HEALTH

Throat Biotics introduces immunity-boosting lozenge

BY Allison Cerra

LOS ANGELES Throat Biotics announced Thursday the official launch of the first probiotic zinc lozenge.

The new lozenge is being sold as a natural alternative to effectively boost your natural immunity and help strengthen the body to resist the effects of germs and viruses that cause the common cold and flu.

Throat Biotics said its lozenge utilizes new probiotic technology that coats the whole digestive tract with competing, throat-healthy organisms that have been wiped away by antibiotic use. It comes in a very tasty cinnamon flavored lozenge, and is naturally sweetened with xylitol. It is packaged in a 30-count. convenient travel size.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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GAO suggests FDA improves dietary supplement industry protocol

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The U.S. Government Accountability Office on Monday suggested that the Food and Drug Administration take several measures to better regulate the dietary supplement industry.

The GAO issued a report advising the FDA to coordinate with stakeholder groups involved in consumer outreach to identify additional mechanisms — “such as the recent WebMD partnership” — for educating consumers about the safety, efficacy and labeling of dietary supplements; implement these mechanisms; and assess their effectiveness. 

The GAO report also recommended that in order to enhance the FDA’s oversight of dietary supplements and foods with added dietary ingredients, and to improve the information available for identifying safety concerns [to meet its responsibility to protect the public health], the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services should direct the commissioner of FDA to request authority to require dietary supplement companies to identify themselves as a dietary supplement company as part of the existing registration requirements and update this information annually, which includes providing a list of all dietary supplement products they sell, a copy of the labels used on their products, and report all adverse events related to dietary supplements; not just serious adverse events as is currently required.

Furthermore, the GAO report suggested that the FDA issue guidance to clarify when an ingredient is considered a new dietary ingredient. This evidence, the report said, is needed to document the safety of new dietary ingredients and appropriate methods for establishing ingredient identity.

Overall, members of the Council for Responsible Nutrition welcomed the comments, suggesting that GAO’s latest commentary underscore the amount of FDA oversight the agency already exercises over the industry.

“We are [also] appreciative that the report refers to several of the regulatory improvements instituted — and fought for by responsible industry — including the issuance by FDA of Good Manufacturing Practice specific to dietary supplements and passage of a law mandating that serious adverse events are reported to FDA,” stated Steve Mister, president and CEO, CRN. “We disagree [however] with the logic behind the recommendation of submitting all adverse event reports, versus the important need to submit serious adverse event reports.

“The adverse event reporting law was carefully considered and supported by numerous stakeholders, including consumer groups, and there is no need to revise a law that only recently went into effect and appears to be working,” Mister added.

To date, the recent requirement of dietary supplement companies and suppliers of monographed over-the-counter medicines to submit serious adverse event reports has resulted in a 218.1% increase in the number of reports submitted from January through October 2008, as compared to the year-ago period. The FDA received 948 adverse event reports — 596 of which were mandatory reports submitted by industry — compared with 298 received over the same time period in 2007.

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Report: Emails from drug companies increase brand loyalty

BY Alaric DeArment

DALLAS Patients adhere to their prescriptions better and become more loyal to products and brands when they receive emails from drug companies, according to a study released Tuesday.

Market research firm Epsilon enlisted Lancanster, Pa.-based ROI Research in October to conduct a nationwide survey of consumers who receive permission-based email from pharmaceutical companies. Of 1,517 respondents, 42% said permission-based email had a direct effect on activities like taking medications as instructed by doctors and filling prescriptions; 44% said they were more likely to stay on a drug from a drug company that sent them permission-based emails, and 60% said the emails gave them a more favorable opinion of drug companies.

“Email marketing is a necessary tool to increase affordability and educate consumers on the benefits of specific drugs and the importance of compliance,” Epsilon Strategic Services SVP Kevin Mabley said in a statement. “The Internet has created resources and enabled consumers to take more control of their medical education, and email supports these efforts.”

The survey data has a margin of error of 2.5%. A summary of the survey is available at  www.epsilon.com/pr/pharmaemailbranding.

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