medications with the intent to get high," Johnson added.

“This bill is one part of a larger, multipronged approach to prevent cough medicine abuse, along with educating parents and teens about the risks and social stigma associated with this behavior," noted Scott Melville, president and CEO for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. CHPA has long supported an age-18 restriction, as well as national educational efforts to curb teen OTC cough medicine abuse through its StopMedicineAbuse.org education campaign, which includes collaborations with The Partnership at Drugfree.org, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the National Association of School Nurses and others.

The PACT Act ensures that adults will have reasonable access to these medicines, while at the same time preventing DXM abuse among teenagers. The legislation would restrict the sale of dextromethorphan to those under the age of 18 years, unless presented with a doctor’s prescription. Additionally, it would ensure that only legitimate entities registered with the FDA or comparable state agencies can purchase raw, unfinished (bulk) dextromethorphan.

In 2013 the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that roughly 1-in-20 teens in grades eight through 12 have abused cough medicine by taking excessive amounts to get “high.” Teens will often take up to 25 times more than the recommended dose.

The PACT Act is the House companion to the Senate legislation that was introduced by Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Ark. It’s being supported by a broad coalition of organizations, including the American Association of Poison Control Centers, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, California Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, CHPA, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium, National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, National Association of School Nurses, National Consumers League, Partnership at DrugFree.Org, Safe Kids Worldwide and Treatment Communities of America. 

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