HEALTH

Vitamin Angels work inline with UN’s newly established Global Goals

BY Michael Johnsen

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Vitamin Angels earlier this week announced its work continues to support international development goals set by the United Nations. The UN’s newly established Global Goals – announced Sept. 25 – are a recent follow up to the Millennium Development Goals established in 2000 which had a 2015 deadline for completion. The new 17 Global Goals intend to address three primary objectives: end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change by the year 2030. 
 
“The initial Millennium Development Goals set some audacious targets, and while the outcome wasn’t perfect, the world stepped up and accomplished some amazing things,” said Howard Schiffer, president Vitamin Angels. “The mortality rate of children under five was cut by more than half since 1990. We still have a long way to go, but as a global community we can come together to end poverty and hunger, and to facilitate good health and well-being for everyone on the planet.”
 
Vitamin Angels contends ending poverty tomorrow requires breaking the cycle of malnutrition today. Without proper nutrition for mothers during pregnancy and good nutrition for infants and young children through the first 5 years of life – including exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life – children cannot reach their full intellectual or physical potential. By distributing pre/postnatal multivitamins to women, and high dose vitamin A and deworming treatments to at-risk children under age 5, Vitamin Angels combats the immediate risk of illness or death (goal No. 3) faced by those lacking regular access to nutritious foods (Goal No. 2) as well as helping children build the foundation for long-term success (Goal No. 1). 
 
Additionally, Vitamin Angels’ unique model leverages private sector resources to procure vitamins and minerals for underserved populations in need (Goal No. 17). The charity then grants these supplements, along with educational and advocacy resources, to a network of fellow charities (currently numbering more than 700) that serve and work at a grassroots level with the target populations identified in the Global Goals. Vitamin Angels’ local charity partners’ (both international and domestic) understanding of and trust built with the indigenous populations are critical to the adoption of Vitamin Angels’ programs that support the Global Goals. 
 
The UN’s Global Goals serve as the next generation of international targets for governments, the corporate sector, non-profit organizations and individuals alike to rally behind. Vitamin Angels is proud to be a part of the solution to the problems being addressed, the organization stated. 
 
 
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Researchers request FDA pull ineffectual decongestant off the market

BY Michael Johnsen

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two University of Florida pharmacy researchers earlier this week called on the Food and Drug Administration to remove phenylephrine off the market, not because of any contrary side effects necessarily, but because the decongestant is ineffective. 
 
In an editorial published in the September/October issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Randy Hatton, a clinical professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research, and Leslie Hendeles, a professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research and professor of pediatrics, concluded that oral phenylephrine is ineffective at treating nasal congestion.
 
The editorial accompanies research findings published in the same journal from a study led by Eli Meltzer of the Allergy & Asthma Medical Group & Research Center in San Diego. The study found that phenylephrine is no more effective than placebo in easing nasal congestion caused by allergies in adults. The study, which evaluated 539 adults with seasonal allergic rhinitis during seven days of treatment, failed to identify a dose of phenylephrine in the range of 10 mg to 40 mg that was significantly more effective than placebo. 
 
Approved OTC labeling recommends taking 10 mg of this non-prescription decongestant every four hours for temporary relief from nasal congestion.
 
“Scientific evidence continues to show that the most popular products on the market containing phenylephrine are ineffective,” Hendeles said. “Patients who seek an over-the-counter remedy should get what they pay for: an effective and safe alternative to a prescription drug.”
 
Phenylephrine gained popularity in the mid-2000s after federal legislation restricted the sale of pseudoephedrine-containing products. Congress moved PSE products behind the counter to curb diversion of the OTC in making illegal methamphetamine. 
 
“I was director of a drug information center in a hospital at the time, and doctors and patients would call me and ask, ‘What is the right dose of phenylephrine?’” Hatton said. “We did not have an answer, but we determined through scientific evidence that the 10-milligram dose was insufficient.”
 
Hatton and Hendeles, along with Almut Winterstein, a professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy at UF, conducted a systematic analysis of previous studies and eventually petitioned the FDA to require better proof of efficacy and to reconsider the appropriate dosage of phenylephrine. The FDA convened its Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee and after much debate, ultimately requested a dose-response study of the treatment of nasal congestion. Hatton said Meltzer’s research was long overdue and reaffirmed the position that non-prescription oral phenylephrine provided little-to-no relief of nasal congestion.
 
“We think the evidence supports that phenylephrine’s status as a safe and effective over-the-counter product should be changed,” Hatton said. “We are looking out for the consumer, and he or she needs to know that science says that oral phenylephrine does not work for the majority of people.”
 
Instead of oral phenylephrine, Hatton and Hendeles suggest patients consider using non-prescription oral PSE, nasal steroids for allergic rhinitis or topical decongestant sprays for nasal stuffiness from a cold or allergies. They contend these alternatives will ultimately provide relief to the millions of Americans who suffer from nasal congestion every year.
 
 
 
 
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Goody’s headache powders gain traction

BY Richard Monks

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — With eight SKUs on the market and a high-profile stock car driver endorsing its products, Prestige Brands’ line of Goody’s internal analgesics is continuing to gain traction with consumers.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

According to IRI data, the brand was one of only a handful in the internal analgesic tablet category to record a sales increase over the past year, increasing 6.5% to $39.4 million.

In a conference call with investors in August, Prestige Brands president and CEO Ron Lombardi cited two factors that have helped fuel that growth — Goody’s tie-in with NASCAR and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., and the recent launch of two new products.

The debut earlier this year of a mixed-fruit flavored headache powder, the brand’s third headache powder, and a back and body shot that complements the headache relief shot already in the company’s lineup are in keeping with Prestige’s strategy of developing new products to grow its brands, Lombardi said.

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