Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Product tidbits February 2009

1. A new spacer called the Watchhaler is being promoted by US Pharmaceutical Corporation. The spacer is actually manufactured by a German company. The cost is about $68 and may be covered by insurances. It appears to be dishwasher safe, based on my own unreferenced tests. It is cute. Medication is sprayed into the mouthpiece and so into the collapsible green chamber. The work is for the child to actively suck in air through the mouth piece and then hold their breath for 15 seconds. I haven't actually prescribed this for a patient yet, but my patients with asthma know that I am a huge advocate of spacers in general. I'm going to consider this.

2. Symbicort coupon plan $20/month x 12 months, requires

3. Consumer tip: the FDA permits the word "new" to be used on packages for only six months after the product is approved and begins marketing. After that, they must remove to word from the packaging. I just learned this.

4. Consumer tip: the FDA does not accept any definition of the word "hypoallergenic." It is meaningless to them and to board certified allergist, because there is not a set definition of "hypoallergenic." The word actually came from marketing trying to advertise and differentiate products from those already on the market. Show me the proof from objective studies that were done to justify use to this word. There are a few studies which are actually patient experiences. I do not recommend you consider buying an product if being "hypoallergenic" is its sole advantage. Conversely, if you are trying to sell something, put this on the label. People read it and then think it MUST be so.

5. Divvies sent me some samples of their oatmeal raisin cookies and caramel popcorn to try. They were very good. Both are made from diary-free, nut-free, and egg-free recipes with no hydrogenated oils. I am particular about eating healthy foods, as you may have read in other posts. I am acknowledging this because nearly every day I see children with food allergies and I have trouble naming specific allergen-free products. [Disclaimer: I do not own any stock nor is this a paid ad.]

6. GlaxoSmithKline will sell a version of Ventolin HFA at Walmart exclusively under their brand name of ReliOn inhalers for $9. I have confirmed this on Walmart's website. Walmart comments that this is the ease the financial burden on patients. Important note: the ReliOn Ventolin HFA inhaler contains only 60 puffs, not the normal 200 puffs. If you use the ReliOn Ventolin HFA inhaler only for rescue and this is infrequent, then this should be a benefit. If you use the ReliOn Ventolin HFA inhaler for prevention or treatment of exercise-induced asthma, meaning your useage would be higher, then extrapolating your cost for the same 200 puffs would be $9 x 3.33 = $30. Now the game gets more complicated, because you should consider where your insurance plan places a rescue inhaler and what the copay is. Nothing is simple in life. Let the buyer beware.

2/6/09 more to follow NK

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