HEALTH

Study: Daily aspirin use may reduce cancer-related deaths

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON — Daily aspirin use may curb cancer-related deaths, according to a new study published in The Lancet.

The study, led by Peter Rothwell of the University of Oxford and colleagues, analyzed data from eight eligible trials — which typically lasted about four years — and included more than 25,000 subjects. Among them, 674 died from cancer.

The researchers found that those who consumed 75 mg of aspirin per day cut their risk of dying from certain cancers by 20%, and found that the prolonged use of aspirin would continue to reduce the death risk of cancer patients. "These findings have implications for guidelines on use of aspirin and for understanding of carcinogenesis and its susceptibility to drug intervention," the study authors said.

But while these conclusions certainly are worth noting, only one-third of the subjects were women, and since the trials on average only lasted four years, the benefits of aspirin consumption may not be properly measured. Additionally, aspirin touts its own risks, including strokes and other complications.

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HEALTH

Front-end focus: OTC gets in on the ‘Action’

BY Michael Johnsen


The phrase coined by Sam Walton — “Stack ’em high and let ’em fly!” — is reverberating throughout Walmart again.


The retailer’s back-to-basics strategy is good news for OTC suppliers, because going back to basics at Walmart also means going back to a broader product selection. Between the resumption of Action Alley and a recommitment to assortment, Walmart already has grown its carrying inventory by 4%, and the company plans to grow its inventory at a rate of half the 
expected sales lift.


Reverting to Action Alley could spark pantry-loading of the medicine cabinet again. Today, 58% of consumers only purchase an OTC medication when there’s a need, according to a recent SymphonyIRI Group survey. More importantly for Walmart, Action Alley might help reverse the slight decline in OTC dollars and units — Walmart OTC sales were down 0.1% and units were down 2.1% in 2010 versus 2009, SymphonyIRI Group reported.


Action Alley also affords Walmart a ready vehicle to showcase new product launches. “From a supplier’s perspective, you can get your product out there and get market share and trial and penetration much faster through our system than you can anywhere else,” Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, told analysts earlier this year.

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FDA studies effectiveness, benefits 
of long-term smoking-cessation therapy

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration is exploring the benefits associated with the long-term use of nicotine-replacement therapy products, a factor expected to both extend the amount of time a person avails themselves of the smoking-cessation therapy, as well as increase the success rates for quit attempts. 


Maintaining smoking-cessation ther­apy certainly is healthier than the al­ternative, noted Nick Kron­feld, medical director for Glaxo­SmithKline Con­sumer Healthcare’s smoking control business. “The concern is there are people who get to the end of the recommended 12 weeks of use but still find they’re having significant craving and withdrawal symptoms,” he said. “If the alternative is going back to smoking, then we feel it would be important to support and tailor therapies to that sub-group [that is] still having trouble at 12 weeks.”


Already, several other countries encourage the use of NRT products for longer durations to keep people tobacco-free. More than 46 million Americans smoke, and research indicates about 70% of smokers want to quit at any given time. Tobacco use causes more than 400,000 deaths in the United States each year, and approximately 8.6 million Americans have chronic illnesses related to smoking.

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