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REX Awards Natural Products P. 58

VISION At the start of a new decade, industry experts give their take on the future

It’s not just the depth of our pipeline It’s the quality and value it delivers

We focus on the details that build trust

Today, Amneal offers more than 300 generic product families, and we’re focusing our pipeline on complex drug treatments to deliver even more important medicines. We view patients and customers as members of our extended family. So everyday, we work hard to deliver quality, value and accessibility. All this is part of our deep sense of purpose. It’s how We Make Healthy Possible.

amneal.com Copyright © 2019 Amneal Pharmaceuticals. All Rights Reserved. AMN-DSN 12.19

Vol. 42 No. 1 DrugStoreNews.com

FEATURES 10 Industry News 18 Selfcare Roadmap Insights Insights into how oral care consumers shop, powered by GMDC | Retail Tomorrow’s and HRG’s Selfcare Roadmap tool

20 DSN Industry Issues Summit Panelists discuss how best to enable patient-facing care through technology and personalization

36 CBD Report: New Products 40 Products to Watch 42 Cover Story: 2020 Vision Industry experts weigh in on what the coming year and decade have in store for the retail industry

58 REX Awards 2020: Natural Products Recognizing manufacturers of natural products that set themselves apart

42 COLUMNS 8 Editor’s Note 30 One-on-One with Cognivue’s Tom O’Neill

32 Counter Talk



52 Korean Beauty’s Influence

68 Cough-Cold

A look at the outsized impact Korean beauty has had on mass retail — from snail mucin to multistep beauty routines

with ACPE’s Janet Engle

76 Vitamins Keep Gaining Targeted solutions increasingly are on the shopping lists of health-conscious consumers

34 One-on-One with Marshall University School of Pharmacy’s Gayle Brazeau


86 Last Word with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

80 Automation and Technology Companies aim to solve pharmacies’ pain points and make better care possible

SOCIAL Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews

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Consumers’ growing desire for natural remedies is spurring innovation from upstarts and legacy brands alike

68 52

DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) is published monthly 12 times a year by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rates: Manufacturers, schools, libraries and all others allied to the field $119. Canadian subscribers $129. Foreign subscribers $225. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, Circulation Fulfillment Director, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. For change of address, six weeks notice to Drug Store News, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200 is requested. Give old and new address and zip code. If possible, enclose address portion from cover on previous issue. Subscription changes also may be emailed to drugstorenews@omeda.com, or call 847-564-1468. Vol. 42, No. 1, January 2020. Copyright © 2020 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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Looking Within Store brands can help define retailers’ strategies in the new decade By Seth Mendelson


all it what you want, but retailers are paying more and more attention to private label or store brands as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition and make more money. Take the recent alliance between Kroger and Walgreens that allows these giant chains to buy together and source jointly for their store brand products. It is just the latest move by chains to find ways to efficiently purchase products from private-label suppliers at a higher volume and at lower costs. Seth Mendelson Editor in Chief/ According to a Dec. 11, 2019 article from our sister Associate Publisher publication Store Brands, which covers the private label/ store brands industry, the companies will be able to “leverage resources from one another, such as Kroger’s 37 manufacturing facilities (where they manufacture some of their own brands) that Walgreens can potentially use, and Walgreens’ sourcing company in Hong Kong that Kroger can leverage.” Top executives at both companies emphasized that the collaboration will allow them to better serve their customers with unique merchandise that will offer value. Welcome to the first days of the third decade of the 21st century. Over the first two decades, retail has changed like never before. The rate of change will only accelerate in the coming years, and the best retailers — including Walgreens and Kroger — realize that they must take the appropriate measures to stay ahead of the curve. Developing more private-label options is one big step in that direction. But the products must be at the same level — or higher — than that of the national brand equivalent in every way, from the packaging to the quality of the merchandise, and offer better pricing. And, they must be merchandised in such a way that the consumer no longer sees them as simply a less expensive alternative. Consumer expectations are evolving at a head-spinning pace. Retail no longer is just about going to the store to pick up some things. On top of everything else, it must be an experience for the shopper, who now has the option of sitting at home and ordering online at any time of the day or night. To ultimately be successful in this environment, retailers must offer these shoppers the best of everything, from the experience and the assortment to the pricing of merchandise. Do this correctly and you stand a good chance of surviving the decade. Fail at this? Well, that is not really an option anymore, is it? dsn

Retail no longer is just about going to the store to pick up some things. On top of everything else, it must be an experience for the shopper, who now has the option of ordering online any time.



An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Senior Vice President, Publisher John Kenlon (516) 650-2064, jkenlon@ensembleiq.com Editor in Chief /Associate Publisher Seth Mendelson (212) 756-5160, smendelson@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL Managing Editor David Salazar (212) 756-5114, dsalazar@ensembleiq.com Senior Editor Sandra Levy (845) 893-9573, slevy@ensembleiq.com Desk Editor Maria Manliclic (212) 756-5093, mmanliclic@ensembleiq.com Online Editor Gisselle Gaitan (212) 756-5138, ggaitan@ensembleiq.com SALES & BUSINESS Beauty Director Laura Fontana (440) 724-4369, lfontana@ensembleiq.com Northeast Manager Alex Tomas (212) 756-5155, atomas@ensembleiq.com Regional Manager Steven Werner (312) 961-7162 swerner@ensembleiq.com Brand Marketing Manager Mary Ellen Magee (856) 419-8411, mmagee@ensembleiq.com Production Manager Jackie Batson (224) 632-8183, jbatson@ensembleiq.com PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President Production Derek Estey (877) 687-7321 x 1004, destey@ensembleiq.com Creative Director Colette Magliaro cmagliaro@ensembleiq.com CUSTOMER SERVICE Having a problem with your subscription? Send us full details with the mailing label of the last copy you received, along with your telephone number. Write to: Circulation Fulfillment Director, Drug Store News, P.O. Box 3200 Northbrook, IL 60065-3200; email drugstorenews@omeda.com; or call (847) 564-1468 CIRCULATION LIST MANAGER Elizabeth Jackson MeritDirect (847) 492-1350 x 318. REPRINTS PARS International, LF-Reprints@parsintl.com, (212) 221-9595 x435, tinyurl.com/LF-reprints. Single copy price is $20 for a regular issue and $100 for a statistical issue. PERMISSIONS For permission to reuse material from Drug Store News/DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) please access www.copyright.com or contact the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 646-2600, (855) 239-3415. CCC is a not-for-profit organization that provides licenses and registration for a variety of uses.

CORPORATE OFFICERS Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer Dan McCarthy Chief Innovation Officer Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several


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Alan Glass, Executive Chairman of EnsembleIQ, Dies at 71 Alan Glass, venerated executive chairman of EnsembleIQ, the parent company of Drug Store News, passed away recently after a long and courageously fought battle with cancer. His family, friends, professional colleagues and this company mourn his passing. Glass had a long and storied career, spanning more than four decades in the media and information services industry. He began his career in publishing at The Wall Street Journal and went on to serve in senior management positions in multiple media and information services companies — including Thomson Transport Press, Primedia, Commonwealth Business Media, CFO Publishing and United Business Media. In 2000, Glass led the management buyout that created Commonwealth Business Media, which he successfully sold to UBM. Throughout his 40-year career in the information industry, Glass developed a well-deserved reputation as an astute executive, successful entrepreneur, caring mentor and loyal friend. Those of us who were privileged to work with him will miss his visionary perspective, insightful analysis, prodigious work ethic, unique sense of humor and — most of all — genuine friendship. We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Cathy, their children and grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by all.



FDA Approves New Indication for Amarin’s Vascepa Amarin has received the Food and Drug Administration’s blessing for a new indication and label expansion for Vascepa (icosapent ethyl) capsules. Vascepa now is the first and only drug approved by the FDA as an adjunct to maximally tolerated statin therapy to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events and stroke in adult patients, with elevated triglyceride levels and cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus, who are at risk of cardiovascular events. It is estimated that millions of high-risk patients in the United States could benefit from this one-of-a-kind prescription therapy. “We at Amarin are excited and gratified to now have the opportunity to introduce Vascepa as a new FDA-approved treatment option to reduce the persistent cardiovascular risk that many patients face despite use of statins with other contemporary standard-of-care therapies,” said John Thero, Amarin president and CEO. “We aim to help millions of high-risk patients, including statin-treated patients and statin-intolerant patients. For the first time, physicians, patients and payers have an FDA-approved treatment option beyond cholesterol lowering that has been demonstrated to significantly reduce major adverse cardiovascular events when used on top of a statin. Vascepa also is indicated as an adjunct to diet to reduce triglyceride levels in adult patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia. “The FDA recognizes there is a need for additional medical treatments for cardiovascular disease,” said John Sharretts, acting deputy director of the division of metabolism and endocrinology products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Today’s approval will give patients with elevated triglycerides and other important risk factors, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, an adjunctive treatment option that can help decrease their risk of cardiovascular events.”

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CoverGirl Debuts Clean Fresh Collection Clean beauty products are a growing trend that shows no signs of slowing down and CoverGirl is the latest beauty brand to dive into the space with its new Clean Fresh collection, which is formulated without such ingredients as talc, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, mineral oil and sulfates. The Clean Fresh collection includes: l Skin Milk, which offers sheer coverage in 12 shades, contains coconut milk and aloe extracts, provides all day hydration, and retails for $9.99; l Lip Oil, which features six shades and a nonsticky formula that provides a high shine finish and moisture, adds a tint of color to boost natural lip colors, and is available exclusively at CVS Pharmacy at the suggested retail price of $10.99; l Cooling Glow Stick, which comes in four shades that refresh and rejuvenate skin, can be applied to the cheeks, eyes, lips or anywhere else for a glow, and retails for $8.99; and l Cream Blush, which also comes in four shades that have a long-lasting formula for all-day wear, retails for $8.99.



The vegan Clean Fresh collection launched in stores in January and online via Amazon.com and Ulta.com in December.

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SheaMoisture Says Yes to Cannabis SheaMoisture unveiled its new Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil Lush Length line. The new collection aims to prevent breakage, improve hair and scalp health, and enhance the appearance of fullness, the company said. The pressed hemp seed oil in the products contains a concentration of omega fatty acids and vitamin E to promote healthy hair growth, while also leaving strands both conditioned and soft, the company said. The hemp seed oil also is THC- and CBD-free. Other ingredients found in the collection include ginseng root and horsetail extract, which look to boost scalp health, revitalize hair and act as a natural moisturizer. The full collection of products includes: l Lush Length Shampoo, which aims to moisturize and encourage healthier looking hair; l Lush Length Conditioner, which contains moisture-rich ingredients and looks to encourage thicker and healthier looking hair; and l Lush Length Lite Leave-In, which helps invigorate the scalp, moisturize and detangle hair, and infuse it with body and bounce. SheaMoisture’s Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil Lush Length collection retails for $9.99 each at Target.

THE MYTH: BOOKS ARE PRIMARILY DISCOVERED ONLINE THE FACTS : Store shelves are still the #1 source for book discovery! Only 1 in 4 book buyers consistently plan their purchases in advance! 71% of Children’s book buyers discover new titles by seeing them in a store! PRINT BOOKS are the ONLY physical media category with SALES GROWTH!










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Pepsi Café Blends Cola with Coffee In 2020, Pepsi is looking to add an extra layer of flavor to its beverages with Pepsi Café. Pepsi Café will contain coffee flavors blended with the brand’s signature cola drink. “We know that the consumers today are looking for products that meet the needs of energy, indulgence and refreshment during that afternoon pick-me-up occasion. At Pepsi, we’ve known the potential of blending cola and coffee for years, and after striking the perfect balance, we cannot wait to introduce Pepsi Café to the U.S. next year,” Todd Kaplan, vice president of marketing at Pepsi, said. “We are confident that cola fans, iced-coffee drinkers and anyone in need of an extra caffeine boost will love the unexpected flavor medley of roasted coffee infused into the refreshing, crisp flavor of Pepsi.” Available in two flavors — original and vanilla — both options will come in 12-oz. slim cans that will arrive on retailers’ shelves in the spring.

VirMax Releases Skinnygirl Supplement Line VirMax is partnering with Skinnygirl on a brand new line of supplements. “For many women, it is a challenge to manage a busy schedule while maintaining good health,” said Bethenny Frankel, Skinnygirl founder and CEO. “Skinnygirl supplements give women a convenient and simple option to help address health and beauty issues that many of us struggle with. This partnership with VirMax and new line of products are a natural extension of the Skinnygirl brand.” Aimed to help women address common health challenges, products in the line include: l Hair, Skin & Nails with Biotin, which looks to maintain glossy hair, strong nails and decadent skin; l Collagen Enhancer, which aims to fight signs of aging, reduce wrinkles with age spots, enhance collagen and make skin firmer; l Relaxation & Sleep Support with Melatonin, which looks to increase relaxation and improve users’ sleep quality and duration; and



l Sensuality for Female Intimacy, which aims to increase desire, elevate sensation and improve blood flow. All four non-GMO products are offered in vegetarian capsules, the company said. “Bethenny has a keen sense of the needs of female consumers, and it has been exciting to collaborate with her to identify underserved areas in the supplement market where VirMax could help fill a need,” said Marty Gallant, VirMax president and CEO. “We look forward to working with her to help further educate women on the importance of self-care and how supplements can play a key role in their daily health and beauty routine.” Skinnygirl Supplements by VirMax are available exclusively at more than 5,000 Walgreens locations nationwide.

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MDC | Retail Tomorrow and Hamacher Resource Group recently joined forces to bring to life the Selfcare Roadmap, a tool meant to identify opportunities, reveal how next practices can reshape the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, inspire new merchandising and service models, and provide impact across all aisles. The tool, which is only available to GMDC | Retail Tomorrow members, demonstrates how to optimize shoppers’ health, beauty, personal care and wellness experiences, as well as how to drive new avenues for profitability by offering more than 140 insights and infographics that can be sorted by category of self-care occasion. This month, the companies have shared insights with Drug Store News about oral care shoppers. dsn

Oral Care



categories IN BASKET

TOP 6 HBW CATEGORIES ON THEIR SHOPPING LIST 5% Allergy 6% Hydration 6% Diet/Nutrition 8% Vitamins/ Supplements




School & Office 6%


Household Products 22%

Greeting Cards 21%




Electrical & Audio 4%

Oral Care

9% Pain Relief 37% Oral Care


Key insight: Eight of the top 10 confection SKUs are single-serve chocolate (bars).

Oral Care







Key insight: Oral health often is referred to as the window to overall health. Gum disease is the leading oral care condition, affecting 1-in-2 American adults.



Key insight: Oral care is the primary shopping trip driver (9.5 times stronger than for the general shopper), making ensuring a robust category essential. One-third of all shopping frequency is driven by the oral care category.





Upending Challenges to Patient-Facing Care Panelists point to complex hurdles for pharmacists and patients By David Orgel


ommunity-based pharmacy needs to focus on a wide angle view of patient needs to further enhance its success with patient-facing care. That was the perspective of industry leaders who spoke during an executive panel at the Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit in New York City in December. The panel was called Enabling Patient-Facing Care.



Executives said success requires focusing on patients’ full healthcare journeys, providing navigational support, emphasizing the importance of personalization over a one-size-fits-all approach, and targeting technology to address needs. “Patients need an advocate throughout their entire healthcare journey for help with everything from finding financial support, to identifying a physician,

to understanding their medications,” said panelist Rina Shah, group vice president of specialty and retail pharmacy operations at Walgreens. “It’s their local community pharmacist that patients can rely on to help them navigate their healthcare experience. And it’s not only the patient that pharmacists support, it’s also the caregiver, because it’s the caregiver helping patients throughout their journey.”

DSN INDUSTRY ISSUES SUMMIT Fellow panelist Dain Rusk, vice president of pharmacy at Publix Super Markets, emphasized the importance of personalized pharmacy strategies. “It’s now more about personalization for patients,” he said. “From our standpoint, it’s really about investing in technology, where we’re more digitally engaged with that customer. That means allowing them to transact with us, whether it be partnering with health systems, where you have the opportunity to provide a telehealth experience, or investing in technology, where they can transact online and pay for that prescription and enable us to drive innovation.”

Addressing Full Set of Patient Needs

Panel moderator Chris Dimos, president of retail solutions at McKesson, asked participants to identify unmet patient needs. In response, panelists underscored the importance of providing connections, communications and personalization. “When a patient is seeing multiple providers, there needs to be a stronger connection of care across providers,” said Todd Treon, e-commerce and digital marketing healthcare leader at Cardinal Health. “This means connections from the community pharmacist to the primary care physician and, for chronic care patients, it could also

Panel moderator Chris Dimos, president of retail solutions at McKesson

Walgreens Empowers Pharmacy to Improve Outcomes It is a long-standing challenge: How to free up pharmacists to spend more time with patients that need extra attention? Walgreens is making progress through an effort that involves a new pharmacy role, said Rina Shah, group vice president of specialty and retail pharmacy operations. She spoke during an executive panel at the Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit in New York City in December. The panel was called Enabling Patient-Facing Care. “In this past year, we created a new role called the Health Outcomes Pharmacist to provide individualized pharmacy solutions and care for patients with complex, chronic conditions,” she said. “The pharmacist in this new role is primarily responsible for supporting patients that want and need high-touch care.” These pharmacists are given time and support to perform this function, which partly involves asking patients a lot of questions. “They sit down and talk to the patient to understand what are their



barriers to care,” she said. “They ask how do they take their medications? Do they need help getting their medicines from the pharmacy? Do they need us to talk to their physician? Are they on the right medication?” The results have been impressive both for learning about patients and educating them. “We’ve uncovered tremendous valuable information by talking to these patients and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the patients who receive this support,” Shah said. Pharmacists learn about such patient needs as transportation or 90-day refill solutions. They teach patients about how to take their medications. These high-touch situations necessarily are not ones that can be solved through technology, Shah said. “But technology provides data and insights into patient challenges and frees up the pharmacist to be able to talk to those patients that need us the most.”



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DSN INDUSTRY ISSUES SUMMIT include a pulmonologist and cardiologist. Even though some progress is being made, improving communication and collaboration across providers would help improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of health care.” Panelist Ryan Rumbarger, senior vice president of retail store operations at CVS Pharmacy, emphasized the need to personalize communications.

“What I heard is that we have to consider the patient in their entirety. They’re not just a prescription. They are patients that have not only insurance needs, but navigation needs, with caregivers that are surrounnding the patients.”

Left to right: Matthew Johnson of Amplicare, Todd Treon of Cardinal Health, Rina Shah of Walgreens and Ryan Rumbarger of CVS Health

— Chris Dimos, president of retail solutions, McKesson “We have an opportunity to personalize communications a lot more effectively,” he said. “Take the patient to whom we’ve sent multiple patient care offers via text message, but who has never responded to text messaging. If we know that the same patient responds positively when presented with a similar offer at the point of sale, we shouldn’t text that person anymore. We need to take what we know about the patient, find the optimal offer for their health care and send it through their preferred channel.” Finding the right combination between technology and human solutions will become an important differentiator for companies, said panelist Nimesh Jhaveri, president of Health Mart and senior vice president at McKesson. “I think patients are looking for help from us as providers to say, ‘Here’s what’s right for you,”’ he said. “And then, when you have questions that technology can’t answer, here’s a human that can help you.



PerceptiMed’s Frank Starn and Cardinal Health’s Todd Treon look on as Amplicare’s Matthew Johnson talks. Panelists discussed how companies can focus on providing exceptional patient care through technology that creates opportunity for increased emphasis on patient needs.

DSN INDUSTRY ISSUES SUMMIT The folks that figure out the best combination between a human intervention and a technology intervention, the right way for the right patient, will ultimately win.” Dimos said the panel’s responses reflect the importance of taking a wide view of patient needs. “What I heard is that we have to consider the patient in their entirety,” he said. “They’re not just a prescription. They are patients that have not only insurance needs, but navigation needs, with caregivers that are surrounding that patient.”

Making Health Care Relevant Across Generations

Executives said that community pharmacy has to adapt healthcare strategies for different generations of customers. Not surprisingly, younger generations are the most likely to embrace digital technologies, said panelist Matthew Johnson, CEO and co-founder of technology provider Amplicare. “Younger generations are profoundly influenced by digital connectivity,” he said. “Three out of four of them would pick a provider based on whether they have an app that includes more than one aspect of the engagement.” He pointed to one doctor finding app, Zocdoc. “It’s similar to the Lyfts and Ubers

Ian Fallon of McKesson Prescription Technology Solutions, Nimesh Jhaveri of Health Mart and Doyle Jensen of Innovation participated in the Enabling Patient-Facing Care panel at the 21st annual DSN Industry Issues Summit.

Eyeing Collaboration with Industry Disruptors Community pharmacy faces a range of disruptive entrants, including those on the digital side that focus on direct-to-consumer medication fulfillment. Yet, rather than eyeing disruptors only as competitors, the industry should look for ways to collaborate, according to speakers at the Enabling Patient-Facing Care panel during the Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit in New York City in December. “There is no shortage of potential disruptors or new entrants into the marketplace,” said Chris Dimos, panel moderator, who is president of retail solutions at McKesson. Panelist Nimesh Jhaveri, president of Health Mart and senior vice president at McKesson, said a common trait of disruptors is that they don’t start with a plan already in place. “They’re not starting with a legacy platform or experience,” he said. “They’re basically starting with a white piece of paper and saying, ‘How should we do it?”’ Disruptors aim to create something that’s truly differentiated, he said. “And they don’t care about what’s already in the marketplace. Their



job is to actually create something new. And so my take on this is that we need to, as an industry, lean in and potentially partner with these folks and help them understand what’s working and what’s not working. That way we can co-create something that’s different for the marketplace.” Panelist Rina Shah, group vice president of specialty and retail pharmacy operations at Walgreens, said the industry has an important role to play in working with disruptors to navigate the future. “Pharmacy is ripe for disruption. I think disruption is going to be really good for patients, pharmacies and the broader healthcare industry, but it is ultimately partnerships that will drive the most impactful changes,” Shah said. “We are experts in understanding how to take care of our patients. We are experts in pharmacy and health care. Other companies have expertise in complementary areas, and this makes the value of partnerships incredible. So instead of fighting it, we should be inviting industry leaders to the table and saying, ‘What can we do together to really solve the issues that we see in front of us?’”

“Technology can dramatically improve patient safety and create opportunities for pharmacist-patient interactions” – Frank Starn, CEO, PerceptiMed Drug Store News Industry Summit

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DSN INDUSTRY ISSUES SUMMIT of the world that have not only spoiled us, but also have changed our expectations for more convenience, more transparency, more control, more so than ever before,” he said. Panelist Doyle Jensen, executive vice president of global business development at Innovation, said relevance is highly important in reaching different customer bases. He also said that his 15-year-old daughter uses the increasingly popular social networking app TikTok, a video-sharing platform that many older consumers likely are not familiar with.

“Technology can dramatically improve patient safety — from flagging drug interactions to preventing wrong prescriptions getting distributed to patients. Technology can also be a tremendous enabler and create opportunities for personal interactions.” — Frank Starn, CEO, PerceptiMed “That’s why I say that relevance to each person comes first,” he said “What you have to provide is something that’s really relevant to them at that point in time and for what they’re experiencing. So in health care, it’s about what the condition state is, and then provide a value based off of that.” Panelist Ian Fallon, vice president of business development at McKesson Prescription Technology Solutions, said providing transparency to patients, including costs and payments, is highly important. He said it’s also essential to “flip the default” to improve patient adherence. “Today you get a prescription, and it gets sent over to the pharmacy, and you have to actively go to the pharmacy to pick it up. So the default is nonadherence. I have to do something to go and get it,” he said. “So how do we flip that default? How do we get



Left to right: PioneerRx’s Jeff Key and Publix’s Dain Rusk were part of the Patient-Facing Care panel, which included discussion of the role technology can play in helping pharmacies identify opportunities for patient engagement to improve adherence and outcomes.

things to patients in a way that they want it automatically? That makes adherence — not nonadherence — the default.” Panelists agreed that technology holds great promise for pharmacy and health care, but they also said it needs to be monitored to ensure customer-facing technology interactions make sense. “It’s got to make sense,” said panelist Jeff Key, president of PioneerRx, who also said that technology-based communications quickly can become turnoffs if they lack relevance. “We have to double train our staffs not to let technology become a crutch in what we’re doing,” he said. “And we have to figure out with the technology creators how to do this.”

Freeing Up Pharmacists to Excel

Speakers at the summit said enhanced patient engagement is only possible if pharmacists are freed up to interact. Some speakers cited automation efforts that pull production out of stores in order to give pharmacists more bandwidth for patient engagement. These efforts leverage technologies, ranging from artificial intelligence to machine learning. The upshot is that pharmacists gain more one-on-one time with patients. “One of the things we focus on — and I think a lot of us focus on — is giving the pharmacist time to get out and be very patient-centric,” said panelist Frank Starn,

CEO of PerceptiMed. “We need to allow pharmacists time to have those meaningful discussions and learn about a patient’s concerns and worries, but also their hopes. That’s all part of that very personal healthcare journey that is unique to each patient.” CVS Pharmacy’s Rumbarger said his company is working hard to “really empower our teams to put the task aside and focus 100% of their attention on the customer in front of them. That means empowering them to develop that relationship, because you have to know somebody to understand what they need and to earn the right or the privilege to offer them the right solution.” One key panel takeaway is the importance of balancing both technology and human interactions for best patient outcomes. It was a point emphasized by PerceptiMed’s Starn, who directly addressed how technology and human intervention need to be balanced. “Technology can dramatically improve patient safety — from flagging drug interactions to preventing wrong prescriptions getting distributed to patients,” he said. “Technology can also be a tremendous enabler and create opportunities for personal interactions,” he said about relationships with patients. “So it’s about taking an interest and bringing empathy to every counseling opportunity. Taking the time to really understand that journey and, in doing so, support and guide patients.” dsn

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Staying Sharp Cognivue looks to help pharmacies capitalize on the in-store cognitive testing opportunity


ognitive testing could be the next frontier of pharmacy clinical services — at least that’s what the folks at Cognivue are hoping. The company says it has the first Food and Drug Administration-cleared cognitive test meant to test for signs of cognitive decline that might require physician attention. DSN spoke to Cognivue president and CEO Tom O’Neill about the opportunity his company’s product creates for pharmacies looking to build out their clinical and diagnostic offerings with a negligible impact on space. Drug Store News: Can you tell us a little bit about the company? Tom O’Neill: Cognivue is an innovative healthcare company devoted to elevating the standard and availability of cognitive testing to help improve the lives of patients and caregivers by providing early and accurate testing for proactive intervention. The Cognivue technology, developed within the neuroscience lab at the University of Rochester, is covered by more than 17 patents and is the first FDA-cleared, self-administered computerized test of cognitive ability. Over the past 18 months, we have been working tirelessly in preparing for the launch of our gen-4 device with the Cognivue Thrive test for pharmacies. This new portable device weighs only 8 lbs. and is about the size of a laptop computer. It is ideal for both in-pharmacy use and for conducting tests at health fairs and other out-of-store events. Drug Store News: What opportunity exists at retail for cognitive testing? TO: Offering in-store cognitive testing is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to expand their clinical services. Alzheimer’s and dementia are the No. 1 disease concerns of consumers, yet today access to cognitive testing is limited. Even primary care physicians are challenged to conduct cognitive testing given the number of patients



they need to see each day. Importantly, early detection allows for some forms of cognitive impairment, such as impairment caused by drug interaction and dosage, vitamin B12 deficiency, sleep apnea, diabetes, hypertension and other common conditions that can be treated or managed. Counseling patients on proactive steps they can take now can help patients achieve optimal cognitive abilities. Pharmacists are ideally positioned to provide cognitive testing services given their

“Incoporating Cognivue into their pharmacies enables pharmacists to play a central role in helping with early detection and prevention strategies.”

Tom O’Neill, president and CEO, Cognivue

high involvement with patients and everexpanding role as healthcare providers. Drug Store News: How does a Cognivue Thrive test work? TO: When a patient comes to the pharmacy area requesting a Cognivue Thrive test, they will be directed to the consultation room, where they will be seated in front of the Cognivue device. The self-administered test begins with a two-minute introductory instructional video followed by the five minute test. Once completed, their personalized report, a Dear Doctor letter, and a one-page summary of our Cogniwell program will be printed in the pharmacy. The pharmacist will then have the opportunity to interact with the patient, reviewing the results and the recommendations in the Cogniwell program, which includes proactive steps the patient can take to optimize their cognitive abilities. Importantly, Cognivue is simple to implement in store with minimal staff involvement. The Cognivue program includes online pharmacist education and certification, along with marketing materials to promote this clinical service in store and in your community. Drug Store News: How would offering Cognivue help strengthen pharmacies’ wellness proposition in the eyes of patients? TO: Cognivue allows pharmacies to expand their clinical services and wellness proposition when it matters most. Cognitive decline, ranging from mild cognitive impairment to dementia, can have profound implications for an individual’s overall health and well-being, as well as for their family. Already nearly 6 million Americans suffer from dementia and more than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for their loved ones suffering from some form of dementia. Incorporating Cognivue into their pharmacies enables pharmacists to play a central role in helping with early detection and prevention strategies. dsn

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Demystifying ACPE The accreditation body’s executive director outlines what exactly its purview is By Janet Engle

A Janet Engle, executive director, Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education


few short weeks ago, I made the leap from my career as an educator and administrator in a college of pharmacy to a completely different type of position. I succeeded Pete Vlasses as the executive director of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education after his retirement. My first thought upon being notified that I was being offered the position was that I would be filling some very big shoes. Fast forward a few weeks, and what I have found is that most people don’t have any idea of the breadth and depth of ACPE’s activities. Most pharmacists know we accredit schools of pharmacy and CE programs, but are not aware of the many other activities that ACPE encompasses. ACPE has four divisions: • Colleges and schools: This division is the PharmD program accreditation arm of ACPE. The professional degree programs leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree must meet established qualifications and educational standards in order to maintain accreditation. Currently, there are 137 accredited PharmD programs, eight programs with candidate status (a new program that has not graduated at class yet) and one program with precandidate status (a new program with no students enrolled yet, but meets the eligibility criteria for accreditation). • Continuing Education Provider Accreditation: This division encompasses both ACPE’s Continuing Education Provider Program, which is designed to assure pharmacists, boards of pharmacy and others of the quality of continuing pharmacy education programs. CPE Monitor, PWT Web Tool and Plan are all part of this division. In addition to CE, this division also provides resources for Continuing Professional Development, or CPD. CPD involves the process of active participation in formal and informal learning activities that assist individuals in developing and maintaining continuing competence, enhancing their professional practice, and supporting achievement of their career goals. Currently, there are 291 ACPE accredited CE providers and 90 Joint Accreditation for


Interprofessional Continuing Education providers. • International Services Program: This division provides consulting and professional degree program certification to stakeholders around the world who seek guidance related to quality assurance and advancement of pharmacy education. • Pharmacy Technician Education Accreditation Collaboration: In collaboration with ASHP, the goal of this program is to promote, assure and advance the quality of pharmacy technician education and training programs. ACPE also has been very active in the Health Professions Accreditors Collaborative, or HPAC, in which we were a founding member. Most recently, ACPE participated with HPAC and the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education in developing a guidance document aimed at supporting and developing quality interprofessional education. The document was endorsed by 24 agencies. I also have learned that there are some misunderstandings associated with ACPE. The most common one I have heard is that many pharmacists think that ACPE has the ability to stop new schools of pharmacy from opening. That is not the case. ACPE’s only authority and responsibility is to determine compliance with accreditation standards. If a new school meets the accreditation standards, we must award status to the school. We are grateful to our three supporting organizations: the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Pharmacists Association and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which each appoint three board members to the ACPE board of directors, along with one appointee from the American Council on Education. It is the board of directors that makes all determination of compliance with the accreditation standards and certification quality criteria for international programs. I am very interested in obtaining feedback about ACPE. We will be hosting information and listening sessions at many national meetings. If you have any thoughts you would like to share, feel free to attend or email me at: jengle@acpe-accredit.org. dsn











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Getting Involved Encouraging our newest practitioners to stay professionally engaged By Gayle A. Brazeau

I Gayle A. Brazeau, professor and dean, Marshall University School of Pharmacy


t was only 10 years ago that the Doctor of Pharmacy degree became the sole degree accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education for pharmacists’ entry into practice in the United States. As an educator, I continue to be impressed with the quality and dedication of student pharmacists and the commitment of faculty and staff. Pharmacy education is shaping the next generation of pharmacists who will provide outstanding patient care in both community-based pharmacies and collaborative, clinical healthcare teams. Community pharmacies should remain a cornerstone of our healthcare system, particularly in rural areas of the country. Nine out of 10 individuals live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy. We have all heard stories of community pharmacists who made a difference in the lives of patients and their families. From our rural communities to urban areas, the community pharmacist’s daily practice ensures optimal patient outcomes. Yet, there are challenges in community pharmacy practice. Rising prescription volume as the population ages, additional services such as vaccinations and medication management, DIR fees, and pharmacy profit concerns amid rising mail-order options are dampening enthusiasm in the profession. What is most concerning from my perspective, however, is the decrease in the number of community pharmacists who are involved in the professional organizations representing pharmacy and pharmacy practice. Throughout my academic career and involvement with local, state and national pharmacy organizations, a common refrain of the leaders is their concern about the newest pharmacists, specifically their declining membership in these organizations, lack of attendance at meetings, and reluctance to assume leadership positions and advocate for the profession. There is quite a contrast between the time student pharmacists actively are engaged in professional organizations versus the time new practitioners are involved. Certainly, we know that many are working extra hours to reduce their student loan debt, while starting their new careers and families. They also likely are to be in positions with less work schedule flexibility. The costs of local, state or national pharmacy organization


involvement may also be prohibitive. Perhaps we should consider how we encourage our newest pharmacy colleagues to stay involved with professional pharmacy organizations. Should pharmacy organizations and employers focus on engagement strategies that utilize social media and video/teleconferences as alternatives to face-to-face meetings? Rather than traveling to state capitals for advocacy days, can we encourage legislative advocacy meetings with their representatives at their local offices? Or, should there be a greater focus on local versus state pharmacy organizations? We should also consider how employers could provide greater support. If employers are passionate about evolving pharmacy practice, should we not allow as little as eight hours per month for professional advocacy? This could be as simple as one to two hours a week when pharmacists could participate in professional meetings or advocacy efforts while at work. Furthermore, where is the opportunity for at least some partial support from their employers for new pharmacists to attend at least one professional meeting at the state and local level annually? Professional engagement and advocacy require a continuous learning process that involves commitment, time, mentoring and networking. It involves building relationships across all the stages of pharmacy practice, from the new to the experienced practitioner, as well as support from employers and pharmacy education. If we want our newest practitioners to become engaged in advancing pharmacy through professional organizations and advocacy, we must rethink how professional organizations and employers provide the opportunities and, more importantly, afford their support, encouragement and time. Success in engagement and advocacy only will occur through collaboration of individual pharmacists with professional organizations, employers and the academia. It seems that eight hours a month or attendance at one professional meeting a year is a small cost for our newest pharmacy colleagues to further advance our collective efforts for community pharmacy and the patients/families that are served each day. dsn


Vitafusion Brings CBD Gummies to Market Leading gummy vitamin brand vitafusion is adding to its product lineup with a trendy ingredient — CBD. The Ewing, N.J.-based Church & Dwight brand has introduced its CBD Full Spectrum Hemp Extract product line on its website and at certain retailers. “As CBD explodes in popularity, the market has become flooded with offerings from mostly unknown manufacturers and sources. We want consumers to feel confident entering the category, knowing they are getting a high-quality supplement from a brand they love and trust,” said Bruce Weiss, vice president of marketing at vitafusion. “We are committed to ensuring the quality of our CBD Full Spectrum Hemp Extract line.” The product line features three varieties — a full-spectrum extract gummy with 5 mg of CBD per gummy in a red raspberry flavor; grapefruit lychee-flavored Sleep Well, which contains 10 mg of CBD per gummy, plus melatonin to support sleep; and blackberryflavored Chill Mood, which features 10 mg of CBD per gummy and L-theanine to promote relaxation. All of the gummies, made with natural fruit flavors, are free of FD&C dyes, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, gluten and dairy, the company said. “When formulating the CBD Full Spectrum Hemp Extract product line, our research and development team implemented stringent standards for the safety and quality of our CBD Full Spectrum Hemp Extract gummy vitamins,” said Annahita Ghassemi, director of global R&D, product safety and clinical affairs at Church & Dwight. “As with all vitafusion products, we conduct comprehensive safety assessments to ensure product safety when used as directed. As a trusted brand, consumers can expect nothing less with our new CBD Full Spectrum Hemp Extract line.” The line has a suggested retail price of $29.99 per bottle.

Hempavida Debuts CBD Line at Art Basel Miami Beach As art critics discussed a $120,000 banana at Art Basel Miami Beach in December, wellness and skin care lifestyle brand Hempavida used the international event to unveil its symptom-focused CBD Hemp + Wellness collection. The product line features third-partytested, non-GMO and hemp-based CBD that is grown organically, and includes four products targeted around such needs as sleep and focus. The line includes Dream, which contains a proprietary blend meant to combat sleeplessness and help correct sleep patterns; Chill, which helps to alleviate anxiety and stabilize mood; Focus, which helps with memory and cognitive function; and Restore, which helps reduce pain and increase joint mobility, as well as ease symptoms of arthritis. “It’s not just the milligram dosage that makes a hemp CBD-related product effective,” said Kelly Yocum, Hempavida’s CEO. “Blending the right natural ingredients to target specific symptoms is a highly effective way to dip your toe into the CBD world and ensure you are using it properly to treat your ailments.” The Hempavida product line is available on Amazon.com.




PurWell Launches High-Potency CBD Drops PurWell has unveiled its Full Spectrum Hemp Oil Tincture in an unflavored 2,000-mg formulation. The product also is available in a 1,000-mg strength. The Boynton Beach, Fla.-based company said that its tinctures are particularly popular among consumers due to their fast absorption and high bioavailability. PurWell’s pharmacist-formulated tinctures include full-spectrum hemp oil, as well as MCT and organic essential oils for flavoring. They also are vegan and free of sugar, gluten, alcohol, artificial colors and flavors. “At PurWell, we have seen a great amount of success with our current CBD product offerings, and we are thrilled to launch our new 2,000-mg unflavored tincture for the new year,” said PurWell CEO Jon Fedele. “We pride ourselves on providing the purest quality hemp oil products, and our new full-spectrum hemp tincture will continue our commitment to excellence.” PurWell said its products are third-party tested for purity and potency, as well as to ensure a proper and consistent dosage. Its products feature QR codes that link to certificates of analysis on all boxes and labels. The tincture joins PurWell’s line of capsules, lotions, salves, pet products and PurSlep tincture.

Manna Molecular Science Unveils Women-Focused CBD Topical Manna Molecular Science is bringing CBD into the sexual wellness space. The Worcester, Mass.-based hemp company has introduced Manna SX Vella, a topical serum the company said has shown the clinical efficacy of CBD in women’s sexual enhancement products. The company’s chief medical officer, urologist Harin Padma-Nathan, was a clinical trial investigator for Viagra who brought his expertise in the area to Manna. “We conducted organ bath studies to measure dose response pharmacological effects, as well as at-home case studies among women,” Padma-Nathan said. Manna CEO and co-founder Nial DeMena said that the company’s goal was to create a functional, effective product. “Our goal was to develop a CBD product that afforded tangible benefits to women,” he said. “The specific formulation is condom compatible and paraben-free.” Manna SX Vella is offered in multiuse 200-mg CBD and single-use 20-mg CBD formulations. The company said it plans to launch at major retailers, as well as dispensaries.



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Not Too Late to Stand Out Hot products that hit shelves in December


t’s always a mad dash to the finish. The last month of the year often also is the busiest. That especially held true for Hamacher Resource Group’s new product team, which sorted through 528 products that debuted in December, comprised of 16 OTC products (3%), 55 wellness products (10%) and 457 beauty products (87%) to choose these five top contenders.


K-Y Me & You Extra Lubricated Condoms


Bioré Men’s Charcoal Pore Strips



RB’s K-Y sexual wellness brand is one of the top-selling brands in the family planning category based on their lubricants. The brand now is delving into condom sales with the K-Y Me & You Extra Lubricated, which offer more lubrication to increase comfort. KAO’s is looking to meet the needs of men who the company said often purchase its Bioré brand and who are lacking in acnefocused products targeting men. As a result, the company launched the Bioré cleaning line for men, which, besides the charcoal pore strips, includes a face wash, face scrub, bar soap and cleansing cloths. The pore strips are larger than standard Bioré pore strips to ensure full coverage, and are designed to remove blackheads and soak up excess oil.


Coppertone Kid Clear Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 Sparkle


PainBloc24 Pain Relief Pen


Hyland’s FlexMore Arthritis Pain Relief Tablet

With consumers increasingly looking for sun care options without white streaks, Beiersdorf’s Coppertone brand has introduced Coppertone Kids Clear, offering a clear product that doesn’t leave behind white residue, and also imparts sparkles. The product is water-resistant up to 80 minutes and is free of dyes, PABA and synthetic preservatives. Vizuri Health Sciences’ latest product from its PainBloc24 line is looking to help those suffering from arthritis in the hands better target their pain. The PainBloc24 Pain Relief Pen is meant to offer an easy way to target arthritis hand pain, more precisely delivering the maximum dose of capsaicin available without a prescription.

Homeopathic category pioneer Hyland’s also is looking to tackle arthritis with its latest innovation. The company is offering a homeopathic approach with FlexMore Arthritis Pain Relief, which is formulated with natural active ingredients and doesn’t have any known drug interactions. The product, which is free of ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen and aspirin, also features an easy-open cap. dsn

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A new year and a new decade promise opportunity and challenges for the mass retail community. DSN asked some of the people in the trenches what they see happening over the next 12 months and the next 10 years. BY MARK HAMSTRA


hought the last decade brought about some dramatic changes in the way consumers shopped and retailers went to market? Well, hold on to your hats. The last 10 years will look like a cakewalk compared with what the next decade has in store, according to industry experts. The bottom line is that dramatic change now is an important part of retailing, and there are no signs that it is slowing down. Conversely, change just is going to speed up. As we enter a new year and a new decade, DSN asked a range of experts, including retailers, analysts, officials at CPG companies, wholesalers and industry associations, to prognosticate about the year ahead, as well as about developments they expect to unfurl over the course of the next decade. The consensus is that the environment will be as challenging as ever, but smart and innovative companies will find ways to prevail. On the pharmacy side, the industry sees a continuing evolution toward pharmacists offering a broader range of healthcare services and working more closely with other professionals in the healthcare system. This will be aided by advances in technology that facilitate the sharing of patient information to improve outcomes. Technology also will help consumers play an increasingly active



role in their own care, as they monitor their own health with wearable devices and leverage information available online. “Because of all the information that is out there, consumers are going to make decisions in an informed way,” said Jocelyn Konrad, chief pharmacy officer at Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid. “When they recognize that they may have to pay more for some of the unfortunate things that come with chronic illness, whether that’s surgery or additional medications, I think people will start to make better decisions, and we’ll be right there partnering with them to provide some of the solutions to help them stay healthier longer.” Technology also will continue to impact other areas of the store as consumers continue to gravitate toward online shopping, and retailers seek to create better omnichannel experiences that keep consumers engaged. Consumer interest in health and wellness only will increase in importance throughout the store as shoppers seek out functional foods and beverages and other products that address both their physical and emotional well-being. Retailers and their supplier partners that address these consumer needs effectively will be well positioned for the year ahead and beyond.


Colin Stewart, executive vice president of business intelligence, Acosta

Self-care, the expansion of CBD assortments and the growth of functional foods are among the trends that will impact food and drug retailing in the year ahead, according to Colin Stewart, executive vice president of business intelligence at Acosta. About 88% of consumers say that selfcare is important to them, and the average American already spends $199 a month (22% of their disposable income) on nonessential items to “treat themselves” by taking a more proactive role in their healthcare needs, Stewart said, citing Acosta research. “With 62% of consumers reporting they want to treat themselves even more than they currently do, we predict the $9.9 billion self-care industry will only continue to grow in the year ahead,” he said. The grocery channel, in particular, has significant untapped potential for the HBC segment, according to Stewart. Nearly 90% of consumers want retailers to be more involved in their health care, and 80% of U.S. households shop for HBC items in grocery stores, yet they spend 77% of their HBC dollars in other channels, he said. Functional foods and beverages also are poised for growth in 2020 and beyond. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults agree that “healthfulness” has a significant impact on their food and beverage purchase decisions, and 70% of millennials said they’re taking a more holistic approach to their health, Stewart said. “Given this shopper mentality, projected



sales of functional foods with added nutritional benefits are expected to reach $275 billion by 2025,” he said. Products containing CBD have been a hot category in food and drug retailing, a trend that is expected to continue in 2020 and beyond. Stewart said he also expects to see an expansion of CBD product solutions in various forms. “As the variety of CBD products expands into other categories, retailers will need to determine if CBD products are best merchandised together or aligned with product type or usage occasion,” Stewart said. “Consumers are hungry for information, and education will be critically important to expand trial.”

profitability, Moore said he’s getting out of insurance plans that are inadequate. “We’re trying to stop the bleeding,” he said. “If that means we are in fewer plans, then we are in fewer plans. We can’t be in every plan that we would like to be in.” At Condo Pharmacy, Moore has embraced the concept of the pharmacy as a provider of a range of wellness services, and he plans to continue to expand on those efforts in 2020. Condo Pharmacy specializes in compounding, clinical care services and long-term care, and is part of the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Networks, or CPESN, USA network of integrated pharmacies. “Pharmacists need to be able to practice at the top of their license,” Moore said. “Pharmacists are, in many ways, an untapped resource.” In the year ahead, Moore said one of the areas he plans to continue to focus on is the need to document the services that Condo Pharmacy provides in a way that will facilitate reimbursement. “I am really excited about what pharmacy is going to be able to bring,” he said. “I think with the scope of practice and with states allowing pharmacists to practice at the top of their licenses, there will be tremendous opportunity for community pharmacy.”

Steve Moore, owner, Condo Pharmacy

Steve Moore, owner of Condo Pharmacy in Plattsburgh, N.Y., has an optimistic outlook for the industry in 2020 — with a caveat. “I’m excited about the future for pharmacists,” said Moore, who recently was named the National Community Pharmacy Association’s 2019 Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year. “But that’s predicated on payer provider status.” Recognizing the important role that pharmacists play in the healthcare system by compensating them for the work they do beyond dispensing drugs will remain an important area of focus in the year ahead, he said. Community pharmacy should not have to lose money on dispensing prescriptions, which increasingly is the reality in today’s environment, according to Moore. As a part of its ongoing effort to shore up

Brian Nightengale, president of Good Neighbor Pharmacy at AmerisourceBergen

2020 could be a pivotal year for pharmacy, said Brian Nightengale, president of Good Neighbor Pharmacy, AmerisourceBergen’s independent community pharmacy network.

COVER STORY “Next year, we expect that reimbursement pressures and DIR fees will continue to intensify and create a more visible impact across all pharmacies, not just independents,” he said. “Those who have pushed to diversify their businesses and worked to develop new solutions beyond dispensing will benefit from that decision and see opportunities for continued growth. At the same time, pharmacies that have stayed with the status quo and haven’t found other ways to engage consumers and patients may have an even harder year.” Nightengale said he is optimistic about the future of pharmacy and the evolving role of pharmacists in health care, but pharmacy owners will have to push to diversify their businesses through expanded services and opportunities to support patient health and wellness, “potentially beyond the four walls of their pharmacy.” Meanwhile, demand for healthcare services will continue to grow as the nation faces an aging population without enough doctors to care for them, Nightengale said, citing data from the Association of American Medical Colleges’ “New Findings Confirm Predictions on Physician Shortage,” projecting a shortage of 122,000 physicians by 2032 and a 48% increase in the 65-plus age range population. “Pharmacies have become one of the most accessible forms of health care,” he said. “In fact, the typical patient sees a pharmacist 10 times more often than a medical provider, making the pharmacy extremely well positioned to provide care through clinical services, such as immunizations, diabetes and nutrition counseling, and other wellness and medication adherence programs. We will continue to see growth in these areas in 2020 and beyond.” Over the next decade, Nightengale said he anticipates technological advances that will “drive efficiency to new heights.” These advances will include: • Connectivity that will ease the transfer of patient data from various healthcare settings to the pharmacy; • Social media platforms and mobile



apps that will enable patients to connect directly with their pharmacy, creating an improved patient experience and the potential for improved adherence and medication management, along with self-reported health data and other metrics that are valuable to healthcare providers; and • Consumers will continue to embrace wearable devices for their functionality around health and wellness.

retailers aligning strategy against a few core brands and segments, and then holding those brands accountable to a disciplined approach to product quality and innovation strategy.” Charlotte’s Web plans to expand its retail presence in the year ahead, as well as grow its current product portfolio with its existing retail partners. The company’s product assortment currently includes a wide range of solutions — CBD oils, capsules, gummies, topicals and CBD isolate, as well as CBD for pets. It is the No. 1 CBD hemp extract brand in the country by market share, and is currently available in 9,000 retail locations across the United States. Reaching a broad consumer base will be important for the company in 2020, True said. “Charlotte’s Web will market our respected products in a way that makes them accessible to all shoppers and consumers,” he said.

Tony True, chief customer officer, Charlotte’s Web

Perhaps no category saw as much activity in 2019 as CBD as new brands and products proliferated online and on retail shelves. In the year ahead, retailers will take a holistic look at the category and rethink how they target the millions of CBD consumers in the market, said Tony True, chief customer officer at Boulder, Colo.-based Charlotte’s Web, one of the leading suppliers of products derived from hemp extracts. “We’d predict more strategy and discipline to take over in the CBD category, with retail buyers taking a deeper look at roles of brands and product segments,” he said. “A big unlock will be around how retailers reach the core CBD shopper, while offering appropriate product availability and education to the CBDcurious shopper. “If done correctly,” he said, “all of these behaviors help the category capture more new users that transition into core and frequent users over time.” True said he expects to see more order come into the space, “with most

Austin Deng, co-founder and head of product, Kindra

CPG healthcare products will continue to shift toward providing preventive care, overall wellness and holistic solutions that address both physical and emotional symptoms in the year ahead, said Austin Deng, co-founder and head of product at Kindra, a new direct-to-consumer OTC brand offering products that treat menopause. Santa Monica, Calif.-based Kindra was the first brand launched by venture fund M13 in partnership with Procter &










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SPECS brings together leaders from the nation’s top retailers and suppliers to learn, share ideas, develop business partnerships and solve problems across the physical retail space. Discover innovations and ideas to stay ahead of the competition. Form meaningful relationships to elevate your business.

COVER STORY Gamble. It offers estrogen-free lotions, dietary supplements and other resources for women experiencing menopause. Deng said health and wellness are becoming more embedded into everyday routines as exemplified by the popularity of functional foods and beverages and multi-benefit OTCs and dietary supplements. Consumers are more engaged with health issues than ever before due to awareness driven by the internet and social media. In addition, consumers have come to expect an “experiential” relationship with healthcare brands as opposed a transactional one. Kindra is responding to these trends with a brand that takes a holistic approach to wellness, Deng said. “Kindra aims to address the needs of the whole woman by complementing the physical products with a suite of digital products that include an online self-assessment, community forum and educational content,” he said. He described Kindra as a digitally native brand that is “well-positioned to meet consumers where they are and to provide key information about menopause in an easily digestible way. By taking a threepronged approach to tackling menopause with products, content and community, Kindra is reshaping what it means to be a consumer healthcare brand today,” he said. Looking at the decade ahead, Deng cited several trends: • The merging of health and behavioral data to enable an end-to-end approach to health care. Data will come from genomics, wearables, diagnostics, medical records and consumer behavior; • The delivery of care will happen more and more in the home, online and at retail health clinics; • Personalized health solutions will be enabled by one-on-one communication at the consumer’s convenience and across multiple digital and physical touchpoints; and • More partnerships between companies to enable holistic solutions to address health and wellness.



said. “Instead of pharmacies acting as a solution center for the sick, they will be viewed as a hub for the healthy. I believe all community pharmacies will provide additional services, such as point-of-care testing, immunizations and diabetes management. These additional clinical services will shape the future for retailers, pharmacy professionals and our industry.”

Chris Dimos, president of retail solutions, McKesson

Chris Dimos, president of retail solutions at Irving, Texas-based healthcare products distributor McKesson, said he sees two consumer trends impacting drug stores in the year ahead. “First, we need to consider an omnichannel experience for patients,” he said. “Our digital and in-store experience must be seamless and consistent. Second, knowledge is power for consumers. Empowered consumers have more control over their health decisions than ever before. Our job is to meet those consumers where they are and provide quality care.” Dimos said retail pharmacies need to consider taking a holistic approach to the consumer experience “instead of thinking of a website experience, a prescription refill experience and in-store experience. We will see retailers shift to an omnichannel experience consumers can use whenever they want,” he said. “Want to text your pharmacist? That’s now a realistic expectation.” Dimos also said that although consumers have become more empowered, they still trust their pharmacist. “The one-on-one patient interactions that take place in the pharmacy, over the phone or even through Facebook Messenger — those conversations will better patient care and, ultimately, help patients reach their goals faster,” he said. Looking forward over the next 10 years, Dimos said he sees pharmacists playing a larger role in health care. “Over the next decade, I predict pharmacists stepping out from behind the counter to provide necessary clinical services,” he

Steve Anderson, president and CEO, NACDS

One of the biggest problems facing pharmacy operators has been direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR, fees and the detrimental impact they have on pharmacy reimbursement rates. National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson said this problem needs to be dealt with, and the trade organization is working to make that happen. “Pharmacies face unfair and below cost reimbursement, and patients face challenges in healthcare costs and access,” he said. “The dire needs of patients and pharmacies alike need to be addressed in meaningful ways, and that is exactly what NACDS is fighting for at the federal and state levels.” Anderson said that NACDS currently is waging various campaigns aimed at bringing about DIR fee relief, dealing with unsustainable reimbursement rates and improving the services that pharmacies can offer and be reimbursed for. He also said NACDS is working to advance pharmacy’s role as part of the solution with regard to opioid issues. While it works to alleviate some of the issues currently facing the retail pharmacy

COVER STORY industry, Anderson said NACDS also has its eye on the future and is able to navigate the constantly changing landscape. “This is an era of transformation in health and wellness, and of consumers’ expectations,” Anderson said. “So, while NACDS fights the immediate battles facing pharmacies and patients, we also are creating opportunities through our meetings for NACDS members to explore the future. NACDS is completely member focused. We are fighting for our members’ future.”


NEXT DECADE OF CPG RETAILING Acosta, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based CPG sales and marketing agency, recently predicted 20 CPG trends it expects to unfold in the year ahead. DSN asked Colin Stewart, Acosta’s executive vice president of business intelligence, to expand on that research as it pertains to the decade ahead. Following are some of his observations that pertain to food and drug retailers: • As CBD goes mainstream, sales are projected to grow from just under $2 billion in 2018 to $20 billion by 2024;

Doug Hoey, CEO, NCPA

Doug Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association, said community pharmacists will continue to fight back against what he described as “destructive PBM tactics” in the year ahead. More than 3% of all chain and community pharmacies closed between the summer of 2018 and the summer of 2019, he said, citing data from health information research and technology company IQVIA. “In the meantime, as we continue advocating for PBM reform, economic pressures on pharmacies continue via pharmacy DIR fees, low reimbursement rates and other PBM maneuvers like preferred pharmacy networks and forced [or incentivized] mail order,” Hoey said. “This makes it increasingly important to transform the pharmacy payment model to compensate for value and recognize pharmacists for the services they do and can provide.” He cited the opportunity for pharmacists to participate in CPESN in order to gain

• Annual online grocery spending is expected to more than double by 2023 to $74 billion; • U.S. retail sales of plant-based food grew in double digits in the past year to $4.5 billion. The industry will continue expanding across retail grocery and mainstream food service; • With retailers increasingly focusing on health and wellness, sales of such unhealthy products as e-cigarettes and tobacco will continue to decline. CVS Pharmacy stopped selling tobacco products in 2014, and more recently such chains as Walgreens and Rite Aid committed to no longer selling tobacco to shoppers under the age of 21, as well as eliminating e-cigarette sales; • Although 86% of U.S. retail sales happen in brick-and-mortar stores, it is estimated now that 53% of all purchase decisions are digitally influenced, so retailers will need to seamlessly integrate the in-store and the digital shopping experiences in order to remain competitive, especially among Gen Z and millennial shoppers; and • The next evolution in this integration could be a retailer app designed to make the brickand-mortar trip an easier, more enjoyable experience. The app would match consumers’ shopping lists with the best and fastest store path to the aisles needed, report on aisle traffic, make note of out-of-stocks products and provide suggested substitutions, “get in line” at the prepared foods and deli departments, calculate the wait time for checkout, or offer a skip-the-line option to self-scan items using a smartphone. —Mark Hamstra DRUGSTORENEWS.COM January 2020


COVER STORY recognition for practicing at their full scope. “Many already have direct contracts with medical-side payers who see the value in independent community pharmacy’s local relationships and ability to deliver quality patient care,” Hoey said. He said NCPA anticipates continued growth of CPESN in 2020 and beyond, and also anticipates contributions from the NCPA’s “Flip the Pharmacy” program, a joint effort with the Community Pharmacy Foundation that seeks to transform community-based pharmacy from filling prescriptions at a moment in time to caring for patients over time. Twenty “Flip the Pharmacy” grant recipients were announced as part of the program’s first cohort, with goals including targets for non-productbased reimbursement revenue, care plan submissions and various screenings. “The overarching goal here is turning community pharmacy into a model that is integrated with other healthcare providers,” Hoey said. “I can’t wait to follow this new initiative’s progress. We really believe that for those who continue to run the race and work to innovate, their efforts will pay off.”

also be more likely to dine out, shifting their spending from retail groceries to restaurants. “What’s interesting when you are talking about these staple retailers, such as supermarkets and drug stores, is that if consumers are making more money, I don’t know if they buy more bananas and more bandages,” he said. “You are more likely to gravitate toward dining out and big ticket discretionary merchandise, which I think has been a big challenge for some retailers.” Such retailers as Costco have thrived amid the economic expansion, he said, because of their mix of higher ticket discretionary merchandise, offered in a treasure hunt format that encourages impulse buys among those that can afford them. Traditional food and drug retailers, such as Kroger, meanwhile, “have been working awfully hard to get their comp-store sales to 3%, or even to 2.5%,” he said. Looking at the decade ahead, Cerankosky said an eventual softening of the economy could lead to reduced consumer demand for home delivery — an added expense for consumers that also is costly to retailers. “In an economy where people start to part with

“This is an era of transformation in health and wellness, and of consumers’ expectations.” —Steve Anderson, president and CEO, NACDS Chuck Cerankosky, analyst, Northcoast Research

Chuck Cerankosky, an analyst who follows several publicly traded food and drug retailers at Cleveland-based Northcoast Research, said ongoing economic growth will play a key role in the industry’s performance in the year ahead. While the strong economy and low unemployment levels have helped drive consumer spending and have encouraged shoppers to trade up to more expensive purchases, Cerankosky said that these consumers might



certain luxuries, delivery could be one of them,” he said. One potential outcome could be bifurcated pricing, he said, in which retailers, rather than calling attention to the fees that they charge for delivery, offer a discount to consumers for picking up products themselves. In the near term, however, Cerankosky said he expects ongoing expansion of home delivery and buy online, pickup in-store services. “That has a lot of attraction for many, many people,” he said.

Brian Sharoff, president, PLMA

Mass retailers should see an increase in private-label beauty sales if they find and develop the niches that consumers want, said Brian Sharoff, the long-time president of the New York-based Private Label Manufacturers Association. And, the result will not only mean more profits for those retailers who get involved with the segment, but higher traffic from hard-to-reach millennials, a group of consumers who do not seem very interested in traditional shopping patterns. Using Kroger’s successful launch of its Simple Truth natural and organic private label line as an example, Sharoff said that retailers have an opportunity to create their own products that cannot be found anywhere else. “These are not look-alike products,” he said. “They are unique and designed to give consumers exactly what they want.” Sharoff said a combination of greater creativity among private label manufacturers in the beauty category and product development is helping more retailers add the segment to their beauty assortment. Since millennials less likely are to react to advertising, they will be more likely to visit a retailer that has an affordable product. “They are interested in products that get the job done,” he said. Shaeroff expects that private label could help change consumer shopping patterns in the years ahead. Talking about the phenomenon created by Lidl and Aldi over the last decade, he said that if either or both of these companies started to add more

COVER STORY beauty products to their mix, a large number of consumers might stop shopping at traditional mass retailers and instead go to these two private label-focused retailers.

Edward Rincón, president, Rincón & Associates

One of the biggest challenges for food and drug retailers in 2020 and beyond is consumers’ increasing aversion to cooking, said Edward Rincón, president of Rincón & Associates, a Dallas-based research firm. Food retailers have embraced such solutions as prepared grab-and-go foods, heat-and-eat meals and other alternatives intended to simplify home cooking, but Rincon questions whether those will satisfy the millennials who have become accustomed to restaurant-level service. Rincón, who has been studying multicultural consumer behavior for 45 years, said retailers also need to be aware of shifts in the multicultural market. While ethnic minorities make up a growing percentage of the overall consumer populace, they increasingly are second- and third-generation Americans who enjoy American foods and culture, but still feel a connection to the products of their ancestral homelands. Importantly, these consumers, like mainstream consumers overall, are seeking out better-for-you foods at affordable prices. “People who consume multicultural foods are making smarter decisions about eating healthy foods,” Rincón said, noting that much of the food available in low-income markets tends to be less than healthy. This also is a reflection of what he

described as “redlining” by traditional supermarket companies that have avoided certain ethnic neighborhoods. Rincón recently compiled a research report on underserved “food desert” areas in the Dallas area, which he said shows that operators are not looking at the right criteria when analyzing where to build. “The site-selection models of the supermarket companies are missing great opportunities,” he said. Other factors that Rincón sees impacting food and drug retailers in 2020 include: • The inability of many lower-income consumers to purchase medications. This could be exacerbated by proposed cuts in SNAP benefits, which could force some consumers to forego spending on medications in favor of food; and • Due to these restrictions, more immigrants likely are to import needed medications from their countries of origin, which are obtained through family or friends crossing the border.

Jocelyn Konrad, chief pharmacy officer, Rite Aid

Jocelyn Konrad, chief pharmacy officer at Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid, said she expects retail pharmacy operators to reposition themselves in different ways to provide services to the communities they serve. “We’ve been looking at having pharmacists work to the top of their license, and I do believe that that is going to be where we will all be driving,” she said. At Rite Aid, the focus on being a healthcare organization that serves the communities where it operates will impact all

decision-making throughout the year, from the front-end product assortment to the pharmacist’s interactions with patients. “It is really taking care of those customers along their journey,” Konrad said. “We want to meet those customers where they are, and based on what they need.” She said educating consumers about the value of pharmacists also will be a focus in the year ahead, following the groundwork laid by the widespread rollout of immunizations offered in pharmacies. Additional pharmacist activities could involve such efforts as OTC recommendations and providing a “higher-touch, higher level of care to chronically ill custozmers or caregivers that need additional support, and can’t always get that from their current healthcare providers,” she said. As more states allow pharmacists to perform such clinical functions as flu and strep throat testing, and grant prescriptive authority, as Idaho recently did, Rite Aid plans to incorporate those into its offerings as well. Rite Aid also will continue to seek ways to free pharmacists from routine tasks through the implementation of such systems as central fill capabilities, creating opportunities for more “face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball” interactions with patients,” Konrad said. The retailer also will continue to grow the Rite Aid brand, both through its ownbrand products in the front end and through its position in the communities it serves. It also will continue to explore regional partnership opportunities with other healthcare service providers seeking to provide positive outcomes for patients. Looking at the decade ahead, Konrad said she sees technology playing an increasingly important role throughout the healthcare industry. “I think that we will be utilizing the omnichannel solution in many different ways to personalize the interaction with the customers,” she said, citing the potential offered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. Telehealth solutions, through such services as Rite Aid’s RediClinic Express, also will continue to play an important role in health care, as will other emerging technologies that include delivery drones and automation. dsn




Going K-razy Korean beauty’s influence gains momentum at mass By Seth Mendelson


decade or so ago, no one would have thought that Korean Beauty would be having as much of an impact on the domestic beauty category as it has. Yet, products either made in or inspired by South Korean manufacturing have made a major imprint on the U.S. beauty industry and, more importantly, have made a huge impact with consumers always on the lookout for something new to help with their beauty regimen. And, while the skin care category has made the biggest impact, many industry officials said that makeup is starting to gain a larger role. In fact, many of these industry gurus said that a number of the biggest sales drivers in mass beauty today are rooted in K-beauty. Notably, the movement to natural and clean brands has been accelerated by Korean manufacturing, where pure ingredients are essential in formulas. The self-care revolution — which sparked sales of facial masks, bath products and at-home spa devices — also can be partially attributed to Korean influence. Multistep skin care has taken the industry by storm, and while many U.S. consumers do not follow K-beauty 10-step regimens, they have added more rituals to their daily grooming, resulting in multiple product sales. K-beauty also ushered in an era of clever packaging and unique ingredients — including snail mucin — that are perfect for social



media. For mass merchants, offering socially savvy product selections is an avenue to attract a younger shopping base that once perceived drug stores or discount stores as their mother’s shopping destination. The good news, said Alicia Yoon, founder and CEO of Peach & Lily, a leading source of K-beauty brands, is that the whimsical products have been the gateway to Korean-made lines — shoppers now are ready to progress to more serious products selling at higher prices. Following upon K-beauty’s path also has

been interest in products from Japan, dubbed J-beauty, as well as products made with ingredients used in formulas crafted in India. Sales of K-beauty products exceeded more than $500 million in the United States last year, according to industry data. That’s double the amount from three years ago, and the upward trajectory is expected to continue thanks to a pipeline of innovation. Yoon, one of the pioneers of bringing the K-beauty concept to the United States with her Peach & Lily brand — along with a sister





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collection called Peach Slices sold in Target and CVS Pharmacy — explained why people have flocked to the products born in Korea. “Children are taught to take care of their skin from a very young age, it is in the culture. That’s why Korea is known for beautiful skin. Also, there are more than 10,000 manufacturers who constantly look for the newest technology,” Yoon said. “People in Korea are incredibly knowledgeable and demanding about skin care. They are vocal and they push the labs to innovate.” When she started, no one was doing Korean beauty in America. “I’m so happy to see how far we have come.” Brands that have emerged from South Korea are filling retailers’ shelves, but concepts borrowed from K-beauty also have filtered into mainstream U.S. heritage companies. A few examples include cushion compacts from L’Oréal in its Paris True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation and Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaCushion Foundation. Southeast Asian “glass skin,” a translucent glow, is garnering buzz on social media and is a resulting look touted by Korean and U.S. brands alike going into 2020.

Putting Numbers Behind Sales Trends

Research from The Benchmarking Co. explained why K-beauty continues to flourish. A study of 5,000 U.S. consumers delved into how the concept is perceived. About 50% of respondents said they are familiar with K-beauty, an impressive number, but one that suggests that there is still growth potential. Shoppers said they perceive K-beauty as innovative, with 62% noting the products are unique, 61% pointing out the use of unusual ingredients, 55% saying that K-beauty is a blend of science and nature, and 41% acknowledging clever application methods. The top known brands include Dr. Jart, Skinfood, Laneige, TonyMoly and Amorepacific. When asked to describe K-beauty,those polled used such terms as antiaging, multi-benefit, trendy, affordable, multistep and beautiful. Social media is where consumers hear about K-beauty, with YouTube leading the way with a 20% response rate. Reviews on social media are crucial, with 98% saying



that helps drive purchase decisions. The Benchmarking research identified masks as the No. 1 current favorite K-beauty item (47%). That was followed by face masks in a jar or tube at 27%, brightening treatment at 25%, mists/essences and face moisturizer at 23%, and serums also at 23% of the “must have” forms. Yet, here are where opportunities

are highlighted: 86% have not, but want to use devices, 83% have neck/décolleté cream on their radar, 74% are interested in sunscreen, 71% want to try face oil, 70% want to add acne treatments, and 66% have pore treatments on their wish list. One obstacle hamstringing people from buying K-beauty, according to the research, is not knowing where to find the products. That is something retailers continue to address as they expand offerings. Right now, Amazon has control of sales at 54%, followed by Sephora, Ulta Beauty and K-beauty curated sites. Getting those consumers could be key because the study reported that 30% of respondents use two or more products daily and 25% use three or more. There are mass marketers doing their share to show shoppers they are in the business. CVS Pharmacy has one of the largest assortments in the industry. Many of its stores have full mini departments within the beauty area stocked with a wealth of K-beauty brands. Others have in-line presentations with signage. With skin care hitting on all cylinders, CVS Pharmacy has broadened into cosmetics based on Korean ingredients and grooming processes. The brands include Joah, The Crème Shop and Peripera. Joah, which means “I like it,” was created

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One obstacle hamstringing people from buying K-beauty, according to research, is not knowing where to find the products. That is something retailers continue to address as they expand offerings. Right now, Amazon has control of sales at 54%, followed by Sephora, Ulta Beauty and K-beauty curated sites. by Kiss, a Korean-American brand, for CVS Pharmacy. “Skin care brands built awareness of Korean rituals, and several Joah products blur the line between makeup and skin care,” said Annette DeVita-Goldstein, senior vice president of global marketing at Kiss. Joah is a full line consisting of 158 SKUs, with prices ranging from $2.99 for cosmetics wipes to $15.99 for such products as a cream contour palette. Walgreens has a large sheet mask collection with U.S. brands like Burt’s Bees, Freeman and Yes To, but also K-beauty leaders like The Crème Shop (online) and Oh K! Ulta Beauty is a trailblazer in the category, too, with products from Peach & Lily, TonyMoly, Cosrx, Mamonde and Too Cool for School. Korean-inspired beauty is well thought out at Target. The chain has a dedicated area that is anchored by The Masque Bar, a U.S. brand tapping the best of Korean technology. Additionally, Target has added Oh K!, AHC Aqualuronic from K-beauty expert Aesthetic Hydration Cosmetics, and A’pieu, a Korean export growing in the United States. Not to be left out, Walmart has an impressive roster of K-beauty, including A’pieu, Missha and the Face Shop, among others offered either in stores or online. At a time when makeup sales continue to be challenged, K-beauty-inspired skin care is offering a shot in the arm.

What’s Next?

While some thought K-beauty would be a flash in the pan, the thinking now is that the industry is just beginning to hit its potential.



Yoon said there is no letup in innovation in the pipeline. “More is being done to take clean and nontoxic formulas to the next level. Devices are an emerging segment,” she said, using an example of a microcurrent sheet mask she’s testing. “We’re also seeing interesting formats that mimic microneedles,” she said, adding she travels to Korea frequently to get product updates. Victoria Van Zant, associate trade marketing manager at Vivona Brands, credits the new age of wellbeauty as part of the success behind K-beauty and its Oh K! range, sold at such retailers as Walgreens, Ulta Beauty, CVS Pharmacy, Boots, Kroger and Shoppers Drug Mart. “With our masks and skin care born from and rooted in K-beauty philosophies and innovation, we move our eye across the globe in our quest for the most efficacious products that deliver on the best wellbeauty experiences,” she said of where the company will continue to find innovations. The company’s best sellers include Oh K! Peeling Foot Mask, Oh K! Bubble Sheet Mask, Oh K! Ginseng & Eucalyptus Under Eye Mask, Oh K! Watermelon Sheet Mask and Oh K! Avocado Sheet Mask. Several brands — those from Korea or those that have tapped into Korean expertise — have revealed products to keep the momentum building. Under the direction of industry veteran Bill George, Freeman Beauty has ventured to Korea to debut the next wave of facial patches. Rolling out first-to-market at Walmart are Micro-Darts Pro, patches with high-performance melt-in darts, featuring hyaluronic acid and peptides.

The “darts” help penetrate skin to help smooth the appearance of fine lines. There are patches for different needs and parts of the face. Allan Lever, owner and founder of Hollywood Alliance, which produces masks under several collections, has a bevy of new products. They include natural sheet masks made with actual coconut fiber, new honey masks and accu pressure face massage masks. “Honey is a big trend as an ingredient in Korea now,” he said. While not from Korea, Kopari has built a devoted fan base with its products, starring coconut, from The Philippines that is stocked at Ulta Beauty. While the brand’s origins lie in traditional beauty, it has begun experimenting with things on the fringes of the category like Coconut Deodorant, $14, and Coconut Charcoal Toothpaste, $12. It has attracted such famous investors as Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Hilary Duff and Shay Mitchell. Kicking off in 2020, Kopari will make its first detour from tapping coconut as its only hero ingredient. Basically, the brand learned that coconut’s high concentration of fatty acids serves as a binding agent and delivery system for CBD, meaning it is easier for the CBD to absorb into skin, and Kopari saw an opportunity to combine the ingredients. The result is a natural, vegan and hemp-derived CBD-infused collection, using full-spectrum CBD powder and 100% CBD powder and 100% organic coconut. K-beauty has been a wedge for more indie brands to get precious shelf space at mass doors. Yet major brands are taking aim, too. Beiersdorf recently took a “significant stake” in Lycl, a rapidly growing Korean beauty and tech start-up that a review and content platform for K-beauty products, an influencer platform and the unpa.Cosmetics brand. The investment also reinforces Beiersdorf’s presence in South Korea and, more broadly, in Asia. Dessi Temperley, CFO of Beiersdorf, said in a statement, “We see great potential in Lycl’s disruptive business model and its high degree of digital consumer connection.” Through its beauty platforms, Lycl has access to more than 1.2 million consumers. dsn


Products with a Purpose This month, DSN recognizes innovators in the natural health and beauty care space with its REX Awards By Carol Radice


nfluenced largely by the self-care movement, the appearance and composition of many of today’s health and beauty care products have experienced a shift. Much of the innovation being seen stems from consumers’ interest in having cleaner, simpler ingredient profiles and more functionality in the products they buy. Increasingly, consumers are drawn to health-and-wellness solutions that focus on both mind and body. At the same time, they want products that target and support specific needs and feature such purposeful ingredients as superfoods, aromatherapy oils, vitamins, amino acids and natural plant extracts. This has opened the door and created new opportunities for traditional and natural products companies that produce these types of products to be front and center on retailers’ shelves, as well as in consumers’ baskets. Drug Store News’ annual Retail Excellence Awards is recognizing companies that have helped shape the natural category and led the way in product innovation and merchandising.


Boiron offers more than 200 SKUs in a number of different segments, including cough-cold, external analgesics and children’s medicines. However, the company is best known for its Arnicare line of pain relievers and Oscillococcinum flu medicine. “Retailers have recognized the opportunity to incrementally increase sales by offering the crossover natural channel shopper the convenience of one-stop shopping, while in a drug store outlet,” said MaryEllen Tefft, vice president of sales for food, drug and mass at the Newtown Square, Pa.-based company. “As the U.S. shopper shifted toward a healthier lifestyle, there was a need for products, such as Boiron’s, that contained better for you active ingredients.” Based on the success of its ColdCalm product, Boiron launched ThroatCalm. Offered in an easily portable tablet form, ThroatCalm relieves minor sore throats associated with colds and hoarseness from overused vocal cords. Boiron currently is launching SinusCalm, building on its current success and adding to its -Calm franchise. SinusCalm is specifically designed to relieve nasal congestion, sinus pain and pressure, and headache due to the common cold or allergies, giving it year-round appeal to consumers. The nondrowsy and phenylephrine-free tablets dissolve quickly under the tongue without drinking water, chewing or swallowing pills.




Since 2014, The Honey Pot has been offering plant-based feminine care products. The Atlanta-based company is best known for its all-natural feminine washes, wipes, clean cotton tampons, herb-infused menstrual pads and liners, as well as natural feminine sprays. To Beatrice Dixon, CEO and founder, innovation means creatively approaching a problem and crafting a solution that is both efficient and healthy. Her goal in launching these products was to address, rather than cover up, the underlying reasons women experience issues with feminine care products. The company also is bringing the latest superfoods and antioxidants into its formulas, including full-spectrum CBD and colloidal silver. “We are innovating by bringing feminine care and plant-based wellness together in a substantial way,” Dixon said. “One thing that really makes us stand apart from our competition is that our products are natural, but also effective.”

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The Honey Pot will be launching a line of menstrual cups, organic tampons with a bioplastic applicator, and two herb-based treatment products in the coming months. Dixon said she expects these new items to appeal to consumers seeking a healthy way to manage their feminine issues without exposing themselves to potentially toxic chemicals and ingredients.


For more than 40 years, Thursday Plantation has been known for the medicinal benefits of its Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil, Australia’s original tea tree oil. The company has funneled this expertise into producing an extensive range of therapeutic and personal care products that help solve skin and health concerns. Thursday Plantation is part of Integria Healthcare, a leading natural healthcare company based in Australia, with U.S. offices in Los Angeles. “At Thursday Plantation, we strive to find the right insights to understand the changing habits, behavior and attitudes of our core target audience in order to develop products that offer a real benefit,” said Brad Nauert, head of North America retail. Nauert said that Thursday Plantation was built on a foundation of science and has a long-standing history in clinical trials in the areas of herbal medicine and therapeutic oils. In early 2020, Thursday Plantation will launch Tea Tree Manuka Honey Balm, an innovative balm with naturally sourced ingredients that soothe, cleanse and support the skin. “Our 100% pure Australian tea tree oil has been used by the indigenous people of Australia for its health benefits for thousands of years. Manuka honey, sourced in New Zealand, provides a moist, low pH environment to help keep the skin in good condition,” Nauert said.




Three years ago, Coconut Creek, Fla.-based Lifelab Health launched Nusyllium, an organic, GMO-free psyllium fiber product. The company has continued to expand the line by introducing Nusyllium Ultra Sugar Free. It contains 7 g of fiber per dose, which the company said is twice the amount of fiber found in the leading nonorganic fiber brand. Louis Machin, managing director, said innovation has and always will be a main priority at Lifelab Health. Recognizing the need for an organic, USDA-certified cough syrup and metered-dose pump spray, the company has introduced HoneyWorks. “Our HoneyWorks soothing throat sprays for kids and adults represent an incremental sales opportunity for retailers as these products are unique and portable,” Machin said. Also new to market is NuRelief Gas Relief, the first liquid gas relief product for adults. According to Machin, NuRelief Gas Relief provides a benefit for colonoscopy prep patients, as well as people who undergo tube feeding. The company will roll out a chewable tablet flavored with natural fennel and made with organic aloe in 2020.


Nordic Naturals began with a simple goal: to give people the nutrients they need to live a healthy life. Since 1995, the Watsonville, Calif.based company has led the omega-3 fish oil industry by innovating its manufacturing methods to produce fresh, pure and great tasting omega-3 oils. Its safe and effective products are designed for the whole family, and its award-winning formulas deliver a customized approach to optimal health, executives said. In addition to omega-3s, the company makes probiotics, gummies and essential vitamins and minerals. “At Nordic Naturals, we are proud to make some of the freshest


fish oil on the planet,” said Brian Terry, national sales manager of food, drug, mass and specialty. “Quality control begins at sea with careful selection of sustainable fish species that are naturally low in toxins and high in healthy omega-3 fats.” The company utilizes an oxygen-free, nitrogen rich processing environment to ensure all omega-3 formulas remain fresh, and uses a molecular distillation process to remove heavy metals and other contaminants often found in fish. “Our obsession with optimal health means we do whatever it takes to produce quality supplements, always innovating to drive our progress and growth,” Terry said. “To us, innovation means using the latest science and research to inspire both the forms and formulas of our newest products.”


The OKAY brand comprises a wide variety of natural hair care, skin care and beauty care products, ranging from shampoo, conditioners and facial treatments to body lotions, bath bombs and foot scrubs. Its products, enriched with vitamins and made with natural oils, fruits, vegetables and herbs, are free of parabens, sulfates and silicon. The company’s OKAY Baby line features an all-natural shampoo formulated with natural papaya extract, aloe, grapefruit extract, chamomile and jojoba. Likewise, its baby diaper rash cream is formulated with neem oil, lavender oil and aloe vera, which help protect sensitive skin from irritation. The company has chosen to produce its products domestically, something Osman Mithavayani, vice president and co-founder of OKAY, said gives it an advantage against its competitors. The brand recently expanded its men’s care to include an allnatural face and body wash; all-natural face, hand and body lotion; all-natural hair and beard shampoo; all-natural hair and beard conditioner; all-natural hair oil, hair and beard pomade; and hair and beard gel made with natural ingredients. Being a privately owned business enables the company to develop and release products entirely based on customer demand. “To stand out from the crowd, we have just concentrated on being us as a brand and as a culture. Our company works to a different beat than others, which allows us to be uniquely branded and developed in this saturated marketplace,” said Juan Morillo, brand ambassador and product specialist at OKAY.


Raw Sugar Living co-founders Ronnie Shugar and Donda Mullis describe their company as a lifestyle beauty brand, which features gentle, wholesome products that are made with plant-derived ingredients and contain no sulfates, parabens, phthalates or gluten. Most importantly, the pair wanted their natural and healthy personal care products to be accessible and affordable. “Our products are packed with fruit and vegetable nutrients and certified organic extracts,” Shugar said. “Our key differentiators are that we deliver premium, cost-effective natural products that appeal to a broad multigenerational audience and process our ingredients through ColdPress Technology.”



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The company’s consciously crafted products preserve its belief that less is more, something that also is reflected in Raw Sugar Living’s product packaging. Using soft-touch bottles — which feature 25% post-recycled plastic — and iconic bamboo tops, the company’s packaging represents its commitment to create natural products, while also helping the environment. Additionally, for every product purchased, Raw Sugar Living donates a bar of soap to a family in need. The Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based company recently expanded into the men’s category, launching Raw Men. According to the co-founders, the Raw Men’s line ranges from hydrating body washes to invigorating bar soaps with nature-inspired scents. “When it comes to product innovation, we constantly look to identify white space,” Mullis said.


The Relief Products is known for its eye and ear care products, but what many do not know is that the company’s full line consists of more than 30 distinctive homeopathic products, including coughcold, digestive health and pain management remedies. The Reno, Nev.-based company prides itself on soliciting customer needs and incorporating available technology and compassionate pricing to provide customers with innovative and effective products. Innovation for TRP means using consumer communications to drive unique offerings built on customer friendly delivery systems. TRP fulfills this mission by creating products that help address common acute and chronic health conditions, many of which lack effective traditional medical treatments. “Our company’s product innovation emanates from our consumers,” said Susan Hanson, COO. “We communicate daily with our customers and bring this feedback into our development of new formulations.”



The Relief Products recently introduced Nighttime/PM Ear Drops and Nighttime/PM Eye Ointment. The new lines offer 24/7 relief from common ailments, with discomfort that tends to worsen at night, including pink eye, blepharitis, earaches and tinnitus. The new PM products, which join TRP’s daytime formulas, provide an opportunity to support recuperative sleep and overnight healing. “Our complementary PM products have allowed us to expand the daytime/nighttime segment, which for a long time was being overlooked and applied mostly to cough and cold remedies,” Hanson said.


Since 2013, Rhinomed has been seeking to improve the way people breathe, sleep and maintain their health and wellness. The medical technology company is best known for Turbine, its sports breathing product, and Mute, designed to address snoring and improve sleep. According to Michael Johnson, CEO and managing director, of the New York-based company, its strategy is to ensure its products are widely distributed and to gain the endorsement of leading sleep clinicians, dental practitioners and ENTs who recognize the impact nasal obstruction issues have on their patients. Most recently, Johnson and his team have been working on understanding the correlation between nasal congestion, sleep and aromatherapy. After extensive consumer research and consulting leading sleep dentists, sleep specialists and obtaining feedback from the U.S. Army, the company has introduced Pronto, an essential oil vapor delivery system. “A bad night’s sleep can impact many aspects of your life— from heart health to cognition and your mental state,” Johnson said. “Rhinomed is committed to driving innovation and creating new, noninvasive solutions that improve the way people breathe, sleep, maintain their health and take medication.”



A maker of plant-powered personal care products, Portland, Ore.based Schmidt’s is best known for its line of natural deodorants, which are produced without artificial fragrances or aluminum salts. Ryu Yokoi, the CEO, said the company’s innovation starts with its consumers. When researching new products, Yokoi said the company looks at consumers’ needs to see how it can create products to enhance their self-care routines. For inspiration, Schmidt’s looks to nature for plant-derived ingredients that offer unique benefits. For instance, Schmidt’s recently launched a line of deodorants featuring hemp seed oil, which is high in omegas and vitamins. The deodorants are available at major drug chains and mass retailers, as well as on Schmidts.com. “As the natural deodorant category grows, we know that consumers are looking for benefits that go beyond scent, and that efficacy never goes out of style,” Yokoi said. “This new collection delivers on both fronts and features some beautiful scents, such as rose, sage and patchouli, all made with essential oils.”


UI Global Brands, based in Frisco, Texas, is best known for its Urban Hydration line of skin, hair and bath and body products. Psyche Terry, founder and CEO, along with her husband, started the company after being disillusioned with the quality of health and beauty products that were on the market. Several years of research and development later, they created Urban Hydration, a beauty line that features such plant-based, natural ingredients as honey, coconut oil, castor oil, shea butter, glycerin and aloe. “We found we could eliminate silicone and sulfates and still create effective products with ingredients whose names I could pronounce,” Terry said. “The end result is a cleaner, healthier



way to nourish and hydrate skin and hair.” Terry never worried about her products being pigeonholed in natural stores. For her, it was about giving consumers a better choice and enlightening retailers about options that were both effective and natural. “We knew from the beginning, we were pushing against the grain, but once consumer demand for clean products caught up, things rapidly began to change,” Terry said. Giving back is a key part of what makes the company stand apart. Hydration is not only part of the brand name, but it plays a key role in the company’s mission. In fact, two more water wells now exist in Kenya thanks to Terry’s company. This January, the company will be launching an aloe-based skin care line. According to Terry, they focused on aloe for its proven versatility in terms of cleansing, toning and refreshing skin.


Xlear began in 2000 with a xylitol-based nasal spray designed to address ear, nose and throat issues. Based on its success, the company then developed multiple delivery options for its xylitol saline solution and added a nasal rinse and a child-friendly nasal spray to its offerings. Since then, the company has extended the line further with the addition of Xlear Max, with aloe and capsicum; Xlear Rescue, with herbs and essential oils; and Xlear 12 Hour Decongestant. Realizing xylitol can be effective in other types of products, the American Fork, Utah-based company also developed a line of natural oral care products. Its Spry Dental Defense line includes mouthwash, toothpaste, gum and mints, all of which include xylitol. According to Nathan Jones, president and CEO, Xlear’s mission is simple: to provide cost-effective prevention opportunities that help people live healthy lives. dsn


Cold Comfort Cough-cold consumers drive boom in natural remedies By Nora Caley


onsumers don’t have the patience to get sick anymore. The need for effective solutions — and increasing demand for effective natural products — is driving retailers to stock cough-cold products that are efficacious, while also often being homeopathic and drug-free. According to Mintel’s “Cough, Cold, Flu, and Allergy Remedies” report from April 2019, 37% of American consumers said over-the-counter medications cause unwanted side effects, and these concerns are inspiring consumers to seek alternative solutions. In fact, 59% said that natural remedies are effective in treating cold symptoms, and 53% said that natural remedies are effective



in treating their child’s symptoms. Manufacturers of cough-cold products said retailers can benefit by expanding their sets to include natural products. “Consumers are seeking alternatives to the usual array of conventional cold and flu products,” said MaryEllen Tefft, vice president of sales for food, drug and mass at Boiron USA in Newtown Square, Pa. “They are demanding better-for-you options and are discovering that homeopathic medicines can offer a more tailored and personalized treatment.” Tefft also said that this need for personalized options is driving sales in both conventional and homeopathic medicines, a consumer shift that is boosting retailers’ market basket. “Mainstream drug stores are

incrementally increasing their sales by offering health-minded consumers the convenience of finding holistic medicines, alongside more traditional offerings,” she said. Others agree that the emergence of homeopathic solutions is helping to expand the cough-cold category. Medina, Ohio-based NasoNeb conducted research with consumers and category thought leaders that found consumers and patients are reporting more severe and longer-duration sinus symptoms. Also, consumers reported experimenting with alternative solutions. “We heard in our focus groups that people are trying drug-free solutions instead of, or in addition to, drug therapy,” said Kathleen Leigh Lewarchick, vice president of marketing


at NasoNeb. “For retailers, it makes it a category growth opportunity. People are willing to make purchases and be in the space, in addition to traditional tablets and liquids. Retailers have an opportunity to grow the pie.” The company makes the NasoNeb Sinus Therapy System, which delivers either a NasoNeb drug-free, pH-balanced moisturizing nasal solution that hydrates rather than dries out the nasal cavity, or prescription and over-the-counter medications. Another finding from the focus groups was that consumers enter the cough-cold category in a number of ways. “They told us it’s a combination of word-of-mouth or a visit to the retail store standing in front of the aisle and trying to figure it out,” Lewarchick said. “If it’s bad enough, they consult a clinician or pharmacists at retail, or telemedicine.”

Consumers Want More

Another driver of the growth in homeopathic cough-cold products is that consumers are concerned about the safety of traditional drugs, said Nazlie Latefi, co-founder and chief science officer at New York City-based Applied Biological Laboratories. “Consumers seek safe and effective products to cure the cough-cold, sore throat,” she said. “OTC drugs come with ingredients that may treat symptoms, but could have harsh side effects.” The company is launching Biovanta, an all-natural drug. “We believe that the best and safest remedies for many common diseases are already found in nature,” Latefi said. “Modern medicine’s response to respiratory



infections has traditionally been reactionary, to chemically suppress the symptoms. Our products are different, they treat the infection using natural molecules and repair damaged respiratory tissue.” The company currently is working on antiviral medications that target rhinovirus and influenza. Some consumers still hesitate to use natural and homeopathic remedies for cough-cold and other maladies, thinking these alternatives are not as effective as pharmaceuticals. To try to change this mindset, manufacturers of drug-free solutions point to ways their products work differently than legacy products. “When people use antihistamines or nasal decongestants, they’re not solving problems,” said Nathan Jones, owner and president of American Fork, Utah-based Xlear, which makes the Xlear Sinus Care system with xylitol. “They are actually making them worse.” Jones said that medicinal products block the body’s immune system. “When you are breathing something in, your body’s immune system’s first line of response is to make snot,” he said. “If all you’re doing is blocking snot, you are not cleaning the area, not healing and protecting.” He said Xlear has conducted research indicating the nasal spray reduces inflammation and improves air volume. The Xlear sprays contain such herbal ingredients as the essential oils of oregano, eucalyptus and tea tree.

Natural Pediatric Products

Consumers especially are interested in natural and unmedicated products for children, said Les Hamilton, president of Los Angeles-based

Hyland’s. He said that at the start of the coughcold season this fall, sales growth of natural cough-cold products for children outpaced the growth of medicinal products. “Moms are very concerned with what they are giving their kids,” he said, adding that mothers make 70% to 80% of the decisions related to children’s health. “They make sure they use safe, natural, effective and efficacious products. We are seeing that in the data.” Also, these consumers are buying dual packs. Among the best sellers for Hyland’s are the day and night combo packs, such as Hyland’s Baby Mucus + Cold Relief Day & Nighttime Value Pack, Hamilton said. Retailers are responding to the demand for natural products, industry insiders said. “The majority are starting to dedicate more space to natural solutions,” said Louis Machin, managing director of Coconut Creek, Fla.-based Lifelab Health. “There is a continuing influx of natural and organic homeopathic products in that space because particularly young well-educated moms don’t want to give their kids anything artificial or drug-related unless they have to.” The company makes HoneyWorks and Kids HoneyWorks cough syrups and sprays made with USDA-certified organic honey. Machin also said that for retailers, these purchases are incremental, and often only serve to build basket size. “It doesn’t take away from anything,” he said. “They’re still going to buy cough syrup, so this is supplemental.” Joseph Juliano, vice president of marketing at Prestige Consumer Healthcare in

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Tarrytown, N.Y., said he is seeing several trends in the cough-cold, allergy and sinus category. Citing recent IRI data, Juliano said the category is up 2%. “This growth has occurred despite a drop in total unit sales and is driven primarily by an increase in dollar sales reflected in an increase in average price and volume offerings,” he said. Juliano also said that certain shopper statistics have not changed much. Average household penetration in the CCAS category has remained relatively flat at approximately 84%, but actual shopping trips have increased slightly at 1%, and dollars spent per trip increased 2%, he said.

Beyond Vitamin C

Prevention is driving some of these shopping trips. Mintel’s survey also found that 66% of consumers report using an immune support supplement, likely in an effort to prevent illness. That means retailers have an opportunity to attract consumers into the aisle before they feel symptoms. “They are beginning the buying journey earlier,” said Art Rowe-Cerveny, vice president of marketing at San Diegobased PharmaCare US. “It’s not pantry loading, but buying in advance of being sick. They don’t want to get sick.” That is especially true of millennials. “The younger the shopper, the more preventive in nature they are,” Rowe-Cerveny said. “Their buying journey begins far earlier than needing an immediate relief product.” Elderberry is the hot ingredient now in cold prevention, and PharmaCare offers a lineup of Sambucol Black Elderberry extract products for children and adults, including drops, syrups and capsules. “The elderberry category is growing,” RoweCerveny said. “A third of elderberry products on shelf were not there last year.” Another factor that is driving interest in preventive and natural products is that the coughcold category has not seen any major switches from prescription to OTC lately, and there are not any on the horizon, Rowe-Cerveny said.



“The category is stagnant to down.” According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, in 2018, OTC sales of upper respiratory products totaled nearly $8.8 billion, which was flat compared with the $8.8 billion in 2017. The category was a large one within OTC, which had total sales that exceeded $35.2 billion in 2018 and $34.6 billion in 2017.

Big Players Participate

Larger players also are getting in on the elderberry trend. In 2018, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health acquired Zarbee’s Naturals, which makes a range of healthand-wellness products for babies, children and adults. Among them is Elderberry Immune Support, which the company said offers a burst of vitamins and antioxidants for immune support. “Over the last decade, Zarbee’s Naturals has grown into a broad-based health-andwellness brand, and has disrupted the cough, sleep, immune support and vitamin categories with its portfolio of family friendly products,” said Pamela Stewart, director of consumer business intelligence at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health. She said that Zarbee’s Naturals is the top pediatrician-recommended cough syrup brand for children age 10 years old and younger. In addition to the elderberry product, the brand offers Cough Syrup + Mucus with Dark Honey and Ivy Leaf Extract; 96% Honey Cough Soothers + Mucus with

English Ivy Leaf Extract; Soothing Saline Nasal Mist with Aloe; and Chest Rub with Eucalyptus, Lavender, Pine and Beeswax. Stewart, citing Nielsen data, said the cough-cold category continues to grow and is up nearly 2% across retail. Adult products are driving nearly 80% of growth, and children’s products are growing at a quicker rate, up 5.7% compared with the previous year. “While traditional cough and cold products are driving the majority of growth and market share, the naturals healthand-wellness category continues to evolve and is seeing significant growth and momentum,” Stewart said. Other category leaders also are launching products in the natural segment. U.K.-based GSK Consumer Healthcare, with U.S. operations in Madison, N.J., has launched several products over the last few years. “At GSK, we spend a significant amount of time and resources to understand not only what our consumers are looking for, but what are they doing, what their habits are, and how they are holistically managing their cough, cold and flu symptoms,” said Jessica Weinstein, U.S. marketing lead of the respiratory category. “We do this so we can deliver innovation that is meaningful and grows the category.” Weinstein said that among the innovations in 2019, Robitussin launched a 12-hour Cough & Mucus Relief product in tablet form. She also said the brand is poised to continue its No. 1 cough brand position, and that the company offers retail partners categorybuilding innovation and shopper insights. “Many sufferers wait approximately three days before seeking treatment, often leaving them frustrated as they need to decide which treatments are right for them, while they are already suffering,” said Litthya Burgin, shopper insights manager for respiratory at GSK Consumer Healthcare. “With that consumer behavior in mind, and with its newly released Cough, Cold & Flu platform, GSK is focused on building strategies with retailers to elevate the importance of treating cold symptoms earlier to help sufferers improve their treatment and overall wellness regimens.” dsn


Johnson & Johnson Expands Sudafed Line New Sudafed PE Head Congestion + Pain provides maximumstrength congestion relief, now with the powerful pain relief of ibuprofen. Each tablet contains 200 mg of ibuprofen and 10 mg of phenylephrine to temporarily relieve head and nasal congestion, sinus pressure, and other symptoms due to the common cold or flu.

Robitussin Extends Line GSK Consumer Healthcare’s Robitussin brand launched Maximum Strength 12 Hour Cough & Mucus Relief Extended-Release Tablets. The nondrowsy cough formula works to control the cough with a powerful cough suppressant, plus thins and loosens mucus to relieve chest and sinus congestion. The product contains 60 mg of cough suppressant dextromethorphan and 1,200 mg of guaifenesin as an expectorant.

Applied Biological Laboratories Launches Natural Product Applied Biological Laboratories is launching Biovanta, an all-natural drug. The company said Biovanta contains monograph ingredients, which, according to the Food and Drug Administration website, “establish conditions under which certain OTC drug products are generally recognized as safe and effective.” Applied Biological Laboratories said Biovanta has also been shown in randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to be more effective and safer than any of the leading products on the market.



Boiron Adds -Calm Products Boiron has continued to extend its -Calm franchise, a range of solutions for flu, colds, throat, sinus and cough. Initially, Boiron launched ColdCalm, then ThroatCalm quick-dissolving tablets to relieve minor sore throat without using benzocaine. The newest addition is the nondrowsy and phenylephrinefree SinusCalm, which is specifically designed to relieve nasal congestion, sinus pain and pressure, and headache due to the common cold or allergies, which the company said gives the product a year-round appeal to consumers.

Prestige Grows Two Brands Prestige Consumer Healthcare added products to two of its brands. Chloraseptic, its sore throat brand with both spray and lozenge offerings, launched a maximumstrength spray product, a travel-sized pocket pump spray and a Total lozenge offering for multi-symptom relief. Luden’s has a new Melatonin Soothers offering, which the company said is a deliciously soothing way to also get a restful night’s sleep.

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Offering Solutions Consumers are seeking specific benefits from vitamin and supplement products By David Salazar


t is no longer as easy as ABC — at least not in the VMS category. Industry experts’ insights are showing continued changes in how people shop for their vitamins, supplements and sports nutrition products. From functional products to targeted options, shoppers are looking beyond letter vitamins and, even as multivitamins dominate the space, want products they know are safe and able to help them achieve their wellness goals. Last June, TABS Analytics shared the results of its 12th annual Vitamin Study, which picked the brains of some 1,000 consumers via Caravan panel. The category, which TABS pegged at $14.5 billion, currently is seeing sales largely go to adult multivitamins, with 52% penetration coming through in the survey. The opportunity that exists there is around gender specificity and gummies. At the same time, smaller segments within the category — probiotics, melatonin and various condition- or need-specific products, including black elderberry for immunity — have gained favor with consumers, something manufacturer executives also have seen. “A macro trend we’re seeing is younger consumers are seeking vitamins that address specific needs they have today, whether it’s a boost of energy or stronger nails,” said Michelle Yoon, brand manager at Olly in San Francisco, which recently launched an Active Immunity line that includes a daytime and nighttime option, with the latter featuring melatonin to help fall asleep. “For example, busy millennials are constantly on the go and don’t have time to be sick. As a result, they’re actively seeking natural solutions to help them power through colds, travel season, winter, etc.” Additionally, ingredient-conscious consumers are not relenting in any category. “Consumers are looking for high-quality products with truth and transparency in labeling and a focus on clean ingredients,”



said Kimberly Vigliante, senior vice president of wholesale sales and marketing at Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based Piping Rock Health Products. It is not just vitamin shoppers who are looking for something different from their products. Providers of sports nutrition products also are noting a shift in consumer demands, according to Jonathan Cannizzo, brand manager at Optimum Nutrition. Gone are the days that diet-focused products would fly off the shelves with the latest bestselling book. Now, consumers look for products based on a healthy lifestyle change, he said. “People rarely say they’re on a diet, rather they are ‘plant based,’ keto, paleo and the like,” Cannizzo said. “In general, people are growing more informed about nutrition and more conscientious about ingredient labels — and they are seeking specific benefits from their food and supplement products.”

Ingredient Opportunities

A common trait of the current consumer, across categories, is an interest in ingredients. This cuts two ways in VMS — it means that shoppers are interested in knowing that the product has ingredients that are safe, while being effective at the same time. On the former point, companies are investing in testing to ensure that the products they market are safe. For instance, Mason Vitamins, based in Miami Lakes, Fla., uses its heritage as a pharmaceutical manufacturer to thoroughly test its products. “We have exceptionally strong, good manufacturing processes,” said Chuck Tacl, vice president of sales and business development at Mason Vitamins. “We test the product when it comes in as an ingredient, and we test it as a finished good, which follows more of a pharmaceutical type of process than a standard VMS process.”


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Similarly, Piping Rock and its Nature’s Truth brand are focusing on verifying their botanical ingredients by partnering with TRU-ID, which tests the botanicals and certifies their purity via DNA testing. “TRU-ID uses DNA testing to verify and identify the botanical ingredients used in our plant-based products, ensuring the purity and authenticity of our supplements,” Vigliante said. “This gives consumers and retailers alike confidence in our products because they know that what we say on the bottle truly is.” In terms of products that deliver on what consumers want, there are several ingredients trending in the space that manufacturers have been looking to deliver on, including probiotics, turmeric, ashwagandha and collagen. “Probiotics sales are flattening out, but multiple-ingredient probiotics are picking up and actually have a significantly higher [compound annual growth rate] than just a straight probiotic line,” Tacl said. He noted that Mason Vitamins also has been making a big beauty push with complementary collagen products — a collagen supplement in both capsules and pectin-based gummies, as well as a collagen cream that enables cross merchandising, which a growing number of retailers are turning to across need states. “If you’ve been in a Walmart lately and gone over to the beauty section, they are selling supplements in an endcap,” Tacl said, adding that other crossover opportunities have included digestive health and sleep, with some retailers



creating dedicated sections. “It’s a market basket play, too. And the leading retailers that are out there are driven by insights. They’re doing a lot more test and learns, or taking the opportunity to bring in different departments into their categories to bring a solution and hopefully get another product into the basket.” Collagen is playing a critical role in sports nutrition as well. Optimum Nutrition’s Cannizzo said that the company has found consumers increasingly becoming interested in the benefits of collagen for joint health and accordingly added it to its Amin.O Energy offering to create Amin.O Energy + UC II Collagen. Also trending among the company’s key shoppers is protein that does not come from whey for plant-based diets, for whom Optimum Nutrition launched Gold Standard 100% Plant. “That product has a specific blend of ingredients to ensure that it’s a complete protein with all the necessary amino acids to support performance athletes looking for a plantbased option.”

Innovation is Imperative

As old an adage as it may be, necessity is continuing to drive invention in VMS. Companies increasingly tailor new products to the need state that consumers are looking for assistance with. Officials at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.based SlimFast took this to heart when introducing SlimFast Keto, a line that includes

ready-to-drink meal-replacement shakes, meal-replacement bars and powder to make meal-replacement shakes. “With SlimFast Keto, we are giving American dieters what they told us they wanted. They want a quick, easy and super-convenient way to follow the ketogenic diet,” SlimFast president Doug Reader said when the product line launched in 2019. Mason Vitamin’s Tacl said that supplements that play into such needs as sexual wellness, feminine hygiene, eye and ear care, and weight loss support areas where the company sees opportunity. “It’s fun. There are so many opportunities in the store now. You just have to find the more progressive retailers that are looking for solutions or different product assortment opportunities,” he said. Other factors are driving innovation. Demographics also are playing a critical role in what companies bring to market. More tailored options along gender lines are growing in popularity, according to the TABS survey. Piping Rock is planning to launch its Pink vitamin line in the spring that appeals to women, while also focusing on purpose-driven branding. The line of GMOfree and gluten-free vitamins and supplements will feature sleek packaging and colors focused on empowerment. “Pink vitamin and supplements are specifically designed by women for women with a cause,” Vigliante said. “This purpose-driven brand puts women’s health at the forefront by delivering high quality, ingredient based

nutritional products in a way that works for her busy, on-the-go lifestyle. Pink is committed to supporting the varying needs of women, our youth and their families by donating a portion of sales to charity.” Demographics also are fueling new products among sports nutrition offerings — in particular age. With an uptick in active people over the age of 40 years old, Optimum Nutrition sought to provide a solution specifically for this growing segment of shoppers, according to Cannizo. “Older athletes have different needs, primarily an increased need for support of muscle recovery, endurance and joint health,” he said. The company’s Gold Standard Fit 40 line includes products that support muscle recovery, endurance and joint health, which Cannizzo said was the result of listening to consumers. “Our focus groups in this demographic were very aware of the changing physical and nutritional needs of ageing athletes,

but there was no clear or easy answer,” he said. “Older athletes can find dozens of well researched ingredients to meet their specific needs in three simple, easy-to-use products.”

On the Horizon

As companies eye the category going forward, one of the components that several executives said would help define retailers’ strategies is education — not necessarily exclusively in store, either. Tacl said that digital opportunities exist for informing consumers about product information and attributes in an increasingly targeted way as retailers build out shopper databases through e-commerce and click-andcollect offerings. He also noted that consultative selling is a differentiator and retailers are partnering with manufacturers that provide insights and in-store opportunities. Beyond education, merchandising will play a critical role in how consumers view the VMS space. For Vigliante and Piping Rock, making

the category an in-store space shoppers can seek out is critical. “Retailers who create wellness destinations for their shoppers stay at the forefront,” she said. “It is also very important to educate the consumer on product usage and create easy-to-shop sections. This can be accomplished by curating optimal product mixes that remove duplicate products that are less productive.” The destination approach can serve well with vitamins, but among sports nutrition shoppers, Cannizzo said meeting them in different areas of the store better fits their needs. “From a merchandising standpoint, we encourage retailers to change the way they think about the supplement customer,” he said. “Right now, nutrition supplements tend to be grouped together in the back of stores near the pharmacy. That doesn’t reflect the new reality of today’s sports supplement consumer who incorporates products into their everyday routine.” dsn



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Problem Solvers Technology, automation aim to improve efficiency and enable clinical efforts By Sandra Levy


harmacists finally are in the right place at the right time. In the face of crushing DIR fees, low reimbursement and low margins, many pharmacy chains are taking giant steps to become part of the primary care offering to patients. With this transformation, comes the opportunity for pharmacists to focus more on patient outcomes, create new revenue streams for pharmacies, and reduce overall healthcare costs. Ask pharmacy technology and automation companies to describe the state of pharmacy, and one thing is agreed upon: They are seeing more disruption in the industry than ever before. In response, these companies are ratcheting up their products and services to help pharmacies succeed. For example, New York-based Amplicare’s CEO Matt Johnson said that pharmacies have a tremendous opportunity to provide and get paid for clinical services, but the environment is “designed to pump out prescriptions as fast as possible, particularly in chain retail pharmacy settings. Without additional staff, they’re swimming solo through unrelenting waves of chaos throughout the day.” The consensus among executives from automation and technology companies is that their products and services are designed to help make life easier for pharmacists, while enabling better patient outcomes and store profitability.

Making It Count

Though pharmacists often are seen more frequently by patients than physicians, the time they spend with patients also can be limited. As a result, Johnson said it is important for them to have insight into patient needs and be informed about the right interventions at the right time so they can make more actionable decisions. They also need to make it easy for patients to follow through on those interventions, he said.



To that end, the company’s AmplicareAssist offers an opportunity engine that integrates with pharmacy management systems and notifies pharmacists when there is a highpriority intervention. As an example, if a diabetic patient has not been prescribed a statin, the pharmacist automatically will know which drugs are covered by the patient’s insurance and what the copays are. The pharmacist will then send an electronic message to a physician all in about 30 seconds, Johnson said. Aside from identifying when an intervention is needed, pharmacies also must ensure that their patients are adherent with their medication regimens, and many companies, such as Canada-based Synergy Medical, are focusing on adherence through packaging. Synergy Medical manufactures and supports SynMed automation for blister packaging. The SynMed Ultra system, which the company launched more recently, is designed

for retailers with central-fill sites that are dispensing very high volumes of prescriptions. “The greatest challenge for pharmacy is ensuring a patient is adherent with their medication regimen. Weak adherence is detrimental to the health of the patient, the pharmacy’s bottom line, and the plan that is paying the cost of nonadherence,” said Mark Rinker, Synergy Medical’s vice president of sales. Rinker said that 4 billion prescriptions were dispensed in 2019, and that every prescription dispensed is generating $131 in additional spending to account for nonoptimized medication therapy. He also said that providing blister packs can be a valuable service for patients to help keep them adherent. Adherence also is the focus of Durham, N.C.-based Pharmacy Quality Solutions, whose EQuIPP electronic quality improvement platform is designed to help pharmacies and payers manage performance data. “Our platform allows pharmacists to


enabling better patient health. “You are seeing pharmacy become more of the healthcare team. We help free up pharmacists’ time so they can have a closer relationship with patients,” he said. “We have messaging built into our pharmacy software system so that pharmacists can message patients within their workflow.” PioneerRx’s pharmacy system also features an e-care plan, which enables pharmacists to document and share the interactions, goals and the status of patient encounters with healthcare providers.

Convenience is King

utilize the data and incorporate it into their patient care services. If we can provide simple information and data to inform the pharmacist, they can utilize the information to expand upon the conversation with patients or to focus on medication optimization with the patient — that’s the sweet spot we want to hit,” said Nick Dorich, PQS director of pharmacy relations. “We want pharmacists to understand which interventions work, which interventions need to be reviewed and to utilize that information to help them improve their patient care process.” For pharmacists with a little more time on their hands, medication therapy management offers not just a one-on-one opportunity to discuss adherence, it offers a billable service to the pharmacy. Surescripts, based in Arlington, Va., looks to use its e-prescribing foundation to add technology into pharmacists’ workflow that offers more opportunities to provide MTM services, according to Ken Whitmore Jr., the company’s vice president of professional and regulatory affairs.



“When an e-prescription is received, the pharmacist is able to check the patient’s benefit eligibility for the medication prescribed,” Whittemore said. “This draws on Surescripts’ patient-matching technology, which enables the pharmacist to check eligibility even when the patient is not able to present their benefit card. The pharmacist can then alert the prescriber to any potential problems with insurance coverage for a prescription.” He said that a key element of the company’s offering is making administrative duties easier to allow pharmacists more time for clinical efforts. “We can eliminate hours spent on the phone by enabling a request to change, clarify or receive a prior authorization through RxChange,” Whittemore said. “If there are any questions, without leaving the workflow, the pharmacist can electronically communicate and coordinate with care team members.” Jeff Key, president of Shreveport, La.based PioneerRx also said that freeing up pharmacists’ time is an essential part of

Besides freeing pharmacists, many technology and automation companies are helping pharmacies deliver the convenient experience that consumers are demanding. Bell and Howell, based in Durham, N.C., is making headway with QuickCollect Rx, an automated solution that simplifies the prescription pickup process. When their prescription is ready, customers receive an email or text message with a bar and pin code that allows them to retrieve and pay for their prescription at an automated kiosk. They also can request a consultation. “While we’re speeding up the pickup process, customers can quickly pick up their prescriptions, pivot over for consultation if needed, and then be on their way,” said Brian Irish, Bell and Howell vice president of marketing. Cincinnati-based Bavis Drive-Thru also is creating a more convenient experience for patients, as well as pharmacists. “With our audio system and a VoIP phone system, the patient and pharmacist are connected. The pharmacist also can do a conference call with the patient’s physician. The patient can conference the pharmacist in at the pharmacy, instead of the pharmacist coming up to the drive-through window,” said Bavis president William Sieber. Bavis’ latest product is the Drive-Thru Vittleveyor, a very large carrier that can transport prescriptions and large OTC items. Convenience isn’t only for patients, though. Uniweb, based in Corona, Calif., has a slot system for shelving that’s meant to make the pharmacy workplace more efficient, offering flexibility for maintaining

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high inventories of products. Bill Bender, Uniweb vice president of sales and marketing, said that in many pharmacies, products are stacked high because the staff doesn’t have time to unload the products, unsnap a shelf from a slot, reposition it, and put the shelving back on. “Our slot wall system is 1 inch on center. It is a metal panel without those individual slots. It has a horizontal channel that runs across the width, and the shelves slide into those channels,” Bender said. “It’s a lot easier to adjust shelves as inventory increases.”

Tackling Logistics Hurdles

When it comes to business operations, cash flow problems can put a dent on the clinical services that pharmacies want to provide. Libertyville, Ill.-based Pharma Logistics provides reverse pharmaceutical distribution services, including its Traditional Credit Program and Rapid Credit Program, both designed to bring a cash influx into pharmacies. The difference between the programs is the speed at which the pharmacy receives reimbursement. The pharmacy will receive cash within 14 days of the pharmaceutical products arriving at Pharma Logistics’ processing facility with the Rapid Credit Program. “These programs are designed to accelerate credit flow from the expired pharmaceutical products that are nonviable to the retail space and turn it into working capital again,” said Jeffrey Swanson, head of retail sales. “If pharmacies receive an influx of cash from expired products, that allows them to reinvest into their pharmacy, whether that’s through technology or reinvesting back into their point-of-sale merchandising to drive customers in.” Beyond cash flow, as pharmacies expand clinical services, they need to better manage their receivables. Lari Harding, vice president of strategy and marketing at Inmar, based in WinstonSalem, N.C., believes that as pharmacies expand their scope of services, they must connect to the “technology ecosystem of the healthcare system” to communicate with other providers, do medical billing



and facilitate contractual relationships. Inmar is developing technology designed to help pharmacies have a cohesive view into the financial flow of the prescriptions dispensed to a patient and the medical services they provide to them. “There are different medical billing solutions and pharmacy dispensing systems that pharmacies are using,” Harding said. “We will integrate with whatever platform using industry-standard EDI-based billing methods they’ve chosen to run their operation, and we bring the data back for our customers so they have an accurate picture of their receivables, what they are owed, and what their activity was. They can see it in a way that helps them better manage their business.”

Enabling Compliance

Pharmacies have no shortage of compliance imperatives on a day-to-day basis, and the most recent change was the USP <800> regulation, focused on the safe handling of hazardous drugs, which came into effect on Dec. 1, 2019. Brian Sullivan, senior systems sales manager at Kennesaw, Ga.-based Knapp, said that this regulation affects all pharmacies,

particularly large mail-order and central-fill pharmacies that dispense a high volume of prescriptions. Knapp offers a centralized vacuum system to control dust from medications within their automation systems and in the canister replenishment area. The system enables retailers to keep their medications in high speed automation. Additionally, the Drug Supply Chain Security Act has several upcoming deadlines for wholesalers and retailers, with the former needing to be compliant this year and retailer compliance set for 2023. Knapp Vision Item Check, which wholesalers have incorporated for incoming medications, automatically reads the bar codes of serialized medications and sends that information to a database, verifying that medications are authentic. “We are bringing variations of that technology to our central-fill, mail-order and retail customers, so that they can expedite the scanning and verification of medication and also be compliant in a cost-effective way by 2023,” Sullivan said. Mitigating risk associated with state and federal regulations is imperative when pharmacies dispense medications, according to Craig Ford, senior vice president of pharmacy sales at Alpharetta, Ga.-based LexisNexis Risk Solutions, which offers the VerifyRx mitigation tool. VerifyRx looks at the provider information and prescriber data associated with a prescription to ensure that the information is accurate while in the workflow process. “We help pharmacies mitigate their risk from a compliance perspective by allowing their dispensing platforms to leverage our information so that prescriptions can be filled effectively and safely, while complying to the ongoing state and federal regulations,” Ford said. “We do this in milliseconds, not impacting the dispensing process. Pharmacy chains are getting immediate real-time compliance validation checks at the point of sale. It’s cleaner, more accurate, and it addresses federal regulations,” Ford said. dsn

INDUSTRY AWARDS PROGRAM Drug Store News is proud to recognize, celebrate and honor women making outstanding contributions to their companies and the industry. More than 140 women were honored November 2019 at the inaugural Top Women in Health, Wellness and Beauty event and gala. Winners were awarded in the categories of Career Achievement, Business Excellence, Commitment to Care and Rising Stars.

Who will be honored in 2020? Visit www.dsntopwomen for updates on timing for nomination opening in the spring and details on the gala event in the fall of 2020. Follow us on


Six Ideas for 2020 Eliminating retail’s background noise can help keep companies on track By David Orgel

B David Orgel is an awardwinning business journalist, industry expert and speaker. He is currently the principal of David Orgel Consulting, delivering strategic content and counsel to the food, retail and CPG industries.

ackground noise easily can distract. Sometimes the consequences are dire. As a career journalist, I was struck by a recent news story about a reporter who misquoted presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg because of too much background noise picked up by a recorder. In the reporter’s story, Buttigieg appeared to criticize former President Barrack Obama. That seemed so out of character that the piece went viral on social media. Fortunately, the reporter soon corrected the error, explaining there was a lot of crowd noise. However, it brings up a thought about retail. Can certain types of background noise lead to retail mistakes? I’m not even referring to simple mistakes that are quickly recognizable and correctible. Instead, I mean bad decisions that result from feeling too distracted or pressured — perhaps by such noise as the drive to make sales numbers or being squeezed for time. I’ve been tracking this over the past few years because the level of retail background noise has been increasing. It’s time to avoid these pitfalls. Here are some ways to do this in 2020. 1. Scrutinize Trends Too often, retailers jump on hot trends only because they are hot. It’s sometimes easier to embrace a trend than to explain why you aren’t doing so. However, it’s important first to verify whether the trend makes sense for your business. 2. Temper the Texts There are so many great customer messaging tools now, but these can be misused because of the pressure to be productive. This topic came up at the recent Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit. For example, speakers said that texting customers, say about an offer or prescription refills, can sometimes become a one-size-fits-all approach. The texts may continue even if customers never respond, or even if they do. It’s better instead to figure out what works best for different customers.



3. Free up Time Retail employees are very busy. It’s often more productive for them to handle the task at hand than to engage with customers. Yet, that isn’t necessarily the best choice. Pharmacy is a case in point. Pharmacists need to be freed up to engage whenever possible. Speakers at the DSN Industry Issues Summit said technology can help automate certain tasks to give pharmacists more time. 4. Reconsider Disruptors There is no shortage of disruptors impacting retail, including direct-to-consumer start-ups. However, rather than eyeing disruptors only as threats, it’s sometimes useful to consider collaborating. Speakers at the DSN Industry Issues Summit, for example, pointed to the benefits of partnerships. This can lead to co-creation efforts in which each party can bring something unique to the table. 5. Rediscover Suppliers Too often, in the pressure of the moment, retailers don’t view suppliers as valuable partners. In these cases, trading partner relationships become too transactional. However, retailers that develop closer working relationships with suppliers, whether for brand or private label, often benefit from innovative outcomes. 6. Shun Silos Retail is known for its silos. Too often, retail employees have been incented for boosting performance in one area without necessarily taking the bigger picture into account. That kind of thinking is more problematic today. For example, if a pharmacy and front store aren’t coordinating on health initiatives for consumers, the result is missed opportunities. If there’s one common theme to the ideas listed here, it’s this: Put consumers first. The pressures of background noise can make retailers forget that their goal is to succeed with customers. We’ve all heard the phrase, “The customer comes first.” Well, in 2020, there are new ways to make that happen. dsn

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