HEALTH

Valeant launches Bedoyecta supplement in the U.S.

BY Michael Johnsen

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International today announced that it has launched Bedoyecta, the leading nutritional supplement in Mexico, in the United States through Hispanic independent grocers and major retailers serving ethnic communities.

Bedoyecta will be available in capsule and pediatric tablet form and will initially launch in Los Angeles and Houston in September 2007 with a national rollout by the end of the year.

“We are pleased to offer our Bedoyecta products to the Hispanic communities in the United States who have long known the brand in Mexico,” stated Wesley Wheeler, president, North America and research and development. “We are committed to providing the U.S. consumer with quality brands and it is important that we recognize the growth of the U.S. Hispanic population and the preferences of the Hispanic consumer.”

According to Valeant, approximately 40 percent of Hispanics in Mexico use vitamin supplements.

Valeant has assigned Houston-based Midway Importing as the distributor for Bedoyecta. Midway Importing currently services most Hispanic independent and chain grocers, pharmacy retail chains, and mass merchandisers that service the Hispanic market.

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Continua Health Alliance unveils guidelines for health and fitness services

BY Michael Johnsen

PORTLAND, Ore. The Continua Health Alliance, a group of technology, medical device and health and fitness industry leaders, on Wednesday unveiled the key components of its first set of technical guidelines to help establish a market of connected personal health and fitness products and services.

Once implemented, Continua Health Alliance compliant products can be used in conjunction with one another—linking blood pressure monitor readings with body mass index readings, for example.

The first set of guidelines, due out early 2008, are based on proven connectivity standards and will help to increase assurance of interoperability between devices, enabling consumers to share information with caregivers and service providers more easily.

The Version One standards include the Bluetooth Medical Device Profile Specification (Bluetooth SIG), USB Personal Health Device Specification (USB Forum), ISO/IEEE 11073 Personal Health Device Specifications (IEEE), and Health Level 7 for integration with standards-based electronic health records (EHR). The comprehensive set of guidelines will help improve the quality of care by empowering consumers and their healthcare providers to more simply share information through common communication channels such as telephones, cell phones, PCs, TV set top boxes, as well as other dedicated health devices.

“Continua is committed to empowering consumers and patients world wide, to take an active role in their own care through the use of technology,” stated Dave Whitlinger, chairman of the Continua Health Alliance. “Continua’s membership will utilize the Version One Guidelines to create connected health devices and services that provide individuals the tools they need to proactively manage their health.”

Continua Health Alliance also announced Wednesday it is working with Abt Associates on a research project targeting reimbursement policy. Abt Associates will assist in cataloging, synthesizing and assessing all telehealth studies and the peer-reviewed cost-effectiveness literature. This work will help Continua determine strategies for initiating increasing telehealth cost effectiveness, initiating quality improvement studies and for securing reimbursement for telehealth products and services.

Manufacturers of products that meet these guidelines will be permitted to use the Continua Health Alliance certification logo to promote their products.

In its first year, Continua has grown from 22 to 133 member companies, with its efforts focused on a continuum of life and care methods, particularly chronic disease management, maintaining healthy independence for the aging, and proactive health and fitness. Interoperability allows patients to use the best devices for their individual needs and provides immediate access to health information. These standards recognize devices that can work together and communicate in each of these three fields, helping maximize positive health outcomes.

In the field of chronic disease management, a network of readily connected health and medical devices will allow people with diabetes or other chronic diseases to share vital information with their doctors. These interoperable devices include blood glucose tests, blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and other basic vital sign monitors. Devices such as motion sensors, medication reminders and emergency response services ease the burden on family and professionals who provide care for the aging.

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Abbott launches NutriPals snack bar for kids

BY Michael Johnsen

COLUMBUS, Ohio Abbott Nutritionals on Wednesday launched PediaSure NutriPals Fruit Bars, a kids’ snack bar made with one serving of real fruit in every bar.

A recent study shows only 39 percent of moms believe their children are getting enough fruit in their diets. Additionally, moms are concerned that their children may not consume all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need each day.

To that end, NutriPals Fruit Bars are low-fat, healthy snacks, and they contain no high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, trans fat or preservatives, Abbott stated. Each 150-calorie bar is a good source of protein, fiber and more than 20 vitamins and minerals. “For most parents, it’s a challenge to get your kids to eat the bananas or apples you pack in their lunch boxes,” stated Jeff Boutelle, division vice president and general manager of pediatric products, Abbott Nutrition. “New NutriPals Fruit Bars are a convenient way to get more real fruit into their diets.”

PediaSure NutriPals Fruit Bars are now available in the baby/toddler aisle at most major retailers, alongside other NutriPals products. NutriPals Fruit Bars come in three flavors—strawberry, mixed berry and blueberry—and the suggested retail price is $5.49 for a box of six bars.

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