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Study: More than half of people report swallowing difficulties with capsules/tablets

BY Michael Johnsen

PULLACH, Germany — More than 55% of people suffer from swallowing difficulties when taking tablets or capsules, which is likely to inhibit compliance, according to an international survey conducted by Spiegel Institute Mannheim on behalf of Hermes Pharma. 
 
“By offering an active ingredient solely as a tablet or capsule, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies ignore the needs of more than 50% of their target audience,” stated Thomas Hein, director business development and regulatory affairs at Hermes Pharma. “Given the weaknesses exhibited by conventional tablets and capsules, there is a significant opportunity to capture market share by formulating user-friendly dosage forms."
 
The survey targeted 1,000 people in the United States and Germany — together more than 2,000 — tailored to reflect overall population demographics in terms of age, gender and ethnicity, and to generate statistically reliable data. 
 
The oral route is considered a simple and cost-efficient way of delivery, with most pharmaceutical products and food/dietary supplements traditionally formulated as solid tablets or capsules. However, consumer habits and demands are changing. Today’s patients have grown accustomed to having freedom of choice and the benefits of convenience. They also enjoy instant access to a wealth of information, leading them to request specific products and treatments. To deliver medical and commercial success, pharmaceutical products will need to appeal to a wider range of preferences, from treatment needs through to lifestyle requirements. Entitled "A Hard Truth to Swallow," the study found that conventional tablets and capsules exhibit a range of drawbacks and may no longer be the best solution for large segments of the population. 
 
Over half of the people surveyed (50% in the United States; more than 60% in Germany) reported difficulties when swallowing tablets or capsules. Some 44% of participants 65 years or older were affected, and interestingly, an even greater number (70%) of younger people ages 16 to 34 years also reported this problem. A wide variety of reasons were cited, but the most frequent were related to tablets or capsules being too large to swallow, becoming stuck in the throat and having an unpleasant taste or odor. 
 
In order to overcome these difficulties, participants had turned to breaking tablets before swallowing (32% overall) or crushing them up and dissolving them in water (17% overall), both of which can affect bioavailability and medical efficacy. As many as 8% resorted to not taking their medication at all. 
 
Participants were asked to evaluate tablets/capsules and alternative, user-friendly dosage forms — such as effervescent and chewable tablets, instant drinks, orally-disintegrating granules and lozenges — based on their experience. They consistently scored conventional tablets and capsules lower on such characteristics as ease of swallowing, sensation in the mouth, package opening and ease of intake. 
 
Introducing products that are easy to swallow, convenient to take and taste well is likely to improve patient experience, increase compliance and boost the effectiveness of treatment, the report stated. Designing dosage forms to target different cultures, ages and preferences provides a means of better meeting the needs of specific market subsets. By creating user-friendly dosage forms, companies can differentiate themselves from competition, expand existing product lines, prolong product lifecycles, increase customer loyalty and at the same time increase revenues, according to the report. 
 
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Energizer Holdings announces Personal Care, Household Products leadership teams

BY Antoinette Alexander

ST. LOUIS — Energizer Holdings has announced the executive leadership teams for the Personal Care and Household Products businesses following the planned separation of Energizer, expected to occur by July 1, 2015.

"We are excited to have such an experienced and talented group of individuals to lead Energizer's Personal Care and Household Products businesses as each company moves forward independently," stated Ward Klein, Energizer's CEO. "These individuals bring a unique blend of experiences, talents and expertise, along with commitment and passion for these businesses. These teams were carefully selected to lead each company on the path forward, and we are confident in their ability to drive substantial growth and generate significant value for our shareholders."

The following individuals are expected to join the leadership team of the Personal Care company:

  • Sandy Sheldon, CFO
  • Manish Shanbhag, VP, general counsel and secretary
  • Al Robertson, chief marketing officer
  • John Hill, VP, commercial North America
  • Colin Hutchison, VP, commercial International
  • Dave VerNooy, VP, global operations and RDE
  • Peter Conrad, chief administrative officer
  • Tony Bender, CIO
  • Teresa Ceotto, VP, human resources

As previously announced, upon the expected completion of the separation, Klein will serve as executive chairman of the board of stand-alone Personal Care. David Hatfield, president and CEO of Energizer Personal Care, will serve as CEO of the Personal Care company.  Sheldon, who serves as Energizer's VP, finance, was named CFO of the Personal Care company.

The following individuals are expected to join the leadership team of the Household Products company:

  • Brian Hamm, EVP and CFO
  • Michelle Atkinson, chief consumer officer
  • Dan Carpenter, chief innovation officer
  • Greg Kinder, EVP and chief supply chain officer
  • Mark LaVigne, EVP and COO
  • Brandon Davis, chief business officer the Americas
  • Patrick Hédouin, chief business officer International
  • Kelly Boss, VP, general counsel and secretary
  • Sue Drath, chief human resource officer

As previously announced, J. Patrick Mulcahy, chairman of the Energizer board of directors, is expected to serve as chairman of the board of the Household Products company. Alan Hoskins, president and CEO of Energizer Household Products, is expected to serve as CEO of the Household Products company. Hamm, who serves as Energizer's controller and chief accounting officer, was named as the CFO of the Household Products company.

 

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FDA approves Vimpat C-V as monotherapy in the treatment of partial-onset seizures

BY Michael Johnsen

BRUSSELS, Belgium — UCB on Monday announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved a supplemental new drug application for Vimpat (lacosamide) C-V as monotherapy in the treatment of partial-onset seizures in patients with epilepsy ages 17 years and older.
 
This is a new indication for Vimpat, which is already approved in the United States as an adjunctive treatment for partial-onset seizures in patients in this age group. This new indication means that adults with partial-onset seizures can be initiated on Vimpat monotherapy, and patients already on an anti-epileptic drug can be converted to Vimpat monotherapy.
 
UCB also announced that the FDA has approved a new single loading dose administration option for all formulations of Vimpat, when used as monotherapy or adjunctive therapy in the treatment of partial-onset seizures in patients with epilepsy ages 17 years and older.
 
“People living with epilepsy have individual needs. It’s our aim at UCB to provide as many patients as possible with various options to reduce their seizures," stated Iris Loew Friedrich, UCB chief medical officer and EVP. "Now, physicians and epilepsy patients in the United States have more Vimpat options to treat partial-onset seizures — Vimpat as an initial monotherapy, converting to Vimpat monotherapy and Vimpat as an adjunctive therapy. In addition, based on individual patients’ needs, physicians can choose between Vimpat formulations — tablets, oral solution or injection. Also, initiation of Vimpat as a single loading dose provides physicians with an alternative administration option to the standard titration schedule.” 
 
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