HEALTH

Walgreens, AmeriCares deliver flu shot to 5,000 uninsured patients

BY Michael Johnsen

STAMFORD, Conn. – Uninsured Americans in seven states will have the opportunity to receive flu shots at no cost this fall thanks to a new collaboration between AmeriCares and Walgreens. More than 30 free clinics and community health centers are scheduled to hold flu clinics before the end of October. 
 
Children and adults must be uninsured in order to qualify. More than 5,000 low-income patients of AmeriCares – supported clinics in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont – are expected to benefit.
 
“Vaccination is one of the best ways to prevent the flu,” stated Julie Varughese, AmeriCares medical officer. “Our new flu shot campaign with Walgreens can help ensure thousands of low-income uninsured Americans have access to this important vaccine. We are doing our part to keep families and communities healthy this winter.”
 
The collaboration is part of Walgreens national flu shot voucher program developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is the fifth year for the initiative, through which Walgreens has provided more than $40 million worth of flu shot vouchers since its inception. 
 
The flu vaccination campaign is also an extension of AmeriCares U.S. Program, which supports more than 800 free clinics and community health centers nationwide with free medicine and supplies. The emergency response and global health organization is the nation’s largest provider of donated medical aid to the U.S. health care safety net, last year delivering $117 million in products to a network of clinics and health centers serving 5 million patients in need. The program helps partner clinics to increase capacity, provide comprehensive care, improve health outcomes and reduce costs for patients.
 
 
 
 
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NPA: Despite study, ER visits due to supplements few and far between

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON – The supplement industry on Wednesday attacked the methodology and findings of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that claimed dietary supplements are responsible for approximately 23,000 hospital visits each year. 

But that doesn't mean supplements are dangerous. Nor does it mean that the use of supplements will put you in the hospital, according to the Natural Products Association.
 
Because what the NEJM study authors do not share is that number, if accurate, represents 0.0001687% of the 136.3 million hospital visits each year, noted the Natural Products Association in a release issued Wednesday evening.
 
"That percentage becomes even smaller when you eliminate the products that are not dietary supplements and exclude the ER visits that resulted from eye drops, ear drops, and other OTC and non-dietary supplement products inaccurately included by the researchers to make their projections for dietary supplements," noted Duffy MacKay, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition. 
 
The Study, “Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Events Related to Dietary Supplements,” based its findings on data from 63 emergency departments from 2004 through 2013 instead of relying on the official Food and Drug Administration’s Serious Adverse Event Reporting database for dietary supplements, NPA added. 
 
“The laws that regulate supplements require official reporting of adverse events so that the regulators, the health care community and others can review the data and make informed public policy decisions," stated Dan Fabricant, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association. "This so-called study excludes that very data, which is more than puzzling because it was written in part by FDA officials who know this,” Fabricant added. “The facts are that adverse events from supplements are extremely low given their widespread usage, and most of these are the result of three factors: accidents, people not consulting with their doctor or misuse of a product combined with other health factors."
 
“The results of this study reinforce that dietary supplements are safe products, particularly when put into context with the number of people — over 150 million Americans — who take dietary supplements every year," MacKay said. 
 
Citing government data, NPA reported there were 3,249 adverse event reports for 2012.
 

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NoorVitamins hitting mass retail with halal-certified supplements

BY Michael Johnsen

 
 
BELLEROSE, N.Y. – NoorVitamins is looking to make some headway in the dietary suppolement space as a U.S.-based manufacturer of halal vitamins. 
 
Halal supplements have been prepared according to Islamic law, and is free from pork products, alcohol and certain other ingredients. A variety of Islamic groups are involved in Halal certification, with companies who wish their products to carry a Halal label paying fees for inspection and certification.
 
Halal vitamins are highly recommended during Ramadan when Muslims are fasting.
 
NoorVitamins recently introduced three new products, including a multivitamin with a proprietary blend to support energy and immunity, a hair/skin/nails product and an enhanced prenatal vitamin. 
 
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