HEALTH

Walgreens to carry Neptune’s omega-3-heavy Schiff MegaRed

BY Michael Johnsen

LAVAL, Quebec Neptune Technologies & Bioressources on Monday reported that its distributor Schiff Nutrition has launched Schiff MegaRed containing Neptune Krill Oil in Walgreens.

“We continue to execute on our expansion strategy to seek strong penetration in mass retail channels, and now with distribution in Costco and Walgreens, the consumer mass market represents a fast growing sales segment for Neptune driven by brand recognition and consumer acceptance,” stated Thierry Houillon, Neptune’s vice president of nutraceuticals. “Premium products within the worldwide marine omega-3 market such as Neptune Krill Oil are gaining major market share driven by consumer demand for natural health and wellness products with proven therapeutic benefits,” he said, noting that the high-end omega-3 market is growing at an annual rate of between 20 and 30 percent.

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FDA responds to WHO’s query on ten medications

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration last week requested comments concerning abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use of 10 drugs, including the over-the-counter cough suppressant dextromethorphan. The information will be utilized by FDA in its preparation of the United States’ response to a World Health Organization query.

Dextromethorphan is the only OTC medicine on WHO’s list. The other medicines being examined include:

  • Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, a narcolepsy drug marketed in the United States under the brand name Xyrem (Jazz Pharmaceuticals) and controlled under Schedule III status (drugs with recognized medical use with a moderate to low incidence of dependence);
  • the anesthetic ketamine, controlled under Schedule III status;
  • benzylpiperazine, an illegal drug in the United States;
  • trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine, not marketed in the United States;
  • meta-chlorophenylpiperazine, not marketed in the United States;
  • methoxyphenylpiperazine, not marketed in the United States;
  • methylenedioxybenzylpiperazine, not marketed in the United States;
  • the reagent gamma-butyrolactone, not marketed in the United States, but controlled as a list I chemical ; and
  • the solvent butanediol (a scheduled substance in some states but not nationally).

WHO has called for information on these drugs to ascertain whether or not the organization should recommend that certain international restrictions be placed on distribution of the medicines.

Comments submitted to FDA are due Oct. 6. WHO meets April 20-23, 2009, to discuss the issue.

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LifeScan unveils new colors for glucose monitors

BY Michael Johnsen

MILPITAS, Calif. LifeScan on Friday introduced two new colors for its line of OneTouch UltraMini Meters—purple twilight and blue comet.

The two new colors were included in response to consumer preferences. During the 2007 “What’s Your Color?” Giveaway, an online sweepstakes in which 10,000 winners received a OneTouch UltraMini Meter in the color of their choice, entrants were also asked to vote for their favorite future color offerings, and purple topped the list.

In subsequent customer feedback and market research, LifeScan also found that purple was the top requested color among women and blue was the overall most-requested color among both men and women.

“By providing people with product choices that reflect their individual taste and sense of style, we hope to help make glucose monitoring feel a little less clinical and a lot more personal,” stated Kim Mullarkey, LifeScan vice president of U.S. marketing.

Since the introduction of colors in 2007, the OneTouch UltraMini Meter has become the No. 1 selling blood glucose monitor nationwide, the company stated.

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