HEALTH

Rolling Strong partners with higi on wellness tracking for truckers

BY Michael Johnsen

Rolling Strong, the provider of driver wellness programs for transportation companies, their drivers, and owner-operators, on Thursday announced their partnership to deliver on-the-road access to the more than 11,000 higi self-screening health stations across America. With this partnership, higi’s health stations will provide the opportunity for drivers to measure, track and share their biometric health data as part of Rolling Strong wellness programs.

“Rolling Strong has a tremendous track record of empowering companies and drivers to improve their health and wellness, and we look forward to helping Rolling Strong advance their mission to reverse the declining health of America’s commercial drivers and get them home safely,” Jeff Bennett higi CEO, said. “By connecting with truck drivers at one of our 11,000 self-screening health stations across America, we can be a valuable conduit towards helping them stay their healthiest while on the road.”

As a Rolling Strong partner, higi will provide free access to Rolling Strong members to measure their biometric health numbers, including blood pressure, BMI and weight, and directly integrate with the Rolling Strong platform and mobile app for seamless engagement with their overall health and wellness. Among other features, this unique integration will allow the Rolling Strong application to make personalized dining suggestions based on a user’s combination of biometric data, activity levels and geographic location.

“Our partnership with higi will help us measure the success of our programs and provide a more personalized health and wellness experience for the nation’s commercial drivers,” Steven Kane, president Rolling Strong said. “With their extensive network of health stations across America, truck drivers can conveniently complete screenings and track their progress through the Rolling Strong platform and mobile app.”

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HEALTH

Clarion Brands CEO named chairman CHPA

BY Michael Johnsen

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Wednesday elected Gary Downing as chair of the CHPA Board of Directors at its Annual Executive Conference held March 11-14 at Turnberry Isle Miami in Aventura, Fla.

“We are delighted that Gary is taking on this role at such a critical time for the consumer healthcare industry. His broad experience within our industry will be extremely beneficial as the association helps its members navigate through a quickly changing regulatory and business environment,” Scott Melville, CHPA president and CEO, said. “I’d also like to express my appreciation to Jeff Needham, CHPA’s outgoing chair, under whose leadership the association made tremendous progress on policy priorities and strengthened CHPA’s finances and organizational structure.”

Downing is currently the CEO of Clarion Brands, an over-the-counter products portfolio company of Swander Pace Capital, and brings more than 30 years of domestic and international consumer product management experience in both large and start-up environments. Prior to Clarion, Downing was CEO of Insight Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to Prestige Brands in September 2014. Previously, he was CEO of Lansinoh Laboratories and Medtech Laboratories.

Downing began his career at the Procter & Gamble Company (Richardson-Vicks), and later served in roles at Gillette and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer. For the past 15 years, Downing has served on CHPA’s board of directors, and currently serves on the board of directors for W.F. Young, Inc. and Lansinoh Laboratories.

“I am thrilled to be serving as CHPA chair during such an exciting time in the industry,” Downing said. “Over the next two years, I will continue working closely with the board to maintain a thriving environment for consumer healthcare products, as well as building value for our membership, reinforcing our vision of helping consumers lead happier, healthier lives.”

“Gary Downing’s energy and 30-plus years of consumer healthcare product experience will prove to be invaluable,” Melville said. “His enthusiasm and commitment to this industry is evidenced not only by his long and diverse career, but by the decades he has spent on CHPA’s board of directors.”

Downing has been a staunch advocate of OTC remedies. “The outlook for the OTC business is good – but it’s essential to always look toward the future. Generation Z is here – understanding them, their needs and the way they want to consume information about their health and wellbeing is key,” he shared as part of a recent virtual roundtable published in the March issue of Drug Store News. “But you cannot ignore the millennials, gen Xers or boomers. They are all still important. You need to know your audience, where they are in in their journey, what they care about and how to reach each one of them in the appropriate way.”

One-third of the CHPA Board of Directors is elected annually, with manufacturer members elected for three-year terms, and associate members elected for two-year terms. The new board members elected at this year’s conference include:

David Campbell, vice president, regulatory and government affairs, North America, RB;Ranjan Chaudhuri, head of Global OTC Commercial, Mylan;Donald Chizek, vice president, operations/customer service, Lil’ Drug Store Products;John Dowers, CEO and president, WellSpring Consumer Healthcare; andJames Medford president and CEO, K.C. Pharmaceuticals.

In addition, current CHPA board member J.P. Borneman, chairman and CEO, Hyland’s, was elected to the CHPA board of director’s executive committee.

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Research debunks Tamiflu-suicide link in children

BY Michael Johnsen

A new study published by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago suggests that the drug oseltamivir – commonly known as Tamiflu – does not cause an increased risk of suicide in pediatric patients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration originally approved the drug in 1999, but subsequent case reports of abnormal behavior in adolescents who used the medication led the agency in 2006 to require that all packaging of the drug include a warning label about potential neuropsychiatric side effects, such as hallucinations, delirium, self-harm and even suicide.

However, clinical studies examining the association between the use of Tamiflu and neuropsychiatric side effects in children, including suicide, have so far been inconclusive and limited by methodology and potential confounding factors.

“When the FDA puts a warning out about a drug, doctors and the public take notice,” corresponding author James Antoon, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics in the UIC College of Medicine, said. “While the warnings are necessary, they are often not based on conclusive clinical data, which can make it difficult for physicians to truly know the potential side effects of a drug as they evaluate its possible benefits for individual patients.”

To fill this gap, Antoon and his colleagues in the UIC College of Pharmacy retrospectively studied the association between the use of Tamiflu – the only commercially available medication approved by the FDA to treat the flu – and the most consequential of those reported side effects: suicide.

“The potential link between a drug and suicide is a particularly difficult topic to study,” Antoon said. “Many events, which can happen simultaneously or over time, can influence a person to attempt suicide, as can an illness itself – so it can be difficult to study scientifically. That’s why we used a novel method called a case-crossover design. This analysis is different because it allowed us to use each individual subject as his or her own comparison – we retrospectively studied how patients behaved when on Tamiflu and compared it to their behavior when they were not taking the drug.”

The researchers identified 21,047 children between the ages of 1 and 18 who attempted suicide during five recent flu seasons (2009-2013) from a national administrative claims database. Of this group, 251 of those children were exposed to Tamiflu, which was determined based on outpatient pharmacy dispensing data. The mean age of this group was 15 years, 61% were female, and 65% had an underlying mental health diagnosis.

“For each of the 251 patients, we assigned the 10-day period immediately before the suicide attempt as the case period and we identified up to four earlier control periods of the same length, in the same flu season,” Antoon said. “This helped us to account for within-person confounders, like depression, mental health, trauma and abuse, and other factors, like race or ethnicity.”

The researchers repeated the analysis with flu diagnosis alone, without the use of Tamiflu, to see if the infection itself could have been a confounding factor associated with suicide risk.

“We did not find any association between exposure to Tamiflu and suicide in pediatric patients,” Antoon said.

While Antoon believes the findings, which are published in the Annals of Family Medicine, will help to alleviate some fears health care providers may have about prescribing the medication in healthy children, he says doctors will likely continue to prescribe Tamiflu with caution.

“I think physicians will welcome a large, rigorous study on this topic and factor this information into their decision-making process,” he said. “While this study addresses suicide, there are still many other questions about other possible neuropsychiatric side effects of the drug, which we plan to study in the future. There are also other reasons to use caution when prescribing the drug, including resistance and efficacy in children.”

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