HEALTH

Study finds vitamin D may cut risk of colorectal cancer

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Vitamin D may improve bone health, but it also may lower one’s risk of colorectal cancer, according to a new study.

The study, published in the Jan. 21 online edition of BMJ, surveyed more than 520,000 people in 10 Western European countries, all of whom provided blood samples and filled out diet and lifestyle questionnaires between 1992 and 1998. During the follow-up, 1,248 were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, who were compared with the same sample size of those not diagnosed with the disease.

The scientists also noted that participants with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood had as much as a 40% lower risk for developing colorectal cancer than those with the lowest levels, though they pointed out it is unclear whether or not consuming large amounts of vitamin D poses a risk on one’s overall health.

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NCPA applauds letter urging ‘administrative discretion’ in DMEPOS enforcement

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus, D-Mont., and ranking member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have sent a letter to Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging “administrative discretion” in the enforcement of the Medicare Part B durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies accreditation requirement for pharmacies.

“The senators recognize the DMEPOS accreditation requirement is onerous, expensive and duplicative for community pharmacies,” stated Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP and CEO, in response to the letter. “Sens. Baucus and Grassley are part of a large, bipartisan consensus in Congress supportive of exempting pharmacies. Such a provision was included in both the Senate and House healthcare-reform bills. Congress also overwhelmingly approved separate legislation to extend the deadline for accreditation from Oct. 1 of last year to Jan. 1 of this year in anticipation of Congress working its will in this matter,” he noted.

“Efforts to find a solution continue, which is why the letter’s message remains critical to ensuring seniors don’t lose access to supplies that help improve their health,” he added.

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Antitrust officials clear Sanofi’s tender offer for Chattem

BY Alaric DeArment

PARIS Sanofi-Aventis has cleared its tender offer for Chattem with government antitrust officials, the French drug maker announced Tuesday.

Sanofi said waiting period under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 has expired. The offer is expected to expire on Feb. 8 unless Sanofi extends it.

Sanofi originally offered to buy Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Chattem, the maker of products such as Selsun Blue and Cortizone-10, for $93.50 a share in December.

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