HEALTH

CDC: H1N1 virus expected to make a large impact on upcoming cough/cold/flu season

BY Drug Store News Team

NEW YORK Today’s novel H1N1 news scare may very well turn out to be a “boy who cried SARS” scenario, in which all the news hype drives frenzied concern through the American consciousness but never culminates into a sharp rise in demand of products — antivirals, N-95 facemasks, hand sanitizers — potentially leaving suppliers and retailers with more inventory than they know what to do with.

 

That’s because for every report out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that suggests the sky may in fact soon be falling, those reports are hedged by acknowledgements that the H1N1 virus is just as likely to be innocuous as it is even more deadly.

 

To be sure, nobody can really predict a possible viral mutation — and whether that mutation will produce more severe or less severe illness —  outside of the fact that the possibility for mutation exists. It’s got to be like predicting next week’s weather — which is 90% accurate only half the time.

But this we do know. The government is dedicating significant resources against any worse-case scenarios, including a CDC inclined to keep the public informed through regular press briefings. And unlike SARS, which generally got as close to American citizens as Canada but no further, the novel H1N1 virus continues to course through American communities even today, suggesting there will be an up tic in cases with the coming flu season.

That initial resumption of influenza-like illnesses coupled with regular CDC press briefings is likely to drive quite a bit of news coverage in the coming months, news coverage that will significantly drive awareness around the issue. And that suggests that many more Americans will be interested in flu vaccines this year, certainly more than the 40% of the recommended group who were inoculated last year. It also suggests that more and more Americans will be interested in taking CDC-recommended preventative measures such as using hand sanitizers (though demand around N-95 facemasks, which are not recommended for general use by CDC, may not be as great).

So retailers and suppliers should prepare for an interesting season, arming their healthcare professionals with information and stocking their shelves with the appropriate merchandise, because while nobody can predict whether the coming storm will produce scattered showers or fist-sized hail, you can rest assured something will be falling out of that sky.

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Diagnostic Devices in contract with two states for Medicaid-covered blood glucose monitoring systems

BY Michael Johnsen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Diagnostic Devices on Wednesday announced contracts with the states of Illinois and Missouri around Medicaid coverage of its Prodigy line of blood glucose monitoring systems and test strips.

“We will continue working with other states for coverage under their Medicaid programs, and to demonstrate to them the savings Illinois and Missouri taxpayers will realize with the Prodigy family of products,” stated Rick Admani Abulhaj, Diagnostic COO.

A recent study by University of Florida PharmD candidates found the “talking” feature of the Prodigy AutoCode meter made a “significant improvement” in overall diabetes control and compliance among patients who took part, the company noted.

The Prodigy Voice meter for blind or low-vision diabetes patients has been honored with awards from both the National Federation of the Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind, the company added.

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FDA warns consumers about body-building products that contain steroids, related substances

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday issued a Public Health Advisory warning consumers to stop using body-building products that are represented as containing steroids or steroid-like substances and oftentimes misbranded as dietary supplements.

The agency also issued a Warning Letter to American Cellular Laboratories for marketing and distributing body-building products containing synthetic steroid substances. Although these products are marketed as dietary supplements, they are not dietary supplements, but instead are unapproved and misbranded drugs.

The PHA notifies consumers and health care professionals that the FDA has received reports of serious adverse events associated with the use of body-building products that claim to contain steroids or steroid-like substances. Those adverse events include cases of serious liver injury, stroke, kidney failure and pulmonary embolism (artery blockage in the lung). The PHA also advises consumers to stop taking body building products from any manufacturer that claim to contain steroid-like substances or to enhance or diminish androgen-, estrogen-, or progestin-like effects in the body.

The FDA has received five adverse event reports, including serious liver injury, in men taking products marketed as dietary supplements by American Cellular Laboratories, including TREN-Xtreme and MASS Xtreme. Acute liver injury is generally known to be a possible side effect of using products that contain anabolic steroids. Some of the cases resulted in hospitalization, but there were no reports of death or acute liver failure.

“Products marketed for body-building and claiming to contain steroids or steroid-like substances are illegal and potentially quite dangerous,” stated FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “The FDA is taking enforcement action today to protect the public.”

The products listed in the Warning Letter to American Cellular Laboratories,  include “TREN-Xtreme,” “MASS Xtreme,” “ESTRO Xtreme,” “AH-89-Xtreme,” “HMG Xtreme,” “MMA-3 Xtreme,” “VNS-9 Xtreme,” and “TT-40-Xtreme,” and are sold on the Internet and in some stores. These products, which claim to contain steroid-like ingredients but in fact contain synthetic steroid substances, are unapproved new drugs because they are not generally recognized as safe and effective.  In addition, the products are misbranded because the label is misleading and does not provide adequate directions for use.

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