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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Senate judiciary passes anti-‘smurfing’ legislation

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday passed the Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act, introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Grassley’s office stated in an announcement.

The legislation addresses the practice of “smurfing,” where individuals looking to circumvent federal purchase restrictions on pseudoephedrine by the maximum quantity allowed across several retailers, by making it easier for pharmacy operators to use electronic logbook systems in their sale of PSE products.

“Smurfing pseudephedrine products from store to store in city to city is a growing problem, especially in communities that border another state,” stated Grassley. “When we wrote the Combat Meth Act, we didn’t account for these unscrupulous individuals who have learned that if they provide false information or visit multiple stores, tracking and arresting these people is more difficult. … An electronic logbook will be a tremendous asset for local law enforcement and businesses as they work to end the devastating impact of meth on our communities.”

Today’s legislation revises the technical logbook requirements found in the federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, which passed in 2006. The Durbin-Grassley bill would change the Combat Meth Act to facilitate the use of electronic logbooks instead of written logbooks. For instance, the bill would revise the Act’s purchaser signature requirement to allow signatures to be obtained and stored on paper when the rest of the logbook information is captured electronically. This would make electronic logbook systems far more cost-effective without hurting law enforcement efforts. The bill would also allow for the use of bar code reader technology, and would revise the current requirement that each purchaser “enter” his or her name and address into a logbook so that retailers can type in the information electronically.

The legislation has been endorsed by numerous organizations, including the National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition, the National Criminal Justice Association, the National District Attorneys Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

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