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Volume 43 No. 2


Drug Store News

Keeping people healthy shouldn’t make the planet sick. Making affordable medicines for good health shouldn’t harm the environment. At Dr. Reddy’s, our commitment to the planet lies at the heart of all that we do. We manage our manufacturing and business activities within a sustainable framework: from zero liquid discharge and zero hazardous waste to landfill initiatives, to reducing packaging, green chemistry, and process innovation. Minimizing the environmental impact of our business operations is our top priority because Good Health Can’t Wait.

www.drreddys.com Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Inc. 107 College Road East, Princeton, NJ 08540 | Tel: 866-733-3952 February 2021

©2020 Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved. RDY-0420-291

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Vol. 43 No. 2 DrugStoreNews.com


FEATURES 10 Industry News 24 Focus On: Dr. Reddy’s Labs 26 Industry Issues Summit: Great Expectations A breakdown of a panel discussion on patient care amid a pandemic from DSN’s 22nd Industry Issues Summit

32 Focus On: Yes To 34 Selfcare Roadmap Insights Chronic condition maintenance shopper insights powered by GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s and HRG’s Selfcare Roadmap Insights tool

35 Products to Watch


36 Cover Story: Mending a Fractured Supply Chain DSN takes a look at the ways COVID-19 has disrupted the flow of goods at retail and how companies have managed to keep products stocked

42 REX Awards 2021 - Natural 78 Special Report: Who’s Who in CBD

SOCIAL Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews

COLUMNS 8 Editor’s Note 18 Counter Talk with Dietary Supplement Quality Collaborative’s Christine Burdick-Bell

22 One-on-One with Kadenwood’s Erick Dickens

90 Last Word with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel



66 Virtual Roundtable: State of Generics

58 Skin Care as Self-care

Executives from leading generics firms weigh in on the challenges facing the industry

With more time for skin care routines, consumers offer companies opportunities

64 News

76 News

HEALTH 86 Menstrual and Vaginal Care Reusable and age-targeted products succeed in the crowded space


DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) is published monthly 12 times a year by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rate in the United States: $125 one year; $230 two year; $14 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $150 one year; $270 two year; $16 single issue copy; Foreign: $170 one year; $325 two year; $16 single issue copy. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Vol. 43 No. 2, February 2021. Copyright © 2020 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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Time to Shine — Again Retailers can once again play a critical role in combating COVID-19 as sites of vaccination By Seth Mendelson


ey, we have some work to do in terms of vaccinating the country — and a lot of the heavy lifting in the near future looks to be falling squarely on the shoulders of mass retailers. The ambitious rollout of the various vaccines to end the COVID-19 pandemic is no doubt a Herculean task. Yet, as the experts have been saying for several months now, it is also certain to run into a bunch of roadblocks as officials from both the government and the Seth Mendelson private sector look for ways to vaccinate as much as 70% Editor in Chief/ to 80% of the U.S. population by the end of this summer Associate Publisher — just seven months away. Making matters more dire is the slow rollout of the vaccine across the country. Hurt by limited supply and a flimsy distribution process, most states and local municipalities are complaining that the initial start to the process has been filled with missteps and false information. As more people seek to be vaccinated, these government officials are pleading for more medicines and a coherent process to successfully get from point A to point Z. Guess who may have to save the day? Yes, the mass retail industry — ranging from traditional retailers like CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target and Walmart to that large online behemoth Amazon. It is a huge task, but, frankly, mass retailer outlets that have pharmacies may be the only ones that can get all facets of this job correctly accomplished. When enough doses are available — hopefully in the coming weeks — it will be these retailers that have the distribution systems needed to get the products to places, including stores, retirement communities and even hospitals, where people can be inoculated quickly and efficiently. Second, retailers have the personnel that can get the job done. In-store pharmacists and technicians can administer the shots and, more importantly, give the right information to a weary and concerned consumer base. The best part, as a whole and proven time and time again, consumers trust their pharmacists. This is another opportunity for mass retail to shine. After the heroic efforts of the spring, when retail operations and individuals stepped forward to ensure that the nation was able to get the food and medicine needed to survive, day-to-day, this is the next step. I have no doubt that mass retail and its pharmacy operations will become the beacon for the successful rollout of these vaccines over the next few months. I guess we will have to roll up our collective sleeves one more time for the nation. dsn

I have no doubt that mass retail and its pharmacy operations will become the beacon for the successful rollout of these vaccines over the next few months.


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 Northeast Manager Alex Tomas (212) 756-5155, atomas@ensembleiq.com Regional Manager Steven Werner (312) 961-7162 swerner@ensembleiq.com Beauty Sales and Marketing Manager Delaney Renker (616)-644-4495 drenker@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 AUDIENCE LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti 914-309-3378 SUBSCRIBER SERVICES/CUSTOMER CARE TOLL-FREE: 1-877-687-7321 FAX: 1-888-520-3608 contact@drugstorenews.com REPRINTS & PERMISSIONS Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com or (877) 652-5295.

CORPORATE OFFICERS Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer Jane Volland Chief Innovation Officer Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several Senior Vice President, Content Joe Territo


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Splat Double Lift Looks to Deliver Vibrant Color Sans Bleach Splat is adding a new permanent hair color line to its roster with Double Lift. The latest launch from the Developlus brand is a bleach-free formula that provides users with vibrant hair color. The formula, which contains aloe vera and soy protein, uses an oxidative dye that lifts hair four levels, deposits bold color and rinses out easily with less color bleed, the Corona, Calif.-based company said. Specifically designed for dark hair, the line is available in four shades, including: • Envy Me, a dark green with warm undertones; • Iconic Red, a warm red with hints of brightness; • Violet Vibes, a rich purple with warm tones; and • Plum Siren, a cool red with a hint of purple. “Double Lift is especially exciting as it’s the launch of a new color category for Splat. Splat is the No. 1 bold hair color brand in mass retail, we have always been temporary and semi-permanent hair color — until now,” said Jenniffer Paulson, vice president of marketing at Developlus. “We are bringing to market a truly unique bleach-free formula that allows consumers with naturally dark hair to transform their color and achieve a bold vibrant look typically not possible without bleach.” Ideal for hair that previously has not been color treated, Splat’s Double Lift can be found at CVS Pharmacy, Meijer, Target and Walmart for the suggested retail price of $12.49.

Nature’s Truth to Expand Elderberry Offerings Nature’s Truth is bolstering its products featuring black elderberry as consumers look for ongoing immune support. “Elderberry is no longer a seasonal item, it’s being used year-round as people are becoming more focused on a proactive approach to their health,” said Kimberly Vigliante, senior vice president of wholesale sales and marketing at Nature’s Truth. “The expansion of our family of elderberry products is a direct reflection of the needs and desires of our consumers.” The Bohemia, N.Y.-based company said it plans to add a children’s gummy to its existing lineup of black elderberry products, which includes elderberry liquid, capsules and adult gummies. The children’s gummy will formally debut in the spring. “Our customers care about where their vitamins are coming from, and they trust Nature’s Truth because they know they’re getting the best possible quality,” Vigliante said. “From our easy-to-swallow capsules to great-tasting liquid, chewable and gummy formulas for kids and adults alike, there’s an elderberry for everyone in the family.” According to Nielsen data for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 31, 2020, the brand as a whole saw triple-digit growth in the period, the company said. Formulas found in Nature’s Truth products are non-GMO and free of gluten and dairy, as well as are either vegetarian or vegan, with the exception of the capsules.

Chobani Adds Twist to Cold Brew Coffee Chobani, the maker of Greek yogurts, oat milks and probiotic drinks, among other dairy and plant-based products, is launching its own line of cold brew ready-to-drink coffees. Chobani Coffee features four flavors — Cold Brew Pure Black, Cold Brew with Sweet Creamer, Cold Brew with Vanilla and Cold Brew with Oatmilk. Each coffee flavor contains the caffeine equivalent of a standard cup of coffee, or 85 mg of caffeine per serving, the company said. “Nutrient dense Greek yogurt and coffee have long been a perfect pair, fueling our lives throughout the day,” said president and COO Peter McGuinness. “Chobani Coffee is crafted from single origin 100% Arabica beans, geared for the passionate coffee drinker looking for cold-press brews who love the added taste of creamers made from farm fresh milk and oat milk.” Chobani Coffee is available in a multi-serve 32-oz. size that retails for $4.49 nationwide.



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Coca-Cola Launches Coca-Cola with Coffee Coca-Cola is offering a new way for consumers to get a jump start on their morning routines with the rollout of Coca-Cola with Coffee. Infused with Brazilian coffee each 12-oz. can of Coca-Cola with Coffee contains 69 mg of caffeine per serving. The product is available in dark blend, vanilla and caramel flavors, while Coca Cola with Coffee Zero Sugar comes in dark blend and vanilla varieties. To promote the new products, Coca-Cola is offering consumers a chance to receive a free can of Coca-Cola with Coffee by using the Ibotta app at Walmart stores across the country. Also as part of the launch, Coca-Cola partnered with Walmart DroneUp to deliver the beverages to Coffee County, Ga., in late January. Retailing for $2.32 per can, consumers can find Coca-Cola with Coffee and Coca-Cola with Coffee Zero Sugar at retail stores nationwide.

Organic India Extends Adaptogen Line Organic India is rolling out six formulas in its adaptogenic supplement line. The products are designed to support immune and respiratory health, hormonal balance, and energy, as well as items made specifically for women and men. The six items are Essential Immune, Immune Aid, Full-Breath, Energy Restore, Essential Female and Essential Male. They are priced between $24.99 and $39.99. “We know that consumers are looking for support in areas where adaptogens can be beneficial, such as stress, sleep, digestion, mood, cognitive function and immune formulas specifically meant to assist in these areas, making it easier for consumers to navigate,” said Miguel Gil, CEO of Organic India, based in Boulder, Colo.



Smart Meter Debuts iBloodPressure Monitor As it looks to grow its capabilities in enabling remote patient management, Smart Meter is introducing a new connected health tool. The iBloodPressure is a cellular-connected blood pressure monitor that includes a 4G/5G LTE communication chip that allows reading results to be automatically transmitted to a patient’s remote patient monitoring portal, without the need for syncing, apps, smartphones, Wi-Fi or docking stations. “Our user base has grown nearly tenfold, a testament to the fact that Smart Meter makes it easy for healthcare providers, patients and organizations to implement and scale sustainable RPM programs in a matter of weeks, supporting patient populations of all sizes,” said Brahim Zabeli, CEO of Smart Meter. “Our cellular-enabled iBloodPressure Monitor and iGlucose Blood Glucose Meter do not require patient setup. Rapid onboarding and instant transmission of data fulfills CPT requirements for efficient reimbursement.” Smart Meter said that its products are designed to provide secure, consistent and accurate data, with the aim of enabling a higher level of patient care and the potential for improved patient outcomes. “[Remote patient monitoring] evolved as a rapidly adopted mode of care delivery in 2020, of which Smart Meter has been an integral part in bridging the historic in-person care setting,” said Dr. Bill Lewis, principal at WellMedCare Consulting. “The addition of the new cellularenabled iBloodPressure cuff to its digital offerings will complement a growing suite of cellular monitoring devices, enabling chronic care disease management.” “The simplicity of activation, monitoring and utilization of these devices partially circumvents many of the healthcare access hurdles of digital literacy for the elderly,” he said. “For clinical care organizations, their job just became easier. Smart Meter’s suite of products now enables RPM to improve clinical and medication adherence, as well as endpoint clinical outcome measurements like A1C and HBP.”

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Hayden Products, Orchard Win DSN/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Awards Hayden Products won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its Gelo Hand Soap Refill Pods at ECRM’s Everyday and Holiday Cosmetics, Fragrance & Bath Virtual Session held this month. Orchard was a finalist for its Volcanic Stone Roller. The products were selected from dozens of entries submitted by participating suppliers. Buyers were able to evaluate each entry and cast their votes based on product packaging and innovation via the Drug Store News-branded Buyers’ Choice Awards section of the ECRM Connect platform. “Sustainability is a big trend among beauty products today, and we see it reflected in both Buyers’ Choice winners,” said Craig Chmielowicz, ECRM’s senior vice president of health and beauty care. “The Gelo Hand Soap pods help reduce single-use plastic waste and the Orchard Volcanic Stone Roller is a reusable way of controlling shine from oils on the skin. Congratulations to both winners, and kudos for developing innovations that help both consumers and the environment.” Gelo Hand Soap Refill Pods were developed to refill hand soap without the single-use plastics and packaging that usually accompany refilling. Consumers just fill the reusable bottle with water and drop in Gelo Refill Pods for low waste hand soap in seconds. Gelo Refill Pods are made from plant-based ingredients and are free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates and toxic ingredients. The product is Leaping Bunny Certified Cruelty Free and the pods eliminate the need for single use rigid plastic containers. Since the pods don’t contain water, they drive reduced carbon emissions associated with transporting liquid hand soap. The dissolvable biodegradable Gelo Refill Pod technology helps reduce single-use plastic waste by 97% when compared with traditional hand soap refills, according to the company, which added that since launching, the brand has helped prevent over 1 million single-use plastic bottles from entering landfills. “We were so excited to participate in the ECRM Connect session this year,” said Tom Kitzinger, vice president of sales at Hayden Products. “ECRM embraced the virtual format and the program was as productive, if not more productive, than previous in-person sessions. The ECRM team was always there waiting in the virtual ‘wings’ if we had any questions or needed assistance. Participation was terrific and the buyers were very engaged.” Orchard, a full-service beauty company powered by Albéa and the Innovation Beauty Group, provides turnkey beauty solutions across prestige, indie, retail and mass. It has worked with some of the most well-known brands in the industry for nearly three decades. Orchard’s products include cosmetics, skin care, accessories and beauty tools, personal care, hair care, bags and gifts with purchase, travel retail, organic and natural products, fragrances, and home care. The Volcanic Stone Roller, an oil-absorbing face roller that’s reusable and easy to wash, is made from real volcanic stone that helps to erase shine in an instant. Users pop the cap and it’s ready to roll for on-the-go touch-ups.



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Carol’s Daughter Puts New Spin on Wash Day Delight Products

Plant-Based Oil Powers cbdMD Botanicals Line CBD brand cbdMD is diving headfirst into the world of beauty with the launch of its first skin care collection. New from the Charlotte, N.C.-based health-and-wellness company is cbdMD Botanicals, which consists of 15 products that feature all-natural plant-based oils. “CbdMD Botanicals fuses cbdMD’s patent pending superior broad-spectrum CBD formula with all-natural plantbased oils and nutrients, resulting in a luxurious, naturally derived skin care line that enriches the skin with luxurious botanicals, which can help achieve the perfect balance of everyday self-care,” said Martin Sumichrast, chairman and co-CEO of cbdMD. The line includes a facial oil and serum, toner, moisturizer, facial masks, exfoliants, and body care offerings. “Formulated without the use of parabens, cbdMD Botanicals products are vegan, cruelty-free, non-GMO and gluten-free. CbdMD Botanicals offers consumers luxury botanical skin care, while at the same time, being cost-conscious in the beauty and skin care market,” he said. ”And, with our proven track record of providing our customers with some of the best-selling products across multiple CBD categories, we believe that cbdMD Botanicals will be well received in the growing multibillion dollar global beauty and skin care market.” CbdMD Botanicals is available for purchase online at cbdmd.com.


Carol’s Daughter is continuing to innovate in the hair care aisle. First, the brand unveiled its water-tofoam shampoo — part of the Wash Day Delight line — and now it is rolling out several new additions to the collection. Featuring new formulas with such ingredients as aloe and rose water, the launches aim to cut down time on wash day, the company said. “This time in quarantine has taught us a few things like how important it is to really care for our hair in between salon visits and also how valuable time is,” said Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter. “For African-American women, when it comes to our hair, less tangles and more moisture, shine and softness are a must. Not only do these products provide that, but they truly cut down on time during wash day so you can get back to the things that truly matter. Trust me, one wash changes everything.” New launches include: • Jelly-To-Cream Conditioner with Aloe + Glycerin envelops the hair from roots to ends, as well as conditions and untangles tresses; and • Water-To-Foam Shampoo and Jelly-To-Cream Conditioner with Rose Water aims to cleanse the hair, as well as provide hydration. Created to rinse quickly, its targeted applicator helps the liquid formula flow easily through the hair and scalp. Consisting of a vegan formula that also is free of parabens and artificial colors, the Wash Day Delight collection is available online at CarolsDaughter.com, Amazon.com and Target.com, as well as at retailers nationwide.

Trojan Unveils Women-Focused Line Willa As it continues to expand beyond its flagship condoms, Trojan is debuting Willa, a line of products the company said is focused on women’s pleasure, protection and sexuality. The line features four SKUs, including two condoms, a lubricant and a vibrator — all of which currently have launched at Target. Notably, Trojan’s Willa Vibrator follows the December introduction of Trojan’s Tantrix “pleasure sleeve” — its first sex toy for men. The vibrator features a precision tip made of smooth silicone with a natural feel. It features three speeds and is sold with an included battery with a suggested retail price of $31.99. At the time Tantrix was launched, Trojan cited Nielsen numbers showing vibrator sales up 41% on a year-over-year basis for the four weeks ended Aug. 22, 2020. Also in the Willa lineup is Trojan Willa Lubricant, a waterbased product that makes it safe for use with toys and condoms. It is infused with vitamin E and aloe to protect intimate skin, and it retails for $10.39. Trojan also is playing to its strengths with Willa, adding Willa Thin Condoms and Willa Ribbed Condoms. The condoms use the company’s ultra-thin design to offer a skin-to-skin feel, while reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections. The ribbed condoms include ribbing at the base and end to build friction and increase pleasure. Both condom styles retail for $9.79.


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What’s Next for the Dietary Supplements Industry? Outlining where regulations stand as a new administration gets settled By Christine Burdick-Bell

A Christine Burdick-Bell, steering committee chair, Dietary Supplements Quality Collaborative


s President Biden and his team rightly focus on the nation’s public health in response to COVID-19, consumers are asking themselves how they can play a more active role in their own health and wellness. The Dietary Supplements Quality Collaborative, or DSQC, a diverse group of national stakeholder organizations across the public health spectrum, is focused on advancing important legislative priorities and regulatory initiatives to ensure consumers have access to quality and safe dietary supplements. In the last 25 years, the dietary supplement industry grew from $4 billion with roughly 4,000 products to $50 billion with over 50,000 products. Due to the rapid growth of the space, both government and industry stakeholders are examining the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which governs the U.S. supplement industry, to be sure that foundational law keeps up with the rapidly growing industry, the science underlying these products and the explosion of online marketing that didn’t even exist when the law was first enacted. Government action typically lags behind industry advancement, but considering the 12.1% growth in the dietary supplements category in 2020, driven largely by COVID-19, the limited transparency provided by the current regulatory framework is especially worrisome. This market has seen increases in adulterated products marketed by bad actors. For instance, 965 of the products tested by the Food and Drug Administration from 2007 to 2019 were identified to include potentially hazardous substances or hidden ingredients. This level of adulteration poses significant risks for consumers and is at odds with the practices of industry’s responsible participants. To better protect consumers and monitor the industry, we must increase transparency measures in the marketplace and clarify the regulatory confusion around the FDA’s ability to regulate products marketed as dietary supplements. DSQC will be looking for legislative clarity from Congress and implementation of regulatory tools by the FDA to achieve these goals — balancing continued access to dietary supplements with


additional, effective safeguards. For example, the FDA previously expressed interest in establishing a mandatory product listing for dietary supplements. This would require products marketed as dietary supplements to be listed in a registry accessible by the agency and the public, along with the product label and information about the manufacturer and/or distributor. Our multi-stakeholder and cross sector collaborative of public health champions believes that implementing a listing will enhance the FDA’s ability to capture trends, identify products containing dangerous ingredients and prioritize investigations of products and/or manufacturers that pose the highest risk to public health. What’s more, creating a mandatory product listing is a win for both consumers and the dietary supplements industry. If enacted, consumers, pharmacists and retailers will all be able to access information about products and their ingredients, helping us determine which products are safe to consume, recommend or store on shelves. Congress also should eliminate the loophole in the statutory definition of a dietary supplement to better protect consumers. FDA has opined that products marketed as dietary supplements that contain illegal and sometimes undeclared ingredients do not meet the statutory definition of a dietary supplement, even if they carry a “Supplement Facts” label. FDA said it believes these products fall outside of its jurisdiction for dietary supplements in a “no man’s land”— neither supplement nor drug. Clarifying the definition such that it covers all products marketed as dietary supplements will allow the FDA proper oversight and enforcement capabilities to investigate illegitimate products. If a product claims by its marketing and labeling to be a dietary supplement, FDA should be able to regulate it as a supplement. As questions remain about the composition of upcoming healthcare legislation and how priorities will be balanced at the start of the Biden administration, it is clear there are tangible opportunities for Congress, the FDA, DSQC and stakeholders to modernize dietary supplement regulations to better protect consumers. dsn

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Safety Pen Needle with Dual-Protection Safety n • Dual needle protection to help prevent needlestick injuries • Ideal for use in long-term care • Excellent option for caregivers or self-injection • Enhanced user control preventing premature activation1 • Visual confirmation of dose-delivery1

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Let Science-Based Nutrition Lead the Way to Pet Food Growth By Joe Toscano

A Joe Toscano, Vice President, Trade & Industry Development at Purina

s more and more pet owners are becoming actively engaged and informed about the health of their four-legged friend, super premium pet foods with targeted nutrition are growing in popularity. Super premium is the largest price tier within the total dog/cat category, making up more than a third of total dollar sales and growing at 3.5%. Consumers are looking for nutrition that’s not only enjoyable, but also healthy and enables their pet to live their best life. In fact, three-quarters of dog owners think it is important to buy food formulated for their dog’s size, breed, life stage or other need. Four out of ten pet owners say they “would pay more for a food that was made specifically for their pet’s nutritional needs.”

Purina ONE has formulas for puppy/kitten, senior cat/dog, weight management and sensitive system just to name a few. Retailers carrying Purina ONE turn shoppers into loyal consumers who know they won’t have to look anywhere else to find what their pets need. At Purina, our innovation and product cycle is guided by research. We have more than 500 scientists, veterinarians and nutritionists on staff, who work tirelessly to uncover breakthrough nutrition that helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives. Over the years, Purina ONE has used that expertise to develop formulas that


support a pet’s whole body health every day and throughout a pet’s lifetime, with formulas that address changing needs at each life stage. Purina ONE has formulas for puppy/kitten, senior cat/ dog, weight management and sensitive system just to name a few. Purina ONE nutrition is veterinarian recommended and proudly crafted at Purina-owned facilities. Retailers carrying Purina ONE turn shoppers into loyal consumers who know they won't have to look anywhere else to find what their pets need. Purina ONE natural dog food and cat food formulas use high-quality ingredients for nutrition that can lead to visible differences in a pet’s health, and consumers can see these differences for themselves when they join the more than 1.5 million others who have taken the 28-Day Challenge. • Clean Bowl Club: Dogs and cats may be even more eager for mealtime, thanks to meat as the #1 ingredient and the tasty bites in Purina ONE. • Energy You Can See: The purposeful nutrition in every bag of ONE helps support healthy energy. Dogs and cats may want to play more and may be happier overall. • Bright eyes and shiny coat: By the end of the month, owners should see clear, alert eyes and a healthy skin and coat, supported by the omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals provided by Purina ONE. In April, retailers and shoppers have a chance to take advantage of an accelerated offer. Purina ONE will have a $5 coupon on the bag and once redeemed, consumers can go online to sign up for the 28-Day Challenge and get an additional $5 coupon on their next bag of Purina ONE. We are recommending retailers take advantage of the merchandising vehicles we will have available to help them convert shoppers into buyers during this time frame. Work with your local teams on getting ahead of the challenge and taking the opportunity to satisfy your shoppers and their pets alike. dsn


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Building on a Strong Foundation Kadenwood sets the bar high in CBD marketplace


BD company Kadenwood has set up a solid foothold in the CBD category. From its performancefocused Level Select CBD and its Purity Organic functional teas to its Purity Preferred pet health products, the Newport Beach, Calif.-based business has managed to carve out a niche among various demographics, while attracting big names and building brand awareness. Drug Store News spoke with Kadenwood’s CEO and co-founder, Erick Dickens, to discuss what sets the company apart and the continued growth of CBD at mass. Drug Store News: Tell us about Kadenwood. What makes the company unique? Eric Dickens: Kadenwood is unique for several reasons. First, we were founded in 2019 by consumer packaged goods professionals who have spent decades launching and leading household brands. Secondly, we have rapidly emerged as one of the largest vertically integrated suppliers of CBD in the United States through our acquisition of EcoGen in 2020, giving us unparalleled quality, cost and scalability advantages. And finally, our medical advisory team is led by former surgeon general Dr. Richard Carmona. We also have an industry-leading $30 million marketing support plan, including an exclusive television arrangement with the Discovery Network of stations specifically focused on building brand awareness and driving retailer traffic. DSN: The CBD category continues to entice mass retailers. What do you think is happening in the marketplace right now? ED: There is really a tale of two cities in the marketplace today: We have retailers that have chosen to sit on the sideline, waiting for the FDA to weigh in, while there are many others who have leaned in with firstgeneration CBD brands who are unfortunately


far too many brands have too low of CBD levels to deliver a benefit, which is leading to a lack of repeat and loyalty, and overall sluggish sales. Secondly, we need to make CBD more affordable to the average consumer through better value, lower price points, OPP, trial and entry pacts. And finally, brands need to do their part by investing in demand creation. No other brand invests to the levels of Kadenwood, and we set a new high bar on all of these very important elements.

Erick Dickens, CEO and co-founder, Kadenwood

“We have rapidly emerged as one of the largest vertically integrated suppliers of CBD in the United States.” struggling to show year-over-year growth. In both situations, there is untapped potential, and we at Kadenwood hope to work with all retailers to share our expertise and to help them capitalize on the explosive interest and opportunities for growth. DSN: What do retailers need to do to build sales in the category? ED: We feel strongly that retailers need to draw upon basic CPG fundamentals that have proven to work in nearly all other categories. Specifically, CBD brands should first and foremost contain high enough CBD levels to deliver upon consumer expectations. Today,

DSN: What is Kadenwood doing in terms of products and marketing to push sales? ED: Kadenwood is continually innovating across our multiple brands, including Level Select, our performance-based CBD line of topicals, oil drops and gummies; Purity Organic CBD Hot Teas; and our newest launch, Purity Preferred pet CBD products, consisting of oil drops, hip and joint balms, and chews, as well as very high levels of CBD Plus added functional ingredients. All of our science-based formulas are proprietary and are supported by industry-leading marketing plans, including national television and radio, influencer and digital/social campaigns, and best-in-class trade and retailer support plans. For consumers, we offer tremendous value through lower price point options and by offering the absolute lowest retail price per milligram of CBD of all our leading competitors. DSN: What does the future look like for the CBD category? ED: The category has exploded and consumer interest in CBD has never been greater. We believe that retailers and consumers are becoming more educated and more sophisticated in terms of their expectations around CBD and this is why, although Kadenwood may be a new player onto the scene, we are confident that we are best positioned to help the category and retailers expand and grow. dsn


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Commitment to Quality and Service In a crowded generics space, Dr. Reddy’s Labs’ approach is what sets it apart BY SETH MENDELSON


he key to successful retailing, according to the top person at Dr. Reddy’s Labs, an integrated global pharmaceutical company, is to cover all the bases so that the customer — whether a retailer or consumer — is happy with the interaction. That, said Erez Israeli, the CEO of the worldwide company, which has U.S. headquarters in Princeton, N.J., and a manufacturing plant in Shreveport, La., will make all the difference in the world, especially as everyone is looking for a better deal and the same or improved quality on generic drugs. It would be an understatement to say that the generics market is a bit confusing to both retailers and consumers. Dozens and dozens of companies compete in the space, each offering their own version of brand name drugs, emphasizing lower price points that will make the product more affordable to more consumers. The theory goes that more affordable means more sales and more profits for both the manufacturer and the retailer, as well as healthier consumers. Retail pharmacists are in the middle of the struggle, caught between the national brands that spent millions on research and development and generic companies, and increasingly between insurance companies/ pharmacy benefit managers and the consumer. Often, they are required to offer a generic equivalent of the national brand to their shoppers by various insurance companies or PBMs. Officials at Dr. Reddy’s are doing all they can to make sure the company, founded in India in 1986, is at the top of the list when retail pharmacists are seeking a business partner in the complicated and unique world of generic drug manufacturing. They noted that the publicly traded company, with U.S. sales of around $900 million annually, is one of the largest generic manufacturers in the country. It currently offers about 150 molecules to the domestic retail marketplace and is introducing as many as 25 to 30 new ones each year. “I think what sets us apart from the competition is how we relate to our customers,” said Israeli, who joined the company about three years ago and became CEO in July 2019. “We think it is all about bringing quality generic products to the retailer with affordable price points and consistent supply, as well as great service that really sets us apart.” Israeli pointed to four different factors that make Dr. Reddy’s, which does business in about 60 countries, stand above the crowd in the generics arena. One is the speed to bring a generic product to market and the important role that science and technology play in making sure that the product is the most efficient on the market. The second is quality and making sure that the product meets all


standards, both from the government and the retailer. The third is service. “People have to like working with us,” said Israeli, who noted that Dr. Reddy’s has about 400 employees in the United States and 22,000 around the world, with most in India. “We want them to find us friendly and we want them to find that we are working with them to find a solution to their needs.” Last, but not least, pricing is a pivotal factor. “We are very well aware of the fact that we need to be very cost competitive,” Israeli said. “This category is all about giving value to the consumer, and we realize that we have to be very productive on what we do to ensure we give the best price.” Last year, Marc Kikuchi, CEO of Dr. Reddy’s North America generics, told DSN that the company was waiting for FDA approval or feedback on more than 100 abbreviated new drug applications. By the end of the fiscal year next month, company officials said it expects to launch more than 30 new products in multiple disease categories. Many of these products will be complex or difficult to make, and they will fall in the limited competition space. Additionally, Dr. Reddy’s is growing significantly in the oncology


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DR. REDDY’S LABS Founded: 1985 U.S. Headquarters: Princeton, N.J. (U.S.); Hyderabad, Telangana, India (Worldwide) Categories: Pharmaceuticals, generics and OTC Number of SKUs: 150 in the United States Number of Employees: 400 U.S.; 22,000 worldwide Phone Number: (609) 375-9900 E-mail: medinfo@drreddys.com

space, with the introduction of several complex injectable products. The company continues to leverage its relationships with oncology treatment centers and hospitals. In October, Dr. Reddy’s launched sapropterin dihydrochloride tablets for oral use and cinacalcet tablets. “We have a very close relationship with our trade partners, and we are excited about the prospect of bringing new products to our customers and strengthening our relationship with them,” Kikuchi said. Part of the company’s strategy has it focusing on building a reliable and flexible supply chain for its products. “We remain committed to supporting our customer through demand surges and helping them be successful, and serve patients with an uninterrupted supply of medicines,” Kikuchi said. “We are well positioned for sustained profitable growth given our strong base business and proven capability in complex generics, with strategic investments in R&D for proprietary products and biologics. Our core business performance remains strong. Our growth levers are proven, vigorously executed and continue to deliver. We will continue to make strategic investments for long-term, sustainable growth. At the same time, we will continue to explore selective

business integration and opportunities to augment growth.” It has been a slow and steady move up the generics ladder for the company, which was established by Dr. Anji Reddy with a single drug in a 60-metric-ton facility near Hyderabad, India. In 1988, the company acquired Benzex Laboratories to expand its bulk actives business. By 1990, it was exporting norfloxacin and ciprofloxacin to Europe and the Far East, followed by Russia in 1991. By 1994, the company, after establishing a finished dosage facility to cater to such highly regulated markets as the United States, was ready to make the jump into the American market. “There is much to be proud of with this company. We have accomplished a lot and become a major player in the retail marketplace,” Israeli said. “But there is more to be done. We want the consumer to know that we care about their healthcare needs,1 and we are here to develop solutions.” “We are a company committed to this space. We are investing heavily in the science, technology and digital systems to allow us to give even better service in the future and bring more sophisticated products to the market.” dsn


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Patient Care at a Distance Industry Issues Summit Panel addresses patient care amid pandemic By David Salazar


hat does patient care from pharmacies look like during a pandemic and what role can the pharmacist play in delivering that care? This question, which many companies hadn’t even considered before early last year, now


has become a daily guiding mantra for retail pharmacies. It also was the question put before a panel of executives at Drug Store News’ 22nd Industry Issues Summit, held virtually on Dec. 2. Panelists also addressed how to work alongside consumers’ increasing self-care focus.

The panel, “Great Expectations: How Retail Pharmacy is Executing Patient Care,” was moderated by Dave Wendland, vice president of strategic relations at Hamacher Resource Group. Panelists included Adam Keeth of Sam’s Club, Becky Dant of Costco, Summer Williams Kerley of Rite Aid, Leon


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80% of pharmacists want to help their customers select the right Medicare plan that covers their drugs, doctors, and pharmacy – but filtering through dozens of plans is time-consuming.

Here’s some good news: eHealth’s Medicare Plan Finder for Pharmacists can help keep customers with their selected pharmacy. It is easy to use, accurate, and pharmacy friendly.

To learn more about eHealth’s “1-Click” pharmacy friendly solution visit ehealth.how/pharmacy or contact one of our associates: • Kyle.Hammer@eHealth.com • Chris.Smurthwaite@eHealth.com

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DSN INDUSTRY ISSUES SUMMIT Nevers of H-E-B, Bob Pessel of VMC Pharmacy Program and Buying Group, Orsula Knowlton of Tabula Rasa Healthcare, Colette Heimowitz of Simply Good Foods and Stacy Burch of BD Diabetes Care. One element that has helped retailers evolve to meet the challenge of delivering patient care through the COVID-19 pandemic, Dant pointed out, is that pharmacists’ stock has been rising for several years. “I think we saw, before COVID even came, that the U.S. is relying on pharmacists to provide services for other healthcare crises,” said Dant, who is Costco’s director of professional services, citing smoking cessation around vaping as an area where pharmacists shone pre-pandemic. “I think this was coming prior to that, where the government was recognizing that the pharmacies had the ability to do these things. I think we’re going to see increases in services that can be offered through pharmacies like contraception and the smoking cessation that I mentioned.”

Pharmacies as a Crucial Resource Having an established reputation as a place to go during times of crisis has been crucial for the industry as a whole, and has particularly served San Antonio-based H-E-B, which, besides COVID-19, has helped its patients navigate various hurricanes in the past year — and the century that H-E-B has been in business. “The good thing is the customers already turned to H-E-B in times of crisis and in times of need,” said Nevers, H-E-B’s director of business development, procurement and supply chain. “From an organizational standpoint, we were able to really bear down on some of the things that we’ve already been working on. Basically, from a history standpoint, we’ve been working on immunizations for a long time. It’s the history, actually ends up paying for itself.” An element of a pandemic approach to patient care that Keeth discussed also was touched on by Dant and Nevers — namely, the importance of meeting patients where they need the touchpoint. On the retail side, that looks like grocery pickup and other omnichannel operations. On the healthcare side at Sam’s Club, that means taking clinical services — in particular COVID-19


testing — on the road to help business customers keep employees safe. “We’ve rolled out delivery, curbside pickup and services like DoorDash, so we’re getting out there to the patients to help them be safe, but we’ve also recently launched an employer program where we actually go to an onsite location with a machine and we’ll do a bulk COVID test wherever they need it,” Keeth said, noting that Sam’s Club has an RV that it has deployed to businesses, where the retailer conducts COVID-19 testing with next-day results. “We’re really just trying to push the boundaries and meet the patient where they

programs out. We have different teaching ways to get those out, including webinars and education. We’ve found that there’s acceptance across the board when things are rolled out correctly and taught right.” The significance of having a well-trained and well-rounded pharmacist has been central to Rite Aid’s ongoing RxEvolution, which is seeking to position pharmacists more centrally to help patients with clinical needs, as well as overall health and well-being questions. Williams Kerley, the chain’s vice president of clinical services and business development, said that the company’s approach has included getting all of Rite

“We’re really just trying to push the boundaries and meet the patient where they want to be and where they want their care.” — Adam Keeth, Sam’s Club

want to be and where they want their care.” On the consumer side, this has included a partnership with telehealth provider 98.6, offering Sam’s Club members a subscription service in which, for a fee, patients can schedule unlimited telehealth visits with $1 co-pays and have any prescriptions sent to the Sam’s Club pharmacy. It is important that independent operators have the training in place to properly execute clinical services, especially new and changing ones related to COVID-19, but also the staples of pharmacy. VMC Pharmacy Program and Buying Group — a subsidiary of Associated Wholesale Grocers — can help enable member pharmacies to position themselves best to their communities. “We want our pharmacists, our pharmacy teams, our independent pharmacy teams to be providers of immunization, providers of anything at the point of care,” said Pessel, VMC Pharmacy Program’s vice president. “In terms of testing — flu, COVID, glucose — and everything that’s involved in that, we go find the programs and roll those

Aid’s pharmacists certified as integrative pharmacy specialists to further increase their potential to be a resource for patients. “Our pharmacists are experts at traditional medicine, but we wanted to blend that with other options as well, such as alternative remedies and lifestyle modifications that can occur,” she said. “It was really to help support our customers’ mind, their body and their spirit as well — and really, as always, unlock the value of our pharmacists and put them at the forefront to become advocates for that fusion based on customer needs. It’s not to take away any of the traditional steps that we’ve done across retail pharmacy, but it’s to add that extra layer to help meet our customers’ needs.” Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition education at Simply Good Foods, which markets the Atkins and Quest Nutrition brands, said that her company is a resource for other retailers that want to be a resource for a more holistic-minded consumer. “Consumers are interested in nutrients that will support their mood, nutrients that


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DSN INDUSTRY ISSUES SUMMIT will support better sleeping habits and nutrients that will support their energy, and we have those kinds of educational materials that we could share with any nutrition department,” she said. “We’re happy to do webinars for pharmacists when they do get into the alternative health arena.” Technology also is a tool that can give pharmacists an assist when it comes to using their training to provide the best care to patients, according to Tabula Rasa Healthcare’s Knowlton, who is the company’s president, co-founder and chief marketing and business development officer. She said that the company has been developing technology meant to enable personalization of medication regimens, including ways to head off potential adverse drug interactions, among other efforts. “We consider ourselves a supplier of technology and clinical services for community

among panelists that, similar to offering multiple ways for consumers to buy groceries and necessities, the key to delivering information to inform self-care comes down to meeting patients where they are, which, unsurprisingly, increasingly means meeting them at home, while also being a resource to pharmacists for when the in-person consultation takes place. Heimowitz also said that Simply Good Food’s pre-pandemic approach to being part of informed self-care regimens involved such in-person events as health fairs, book signings and lectures. Throughout the pandemic, these efforts have taken the form of webinars offering educational materials, as well as handout materials that pharmacies can offer to OTC shoppers looking to make better food and lifestyle choices.

“I think the patients are leaning — more so even today than they have in the past — on their pharmacists, who are playing a critical role in point-of-care testing.” — Stacy Burch, BD Diabetes Care pharmacists throughout the United States, and one of the reasons why we started the company was really to elevate the awareness and to increase the value of pharmacists,” she said. “We’re trying to make it easier to develop impactful interventions for patients and their community prescribers through visualization,” she said, highlighting the ability for her company’s software to show multiple medications and the potential adverse interactions in a single view.

Connecting with the Self-care Trend Besides trying to provide patient care during a pandemic, pharmacy operators also must contend with the growing trend toward selfcare, which only has accelerated as a result of COVID-19. In a certain sense, a consensus emerged


“That’s what I think we can do from the perspective of nutrition and education, which I think is going to bring an offer to retailers’ materials as far as lifestyle changes, wellness recipes, meal plans, shopping lists, there’s so much we could do from the nutritional standpoint to educate the consumer,” she said, noting that making these resources available to patients via pharmacies could help reduce the number of obese patients or those with diabetes. Burch, BD Diabetes Care’s vice president of marketing and commercial excellence, said that among patients with diabetes, there has been increased demand for digital tools, which she said studies have found can help improve diabetes management. “We have the BD Diabetes Care app and it’s designed all around to help support positive self-care,” she said. At the same time,

BD is continuing its partnerships with retailers to collaborate and bolster pharmacies as a resource. “I think the patients are leaning — more so even today than they have in the past — on their pharmacists playing a critical role in that point of care testing,” she said. “They’re playing a critical role and helping them with adherence, and they’re playing a critical role in helping to get them materials on self-care. And I think that’s what you’ll continue to see the focus on as we move through these challenging times.” Costco’s Dant highlighted interoperable data as an improvement that would strengthen pharmacies’ abilities to be a patient-care resource. “What I’ve seen as we’ve investigated different abilities to offer virtual care, it’s just that data sharing, how do we make this easy to use in the pharmacist’s workflow, how do we make it easy for them to see the data that they need to connect with that patient and help care for them?” When it comes to the future of patient care amid a rise in self-care, Rite Aid’s Williams Kerley said that retailers have an opportunity to be a resource for patients and continue to build demand for information by encouraging proactive self-care. She also said that 45% of those age 18 to 29 years old don’t have a primary care physician, and 28% of those age 30 to 49 years old don’t either. “The barrier right now is really just getting individuals to understand that they need to take care of themselves, and what needs to be in place to do that,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important right now, as we’ve all talked about, to bridge that gap and position pharmacists as the front line to help with education and that preventive component, because it’s easier to be proactive and focus on the preventive.” For Tabula Rasa Healthcare’s Knowlton, success requires collaboration and relationships that keep patient outcomes. “The importance of the relationships is that they are essential and symbiotic partnerships,” she said. “We have common goals, we have common patients, we have common competitors. We need not to just survive, we need to thrive and to do that together.” dsn


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Offering a Product You Can’t Refuse Yes To’s focus on natural ingredients and effective products drive its retail strategy BY SETH MENDELSON


YES TO Founded: 2006 U.S. Headquarters: Pasadena, Calif. Categories: Hair care, skin care, facial care Number of SKUs: About 80 Number of Employees: 35 Phone Number: (626) 365-1976 E-mail: customercare@yesto.com


fficials at Yes To want to make it pretty hard for both retailers and consumers to say no to their products. The company, founded in 2006 by two entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity to introduce an affordable natural beauty line at retail, is pulling out all the stops to show that they have most of the category covered, with quality products, great packaging that delivers a clear message and a pricing structure that attracts a wide range of shoppers. Yes To produces about 80 SKUs across the skin care, hair care, facial care and, now, the hand cream segments. The Pasadena, Calif.-based company emphasizes five key areas of differentiation from most products in the marketplace, including the fact that all of its items are fruitand vegetable-based products that are made with at least 95% natural ingredients before water. “Our objective is to show consumers that we offer straightforward, natural skin care products that are proven to work. Yes To offers much more than that, too. It is important to us that natural skin care is not only widely available, but affordable as well,” said Maggie Carey, the company’s CEO. “All of our products are under $16 with 75% of the items being offered for $10 or less.” Carey said that the emphasis right now is to return the company to its founding roots and attract consumers with its pledge to quality, affordability and products that “are so good that consumers cannot say no to them.” The company offers its products across six different lines, all based on a specific fruit or vegetable. The Purify Pores with Tomatoes is designed to work with blemish-prone skin, the Get Glow-y with Grapefruit is for dull and uneven skin, the Refresh Your Skin with Watermelon is for all skin types, and Soothe &


Calm with Cucumbers is for sensitive skin. The company has just introduced the five-SKU Majorly Moisturize with Avocado for dry skin and four-SKU line of tea tree hair care scalp products. The various lines include such items as face cleansers and moisturizers, scrubs, eye creams, masks, and hand lotions. “We understand that we have to educate retailers about our products, that we are a gateway into naturals, the unique benefits we deliver and how to maximize shopability in stores and online,” said Dan Taylor, senior vice president of sales-global. “When we collaborate with our retail partners, we explain to them the state of the category, key ingredient trends and what consumers are looking for most. Then we explain what each of our products delivers in terms of natural skin and face care solutions.” Carey noted the importance of marketing to the Yes To strategy. She emphasized an omnichannel approach that includes in-store marketing to educate consumers about the category and brand; the Yes To website to also help keep them informed; and social media, which is a combination of public relations support and getting influencers to talk up the line. “The more people know about what we are doing at Yes To the more likely they are to try the products and see how unique they are,” she said. “Also, it will get retailers more excited about what we offer and the role we play within their skin care sets. “We know the future looks great for Yes To. Consumers are already positively responding to the changes we have made,” Carey said. “This brand has a rich history of providing skin care regimens formulated for a range of skin types, and the strides we are making with consumers will only get stronger as we continue to build out our product line and marketing strategies.” dsn


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nowing how consumers are shopping is crucial to merchandising in a way that will successfully drive bigger baskets and higher sales. Recognizing this, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow and Hamacher Resource Group created the Selfcare Roadmap, a tool that can identify opportunities and reveal how forward-looking practices can remake the shopping experience, while inspiring new merchandising and service models that make an impact throughout the store. The tool, which only is 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 shoppers or caregivers who are focused on recovering from an acute injury or surgical procedure. dsn Recovering


SHOPPING HABITS Natural/Specialty

Internet Dollar Store




2.8% 4.0% 4.5%


5.1% 6.3%


5.1% 7.3% 18.5%


17.0% 27.6%

Drug Store

29.1% 37.3% 33.0%


Key insight: For those recovering from a short-term health condition, mass retailers/ discounters were more often preferred than other classes of trade for HBW purchases.



Those in recovery average

3.0 visits per year


while the general population averages

34.4% 32.8%


16.2% 7.9%

Less than 2x per year

3-4x per year

5-6x per year



7+ times per year

Key insight: Consumers recovering from an acute injury or surgical procedure visit physicians 14% less often annually than the average consumer.



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New and Noteworthy Hamacher Resource Group’s five standout products from the first month of 2021

ew year, new products. That was the mantra fueling the launch of 498 new items in January. Manufacturers introduced 294 new beauty offerings, 190 new wellness products and 14 new OTC products in the first month of the year and, as is its wont, Hamacher Resource Group’s new product team hit the ground running, poring over the items to find five that stood out as potentially big sellers. They are:



Sinex Severe VapoCool Ultra Fine Mist



Nizoral Scalp Psoriasis Shampoo and Conditioner

With a proprietary blend of tea tree oil and vitamin E to tackle redness, scaling and itching, Nizoral Scalp Psoriasis Shampoo and Conditioner from Arcadia Consumer Healthcare is formulated to be fast acting and begin working with the first use. The product also is free of sulfates, fragrances, preservatives and dyes.


Bausch + Lomb Alaway Preservative Free Single-Dose Vials

Colgate Renewal Whitening Restoration Toothpaste

Colgate-Palmolive’s eponymous toothpaste brand is getting in on the gum care trend with its latest product. Colgate Renewal Whitening Restoration offers a gel toothpaste that contains 0.45% stannous fluoride, along with the company’s proprietary SNAP technology, which work together to revitalize gums by reversing early damage.


Pataday Once Daily Relief Extra Strength

Eye drop innovation keeps rolling with the latest from Alcon’s Pataday brand. The recent Rx-to-OTC switch is expanding its lineup with this new product, which the company said is the first 24-hour allergy itch relief drop that is available over the counter.

Procter & Gamble is growing its Sinex line with Severe VapoCool Ultra Fine Mist, which contains Vicks VapoCool to offer a soothing cooling sensation upon use. The product is formulated to relieve nasal pressure, as well as clear a stuffy nose and congestion for as long as 12 hours.

This product marks Bausch Health’s first antihistamine eye drop that doesn’t contain a preservative. Alaway Preservative Free is designed to capitalize on consumer interest in products with “freefrom” bona fides, while offering up to 12 hours of eye itch relief. The product is packaged in single-use vials for consumers with eye sensitivities and Lasik patients, the company said. dsn



With COVID-19 nulling traditional disaster strategies, companies had to find creative replenishment solutions B Y



On Oct. 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on New York and New Jersey. Labeled the “Storm of the Century,” it incurred $70 billion in losses. Many stores and distribution centers were damaged, flooded and without power for days. New Jersey’s ports were closed to container ships, making replenishment of much needed supplies challenging. Yet, there was one saving grace: Unlike COVID-19, Hurricane Sandy was a regional event, allowing retailers to enact traditional disaster response measures. These involved

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Mending a Fractured Supply Chain

rerouting products from distribution centers in adjacent regions, installing generators and contracting third-party suppliers to fill merchandise gaps. COVID-19, on the other hand, has affected product production and movement worldwide, invalidating common emergency solutions. Traditional forecasting methods that utilize historic shopping data became useless, since consumers dramatically changed lifestyles and shopping routines. And unlike a weather disaster, COVID-19 has dragged on for months.


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WINNER! congratulatIons!

Our family is getting a whole lot bigger in 2021 and so did our ability to offer ground breaking products across major categories: skincare, wellness & nutraceuticals.

June 2020: SeraLabs® is acquired by one of the top R&D pharmaceutical companies in the country, Cure Pharmaceutical®.

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July 2020: SeraLabs® brands Cure Pharma oral thin film strip with over 25 patents pending issued as NUTRI-STRIPS™.

December 2020: SeraLabs® signs major celebrity as brand ambassador for all facial and body topicals.

January 2021: SeraLabs® introduces the Seratopical®

Revolution Face&Body non-CBD beauty line with major celebrity.

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Today, there are still some food and CPG shortages. Yet, stock levels are better than they were when coronavirus hit the United States last March, with retailers and suppliers turning to SKU optimization and some other very creative ways to manage inventory and find new resources. “We’ve all been working together as an industry, trying to find new, innovative solutions,” said Maria Brous, director of communications at Publix Super Markets, a Florida-based chain with a well-practiced hurricane response strategy. “When COVID-19 hit, there was nowhere to divert product because every area needed it. Everybody was pulling on the supply chain. That usually doesn’t happen; most disasters are regional.” Shortages began in March, driven by panic buying and increased purchasing of products for home consumption. The situation was compounded by truck drivers and factory employees being out sick or social distancing at work. Then, there was vendors’ already tight inventory management, a strategy initially intended to minimize surplus merchandise. “There’s been a big shift,” said Barb Renner, vice chairman and consumer products leader at Deloitte Services. “Transportation and warehousing became disrupted. And inventories were already lean, since CPGs had been making products on a demand schedule and didn’t have surge capacity. There were also materials and packaging shortages.” The Wall Street Journal pegged grocers’ current out of stocks at about 10%, down from 13% early in the pandemic, but above the pre-pandemic average of 5% to 7%. The most depleted packaged categories include cleaning products, frozen food, shelf-stable vegetables, bakery, refrigerated meals, barbecue, paper products and household plastics/storage indicated by IRI’s CPG Supply Chain Index (see chart). Big names like Campbell’s Soup, B&G Foods, Kimberly-Clark and General Mills are among suppliers that continue to struggle building inventory, per WSJ. In fresh, Deloitte’s “Future of Fresh Food” study found that since March, 65% of shoppers said desired items were out of stock, prompting them to buy alternative fresh items (40%) or frozen or processed replacements (29%).

Top-Selling SKUs

SKU optimization has been the most popular means of improving stock levels. Retailers have also turned to alternative brands or institutional suppliers. And, they have made better use of artificial intelligence tools that track shopping patterns in real time. Among suppliers, some are running additional shifts, outsourcing production, and/or adjusting equipment or ingredients to produce high-demand items. Companies also cite strong collaboration. SKU optimization involves focusing on top-selling varieties or sizes, expediting production, and shipping. Brands’ shelf space is unchanged. “Early on, CPGs looked at inventories and what they can quickly turn over,” Brous said. “If they offered


Products/Categories with Lowest or Declining In-stock Rates CATEGORY/ PRODUCT


Food & Beverage Nonalcoholic Beverages


Frozen food


Shelf-stable vegetables


Cookies, crackers






Refrigerated meats


Refrigerated meals


Refrigerated dough


Refrigerated beverages


Refrigerated baked goods


Non-Food Pest control




Household cleaning


Air fresheners




Paper products


Office/school supplies


Household plastics/ storage


Source: IRI CPG Supply Index *Includes grocery, club, dollar, mass and drug


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15 to 20 SKUs, they now feature five to 10. This means fewer production disruptions. We’ve seen this across the board.” Pandemic or not, some experts said they believe SKU rationalization has been sorely needed, since myriad varieties of toothpaste do not make consumers brush more. “COVID19 drove rationalization,” said Doug Baker, vice president of industry relations at FMI – the Food Industry Association. “Companies stepped back, asking what all these products really offered.” SKU rationalization also frees up investment money “that can go back into R&D, creating innovation opportunities,” Bakers said. Shortages opened the door for new vendors. Launched at the beginning of the pandemic, Los Angeles-based eOn Mist promised national retailers delivery of its eOn Sanitizing Mist personal size hand sanitizer within 24 days. CVS Pharmacy, Target, Rite Aid, Vons, Albertsons and Jewel Osco seized the opportunity to increase stock of this high-demand item. In its first 120 days, eOn made $25 million. Retailers also turned to commercial suppliers. For many CPGs, up to 50% of business is commercial, leaving them with a glut of merchandise, Baker said. Dairy producer Land O’Lakes, for example, repurposed products destined for food service channels. At CVS Pharmacy, Wexford Innovations’ potent Thymo-Cide general cleaning liquid is part of a 4-ft. section, offering household disinfection and personal sanitization products from commercial and other vendors.

When severe shortages made shoppers desperate, Publix bought some commercial items “as is” from Sysco and other commercial suppliers. These included large, institutionalstyle toilet paper rolls and bulk meat packages. And lettuce and micro greens from Kalera Produce, an Orlando, Fla.based hydroponic greenhouse grower, are now offered in 165 stores. “We looked for nontraditional venues rather than be without,” Brous said.

The Manufacturing Side

For manufacturers, increasing production seems like the best solution for improving stock levels. Yet, it has limitations. In the heavily depleted cleaning category, for example, demand for scrubbing sponges has risen 20%, while demand for ammonia- and bleach-based cleaners has increased as much as 300%, according to Matt Kirk, vice president of sales and marketing at Armaly Brands, a direct manufacturer of Parsons’ ammonia and Brillo products. Yet adding factory space or equipment is an ROI balancing act, since suppliers do not know how long increased demand will continue, he said. Howard Bochnek, vice president of technology and scientific affairs at disinfectant supplier American Infection Control, said most manufacturers cannot increase capacity more than 10% to 20%. Securing new machinery can be difficult. For companies wanting to begin making high-demand,

Products/Categories with Lowest or Declining In-stock Rates Household cleaning Personal care Food and beverage

OTC drugs

Source: Consumer Brands Association, “Covid-19 Polling: Fall Look Ahead,” Sept. 2020



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alcohol-based products, for example, face such issues as equipment orders backlogged six to 12 months, he said. Outsourcing production also has drawbacks. Bochnek began doing more business with an overseas company in September. Yet, he must wait weeks for products to arrive, pay duties and have goods cleared by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Labor is another issue. While adding a third shift can boost production by 50%, it can be difficult to fill skilled positions, Bochnek said. And many unemployed people who normally would take lesser skilled jobs were dissuaded by unemployment supplements. Then there is COVID-19 itself. “Factory outbreaks have shut down entire shifts or plants,” he said. Securing additional warehouse space is less problematic. Baker said some vendors have signed short-term leases. Many also have forward warehouse space, letting high volume items move in and out quickly without workers going deep inside. “Everyone was focused on ‘just in time’ inventory; now they’re looking at ‘just in case’ inventory,” he said.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is playing a larger role in alleviating out of stocks since it forecasts consumer demand and preferences in real time. Other technologies, in contrast, use last year’s sales to predict this year’s shopper demand. Since COVID-19 created demand surges in certain categories, those numbers became inaccurate. “The demand for analytical insights is higher than ever, since last year is no longer relevant,” said Gary Saarenbirta, CEO of Daisy Intelligence, which supplies AI technology for category and risk management. “Tools are becoming ‘must haves,’ not just ‘nice to haves.’” He also said that half of Daisy’s existing customers have requested additional resources to meet pandemic-induced challenges. “They didn’t have manpower in house,” Saarenbirta said. “We’ve been helping.” Key focus areas have been assortment planning, SKU rationalization, forecasting, pricing and resuming regular promotional activities. Kevin Sterneckert, chief marketing officer at Symphony Retail AI, said AI is most beneficial when conditions are out of sync. “Under typical circumstances, linear systems can be sufficient. When there’s disruption, you need AI. It shines at handling anomalies.” Underestimating demand, he said can lead to lost sales. “Anything to do with cleaning, baking and meal prep have been explosive. Many retailers are seeing a 17% increase in year-over-year sales,” Sterneckert said “In this environment, retailers must quickly understand how to determine demand.” In June, Symphony concluded one of the strongest quarters of software sales in its history, he said. The pandemic is making Wall Street take more notice of AI’s retail benefits.

“There’s panic in the retail sector over shipping out enough products,” said Burt White, executive vice president of consumer goods and retail at Maine Pointe. “Demand and predictability will stabilize over time. But retailers with these tools have good visibility and are seeing benefits. AI tools will come up in earnings calls. Retailers will have to increase use of them and explain what they’re doing.” Among manufacturers, Colgate-Palmolive has used AI to quickly identify situations that would have caused setbacks in toothpaste tube production. AI has also allowed it to increase manufacturing volume during the crisis. Technology monitors ‘machine health’ 24/7 via wireless sensors combined with AI-powered analytics. It detects potential problems early, eliminating down times incurred by complete equipment failures and manual maintenance checks.

Price Increases

While consumers may not be privy to supply chain issues, they ultimately do care about the bottom line, and knowing just how much COVID-19 has increased the cost of products at retail. The Wall Street Journal said COVID-19 has increased retail prices about 5%, about three points higher than they typically increase in a year. However, use of alternative suppliers, shipping partial truck loads, hazard pay, additional cleaning and implementation of employee protective measures have increased costs, said Deloitte Service’s Renner. “[COVID-19] has shifted the probability model.” This shift — and the importance of controlling pricing and inventory — has made retailer/supplier collaboration more meaningful. “AI and predictive demand are important in supply and replenishment,” said Tom Madrecki, vice president of supply chain and logistics at the Consumer Brands Association. “But you can’t adjust collaboration with a new app. You must understand policies, procedures and how you work with a retail partner. COVID-19 has raised the bar on collaboration.” Andrew Csicsila, a managing director in Alix Partners’ consumer products practice, said retailers are ordering ahead to keep inventories above normal levels. For this to be effective, CPGs efficiently must communicate availability, what they can produce and delivery dates. “This can help CPG companies push better margin SKUs, more efficient SKUs or more available SKUs to help with operations and inventory levels,” Csicsila said. “In turn, margins can improve without raising prices.” Looking ahead, experts said it is hard to predict when inventories will normalize. Much depends on when the pandemic ends or if there is a vaccine. “We’ll have COVID-related out of stocks for months,” Baker said. “Manufacturers are working on filling stores and DC’s. Some SKU optimization will be permanent. But there’s one positive underlying message: The grocery industry is resilient. They may not have every flavor and brand, but they’ve learned to be flexible.” dsn


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Journey to Health Innovators in the natural health and beauty care space are recognized this month with DSN’s Retail Excellence Awards By Carol Radice


tay safe, stay healthy.” That became the new mantra for many consumers during 2020 and now 2021 — and natural products are playing a key role in helping consumers achieve that goal. Not surprisingly, products that help boost one’s immune system, manage stress, address sore muscles and help with sleepless nights, have all seen an uptick in sales this past year, and consumers who purchase them want to know what is in the products they use.


Given that the pandemic is expected to be front and center for much of 2021, industry experts predicted interest in natural products will continue its upward trajectory, buoyed by consumer confidence that living the healthiest life possible is their best defense in both the short-term and long-term future. This month, through our Retail Excellence Award, Drug Store News is recognizing the companies that are playing a key role in growing natural product sales.


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At the heart of what makes Alaffia’s products unique is incorporating wild-crafted ingredients indigenous to Togo, Africa. According to its founder and CEO, Olowon’djo Tchala, Alaffia’s hair and body care products are made from either a coconut oil or shea butter base, and its most wellknown, flagship product, Authentic African Black Soap, comes in a diverse selection of natural scents. Alaffia also offers a line of gentle skin care for babies and children. The company crafts all its products at its Olympia, Wash.-based headquarters and donates a percentage of its profits to the Togo communities from which the indigenous ingredients it uses came from. Tchala’s mother, Ina Agbanga, was the inspiration for Alaffia. She guided him on managing a women-led cooperative in Togo and on understanding the importance of preserving one’s cultural heritage with traditional recipes and native ingredients. In 2021, the company plans to promote its new Authentic African Hair Care Collection. “Authentic African is an Alaffia staple that is representative of our roots as a company,” Tchala said. “We will be promoting existing products, launching new innovations within the category and offering new scents within this heritage line that dates back to Alaffia’s inception in 2003.” The company also will highlight the reformulation of its textured hair care line, Beautiful Curls. The line includes shampoos, leave-in conditioners and styling products for type 2 to 4c hair that are free of silicone, parabens and sulfates.

digestive aid products as well. “The consumer is at the center of everything we do,” said MaryEllen Tefft, vice president of sales for food, drug and mass at Boiron USA. “Our innovation is driven from the consumer’s point of view, and we keep at the forefront how our products affect their daily life, the issues they may have and the challenges they may be facing.” This year, Boiron will be highlighting ColdCalm and ThroatCalm. According to Tefft, ColdCalm meltaway tablets target specific cold symptoms, including sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and minor sore throat pain. ThroatCalm tablets relieve minor sore throat associated with colds and hoarseness from overused vocal cords. Boiron also aims to focus on its sleep and stress products. SleepCalm is a melatonin-free solution that relieves occasional sleeplessness, restless sleep and intermittent sleep issues. The meltaway tablets are made with plant-based active ingredients that help restore a natural sleep pattern. Likewise, Boiron’s StressCalm relieves nervousness, irritability, hypersensitivity and fatigue due to everyday stress.

Camille Rose

Boiron USA

Boiron is a leader in homeopathic medicines and an independent pharmaceutical laboratory that prides itself on quality manufacturing and responsible environmental practices. The Newtown Square, Pa.-based company is most known for its Arnicare and Oscillococcinum brands, but it also offers a selection of baby and


Janell Stephens, CEO and founder of Camille Rose, described her company as a “gourmet-inspired lifestyle brand that caters to clean and conscious beauty sophisticates.” With a familiar backstory, Camille Rose was born from a need and from items found in Stephens’ own kitchen. A dedicated vegan, the Louisiana native and self-described “mompreneur” started off creating each handmade product using food-grade ingredients, guided by the mantra that “whatever you put on your body should be good enough to put in it.” Her goal was to create premium, need-focused products, something she said was lacking on the shelves of her favorite retailers a decade ago. It was then that she expanded her initial goal of developing products for her family and soon started the process of creating the Camille Rose brand, which today encompasses more than 30 handcrafted products, ranging from hair and face to bath and


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body, and kids, as well as several product collections. Among the Atlanta-based company’s newest offerings is its Honey Collection, a line of hair care products leveraging the moisture and hydration benefits of honey. “Through our product lines, we encourage a holistic approach to natural by using key ingredients with total health and wellness in mind,” Stephens said. “Our consumer landscape is inclusive and multicultural. Our growth is a result of delivering diversity with integrity and adding products into our portfolio that are innovative and authentic.”

Flora Health

Flora Health has been developing and manufacturing herbal and nutritional supplements since 1965. With an extensive, plant-based product line that includes omega oil blends, detox formulas, immune support and probiotics, the Lynden, Wash.-based company offers a wide range of daily wellness essentials. Owned and operated by Thomas Greither, a third-generation health entrepreneur and visionary, Flora continues to raise the bar for supplements. It was the first company to produce cold-pressed, unrefined oils for medicinal use and the first to offer a line of age-specific probiotics. “Flora has always sought to push the bounds of the health industry and provide the highest quality products to the consumer, from sourcing the most potent and sustainably farmed ingredients to putting its products through multiple rounds of testing. Any less is simply not something we will stand by,” Greither said. This innovation continues into 2021, as Flora will be launching a new plant-based iron supplement called Ferritin+. “With 11 patents and three comprehensive clinical trials, Ferritin+ stands as the most advanced and proficient delivery form of ferritin iron ever to enter the market,” Greither said, noting that Ferritin+’s delivery form uniquely protects the gut from irritation, while also avoiding oxidative cell damage. “This new product line represents a renewed and amplified focus at Flora to never stop changing alongside the latest research,” he said.

Hello Products

When company leaders founded Montclair, N.J.-based Hello Products it was with one simple goal — they wanted to create a line of personal care products that were as natural and effective as


possible, with the ability to stand out on shelf. The company has developed a line of oral care products, moisturizing lip balms and natural deodorants that are cruelty-free, vegan, and free of peroxide, dyes, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, parabens, microbeads, triclosan and gluten. “We strive to bring our naturally friendly offerings to everyone in an affordable and accessible way, which is why we created Hello Products for the 100% and not the 1%,” said Craig Dubitsky, founder. This year, Hello Products will feature its Hello Sensitivity Relief + Whitening toothpaste. The fluoride-based product contains the highest level of potassium nitrate allowed by the FDA, as well as aloe vera, moisturizing coconut oil and mint. Hello Products also will highlight its Seriously Fresh Breath Tablets, its Hello Reusable Toothbrush and its Hello Naturally Friendly Deodorant line. The gender-neutral deodorant comes in five different scents, offers 24-hour odor protection and contains such ingredients as tea tree oil and shea butter.

Irwin Naturals

For nearly three decades, Irwin Naturals has maintained a deep heritage in healthand-wellness brands through its commitment to formulating science-based products that exceed the highest standards for quality and purity. And, according to Michelle Ricks, senior brand manager, the Los Angeles-based company continuously strives to bring forward new ideas and groundbreaking formulas that enhance health and well-being. In 2019, the company introduced its


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first plant-derived, full-spectrum hemp extract products with naturally occurring CBD. Irwin Naturals is in the process of expanding its CBD product portfolio to include high-potency balms, gels, creams and roll-ons. “Looking at sales data, it became clear that consumers were seeking the highest potency CBD items,” Ricks said. “Out of our 40-plus CBD products, by far our top sellers were higher potency. While consumers were interested in CBD for a myriad of health benefits, they are also seeking premium, high-potency products from brands they know and trust.” Looking forward in 2021, Irwin Naturals will continue to highlight its CBD topical line, as well as some of its newest CBD products, including its 2,000 mg unflavored and peppermint CBD oils and CBD + Immuno-Shield. Ricks said the company also will be highlighting some of its best-selling products, such as Stored-Fat Belly Burner, Steel-Libido Red and Milk Thistle Liver Detox.

lessen stress and help protect the heart. Clinical studies have shown that various elderberry extracts can help reduce the duration of cold and flu symptoms. The initial lineup will include travel- and value-sized offerings for adults, children’s chewable tablets and children’s liquid.

Marie Originals

Marie Originals, located in Pearl River, N.Y., is best known for offering plant-powered, condition-specific pharmaceutical topical and ototopical remedies. Since Marie formulated her now famous poison oak soap remedy on her organic farm in Oregon, the company’s lineup has expanded to include a range of effective therapeutic formulas that address such common health concerns as acne, eczema, skin itches, wound care, athlete’s foot, nail fungus, sinus issues and sore muscles. Most recently, its Ear Drops formula has been garnering rave reviews from consumers and receiving national attention, according to company officials. The alcohol-based herbal blend helps dry excess moisture from the ear, inhibiting bacteria growth. “Our products are popular because of their unique positioning as effective and powerful natural remedies without the risk of adverse side effects,” said Sammy Goodman, COO and partner. “We are a pharmaceutical company with a focus on offering bioactive products to treat a variety of health concerns and making them accessible to retailers everywhere. When health issues such as poison ivy or sore muscles occur, our customers want to know they

Lifelab Health

Coconut Creek, Fla.-based Lifelab Health made a name for itself four years ago when it launched Nusyllium, a USDA certified organic, GMO-free psyllium fiber product. Since then, the company has expanded the Nusyllium line, as well as introduced a line of USDA certified organic cough syrup and throat sprays under its Honeyworks brand. Lifelab followed that up with NuRelief Gas Relief Liquid, the first of its kind liquid formula for gas relief that also is dyefree and sugar-free. The company will roll out a NuRelief Extra Strength Natural Antacid chewable tablet, flavored with organic aloe juice and natural fennel in 2021. Lou Machin, managing director, said innovation is a priority at Lifelab Health. “Our innovations stem from consumer research and insights gained from focus groups. We know what consumers want and need, and strive to provide options for healthier lifestyles.” This year, the company will highlight its latest product, BerryWorks, which features black elderberry plus vitamin C. The berries and flowers of black elderberry contain antioxidants and vitamins that may boost the immune system, reduce inflammation,



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can get these products when they need them. Often, that is their local pharmacy.” Through its labs and research and development facilities located at Pearl River’s New York Center for Innovation, Marie Originals invests resources in developing products they acquire, learning how they work and how they can be improved. The acquisitions involve proven, effective products — often wildly popular in a smaller demographic — that have yet to take the national stage. The company then manufactures these condition-specific remedies with a focus on purity and quality control. Customer feedback is a key part of the company’s process and something Goodman said the company leverages to create strong product positioning.

The Natural Dentist

Years ago, a dentist in Woodstock, N.Y., founded The Natural Dentist after seeking out safe, natural solutions for such oral care issues as gum disease. The products have since taken off and the Madison, N.J.-based company now offers mouthwashes, toothpastes and plaque removers under The Natural Dentist and Stim-U-Dent labels. Kelly Kaplan, president, said the company’s move in calling out “bleeding gums” as an easily identifiable symptom of early stage gum disease was critical to bringing new mouthwash users into the category. Another was the company’s use of such therapeutic ingredients as aloe vera in its products. In 2021, The Natural Dentist will feature its new Healthy Gums toothpaste, the first natural toothpaste designed to treat bleeding gums. “It too contains 20% purified aloe vera in a botanical/ herbal base and is sulfate-free, as well as free of artificial flavors, colors or preservatives,” Kaplan said. The company also is introducing Earthpicks Plaque Removers. The single-use wooden picks are designed to accomplish all that floss does, but in an easy to carry around, earth-friendly form.

Nordic Naturals

Nordic Naturals is most known for its omega-3 fish oils, researchbacked probiotics, and highly absorbable vitamins and minerals. All of the company’s products use ingredients that are carefully chosen for their reliable health benefits and are thoroughly tested throughout the manufacturing process. “At Nordic Naturals, quality drives everything we do,” said Brian Terry, national sales manager at the Watsonville, Calif.-based


company. “For more than 25 years, we have spared no expense to create the highest quality, most effective supplements possible. Thanks to this enduring commitment, we are known for our leadership in innovation and for continually raising the bar.” Nordic Naturals first made a name for itself pioneering fresher and more effective omega-3 fish oil. Since then, the company developed new technologies for omega-3 freshness testing and fish oil concentration techniques, resulting in exclusive products only sold by Nordic Naturals. The company has continually innovated, launching such new forms as gummies and shakable powders. Terry said he expects 2021 to be a big year for both its flagship omega-3 products, including Ultimate Omega and its probiotics, vitamins and minerals. “We believe immune health and overall health will remain squarely the focus of customers in 2021, and that means we must deliver products across the full range of categories,” he said.


Oceanblue specializes in manufacturing and marketing high potency, high concentration omega-3 fatty acid products. To guarantee the quality, strength and freshness of its products, the vertically integrated company controls the entire manufacturing process from source to packaging. According to John Licari, vice president of marketing at the Delray Beach, Fla.-based company, the Oceanblue brand is built on three pillars: providing consumers with omega-3 products that deliver significant daily dosages required to realize long-term health benefits; following a precise manufacturing method consisting of


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more than 10 refining and concentration steps; and committing to environmental sustainability and the health of the marine ecosystem, a decision which led the company to exclusively source its omega-3 oils only from certified fisheries. Oceanblue’s flagship line, Omega-3 2100, features such products containing added-value ingredients as vitamin D to support immune health. Its newly launched Omega-3 2100 with CoQ10 is designed for patients taking prescription statins. “We seek to deliver products that offer the highest potency omega3s in pharmacies, at a price point that is accessible to consumers,” Licari said. The company additionally embraces partnerships with pharmacists and other healthcare providers to help educate patients on the benefits of omega-3s and fish oils, Licari said. “By creating educational platforms designed to help pharmacists provide more impactful patient consultations, we have developed amazing advocacy and loyalty from our partner pharmacists, who remain the cornerstone of our success,” he said.


San Francisco-based Olly offers health products across a number of categories, including sleep, mood, immunity, beauty, multivitamins, energy, focus and probiotics. Giselle Balagat, brand director, described Olly as a “millennial brand that offers delightfully tasting vitamins and supplements with real benefits that help you live happy inside out.” Last fall, the company continued to disrupt the vitamin aisle by expanding into the feminine health space, offering a collection of women’s self-care solutions, including Lovin’ Libido and Beat the Bloat. While most of its products are in gummy form, Olly launched two other formats and platforms last year. Its ultra softgels line offers multi-benefit solutions in the form of easy-to-swallow, no-sugar softgels. Its immunity powders line deepened Olly’s growing immunity business, offering all-day support with a millennial spin. “At Olly, we like to move fast. We live and breathe by a launch, learn and then optimize our approach to innovation,” Balagat said. The company typically works with one retailer to exclusively launch a product and uses that test period to see what works and what needs adjusting before scaling to other retailers. In 2021, Olly plans to dive deeper into categories they already play in that offer relevant solutions to millennial shoppers. “One product we are launching is Hello Happy (within the mood space), delightful gummy worms for grown-ups packed with vitamin D


and saffron,” Balagat said. “Another product we are introducing is Happy Hoo-Ha, which deepens our presence in feminine health, offering probiotics for lady parts.”

The Relief Products

The Relief Products offers more than 30 uniquely formulated homeopathic OTC medicines that address acute and chronic conditions. With a strong focus on eye and ear care, the company also offers asthma, cough, digestive health and pain management products. Continued innovation, leadership and a loyal customer base have enabled the Reno, Nev., company to succeed. Thomas Pominville, the company’s founder, started TRP to provide branded and private-label products to retailers, acting as a master broker for a number of companies. Capitalizing on these key strategic relationships, TRP subsequently launched its own branded line, The Relief Products, addressing a niche in the market for natural, homeopathic remedies for everyday health issues. Through speaking with customers on the phone, interacting on live chats and the use of focus groups, TRP has been able to authentically identify unmet consumer needs in the natural product space, effectively turning customer input into real-time innovation. TRP will roll out Dryness Relief Eye Drops this year. “Based on research and extensive customer feedback, our company saw an opportunity to address this common eye condition using natural homeopathic ingredients,” said Susan Hanson, the company’s COO. “Given that dry eye is often age related, and the elderly population is expected to rapidly grow, data suggests the dry-eye market could see at least a 34% increase in global revenue by 2023.”


Started in Portland, Ore., more than a decade ago, Schmidt’s is a natural deodorant company that prioritizes the use of quality ingredients to ensure its products are effective. The award-winning brand was founded by Jaime Schmidt, while pregnant with her son and frustrated by the void in the market for a plant-based deodorant that worked. She developed Schmidt’s first formulas in her kitchen and today the Schmidt’s portfolio — now owned by Unilever — includes a range of certified vegan and cruelty-free natural deodorants in both signature and sensitive skin formulas.


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“We’ve made a name for ourselves in the deodorant industry as a result of our standing commitment to ingredient transparency and, most recently, for becoming the first and only certified natural deodorant in the U.S. with 100% natural origin ingredients,” said Laura Elliott, brand performance manager. In 2021, Schmidt’s will introduce an upgrade to its best-selling signature formula, featuring its new natural certification and up to 24 hours of odor protection. “This game-changing formula directly addresses a need for ingredient transparency in naturals and brings this already efficacious formula to the next level,” Elliott said. Gabriella Metraux, head of product development, said Schmidt’s is constantly inspired to raise the bar on consumer experience with natural products. In fact, many of the insights that guide the company’s innovation come directly from customer feedback. “We know that ingredient transparency is important to our consumers, which is why we have worked hard to set standards that help them see the difference between our product that is now certified natural and others that want to seem natural,” she said.

Sera Labs

Los Angeles-based Sera Labs is best known for its innovative, science-backed products made from proprietary formulations, using cutting-edge technology and such ingredients as CBD. To ensure success, the company uses both full spectrum and isolate CBD derived from organically grown hemp. Strategically positioned in beauty, health, wellness and pet care categories, the female-founded company’s more than 30 products are sold under the brand names Sera Labs, Seratopical, SeraRelief and Nutri-Strips. This past fall, Sera Labs was acquired by CURE Pharmaceutical, a move that enabled the company to vertically integrate with CURE’s manufacturing and distribution systems,


creating a more streamlined supply chain. “Since we started this company, we have differentiated ourselves by focusing on offering the most advanced scientific practices, along with the highest quality ingredients to provide a product that is both safe and quality consistent with an effective value pricing proposition for consumers,” said Nancy Duitch, CEO of Sera Labs and CURE pharmaceutical’s chief strategic officer. “Creating and owning our own formulas, taking an educational approach in the market, and combining this with years of marketing experience has helped us build share during a time when other companies were collapsing.” As for news in 2021, this spring, in partnership with actress Nicole Kidman, its new strategic business partner and global brand ambassador, Sera Labs will launch Seratopical Revolution — a plant-based line of all-natural products.

Trigg Laboratories

Founded in 1989, Trigg Laboratories is best known for its Wet brand personal lubricants and SaniMoist moisturizing antibacterial hand creams. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Trigg Laboratories manufactures its products exclusively in the United States in an ISO-certified, OTClicensed facility to ensure integrity and consistency. Company officials said its Wet brand lubricants are top performers in the family planning and personal intimacy aisles. Category leading products include the U.S.’s best-selling silicone personal lubricant, Wet Platinum, and the best-selling flavored lubricant, Wet Sultry Strawberry. This year, the company is launching SaniMoist 2 in 1 Moisturizing Antibacterial Hand Creams. The introductory assortment will include vanilla and lavender options, as well as a fragrance-free version. All three are NDC registered, paraben- and cruelty-free, and manufactured in an FDA-registered laboratory. Premium ingredients that include pure coconut glycerin, aloe, lavender and rosemary make it suitable for even sensitive skin. “Unlike traditional liquid alcohol hand sanitizers, which are harsh and have a drying, cracking effect, our SaniMoist 2 in 1 Antibacterial Hand Creams moisturize and nourish skin, while the active ingredient, benzalkonium chloride, kills 99.99% of germs. Your skin is left sanitized, soft and hydrated,” said Michael Trigg, CEO and founder of Trigg Laboratories.


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feature clean, good-for-you ingredients,” Terry said. As such, the Frisco, Texas-based company will focus on the reintroduction of its Jamaican Castor Oil collection. Terry said the company has received positive feedback from customers experiencing dry and brittle hair who reported hair growth and restoration after testing the collection.


Urban Hydration

Urban Hydration’s products encompass natural hair, bath and body solutions that target dry skin and hair. Its products feature plant-based formulas and ingredients, such as coconut oil, vitamin A and vitamin E. As a purpose-driven brand, Urban Hydration has upheld a standard of clean beauty since its start. It was important to founder Psyche Terry that the products her company created be formulated using fresh, effective, transparent, recognizable ingredients. Founded as a small online store in 2010, the family-run business has been committed to offering plant-based products that are free of parabens, silicones, sulfates and phthalates since its inception. “Urban Hydration is dedicated to making it easier and more affordable for consumers across the country to fill their cabinets with effective products that are gentle enough for the whole family and truly deliver beautiful results,” Terry said. “In 2021, we anticipate the skin care shopper will continue to focus on achieving healthy skin and hair with products that


In 2000, Nathan Jones, founder and CEO of Xlear, launched his company with a single product, a xylitol-based nasal spray. The spray was developed by his father, Dr. Lon Jones, to help address symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections. In the past 20 years, the company’s lineup has grown beyond nasal sprays and now includes a complete line of oral health products offered under the Spry Dental Defense System brand and Lite & Sweet, a xylitol and erythritol sweetener used as a sugar substitute in cooking, baking and general consumption. Officials at the American Fork, Utah-based company said given that respiratory health and staying COVID-19-free are worldwide concerns today, Xlear plans to highlight its nasal sprays in 2021. In the book “No More Allergies, Asthma, or Sinus Infections,” Dr. Jones wrote that “keeping the nose clean with xylitol is important because essentially all respiratory problems begin there. With its connections to the ears, sinuses, eyes and lungs it acts as a nidus, a nest from which bacteria and viruses spread to other parts of the body.” In addition to xylitol, Xlear’s nasal sprays contain grapefruit seed extract. Studies show that when a concentration of 0.2% of grapefruit seed is taken, it can reduce the amount of SARS-CoV-2 below detectable levels. Based on this, Xlear officials approached the FDA in December 2020 seeking authorization for its nasal spray to be used as a new hygiene tool to help combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19. dsn


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Skin Care as Self-care Consumers are developing skin care regimens to fight winter dryness, mask acne By Jenna Lomeli


o no one’s surprise, COVID-19 is playing havoc with the skin care category — and that may be a good thing for mass retailers. According to a CeraVe survey from early January, 61% of Americans said they feel their lives are “out of whack,” and 65% said they wish “they had more control


over their skin.” These numbers are confirmed by executives from leading skin care companies, who said they have seen an increase in sales for the skin and moisturizer category in the past year. Compounded by changes in personal hygiene habits and leisure time, the category has seen growth and specific trends around skin health emerge.

Retailers are responding, it appears. Many are expanding their skin care departments to include new products that satisfy consumers’ desires. Others are placing skin care products in new locations in their stores, even at the front end, to get consumers to notice what they are stocking. While it is typical for winter weather


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conditions to increase sales in the skin and moisturizer segment, this year’s distinct concerns have brought new attention to the category. “Skin and moisturizer sales are booming,” said Nancy Duitch, CEO of Sera Labs and chief strategic officer of Cure Pharmaceutical, the latter of which recently acquired Sera Labs and its Seratopical line of antiaging products. “There is generally an increase in the winter, but due to COVID, more people are being diligent with their skin care.”

65% of Americans wish they “had more control over their skin” C ERAV E SUR VEY, JA N U A RY 2021

This diligence has come in several forms, from building entire skin care regimens with their newfound time at home to focusing on acne caused by masks and combating dryness as a result of increased handwashing. In the same CeraVe survey, it was noted that 51% of Americans said they “expect this winter to be worse on their skin than in years past.” Interestingly, Revieve, a digital health and beauty company, found that in spite of this belief, skin care purchases decreased 19% in December from November, which the company posited was a consequence of earlier holiday shopping, a change we can almost certainly pin to COVID as well, with unreliable mail delivery times. While the various changes in our daily lives, as a result of the pandemic, have impacted skin care sales, yearly winter sales trends largely have been reinforced this year, executives said.


Spotlight On: Mask Acne

Given the cold weather and mask requirements this winter brings, mask acne is a greater concern for customers as well. Melissa Sanz, marketing manager at Urban Hydration, said the company noticed “customers were increasingly focused on acne solutions due to wearing masks more often.” In response, its Bright and Balanced Aloe Vera Leaf Face Wash has performed well as part of its aloe vera collection. This line removes impurities, balances pH, fights acne and fades dark spots, among other benefits. CeraVe also has seen success with its Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser, a benzoyl peroxide cleanser featuring three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, necessary ingredients for repairing and maintaining a healthy skin barrier.

Spotlight On: Regimens

As we make our way through the new year, many people have committed themselves to better skin care not just in response to correcting specific problems, but by forming an entire regimen for healthy, clean and moisturized skin as opposed to sticking to a daily routine. According to a survey from CeraVe, 67% of Americans said they are planning to recommit to a skin care regimen in the next year. Nancy Duitch, CEO of Sera Labs and chief strategic officer of Cure Pharmaceutical, said that they saw “customers looking for ways to pamper themselves and create special self-care experiences at home.” Here are a few examples of brands hoping to create an entire approach to skin care with their products.


“A simple, consistent skin care routine,” that prioritizes cleansing, treating, moisturizing and protecting “can address concerns and lead to healthier skin,” said Gina Daley, director of integrated health at L’Oréal USA’s active cosmetics division. “By offering a product for each step in the regimen, CeraVe offers therapeutic solutions for all skin.” Products: • Cleanse: Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser; • Treat: Resurfacing Retinol Serum; • Moisturize: Moisturizing Cream; and • Protect: Hydrating Sunscreen Face Lotion.

Urban Hydration

“Customers can mix and match our products to find the best holistic personal care regimen for their specific needs,” said marketing manager Michelle Sanz. Products: • Cleanse: Bright and Balanced Aloe Vera Leaf Face Wash; • Treat: Nourish and Rehydrate Castor & Shea Spot Cream; • Moisturize: Bright & Balanced Aloe Vera Leaf Gel Moisturizer; and • Protect: Dry & Eczema Prone Skin Moisture-Locking.


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In spite of December’s dip, 2020 proved to be a strong year for the skin care category, according to Gina Daley, director of integrated health at L’Oréal USA’s active cosmetics division, which includes CeraVe. She said that the increase in time spent at home “triggered consumers to simplify their beauty routines, shifting priority to skin care instead of elaborate makeup routines.” “Our marketing strategies are always evolving to address our consumers’ needs, trends and current events,” Daley said. While some of these needs, like dry hands and mask acne are new, the segment has seen a continuation of other trends, including the desire for clean ingredients. Michelle Sanz, marketing manager at Frisco, Texas-based Urban Hydration, said that “consumers are focused on skin health and are seeking ingredient transparency when it comes to their skin care products,” which they respond to as a brand by emphasizing their clean ingredients on packaging. Sera Labs, whose SeraTopical line includes CBD, has found a similar approach useful, going so far as to add QR codes to its labels that lead consumers to information about ingredients and CBD content. Another consistent winter trend is the


care and protection of dry skin, one that is particularly salient this year as a result of increased handwashing and sanitizing. According to the survey by CeraVe, “62% of Americans agree that they have experienced more skin troubles during the pandemic than ever before,” specifically citing dryness and itchiness as major concerns as a consequence of frequent handwashing. In direct response to this change in consumer habits, Sera Labs created Overnight Hand Therapy, which it marketed with new global brand ambassador Nicole Kidman. The brand also found its Heel Souffle, a deep moisturizer for cracked heels and elbows, to be particularly popular this winter, further indicating that traditional winter consumer trends are being underscored by the coronavirus. Instead of opting for more traditional brand partners, CeraVe has centered its efforts around influencers and dermatologists, aiming for a more holistic approach that promotes “skin education.” This method is employed with an eye toward securing the coveted Gen Z shopper. “Gen Z has demonstrated a willingness to experiment with new products, especially those that have been recommended by

the influencers they follow and trust for product suggestions,” Daley said. She also mentioned that Gen Z shoppers were just one demographic across which natural beauty has made an impact on since the pandemic began. “Natural beauty has gained new prominence these days,” she said, adding that a glowing complexion seems to be the preferred look for a Zoom meeting, rather than a heavy makeup look. Maintaining clear skin is essential to this trendy natural beauty look. The CeraVe survey found that 73% of respondents said they felt that “the condition of their skin reflects their overall health,” highlighting the likely underpinnings of this trend. With the harsh winter and the uncertainties of the pandemic ahead of us, consumers are turning to self-care in the form of skin care, and brands across the segment are reporting an increase in sales and interest. Traditional winter trends have held true for the most part, while changes in personal habits as a result of COVID characterize many consumer decisions. Overall, natural beauty and clear skin are a priority in this segment, and this trend has served to further the growth of skin and moisturizer sales. dsn


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Mane ‘n Tail’s Latest Products Target Natural, Curly Hair Mane ‘n Tail’s newest offerings aim to make it easier to maintain and style natural, curly and textured hair. The Bethlehem, Pa.-based brand is introducing Repair ‘n Replenish Shampoo, Repair ‘n Replenish Conditioner and Detangler Extreme, a curl-defining spray-on formula for hard-to-comb hair. Repair ‘n Replenish Shampoo and Conditioner are formulated with natural, curly and textured hair in mind, offering a product that is vegan and free of sulfates and parabens, while using biotin to revive and add moisture to curls. The shampoo is designed to gently cleanse the hair and scalp without stripping necessary oils and nutrients, while the conditioner is a curl quencher made to moisturize in order to build, strengthen and nourish hair. It also protects against breakage and split ends. Detangler Extreme spray includes such natural ingredients as argan oil, hydrolyzed rice protein, biotin and UV filters. Working together, the ingredients help strengthen hair to promote healthy growth; moisturize hair and scalp while protecting from everyday damage; and reduce frizz, breakage and split ends. Hyaluronic acid is another ingredient that helps lock in moisture on the scalp and hair shaft, making hair flexible and resilient for easier comb-outs and reduced breakage. The UV filters protect the hair from environmental damage. Mane ‘n Tail Repair n’ Replenish Shampoo and Conditioner are offered in 11.2-oz. and 15.2-oz. bottles, and as a set on Amazon.com. Detangler Extreme is sold in a 3.4-oz. bottle. The products have launched at CVS Pharmacy, H-E-B, Meijer, Target and Walgreens, as well as on Walmart.com.

Miss Spa Debuts Biodegradable Cotton Sheet Masks Miss Spa is taking a big step in reducing the number of sheet masks on the market with plastic in them. The beauty brand is unveiling a line of eight biodegradable cotton masks that are vegan, cruelty-free and deliver results in 20 minutes or less, the company said. The new masks are part of Miss Spa’s commitment to eliminate the plastic backing from sheet masks, which will occur on its entire line of more than 30 masks within the next year, the company said. “At Miss Spa, we take clean beauty standards seriously. We create skin care products that are lab tested, free from parabens and sulfates, and certified cruelty-free,” said Lisa Ashcraft, president of Miss Spa. “Creating a line of 100% cotton, biodegradable sheet masks was a natural step in our focus on clean beauty and sustainability. By removing the plastic backing from all of our sheet masks within the next year, we will eliminate over 200,000 water bottles worth of plastic from the waste stream.” The cotton sheet mask line includes the Platinum Age Defying, Retinol Revitalizing, Watermelon Hydrating, Avocado Ultra-Hydrating, Anti-Pollution Revitalizing, Evening Primrose Nourishing, Exfoliate Clarifying and Clean Skin Enzyme Peel sheet masks.


C’est Moi Brings New Makeup Products to Target Clean beauty brand C’est Moi, which focuses on products made for young, delicate skin types, is rolling out three new product offerings at Target stores. The product lines include eyeshadow crayons, eyeliner cream eyeshadows, and lip and cheek balm. C’est Moi’s Visionary Metallic Makeup Crayon Set is meant to offer consumers a way to easily blend colors, while brightening their eyes and face. The set includes four astrologically inspired shades — supernova, silver linings, starbright and luna. The new Lid Love Cream Eyeshadows are formulated with jojoba oil, aloe and shea butter to give eyes a wash of clean color. Shades include gleaming, crushing and vibing. C’est Moi also introduced Flushed Lip and Cheek Balm in tickled rose, unfazed and charmed shades. The balm contains shea butter and cupuacu butter to keep cheeks and lips hydrated, as well as provides a radiant glow. Each of the makeup products, which are EWG verified and vegan, launched in select Target stores, as well as on Target.com and C’est Moi’s website, in mid-January.


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Virtual Roundtable: State of Generics Executives from leading generics firms weigh in on what the future holds for the industry and what hurdles will have to be overcome


By Sandra Levy

s with many areas of the industry, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is another hurdle that generics companies must contend with, while also dealing with ongoing challenges that would occur in a normal year. Among the challenges that generics face in 2021 are the need to ensure a consistent supply of critical products, while also developing and launching new products, investing in development and manufacturing facilities, and making acquisitions that grow their pipelines — all while conducting business in a virtual environment. To get a sense of what the generics industry is facing and how it plans to navigate 2021, Drug Store News has assembled a virtual roundtable of executives from leading generics


firms. Their answers illuminate the spirit of the industry and its ability to adapt to deliver for their customers and patients.

Drug Store News: What is the greatest challenge facing the industry? Eric Purcell, vice president of sales and marketing, Alembic Pharmaceuticals: The biggest challenge facing the industry continues to be reliable and consistent supply. COVID-19 and other factors have negatively impacted service levels in our industry. Continuing to provide critical medications to patients continues to be the most important and challenging job for manufacturers. This is particularly true for generic drug manufacturers who account for 90%-plus of medicines taken by patients in

the United States each year. Supply is critically important to patients who rely on generic suppliers for high-quality medicines with consistent supply at an affordable price.

Andy Boyer, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of generics, Amneal: As COVID-19 continues to threaten the country and our healthcare system, ensuring continuity of pharmaceutical product supply remains as the greatest challenge for manufacturers. We are working collaboratively with the entire supply chain from API suppliers to dispensing customers — retail/institutional/ wholesale/mail order — to prioritize our manufacturing forecasts based upon the needs of patients and our healthcare system.


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Upsher-Smith Laboratories, LLC is a U.S. pharmaceutical company that strives to improve the health and lives of patients through an unwavering commitment to high-quality products and sustainable growth. With a heritage in generic medications dating back to 1919, we bring specialty generics as well as branded prescription migraine and seizure medications to a wide array of customers, backed by our award-winning attentive service, strong relationships, and consistent supply. As we begin our second century in business, Upsher-Smith continues to experience an era of accelerated growth, propelled in part by our 2017 acquisition by Osaka, Japan-based Sawai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Together we seek to deliver the best value for our stakeholders, employees and partners. Most importantly, we aspire to Do More GoodTM for the patients we serve.

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Do More GoodTM means that, together, we seek to deliver the best value for our stakeholders, and most importantly, do more to improve the lives of the patients we serve. Do More Good is a trademark of Upsher-Smith Laboratories, LLC. © 2020 Upsher-Smith Laboratories, LLC, 6701 Evenstad Drive, Maple Grove, MN 55369 1-800-654-2299 PM-000738.02

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Daniel Carbery, president and CEO, Amring Pharmaceuticals: The largest challenge to the generic drug industry is the economic stability and supply reliability of the development and manufacturing companies. The global pandemic has accelerated and stressed the marketplace dynamics of intense price competition due to higher numbers of competitors and the realignment of the payerwholesaler-pharmacy channels. Demand for certain categories of drugs have dropped significantly due to postponed medical treatments during the pandemic, while other drugs have suffered from quality or reliability of supply failures. The result may force a further consolidation of the generic manufacturers and a shift in product offerings, while simultaneously generating renewed interest in manufacturing assets closer to the U.S. market. In particular, sterile product manufacturing is taking on an even higher focus in the United States and Canada as sterile drug shortages become larger.

John Dillaway, executive vice president, Ascend Labs: I think there are many challenges confronting the generic industry as we head into 2021, but given the continued presence of the COVID-19 virus, adjusting to a virtual environment stands out. Companies were quickly thrust into a no in-person interaction business model in 2020 and this will continue well into 2021 and possibly beyond. During this time, many trade organizations have shifted their meetings from in person to online, and companies have been challenged with the use of multiple group meeting platforms and the limitations and idiosyncrasies of each. As we move through 2021, companies will continue to be challenged by several factors, including the varying timelines that they and their customers feel comfortable with in beginning to venture out in person; the continued proliferation of online meetings and varying platforms; and patient desires to be serviced without leaving their homes.

Kon Ostaficiuk, president, Camber Pharmaceuticals: Maintaining a steady supply of lifesaving, affordable medicines to patients during the pandemic is certainly one of the greatest challenges the generics industry


“Continuing to provide critical medications to patients continues to be the most important and challenging job for manufacturers.”

the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most problematic is the push by governments throughout the world to on shore API production and finished goods manufacturing. This global phenomenon, fueled by the rise of nationalism, will present unique challenges that generic pharma manufacturers — due to the sheer volume of product we produce — will be grappling with for years to come. Maintaining high-quality standards for API and finished drug forms in an ever-evolving, supply chain landscape is underpinned by the requirement for environmental preservation, resource availability and urgent need to deliver sustainable manufacturing. Because of this, we predict that sustaining the environment will become the No. 1 challenge to manufacturing and supply chain issues in the pharma industry over the next 10 to 20 years and beyond.

Kristy Ronco, chief commercial officer of U.S. generics, Hikma: The COVID-19 pandemic remains a huge challenge for the industry. When the pandemic hit, Hikma

— Eric Purcell, Alembic Pharmaceuticals has ever faced. From APIs to manufacturing and supply chain, there is not an area that has not been adversely affected by COVID-19.

Arunesh Verma, CEO, Cipla USA: The COVID19 pandemic brought about disruption of supply chains, movement of workforce and markets. The nature of the pandemic also placed greater responsibility on the pharmaceutical sector to support the fight against COVID19 and maintain continued manufacturing and uninterrupted supply of essential medication for all patients. At Cipla, we lay paramount importance on the health and safety of our employees at our manufacturing sites. As a responsible organization, we took all the necessary precautionary measures at our facilities, including screening, sanitization and appropriate steps towards social distancing.

Marc Kikuchi, CEO of North America generics, Dr. Reddy’s Labs: The pharma industry in general, and generics manufacturers in particular, face an array of unprecedented challenges in

“We are doubling our manufacturing capacity in 2021 so that we will be able to maintain a consistent service level of close to 100% to our customers in 2021.” — Andy Boyer, Amneal


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COVID-19, Congress had been looking at ways to improve the availability of high-quality generics manufactured in the United States, and we are well positioned to meet this need. Drug shortages also remain an issue in the United States, as evidenced by the FDA’s recent report on this important topic. Hikma is working closely with FDA and others in the U.S. healthcare system to use our market knowledge and agile manufacturing capabilities to try and address shortages of essential medicines.

“Demand for certain categories of drugs have dropped significantly due to postponed medical treatments during the pandemic, while other drugs have suffered from quality or reliability of supply failures.”

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (via a spokesperson): In the COVID-19 environment, the most significant challenge has been to ensure a consistent supply chain to ensure that the patients who depend on our medications continue to receive uninterrupted supply. Besides, the pressure on margins continues for the generic industry, partly due to customer (buyer) consolidation.

“The way Camber mitigates risks to customers is a multifaceted approach that includes the total efforts of our entire organization.”

Samuel Goodman, senior director of marketing, Unichem Pharmaceuticals: What is

— Kon Ostaficiuk, Camber Pharmaceuticals

the greatest challenge of the industry? The industry’s supply chain continues to face disruptions due to COVID-19. We have experienced raw material shortages, transportation logistics hurdles, increased cost associated with manufacturing and distribution, intermittent COVID-19 case outbreaks, governmentmandated shutdowns, and other difficult pandemic-related issues over the last nine months. As the nature of these disruptions evolve, our biggest challenge is to adapt and strengthen our supply chain to ensure continued patient access to lifesaving medications.

— Daniel Carbery, Amring Pharmaceuticals was well prepared, and we took action quickly to meet the needs of customers and patients who rely on the high-quality medicines we make and distribute. Over the past 10 years, Hikma has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in building its U.S. and global manufacturing, distribution and service capabilities, and we were in a strong position for the start of this crisis. Our broad and well diversified product portfolio; high-quality, flexible manufacturing facilities; and a robust supply chain are enabling us to respond to the needs of our customers, healthcare providers and patients across the country. More broadly, the industry continues to work on providing a strong and affordable supply of generic medicines that meet high quality standards Hikma was founded upon and the U.S. healthcare system expects. Our high-volume and state-of-the-art U.S. manufacturing facilities have an excellent record of FDA-quality inspections. Even before


DSN: How do you plan to help customers and patients in 2021? Purcell: Alembic continues to be focused

“The companies that can adjust to this changing environment will see success this year and moving ahead.” — John Dillaway, Ascend Labs

on reliable supply for its customers and the patients they serve. Supplying its customers and patients with medication they need in an expeditious manner provides tremendous value to them. Alembic has continued to invest in product development and manufacturing facilities, which have resulted in tremendous growth. In 2021, Alembic anticipates launching 25-plus generic products, including its first medicines


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Camber is rising to the challenges facing today’s marketplace with continuous supply, excellent customer service and an unwavering commitment to our partners and patients.


camberpharma.com Be sure to check out Camber’s growing line of high-quality OTC products. CamberConsumerCare.com

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aimed at specialty and institutional markets. These new product offerings will provide new options to its customers and patients, and help to lower medication costs.

Boyer: We’re increasing the velocity of innovation at Amneal, which provides patients affordable access to a greater number of complex and otherwise expensive drugs. Our recent agreement to acquire Kashiv Specialty Pharmaceuticals focused on the development of complex generics, innovative drug delivery platforms and novel 505(b)(2) drugs is one example of how we will further amplify progress. In the last quarter of 2020, we launched two transdermal systems and acyclovir cream 5% — all complex products — demonstrating our commitment to tackle more difficult formulations in need of generic alternatives.

Carbery: Amring’s mission since inception has been to provide quality and affordable niche

generic medications on a consistent basis. We are uniquely designed to provide responsiveness and flexibility in investments in inventory and pipeline development versus having heavy infrastructure, such as manufacturing plants and equipment. This enables us ultimately to support our customers and patients with products that are in stock and available for dispensing even during global supply shortage and pandemic conditions.

Dillaway: The companies that can adjust to this changing environment will see success this year and moving ahead. Ascend has engaged on multiple platforms in an effort to make customers comfortable, using the platform of their choice for online meetings. We have also incorporated more virtual sales calls to replace in-person travel and have created a video attached to our website to maintain communication. Ascend also avails the service of its chief medical officer, a practicing primary care physician to patients who have medical questions or concerns.

Ostaficiuk: Camber will help customers in

“We will remain committed to ensuring that our pharmacy customers have the required finished goods required to support patients around the country.” — Arunesh Verma, Cipla USA 72


many ways in 2021, but one of the most important is to mitigate risk in the supply chain and keep a consistent flow of products to maintain critical service levels. The way Camber mitigates risks to customers is a multifaceted approach that includes the total efforts of our entire organization. Our track record shows that we have been very successful in that regard. Camber’s risk management approach includes anticipating potential problems; promoting transparent communication with our customers; maintaining a strong supply chain and safety inventory; providing unparalleled customer service; and evaluating results and constantly improving our processes. Our vertical manufacturing capabilities and facilities in both India and the United States ensure that we have a robust pipeline of raw materials to maintain excellent supply of all our products. Ongoing tech transfers between our India and United States facilities adds to our ability to quickly adapt to changes in the marketplace. The health of our patients is Camber’s No. 1 priority and that means that we will

“As a leader in the pharmaceutical industry, we now have the ethical and moral imperative to accelerate access to muchneeded medicines for people around the world.” — Mark Kikuchi, Dr. Reddy’s Labs concentrate all our efforts to avoid any product shortages whatsoever. Camber continues to introduce new, affordable medicines in a variety of therapeutic categories and has many product introductions scheduled for 2021.

Verma: Over six decades, Cipla has been researching the lungs, which has resulted in Cipla being able to help millions across the world to breathe free. The FDA approval for generic albuterol sulfate HFA inhalation aerosol and the successful completion of the Phase 3 clinical study of generic Advair Diskus have strengthened our respiratory franchise in the U.S. market, furthering our aspirations of becoming \lung leaders of the world. We envision continued traction in our new launches in respiratory and complex generics, namely albuterol inhalation, esomeprazole oral suspension and DHE nasal spray, supporting Cipla’s core portfolio. In September 2020, we received final approval for our ANDA for dimethyl fumarate DR capsules from the FDA.

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As we leave 2020 behind we reflect on a difficult year and look ahead with great hope of returning to normal. Ascend has worked hard to deliver you its brand of superior service through these trying times and will continue to be here for you as we all work our way back to normal.


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“Even before COVID-19, Congress had been looking at ways to improve the availability of high-quality generics manufactured in the United States, and we are well positioned to meet this need.” — Kristy Ronco, Hikma We are favorably inclined towards strategic investments that will further strengthen our foothold in key markets like the United States. We will ensure continued investment in our U.S. manufacturing site in New York and focus on de-risking products by multiple manufacturing and API sites. We will remain committed to ensuring that our pharmacy customers have the required finished goods required to support patients around the country. In line with our overall philosophy of driving access and affordability, we will continue to maintain and launch co-pay assistance programs to support patients on select specialty products.

Kikuchi: We think there are two important ways that Dr. Reddy’s can best help customers and patients in 2021. First, maintaining a strong pipeline to facilitate the launch of new products will continue to be important to all our stakeholders. A continuous stream


of new product launches will provide customers and patients with more affordable options and enhance access to products and services that they need. Second, we are committed to ensuring adequate supply by increasing our safety stock levels here in the United States to minimize any potential disruptions. During the pandemic, we doubled down on our commitment to customers and patients to deliver affordable medicines when they needed it most. Going forward, we will continue to be guided by our deep-rooted philosophy that “Good Health Can’t Wait.” As a leader in the pharmaceutical industry, we now have the ethical and moral imperative to accelerate access to much needed medicines for people around the world. Our philosophy of “Good Health Can’t Wait” is guidance for our current behavior and inspiration for our future actions.

Ronco: We have a big role to play in helping Americans during the pandemic. While many await their turn for vaccination, Hikma remains committed to helping address the pandemic by using its significant R&D, manufacturing and distribution capabilities to provide high quality, affordable medicines to millions of patients across the U.S. healthcare system.

“Throughout 2020, we made significant strides in growing our portfolio and pipeline to provide the market with a robust offering of products.” — Sun Pharma spokesperson

“Our biggest challenge is to adapt and strengthen our supply chain to ensure continued patient access to lifesaving medications.” — Samuel Goodman, Unichem Pharmaceuticals Sun: COVID-19 has taught us that our supply chain, quality and operations are resilient and flexible. Throughout 2020, we made significant strides in growing our portfolio and pipeline to provide the market with a robust offering of products. In 2021, we will continue to invest in quality, supply chain and inventory to ensure uninterrupted supply of safe and effective medications to patients and healthcare professionals. We are proud of our team’s ability to adapt to the immense strain on resources in the generic industry caused by COVID-19, and we have come out stronger because of it. Goodman: We are doubling our manufacturing capacity in 2021 so that we will be able to maintain a consistent service level of close to 100% to our customers in 2021, and to support the exciting launches of many new generic medications by Unichem. We also plan to work more closely with our customers to identify and ameliorate market shortages as quickly as possible. dsn


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Alembic Intros Generic Timoptic-XE Alembic has launched timolol maleate ophthalmic gel forming solution in dosage strengths of 0.25% and 0.5% in 5-ml bottles. The product is the generic of Timoptic-XE ophthalmic gel forming solution. It is indicated for the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure in patients with ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Takes Majority Stake in iA The recently rebranded iA has a powerful pharmacy ally in its new majority investor. The Johnson City, N.Y.-based pharmacy automation provider has received a majority investment from Walgreens Boots Alliance, which WBA said would support iA’s expansion and further development of pharmacy automation solutions that will benefit the entire industry. “The role of pharmacists as an integral part of the healthcare system and patients’ care teams has never been more critical,” said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “The iA mission to further modernize and automate the prescription fulfillment process aligns with our priority to create the pharmacy of the future, reducing operational costs and enabling pharmacists to spend more time providing valuable healthcare services to patients, such as vaccinations, diagnostic testing and medication management.” iA has deep ties to Walgreens Boots Alliance, having been acquired in late 2019 by a consortium of investors led by former WBA CEO Greg Wasson. In April 2020, the company named Marvin Richardson — a 37-year pharmacy and healthcare veteran — to the CEO position. WBA noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated patient need for access to pharmacists’ care, and that iA’s solutions enable pharmacy operators to shift a large portion of medication dispensing labor to central-fill settings, making pharmacists more available to patients. “Over the past year, we have seen an unprecedented demand for our solutions in order to move pharmacists’ non-patient-facing work out of a store environment, allowing pharmacy providers of any size and any location to take advantage of the accuracy and efficacy of today’s pharmacy automation solutions, while providing improved patient choice and impactful patient care,” said Richardson, CEO of iA. “Together with WBA, we will work to unleash the full potential of pharmacy.”


Omnicell’s EnlivenHealth CareScheduler Looks to Meet COVID-19 Vaccination Challenges As states continue to administer COVID-19 vaccines through retail pharmacies, many are turning to digital tools to help efficiently manage the rollout. Among the solutions being used is Omnicell’s CareScheduler, which the company said is seeing high demand from pharmacies. Developed by EnlivenHealth — Omnicell’s patient engagement and communications technology division — CareScheduler is a software as a service technology solution that automates traditionally manual and paper-based processes. The tool enables hands-free scheduling, vaccine registry reporting and patient outreach for the administration of vaccines and other point-of-care services, Omnicell said. Currently, Omnicell said EnlivenHealth is in advanced discussions with more than 50 major pharmacy chains that have expressed strong interest in acquiring the new CareScheduler solution. The company noted that pharmacy companies representing nearly 1,000 stores nationwide already have signed up for the exclusive new CareScheduler digital tool. “COVID-19 has placed significant new demands on retail pharmacies, and I am excited that our new division, EnlivenHealth, is purpose-built to help pharmacists manage major challenges like this,” said Scott Seidelmann, executive vice president and chief commercial officer. “Omnicell’s mission is to be the pharmacist’s most trusted partner, and we achieve that by building and providing transformative digital solutions and technology-enabled services. EnlivenHealth’s new CareScheduler solution exemplifies this strategy in action. We are very pleased that the market has responded positively to it.” Integrated into EnlivenHealth’s industry-leading Patient Engagement Platform, CareScheduler automates the collection of consent and vaccine administration records without patients having to handle documents in the pharmacy.


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Who’s Who in CBD Profiling the leading players in an ever-changing category By Nora Caley


annabidiol is providing some relief to consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic and some much-needed revenue to retailers willing to get involved with the CBD category. Boulder, Colo.-based market research firm BDSA estimated that sales of CBD products reached $4.3 billion in 2020, up from $2.7 billion in 2019. The firm forecasted that the category will reach $20.5 billion in sales in 2025. Dispensaries and e-commerce sales accounted for 60% of total CBD sales in the


United States in 2020, according to BDSA. Other distribution channels, including natural foods and vitamin outlets, mass merchants, and grocery stores, will increase their share, and “that trend will accelerate when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves CBD as a food additive in the U.S., as BDSA expects it to do in 2021 or 2022,” the firm wrote in a blog post. The FDA is working on developing a framework for the regulation of CBD products. In January, the FDA issued a statement

indicating the agency still has a limited understanding of the safety of CBD and that it sees these “knowledge gaps as an opportunity to develop new ways of building the science to inform public health decisions.” Meanwhile, retailers are preparing for the continued growth by figuring out what consumers want from the category, and which manufacturers are successfully answering these demands. According to research firm The Brightfield Group, in 2020 the top desired effects that consumers were seeking in CBD


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Charlotte’s Web

After several acquisitions over the past few years, Charlotte’s Web has a portfolio of brands that include Charlottes’ Web, CBD Medic, CBD Clinic and Harmony Hemp. The Boulder, Colo.-based company also has earned five U.S. hemp variety patents. In January, Charlotte’s Web announced it had been granted two U.S. Utility Patents for its hemp genetics by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patents cover two feminized seed hybrid hemp varieties, Kirsche and Lindorea, developed under the company’s breeding program. The company uses proprietary hemp genetics that are 100% American farm grown and manufactured. Charlotte’s Web CBD product categories include oil tinctures, gummies, capsules, topical creams and pet products for dogs. Company officials said Charlotte’s Web is the No. 1 CBD brand in the United States, distributed through more than 22,000 retail locations, select distributors and online. were physical relief, relaxation and sleep. The product type varied according to what people sought. For example, consumers looking for sleep bought CBD gummies, and people who wanted physical relief purchased tinctures. Here’s what’s up at some of the top companies in this ever-changing space.

Asterra Labs

With extensive backgrounds in the pharmaceutical industry, the founders of Asterra Labs set a goal of introducing alternative pharma-grade medicines to market. Quality, safety and effective products are the focus of the Nashville, N.C.-based company, which formed in early 2020. The company’s first products are Immediate Release tablets — available in 10- and 30-count cartons in 25-mg, 50-mg and 100-mg strengths — packaged in unit dose blister cards for convenience and ease of use. There also are Extended Release tablets available in 10- and 30-count cartons with 100 mg of CBD, packaged in unit dose blister cards. The company said a 200-mg version will roll out shortly. Also launching soon, a combination of 50 mg CBD and 50 mg cannabigerol, or CBG, immediate-


release tablets, packaged in bottles and cartons with unit-dose blister cards. In December, Asterra Labs added a line of topical products that offer the same quality and safety standards as its ingestible products. The Body Cream, CBD Muscle Balm with 400 mg of CBD, CBD Cooling Cream with 800 mg of CBD and a CBD Eye Cream with 25 mg of CBD are planned for launch early this year. More ingestible products are coming soon, including a sublingual option of Citrus Melts orally disintegrating tablets in 25 mg and 50 mg, as well as a 1,500-mg Full Spectrum Peppermint tincture. For people who prefer gummies, assorted flavors of fruit chews will be launching early this year. The company said it also is releasing a veterinary line of CBD products formulated for pets. Asterra Labs is leveraging its history, experience and contacts in the pharmaceutical space to help retailers make sense of the category. “We have feedback from group purchasing organizations and from pharmacy retailers who say, we know there is a benefit to CBD and lots of data, but we just didn’t know who to source from, who is reputable,” said Melissa Cromer, vice president of sales and marketing.


The 100-plus-SKU line of U.S.-produced CBD products from cbdMD includes tinctures, capsules, gummies, topicals, bath bombs and pet products. In January, cbdMD announced it entered the global beauty and skin care market with the launch of cbdMD Botanicals. The new beauty and skin care line features 15 luxury products, including facial oil and serum, toner, moisturizers, clear skin, facial mask, exfoliants, and body care. Officials at the Charlotte, N.C.-based brand said cbdMD Botanicals fused cbdMD’s patentpending broad-spectrum CBD formula with all-natural plant-based oils and nutrients to create the naturally derived skin care. The line, formulated without the use of parabens or gluten, is vegan, cruelty-free and nonGMO. The company complies with Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMPl, tests its products with third-party, ISO-certified labs; and sources high-quality U.S. hemp.

CV Sciences

The consumer products division of CV Sciences, which makes PlusCBD products, spent 2020 rounding out its product offerings and getting ready for the FDA to issue


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a regulatory framework. “We think that will be a catalyst event,” said CEO Joseph Dowling. “The first half of 2021 will continue to be a positioning year, which means making sure you maintain the relationship you have and shelf space you have, and establish new relationships and new shelf space and new expansion.” San Diego-based CV Sciences said it hopes to continue its steady growth. In 2020, the company launched several lines, including PlusCBD Pet hemp extracts formulated for dogs and cats. The products are made with the same hemp extracts used in CV Sciences’ CBD products; are available in 250-mg and 500-mg formats; and have such pet-friendly flavors as beef, chicken, peanut butter and salmon, as well as unflavored. Also new in 2020 was the Happy Lane line of CBD products, which includes six SKUs and such multiple form factors as softgels, liquids, roll-ons, chews and gummies. Happy Lane, available in convenience stores, comes in such flavors as Berry Extraordinary, Cherry Jubilee and Peppermint Magic. Happy Lane’s non-GMO, hemp-derived CBD products are THC-free and formulated using CV Sciences’ rigorous standards for quality, verified by a third-party laboratory for purity, strength and composition. Dowling pointed to several factors that give the category momentum for the new year, such as the 2020 election results, the recent comments from the FDA and a higher acceptance of hemp and CBD in Europe and Australia. “That makes us optimistic about 2021,” he said. “Those headwinds will become tailwinds.”


Eagle Labs

Just as every major retailer has their own private-label analgesics like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, they will someday each have their own brand of CBD products. Eagle Labs, a full-service contract manufacturing company, is working with several retailers to develop its own brand of CBD liquids, capsules and topicals, such as lotions. “A lot of large retailers have taken 30% to 40% of the CBD category with their own brand,” said Michael Law, chief commercial officer. “When you have your own brand, that’s very attractive from a profit standpoint.” The St. Petersburg, Fla.-based company is an FDA-registered facility that manufactures to the highest current good manufacturing practices. Eagle Labs vets its suppliers and gets certificates of analysis to show purity of materials. “When we finish a batch, we send the batch out for certificate of analysis to make sure there is no lead, no heavy metals, and the level of CBD the brand is claiming on the label,” Law said. “We help retailers that want to have very high-quality offerings.” Eagle Labs has been innovating lately by developing higher-strength CBD products, as well as new formats for topicals, including a roll-on and a concentrated CBD balm in a no-touch applicator. The near future looks bright for the category. “I think it will become more normalized, and you will see more retailers getting into private label,” Law said. “The category has a lot of opportunity.”


HempFusion already is having an exciting year. The Denver-based company completed its IPO on Jan. 6 and is now trading as CBD.U on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company said the additional $17 million in capital adds to its healthy treasury, providing it with a solid foundation to build from and execute on strategic plans for 2021 and beyond. HempFusion has several goals for this year, including increased investment in research and development, expanding sales and distribution networks, and launching new products. It transitioned its line of CBD tinctures to USDA Certified Organic and added two new higher-potency CBD tinctures to that lineup: one with 30 mg of CBD per serving (900 mg of CBD per bottle) and one with 50 mg of CBD per serving (1,500 mg of CBD per bottle). “We’ve also lowered the price of our tinctures, passing along the lower cost of our raw materials to our retailers and consumers,” said Jason Mitchell, HempFusion’s co-founder and CEO. In the coming months, Mitchell said people can expect to see two new gummy SKUs, including one that combines CBD with an organic elderberry immune complex ingredient. “Each gummy has 10 mg of CBD and 100 mg of Eldermune, a scientifically studied ingredient included at a level that allows us to make an immune support claim for this product,” he said. “There’s also a cherry flavor and, honestly, I’m not sure which one is more delicious.” Next up will be a new CBD hemp extract


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tincture called Pure, which Mitchell said is a really clean, simple product: it has two ingredients and is 100% organic, with no fillers, no flavors and nothing artificial. HempFusion also is working on expansion into pet-focused products.

Herb Tech Pharmaceuticals

Much of the innovation in the CBD category has been in delivery systems, and for Herb Tech Pharmaceuticals that means penetrating spray mists, or PSM. The Beverly, Mass.based company launched a line of CBD and Botanical Sublingual Mists with Proprietary PSM technology. CBD and botanical extracts are destroyed by stomach acids, the company said, so the micro mist uses a proprietary mix of penetration agents designed to allow high concentrations of CBD and botanical extracts to penetrate into mouth tissue. The powerful, speedy PSM formulations, which contain only 4% oil compared with 100% oil in regular tinctures, are available in six varieties. Curb Your Appetite has organic maca root extract, American ginseng root extract, organic stinging nettle leaf extract and organic chickweed extract. Energy with Caffeine contains ginseng, fenugreek, ginkgo biloba and maca. Relax has organic valerian root extract,

organic chamomile, kava kava root, organic ashwagandha extract, California poppy extract and passionflower extract. Muscles & Joints features organic ginkgo biloba leaf extract, white willow bark extract, organic ginger root extract, devil’s claw bark extract and organic holy basil extract. Virility For Him has organic maca root extract, yohimbe

bark extract, pine pollen extract and tongkat ali root extract. Libido For Her has ginkgo biloba leaf extract, organic maca root extract, Muira puama and catuaba bark extract, tribulus terrestris fruit extract, and organic damiana leaf extract.

Kadenwood Brands

The leadership at Kadenwood Brands has vast experience in CPG marketing and seedto-shelf CBD, a combination that company officials said gives them an advantage in retail. “Retailers are used to dealing with large consumer goods companies that bring a portfolio approach to the category, who say you need this brand to cover this price tier or this consumer segment,” said Doug Weekes, co-founder and COO. “Right now, the CBD industry is primed for that, but no one is really doing it.” Newport Beach, Calif.-based Kadenwood Brands offers several CBD consumer brands. Level Select makes sports creams, sports rollons and CBD oil drops. Purity Organic creates such hot teas as English Breakfast Tea, Sleep Chamomile Tea, Revive Earl Grey Tea and Focus Green Tea & Lemon, each with 15 mg of CBD per tea bag. Purity Preferred for pets produces Hip & Joint balm and drops and Calming drops. Last year, the vertically integrated Kadenwood acquired a Colorado-based



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hemp processing and extraction company. The acquisition, which included a 50,000-sq.-ft. production campus in Delta, Colo., and 165 acres of farming land, expanded the company’s production capacity, added technological innovations in the areas of sustainability and current good manufacturing practices compliance, and helped streamline its manufacturing process. “We have more seed to shelf than anyone,” Weekes said. “No one is more vertically integrated than we are.” He also said that as the CBD category matures, it will resemble other consumer products categories, in that large players will emerge and revenue will be concentrated on a few large operators instead of many small ones. Additionally, the next year or two will see several new categories that feature other such minor cannabinoids as CBG for immune disorders; cannabinol, or CBN, for sleep; and CBD-V for seizures, Weekes said.


In January, Medterra CBD launched Immune Boost Bundle, which features wellness boosters, adaptogens and botanicals combined with CBD in drops and gummies. The bundle includes Immune Boost Drops that combine 750 mg of Medterra’s CBD with adaptogens like ashwagandha and reishi mushroom to help the body better manage its response to stress. Botanicals such as elderberry, ginger and echinacea help to boost the function of certain cells within the body that play a direct role in responding to viral pathogens. There also are Immune Boost Gummies in 50 mg, 125 mg and 750 mg, which contain 25 mg of CBD in each gummy plus elderberry, vitamin C and zinc. Medterra worked with its medical advisory board to formulate the products and ensure they would provide comprehensive immune support, while enhancing the ability to recover from illness. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have clearly seen a spike in interest in immunity-related products,” said Jay Hartenbach, CEO and co-founder. “As the immune system is complicated, many people do not realize that their immune system needs more than supplements to see a difference. Managing stress and proper sleep are also critical to a healthy immune system.”

In 2021, Medterra is expanding its Medterra Clinical line with two products that were developed with its medical advisory board and designed to be recommended by medical professionals. Clinical Topical Creams for Joint & Arthritis Relief are certified for OTC use and made with the brand’s Ultra Broad Spectrum CBD. Ultra Broad Spectrum CBD Cream, which combines CBD with a blend of powerful ingredients to provide rapid relief, is formulated with a 10-to-1 ratio of CBD to minor cannabinoids to help penetrate the skin for maximum efficacy. Medterra Clinical Gummies are high-quality Ultra Broad Spectrum CBD — 40 mg in each two-gummy serving — paired with such functional, natural ingredients as apple cider vinegar for antioxidant support, elderberry, zinc and vitamin C to support immunity and recovery.

Prana Principle

A brand of the APAX Group, Prana Principle is expanding its line of lotions, balms and body oils with two new products, Prana Bath Salts and Prana Fizzy Dust. Prana Bath Salts have CBD, wintergreen and peppermint that help soothe tired and sore muscles. Prana Fizzy Dust combines pure CBD with coconut oil and ylang-ylang

oil for a soak in the bath or for manicures and pedicures. The new items will be available in the first quarter of 2021. Another area of innovation from Prana Principle is its packaging. Most of its product boxes are recyclable and the containers are made from natural products like bamboo, many of which are also recyclable. Parent company APAX employs a dedicated designer in Spain who creates the package art and has been recognized and awarded for package design throughout the retail industry in North America and Europe. Consumers are looking for affordable, easy to use and easy to access CBD products, and Prana Principle can help retailers capitalize on these demands. In 2020, Prana was able to streamline production and benefit from bulk purchasing through its supply chain, which gave the brand the opportunity to lower the cost of many signature CBD items. “We, in turn could pass those savings on to retailers and consumers,” said Mike Frink, vice president of business development. “It has always been our goal to provide the best CBD products at the lowest prices so that our topicals could be enjoyed by every interested consumer.” dsn


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Effective and Sustainable Brands address consumers’ age-specific and ingredients-focused needs By David Salazar


he erstwhile feminine care category is changing — and not just because of the plethora of new products focused on natural and “free-from” demands. Leading companies now are eschewing the euphemistic moniker and being straightforward about their products geared toward menstrual and vaginal health. “Currently, the category is following the wave of female empowerment, open conversations and shamelessly embracing bodies,” said Keech Combe Shetty, CEO of Vagisil maker Combe. “It is far easier to have an open conversation about vaginal health and what women and teens are looking for in their vaginal health products than it ever was before.” As consumers embrace the clinical terms for the category, they also are asking more of their period care and vaginal health products. As with every other category, free-from products and offerings that are transparent about their ingredients are driving growth and fueling the launch of new brands. Tried-and-true period care products continue to dominate the market. IRI data for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 27, shows that sanitary napkins/tampons were a $2.8 billion industry with sales that rose by 0.8%. Yet unit sales for the 52 weeks show the products slipping, with 4.6% fewer units sold in the period than in the prior year — including 5.3% fewer sanitary napkins and liners, and 3.1% fewer tampons. These numbers come even as companies launch organic offerings — Procter & Gamble now makes Tampax Pure, a line of 100% organic cotton tampons, and Always Pure Cotton; Edgewell Personal Care also has gone organic with OB organic tampons and free-from with Carefree Breathe pantiliners; and, a newer company, This is L. has gained ground on the storied brands with its all-organic selection.


Yet, as reusability becomes a big factor in consumer decisions in all other categories, menstrual care is no exception. “We are seeing more and more innovation in the category of reusable period care,” said Carinne Chambers-Saini, co-founder of DivaCup, a leading maker of menstrual cups. The Ontario, Canadabased company was named an industry disruptor in 2016 by consulting firm Ernst & Young — a distinction that was 14 years in the making at the time. Started by Chambers-Sani and her mother Francine in 2002, DivaCup was designed to respond to the needs the founders identified for effective and sustainable period care products. “We knew the DivaCup was a financially and environmentally friendly solution to period care,” Chambers-Saini said. “Instead

of responding to an industry, we responded to our own needs as women, and to the needs we know other people who menstruate have around the world.” Now, menstrual cups are a large and growing part of the menstrual care segment. Market and consumer data company Statista’s research from November noted that in 2018, menstrual cups had a global market size of $1.2 billion, with expectations suggesting it will reach $1.9 billion by 2026. As menstrual care products have gone, so too has the vaginal health segment. With plant-based brands like The Honey Pot making waves with natural and free-from offerings that respond to consumer demand, established brands have innovated as well. Vagisil launched its Scentsitive Scents line,


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which features formulations designed for sensitive skin that are free of dyes, parabens and MIT preservatives. The line includes washes, dry washes and wipes in such scents as peach blossom and white jasmine. Combe Shetty said that organizing various products around scents has the potential to build basket size through product layering. “We found through our research that many consumers like to layer products that carry the same scents, such as using Peach Blossom Dry Wash after using the same scent intimate wash,” she said. “This year, we continued to expand our offerings of Scentsitive Scent washes in a new fragrance map territory of ‘fresh green’ with cucumber magnolia.”

Targeting Demographics While many menstrual and vaginal care products are broadly suited to most consumer needs, companies in the categories increasingly have been segmenting their shoppers and releasing products meant to respond to age-specific needs. For example, First Quality Products recently jumped into the period care market with its Incognito by Prevail line of pads that are targeted at new mothers and women in their 30s and 40s who have begun to experience bladder leaks. The 3-in-1 pads are designed to offer protection for menstrual leakage, bladder leakage and daily discharge. The line includes Ultra-Thin Pads, the daily-wear Liner and the Maternity Pad for postpartum and overnight use. “Our goal was to combine the best core innovation to provide multi-fluid protection, while maximizing discretion through ultimate odor protection and comfort,” said Stephanie Bodle, Prevail brand manager, in a press release when the products launched. While DivaCup has long had two versions of its flagship product based on age-related needs — the Model 1 is for those age 19 to 30 years old with medium flow and Model 2 is for those age 30 years old and older, and/or those with heavy flow — the company now is targeting younger consumers to help support them early on. “The DivaCup Model 0 is our newest DivaCup created for teens to offer a better first period


experience,” Chambers-Saini said. CVS Pharmacy stores now have a teen section into which Vagisil launched its OMV! by Vagisil brand, which was designed for teens by teens, according to Combe Shetty. “Young girls deserve products that are specially designed to directly address their wants and needs that also help support and celebrate their experiences as they go through puberty,” she said. This year, Combe plans to round out the OMV! line with two new scents — berry bliss and juicy watermelon — as well as a new Dry Wash in a vanilla clementine scent. The Dry Wash is designed to offer the ability to cleanse on the go without water, providing a product for when a shower might be needed but is not possible. The potential buying power of younger consumers, particularly in the vaginal health space, is bringing one well-known CPG company into the segment via the acquisition of an upstart brand. RB in late January announced that it would be acquiring Queen V, a vaginal health brand that made its debut on Walmart shelves in 2018. The company’s bright packaging is designed to stand out on the shelf, and the brand’s products include such standard vaginal health offerings as cleansing bars, wipes and deodorizing spray, as well as more innovative and even playful offerings, including a pH-balanced bubble bath dubbed “pop the bubbly” and an itch

spray called “itch don’t kill my vibe.” So where is menstrual and vaginal care heading? Diva’s Chambers-Saini said that reusability will continue to be a big driver. “More companies are developing menstrual cups, reusable underwear and even technology, such as apps for period care,” she said. “I hope to see mass retail offerings in the category of menstrual care grow, offering more than DivaCups, tampons and pads, and grow to include reusable pads, reusable underwear, and more complimentary and sustainable period care products. Period underwear could prove to be the next big force in the space. A November 2020 report from 360 Research Report pegged the size of the global menstrual underwear market at $79 million, with expectations for it to grow to $370 million by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 29.4%. Whatever the next big trend is, Combe Shetty said that it is up to retailers and suppliers to help consumers understand what the best products to use are, citing a recent Mintel study that found only 21% of consumers said they know a lot about safe products to use in/around the vagina. “Expanding education around the category is one way to lift any remaining stigmas,” she said. “Consumers want to know what is in their products and understand what products are best for their body, and this is where the category could use more growth.” dsn


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Give your customers the essential menstrual-care option they’re looking for. When your customers are looking for the best in menstrual care, make sure you have DivaCup on your shelves. DivaCup is the world’s # 1 menstrual cup brand and a global leader in the industry. DivaCup is reusable and provides up to 12-hours of protection. Plus, its 100% medical-grade silicone is both eco-friendly and proudly North American.


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Retailers Push for Long-Term Relationships Membership programs need to meet customer expectations over time By David Orgel

N 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.

ot long ago, the biggest decision for shoppers was whether to make a purchase. Now the stakes are higher. Shoppers are being asked to commit to relationships. A number of retailers — from grocery to mass — recently launched initiatives that ask consumers to make monthly or annual payments in return for memberships offering such benefits as free shipping and delivery, and price breaks on products. It’s not hard to see why these retailer programs will interest shoppers. Price breaks on deliveries, for example, are more attractive at a time when consumers increasingly are embracing e-commerce. However, retailers need to carefully design initiatives to make sure they work as intended and meet consumer expectations over time. We’re more accustomed to making commitments these days — for everything from meal kits to music platforms like Spotify. You can think of the retailer efforts as memberships, subscriptions or loyalty programs with fees. They follow the success of Amazon Prime and aim to build loyalty with exclusive benefits. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the initiatives.

The biggest retailer challenge to overcome may not be fear of commitment by shoppers, but rather sustaining consumer interest and enhancing engagement over time. The pioneering force to be reckoned with is Amazon Prime, launched in 2005, which served more than 150 million subscribers across 17 countries as of January 2020. Prime’s fee — $119 a year or $12.99 per month — opens the door to a plethora of benefits, including free shipping for eligible purchases; streaming of movies, TV shows and music; exclusive shopping deals; and savings at Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market. Walmart has been in the spotlight recently with a competing new membership offer called Walmart+ at $98 a year or $12.95 per month.


Benefits include free shipping with no order minimum, free delivery from stores, member prices on fuel, and mobile scan and go. Meanwhile, Ahold Delhaize’s Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant launched a new subscription offer called Choice Pass in mid-January. The comes with an annual membership fee of $98 or $12.95 monthly, giving subscribers access to unlimited free delivery and pickup orders. One of the unique new retailer efforts is from Hy-Vee, with a plan called Hy-Vee Plus premium membership at $99 a year. It offers the grocer’s customers exclusive deals and fee savings on deliveries and pickups. Moreover, it provides exclusive access to a designated telephone number for premium members — staffed by Hy-Vee experts and personal shoppers. Other retailers pursuing subscription offers include Kroger, Albertsons and SpartanNash. It should be noted that such delivery companies as Instacart, Shipt and DoorDash have their own member discount programs with participating retailers. Retailers are doing a nice job experimenting with member efforts. However, it’s important that strategies are based on a solid analysis of what consumers want. For example, programs need to meet consumer expectations with transparency, value and convenience — not unlike what is important to shoppers in buying products. Simplicity is another imperative. People have become jaded by years of complex offers from organizations ranging from credit card companies to airlines. Consider that one of the biggest consumer food trends today is “free from” — which focuses on streamlining ingredients. This trend underscores that often less is more. Likewise, for member programs, consumers don’t care so much about the number of benefits, but rather those they will actually use. I expect member programs will be popular in 2021. Consumers will choose carefully and lean towards offerings they are most likely to fully use. The biggest retailer challenge to overcome may not be fear of commitment by shoppers, but rather sustaining consumer interest and enhancing engagement over time. dsn


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