SDI: Antiviral prescriptions on the rise
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. According to SDI’s Vector One: National, antiviral prescriptions rose dramatically last week to more than 648,000, an increase of more than 73% in the past two weeks, Surveillance Data reported Wednesday.
Antiviral prescriptions have climbed each week since the week ending Aug. 21, but the increases in the past two weeks have been significant. More than 640,000 prescriptions were filled for Tamiflu in the week ending Oct. 23, up more than 28% from just over 502,000 the week before.
At 648,000, the volume of antiviral prescriptions last week was higher than at any point last season, and approximately 40% higher than the most active antiviral prescription week during the spring pandemic wave: 271,169 in the week ended May 1.
“While there is always variability in flu activity each year, including antiviral prescription trends, this year we are well above prescription volumes we’ve seen in years past and significantly higher than any October on record,” stated Laurel Edelman, SDI’s VP clinical accounts. “This trend is also being seen in our weekly local tracking and consolidation of electronic healthcare claims, where we’ve seen submissions, representing physician office visits for influenza, increase an average 30% each week since the beginning of September.”
Ganeden Biotech announces partnership with National Farmers Organization
CLEVELAND The maker of a patented probiotic strain announced a new partnership agreement with the National Farmers Organization to create awareness of the health benefits of probiotics, and increase the availability of probiotic-enhanced milk.
Ganeden Biotech said the partnership gives the NFO access to the premier probiotic GanedenBC30, offering processors the opportunity to provide probiotic-enhanced milk products to consumers. Ganeden Biotech will serve as the organization’s sole probiotic provider.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide the health benefits of probiotic-enhanced milk to consumers, while also providing another stream of revenue for our nation’s family dairy farmers,” said Bradley Rach, NFO national dairy director. “The quality of Ganeden Biotech’s probiotic strain, GanedenBC30, coupled with the caliber of the company’s scientific operations made it the ideal partner for our organization.”
“Partnering with the National Farmers Organization will allow us to provide more consumers with access to probiotic-enhanced milk products, while simultaneously supporting family farmers,” said Ganeden Biotech CEO Andrew Lefkowitz. “We are proud to partner with the NFO in this endeavor and help support our country’s farms.”
New findings conclude U.S. children may lack healthy level of vitamin D
BOSTON As many as 20% of children in the United States between the ages of 1 and 11 years may suffer from suboptimal levels of vitamin D, according to a large nationally representative study published in the November issue of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Boston announced Monday.
The study, led by Jonathan Mansbach of Children’s Hospital Boston, is the most up-to-date analysis of vitamin D levels in U.S. children. It builds on the growing evidence that levels have fallen below what’s considered healthy, and that black and Hispanic children are at particularly high risk.
Both the optimal amount of vitamin D supplementation and the healthy blood level of vitamin D are under heated debate in the medical community, the hospital suggested. Mansbach and collaborators from the University of Colorado Denver and Massachusetts General Hospital used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to look at vitamin D levels in a nationally representative sample of roughly 5,000 children from 2001-2006. Extrapolating to the entire U.S. population, their analysis suggests that roughly 20% of all children fell below the recommended 50 nmol/L. Moreover, more than two-thirds of all children had vitamin D levels below 75 nmol/L, including 80% of Hispanic children and 92% of non-Hispanic black children.
“If 75 nmol/L or higher is eventually demonstrated to be the healthy normal level of vitamin D, then there is much more vitamin D deficiency in the U.S. than people realize,” Mansbach said.
In the study, children taking multi-vitamins that included vitamin D had higher levels overall, but this accounted for less than half of all children. Mansbach recommended that all children take vitamin D supplements, especially those living in high latitudes, where the sun is scarce in the wintertime.
“We need to perform randomized controlled trials to understand if vitamin D actually improves these wide-ranging health outcomes,” Mansbach said. “At present, however, there are a lot of studies demonstrating associations between low levels of vitamin D and poor health. Therefore, we believe many U.S. children would likely benefit from more vitamin D.”