HEALTH

WellPoint announces results of BC/BS OTC pilot program

BY Michael Johnsen

INDIANAPOLIS WellPoint NextRx announced Monday the results of a recently-completed pilot program launched for its unaffiliated plan Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island where members had the option of receiving over-the-counter medications, such as Claritin, at no charge as an alternative to a prescription allergy medication for a period of one year.

More than 4,608 members took advantage of the program, saving them some $260,000 in co-payments for those members.

As a result of the success of the program, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is working with WellPoint to identify OTC alternatives-to-prescriptions to treat other conditions such as stomach acid (Prilosec OTC), eye allergies (Zaditor, Alaway) and acne (Proactiv).

“NextRx is consistently identifying new programs that offer access to quality medications that are more affordable,” stated Renwyck Elder, president, WellPoint NextRx. “Because of our health plan heritage, NextRx is able to work with our affiliated and unaffiliated health plans to review medical data with pharmacy data to then build programs that can help members with health care costs and improve their health.”

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NAD supports some PinnoThin claims

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Thursday announced that Lipid Nutrition B.V. North America has provided sufficient support for certain advertising claims made for the company’s PinnoThin dietary supplement.

NAD has recommended, however, that certain claims be modified or discontinued.

Following its review of a random double-blind study provided by Lipid Nutrition, NAD determined that the advertiser did not have a reasonable basis for its claim that it has “clinically proven” that PinnoThin promotes the feeling of satiety, suppresses the desire to eat or provides control over one’s appetite. However, NAD did determine that the advertiser could support a more limited claim that PinnoThin “may help to” promote a feeling of fullness, reduce prospective food intake, suppress the desire to eat, provide control over one’s appetite or increase the release of GLP-1 (a hormone).

NAD noted that the advertising in question is directed to other marketers and manufacturers of dietary supplements, rather than consumers. NAD noted that it is mindful that businesses purchasing PinnoThin from Lipid Nutrition will likely be relying on Lipid Nutrition’s claims in determining what advertising claims can be supported for products containing this ingredient in future consumer-directed advertising.

Lipid Nutrition told NAD that PinnoThin is refined pine nut oil derived from pine nuts mainly of the Korean pine tree. The oil of Korean pine nuts is especially rich in very long chain fatty acids, such as pinolenic acid. According to the advertiser, a large body of scientific evidence demonstrates that long chain fatty acids stimulate the release of the hormones cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GPL-1), promoting a feeling of fullness or satiety.

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, noted that it disagreed with certain of NAD’s conclusions. “Nonetheless, Lipid Nutrition will take the NAD’s conclusions and recommendations into account when developing future advertising,” the company stated.

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FDA approves Mark of Fitness’ RevitaLeg massager

BY Michael Johnsen

NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. Mark of Fitness received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its RevitaLeg portable compression massager for the temporary relief from muscle aches and pains and the promotion of an increase in circulation.

Mark of Fitness touted the product’s portability—it’s no bigger than a soda can—and suggested that air travelers may be a key demographic, because long flights can lead to the development of deep vein thrombosis. According to the World Health Organization, traveling by plane, bus or train for four hours or more doubles the risk of developing DVT.

RevitaLeg will begin shipping in May, and will be sold through home care dealers, retail pharmacies, specialty stores and online. The suggested retail price is $149, and the product may be qualified for reimbursement under certain health plans and for specific conditions, the company stated.

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