- New Year's Resolution: Restock That Medicine Cabinet
- Drug Makers Agree to Voluntary Ban on Doctor 'Freebies'
- Firm Says FDA OKs Its Generic Version of Nicotine Gum
- Smoking Ban Cut City's Heart Attack Hospital Admissions
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
New Year's Resolution: Restock That Medicine Cabinet
To get the new year off to a safe and healthy start, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) suggests cleaning out and then restocking your medicine cabinet.
"You should do this once a year, at least," said Dr. Nick Jouriles, president of the ACEP. "A year's worth of showers and baths create heat and humidity that can cause some drugs to lose potency. It's good to get rid of them and replace them if they need to be replaced."
If a pill loses potency, you may not be getting the necessary dosage of medication. Holding on to several old prescriptions can also increase the risk of taking the wrong pill, Jouriles said in a news release.
Actually, a bathroom medicine cabinet isn't always the best place to keep medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter. Instead, keep them in a linen closet or a dark area, especially away from children, the release said.
According to ACEP, here are some essentials for your medicine cabinet:
- Up-to-date prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
- Adhesive bandages of assorted sizes for minor cuts and scrapes.
- Gauze pads for larger cuts and scrapes. And adhesive tape to keep gauze in place.
- Alcohol wipes and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect wounds. Antibiotic ointment to disinfect and protect wounds from infection.
- A thermometer -- but not a mercury-based thermometer.
- Antihistamine -- for allergic reactions.
- Hydrocortisone cream to relieve irritation from rashes.
- Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin, but aspirin should not be taken by children or teens under age 19.
For more health and safety information, visit emergencycareforyou.org.
Drug Companies Agree to Voluntary Ban on Doctor 'Freebies'
The pharmaceutical industry has agreed to a voluntary moratorium on giving doctors branded items that advertise some of the country's most prescribed drugs, The New York Times reported.
Starting Jan. 1, doctors will see supplies of trinkets such as Viagra pens, Zoloft soap dispensers and Lipitor mugs cut off in a move that proponents of the moratorium say is a step toward eliminating influencing doctors' prescribing habits. But skeptics say the move is only a superficial measure, doing little to curb the far larger amounts of money that big drug companies spend to try to influence physicians.
About 40 drug makers, including Eli Lilly & Company, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer have signed on to the code, the Times reported.
Drawn up by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the new code bars companies from giving doctors branded pens, staplers, flash drives, paperweights, calculators and the like, the Times said. The new guidelines reiterate the group's 2002 code, which prohibited firms from giving physicians expensive gifts such as tickets to sporting events or resort stays, and asked drug companies that finance medical courses, conferences or scholarships to let independent experts choose study materials and scholarship recipients.
In a statement, Diane Bieri, executive vice president of the manufacturers' group, said the updated guidelines were not an admission that gifts could influence doctors, but were meant to emphasize the educational nature of the industry-doctor relationship, the newspaper said.
According to the Times, big firms last year gave away almost $16 billion in free drug samples to doctors and spent an estimated $6 billion more on sales visits and other promotions.
Firm Says FDA Approves Its Generic Version of Nicotine Gum
Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Wednesday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved its generic version of the nicotine gum Nicorette, and it will begin selling the mint-flavored gum in early January.