GlaxoSmithKline's Os-Cal Earns No. 1 Pharmacist Recommended Calcium Supplements by Pharmacists Nationwide in Pharmacy Times OTC Survey for Third Straight Year

PITTSBURGH--(BW HealthWire)--March 20, 2002--GlaxoSmithKline--

Os-Cal is also #1 Calcium Supplement Preferred by MDs for Women At Risk for Osteoporosis

For the third year running, GlaxoSmithKline's Os-Cal has earned the #1 recommendation from pharmacists nationwide in the 2001 Survey of Pharmacist Recommendations conducted by Pharmacy Times, a leading national medical journal that provides practical clinical information to over 150,000 pharmacists. Its yearly survey includes 100 categories and over 1,000 OTC products.

Jeff Brown, V.P of Marketing for Os-Cal comments, "We are pleased that pharmacists across the country recognize the attributes of Os-Cal to help consumers build bone mass and help prevent osteoporosis. Os-Cal is also the #1 calcium supplement preferred by doctors of internal medicine for women at risk for osteoporosis(1) and is clinically proven effective to help maintain bone mass in more studies than any other calcium supplement brand.(2)"

A calcium study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (Vol. 20, No.3, 239-246 (2001). "Absorbability and Cost-effectiveness in Calcium Supplementation" authored by lead investigator, Robert P. Heaney, MD, Osteoporosis Research Center at Creighton University in Omaha, compared the absorption and cost-effectiveness of single doses (500 mg) of commercially-available Os-Cal(R) calcium carbonate and Citracal(R) calcium citrate in 24 postmenopausal women. Subjects also received single dose encapsulated calcium carbonate and no-load blanks (placebos).

To eliminate any variability in absorptive performance due to vitamin D insufficiency, all subjects were given a vitamin D supplement starting one week before the first test and continuing throughout the study. The researchers evaluated the efficiency of absorption or bioavailability, analyzing serum and urine calcium over a 24-hour period. The study was designed as a randomized, four-period cross-over, and used standard pharmacokinetic analysis of the increment in serum calcium and the decrement in serum parathyroid hormone, as well as urine calcium excretion. Heaney et al concluded that both calcium supplements were absorbed equally, and therefore had equivalent bioavailability.

The authors calculated that Citracal costs between 1.5 and 1.8 times as much as Os-Cal per gram of elemental calcium. To determine the cost effectiveness of the two supplements, researchers factored in the savings in annual health care costs that could result from preventing fractures associated with osteoporosis. The cost benefit analysis of the two supplements documented that treating all people 65 years or older with Os-Cal could yield net savings of up to $478 million in annual health care costs. Because of its higher cost, there were no savings if Citracal supplements were used in place of Os-Cal.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) osteoporosis and low bone mass are currently estimated to be a major public health threat for almost 30 million U.S. women and 10 million men aged 50 and older (55% of this population). Each year, osteoporosis leads to 1.5 million fractures, often of the hip, spine and wrist. An average of 24% of hip fracture patients, age 50 and over, die in a year following their fractures. NOF estimates that direct national health care costs to treat hip and other bone fractures associated with osteoporosis exceed $17 billion annually. These costs are expected to grow by more than $60 billion by the year 2020 unless more aggressive steps are taken to prevent and treat the disease.

The National Institutes of Health reports that a large percentage of Americans fail to meet currently recommended guidelines for optimal calcium intake and a unified public health strategy is needed to ensure optimal calcium intake in the American population. Os-Cal contains the most concentrated form of calcium, calcium carbonate, in a simple dosing regimen with meals to help consumers meet their daily calcium requirements.

Americans can help prevent and slow the progression of osteoporosis by following a healthy lifestyle, getting adequate calcium and vitamin D (through dietary sources and calcium supplements, such as Os-Cal), getting bone density tests, and engaging in weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, dancing or tennis.

Os-Cal is quality-tested to meet USP dissolution standards. The study "Absorbability and Cost-effectiveness in Calcium Supplementation" was funded by Creighton University and a research grant awarded by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.

Call toll-free1-866-538-3687 to get an osteoporosis risk assessment chart and to learn more about calcium supplementation. Visit the Os-Cal website at, the Calcium Information website at and TUMS(R) website at

Media Contact
Linda Millman Guller phone: 203/454-9800, email: [email protected]: To obtain copies of the study and interviews with Robert P. Heaney, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.S.N.S., F.A.C.N., Professor of Medicine, Osteoporosis Research Center at Creighton University in Omaha and co-researcher Adrianne Bendich, Ph.D., F.A.C.N., Clinical Director, Calcium Research at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.

GlaxoSmithKline--one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies--is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

References (1) and (2) Data on File at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

Os-Cal and TUMS are registered trademarks of GlaxoSmithKline
Citracal is a registered trademark of Mission Pharmacal

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