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ROSS PRODUCTS' ADVERA AIDS NUTRITIONAL REACHING PHARMACIES NATIONWIDE

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

ROSS PRODUCTS' ADVERA AIDS NUTRITIONAL REACHING PHARMACIES NATIONWIDE by Nov. 1, the firm reported Oct. 27. Advera, which is characterized by the Abbott Labs division as a "nutritionally complete beverage," is available in chocolate and orange cream flavors in drug chains including Walgreens, Erckerd, Rite Aid, Perry Drug, Longs Drug and Thrifty. The company anticipates the product will be available in additional drug stores in the future. Advera debuted at the American Dietetic Association's annual meeting on Oct. 22-29. In addition to pharmacies, Ross plans to market the product to AIDS clinics, health care professionals, hospitals and home care agencies. Promotional plans for Advera include a direct mailing to over 10,000 physicians, exhibitions at conventions, advertising in health care journals and $ 2-off coupons that are being distributed through health care professionals. Advera will be sold in six-packs and cases of 24 at a suggested retail price of about $ 3 per eight-ounce can. Ross noted that Advera can be used as a dietary supplement, as a meal replacement or as a sole source of nutrition and can either be taken orally or through an enteral tube. To gain full nutritional benefits when used as a supplement, the company recommends a serving of two to three eight-ounce cans of Advera each day. Ross emphasized that Advera should be used under the supervision of a physician. The company asserted that Advera is high in protein, low in fat and contains beta carotene, fiber and fish oil high in n-3 fatty acids. Each eight-ounce serving has 303 calories "to meet elevated calorie needs of people with HIV/AIDS," Ross stated. The product also contains high levels of vitamins E, C, B[6], B,[12] and folic acid, the firm added. Ross has a patent pending for Advera and has acquired a patent for the specific protein source found in the product. In a press release, Ross VP-medical nutritional R&D Art Hecker, PhD, maintained that Advera "has been clinically shown to provide effective nutritional management for persons with the HIV infection or AIDS." Ross cited five separate clinical studies conducted to "assess the tolerance and effectiveness of Advera as specific dietary management over standard nutritional products currently available." The five studies evaluated 195 patients collectively. In three of the studies, Advera was evaluated as a supplement to patients' normal diets. Patients were given two to three eight- ounce servings of Advera per day for various time intervals ranging from six weeks to three and six months. Patients taking Advera, Ross pointed out, experienced fewer hospitalizations in a six-month time period and "better maintained body weight" than patients receiving a "leading nutritional supplement." Two other clinical studies tested Advera as a sole source of nutrition for HIV/AIDS patients for either 10 or 14 days. Results of the studies, Ross said, showed that Advera was "well tolerated" as a sole source of nutrition for 14 days. Ross said it presented the results of the clinical trials to FDA although agency preapproval for medical foods is not required. In addition to Advera, Ross manufactures and markets several nutritional products including Ensure, a medical nutritional, and Glucerna, a medical food designed for diabetics.
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