Report calls into question marketing of OTC cold medicines for children
BOSTON The Prescription Project on Thursday released a report showing that companies producing over-the-counter cough and cold medicines spent more than $50 million marketing these products for children under the age of 6 despite evidence of risks and lack of effectiveness in treating children.
The report, titled Risk With No Benefit: The Marketing of Over-the-Counter Cough and Cold Medications for Children, was released to coincide with today’s Food and Drug Administration’s Nonprescription Drug Advisory Committee hearing on the potential dangers of these products for children under the age of 6.
The Prescription Project report, which analyzed FDA, industry, and epidemiological documents on OTC remedies, found a lack of efficacy data but a significant number of reported injuries and deaths associated with overdosing of these products. “Especially when it comes to over-the-counter drugs, physicians and patients rely on the FDA to ‘calculate’ the benefits versus risks and communicate this to the public,” stated John Santa, a consultant to the Prescription Project and former medical director of the Drug Effectiveness Review Project. “In this case, it appears the benefits are close to zero while the risks are significant.”
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association contends that OTC cough and cold medicines administered to children over the age of two, when used as directed, is safe and effective. Overdosing and misuse, such as using an antihistamine to sedate a child, are legitimate concerns, the Association has noted, that should be addressed through increased education.
Mann joins Nutrition 21 board
PURCHASE, N.Y. Nutrition 21 on Wednesday announced that Peter Mann has joined its board effective Oct. 15.
Mann is a senior consumer and pharmaceutical products business executive with more than 35 years of general management, marketing and sales experience. In 2001, Mann was one of the founders and served as the chief executive officer of MedTech Holdings, which subsequently became Prestige Brands. Mann retired as chairman and chief executive officer of Prestige Brands Holdings in January.
“We are delighted that an industry leader of Peter Mann’s caliber has agreed to join our board,” stated Paul Intlekofer, Nutrition 21 president and chief executive officer. “In addition to being one of the most effective executives in the consumer products industry, he is a visionary who has created markets for many of the brands that we use on a regular basis to improve the quality of our lives. His broad industry experience and expertise will be instrumental to Nutrition 21 as we continue to progress on our strategic plan.”
Mann is a graduate of Brown University. He is currently a member of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Board of Directors.
Hyland’s holds press conference on homeopathic remedies
LOS ANGELES One day before the Food and Drug Administration meets to examine the safety and effectiveness of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for infants and young children, Hyland’s Wednesday morning hosted a media conference call to highlight homeopathy remedies as a potential alternative to conventional OTC medicines.
Iris Bell, professor of family and community medicine, psychiatry and psychology at the College of Public Health of the University of Arizona College, noted there were several advantages to homeopathic remedies, including “low cost and an excellent safety record over its lengthy history,” she said. “Many people tend to confuse homeopathy as an alternative” to conventional medicine with the full gamut of alternative remedies, including herbal remedies. “In the United States, homeopathic [remedies] are regulated by the FDA” as drugs, Bell said.
Homeopathic remedies are safe and effective, even for children under the age of two, commented Timothy Fior, vice president of the Illinois Homeopathic Medical Association. “Homeopathy is very conducive to self-care,” he said, noting that there aren’t the same overdosing safety concerns with homeopathic remedies as there potentially are with synthetic medicines.
“The voluntary withdrawal of household names in children’s cold relief may cause many parents to believe that their children will have no alternatives in the alleviation of cold symptoms,” Hyland’s stated. “On the contrary, safe, all-natural options exist in the form of homeopathic medicines.”