DSN - 3/20

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MARCH 2020

Men’s Grooming P. 90




Vol. 42 No. 3 DrugStoreNews.com



Industry News

90 Men’s Grooming

28 Focus On: Upsher-Smith Labs

With shave seeing sales slow down, men’s grooming expands its reach

32 Products to Watch 34

Product of the Year Winners

96 Spotlight On Men’s grooming

Learn about the 41 products that shoppers want in your store

38 Industry Issues Summit Retailer executives and solutions providers discuss how to best manage patients with various chronic conditions

46 Who’s Who in CBD? Top manufacturers in the growing product category


60 Cover Story: Independent Pharmacies Take Charge How independent operators are combatting industry headwinds and leading in CBD

66 REX Awards 2020: OTC A rundown of excellence among OTC manufacturers

COLUMNS 6 Editor’s Note 24 Counter Talk with the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy’s Jon Schommer

84 Selfcare Roadmap Insights Diabetes shopper insight powered by GMDC | Retail Tomorrow’s and HRG’s Selfcare Roadmap tool


26 Counter Talk with Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science’s Adrijana Kekic

44 Ideas That Matter with Mack Elevation’s Dan Mack

Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews

98 Last Word with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

PHARMACY 76 Training the Next Generation How pharmacy schools are preparing students for an increasingly clinical, collaborative profession


HEALTH 82 Diabetes Retailers can help serve patients and grow sales with a focus on diabetes essentials

86 Sexual Wellness No longer held back by taboos, retailers expand their sexual wellness assortments

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The Long Haul CBD is a category with staying power, but the state of the market doesn’t reflect that By Seth Mendelson


BD is at an extremely important crossroads, and the next six to 12 months could determine whether the fledgling category emerges as a major player at mass retail or is simply doomed to be another segment that was either never meant to be or could not get out of its own way. It’s been more than two years since the category burst on to the mass retail scene with promises of huge sales and profits for any mass merchant willing to stick their neck out a little and stock a product that has mixed meanSeth Mendelson Editor in Chief/ ings for different shoppers. Associate Publisher It’s been an uneven journey, to say the least. Despite the promise of huge sales — some said the category could reach $25 billion in annual volume in just a few short years — and great profits, the CBD category still is at or near the starting gate with mass retailers, with most major merchants still waiting for a blessing from the Food and Drug Administration, a much-needed push that will ease their minds and make it easier to convince the top brass that stocking CBD items is OK. Don’t be too frightened, but that blessing could be years away, if ever. Let’s also put the onus on CBD suppliers, many of whom rushed out products that simply were not good enough for store shelves or consumer needs. The result has been chaos in the marketplace, helped along by the simple fact that hundreds — maybe thousands — of different companies released products, all claiming to be better than the rest. Chaos leads to consumer and retailer confusion, and as we have all seen before, nothing good comes out of a marketplace where the end-shopper is wary of the product. It’s time the CBD market matures. Along with the natural weaning of the weak and underfunded companies, the stronger suppliers must do all in their power to make retailers and consumers feel comfortable with their products. That starts with offering the trade-quality products that are priced correctly and include the advertised ingredients. It then means offering the proper education to ensure that retailers know what to look for when creating their CBD sections, and consumers understand what they are purchasing and how the products work. CBD suppliers make a big point of saying that this is a category that is going to be around for a long time. It may be time that the industry — collectively and individually — starts acting like it. dsn

Let’s also put the onus on CBD suppliers, many of whom rushed out products that simply were not good enough for store shelves or consumer needs. The result has been chaos in the marketplace.



An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Senior Vice President, Publisher John Kenlon (516) 650-2064, jkenlon@ensembleiq.com Editor in Chief /Associate Publisher Seth Mendelson (212) 756-5160, smendelson@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL Managing Editor David Salazar (212) 756-5114, dsalazar@ensembleiq.com Senior Editor Sandra Levy (845) 893-9573, slevy@ensembleiq.com Desk Editor Maria Manliclic (212) 756-5093, mmanliclic@ensembleiq.com Online Editor Gisselle Gaitan (212) 756-5138, ggaitan@ensembleiq.com SALES & BUSINESS Beauty Director Steve Dixon (917) 821-9799, sdixon@ensembleiq.com Northeast Manager Alex Tomas (212) 756-5155, atomas@ensembleiq.com Regional Manager Steven Werner (312) 961-7162 swerner@ensembleiq.com Production Manager Jackie Batson (224) 632-8183, jbatson@ensembleiq.com

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Creme of Nature Releases Bold Semipermanent Shades Creme of Nature is entering the semipermanent hair color category. New to the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company’s portfolio is the Pure Honey Hydrating Color Boost collection, which is a three in one semipermanent color that conditions, nourishes and moisturizes hair while also adding coloring without damage, the brand said. “The Creme of Nature consumer is daring, she’s energetic, and she’s constantly changing,” said Teneya Gholston, senior director of marketing at Creme of Nature. “We are excited to present to her our very first semipermanent color in a full range of vibrant colors to make her look and feel good, as well as empower her. We’re listening to our consumers in the comments on Facebook and Instagram, and in our DMs. We are always perfecting our products and developing new ones with them in mind.” The line is free of ammonia and peroxide, lasts for up to four to six shampoos, aims to protect against breakage, and contains a no-drip and non-drying formula, the company said. Available in six vivid shades — indigo blue, royal purple,

fuchsia, fire red, magenta and light golden copper, as well as silky jet black and dark chocolate brown natural shades — the Pure Honey Hydrating Color Boost collection retails for $4.99 per box and can be found at beauty supply stores.





GSK’s Voltaren Gel Rx-to-OTC Switch Targets Arthritis Pain GSK is set to bring a new Rx-to-OTC switch product to market. The company received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Voltaren Arthritis Pain as an OTC product to temporarily relieve arthritis pain in the hand, wrist, elbow, foot, ankle or knee. The product is the first and only nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory topical gel available over the counter in the United States, the company said. “For the millions of people around the world, living with arthritis, joint pain and stiffness are daily realities,” said Franck Riot, head of research and development at GSK Consumer Healthcare. “At GSK, we are committed to improving the quality of life of these people, and today’s approval is progress towards this, providing consumers in the United States with increased access to an effective, proven arthritis pain relief option. Voltaren is currently the No. 1 OTC topical pain relief brand globally, and we look forward to expanding its availability in the United States. Up until now, Voltaren Gel had only been available with a prescription. GSK Consumer Healthcare said the approved switch will offer nearly 30 million Americans with osteoarthritis an OTC option to treat pain associated with their condition. The approval comes as the Osteoarthritis Research Society International recently updated and expanded its guidelines for nonsurgical management of osteoarthritis, recommending topical NSAIDs for individuals with osteoarthritis in the knee. Voltaren Arthritis Pain wasn’t the only Rx-to-OTC switch product approved last month. The FDA also approved two formulations of Alcon’s Pataday as OTC treatments (see p. 20).

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SoulSpring Brings CBD-Infused Offerings to Wegmans, Natural Chains CBD brand SoulSpring is releasing its botanicalbased CBD-infused products at a host of retailers. The Los Angeles-based company has brought its products to Wegmans, Fresh Thyme, Sprouts Farmers Market, Erewhon and Earth Fare stores. SoulSpring’s line of products includes bath bombs and soaks, body creams, muscle rub cream, muscle spray, muscle roll-on, salve, full-spectrum CBD oils, probiotic deodorants, and lip balms. The products, which range in price between $9.99 and $99.99, are made with plant-based ingredients, are vegan and non-GMO, and are free of gluten, parabens and synthetic fragrances. The company’s offerings follow four scent “stories,” including: ● Serenity: a blend of CBD with lavender, sandalwood, honeysuckle, vanilla and rose; ● Stress Free: a combination of CBD with sage, palo santo cedarwood and guaiac wood; ● Uplifting: CBD with yuzu, green tea, lemon and sea fennel; and ● Soothing: CBD with menthol, eucalyptus, rosemary and mint. “At SoulSpring, we are committed to making all-natural products that provide effective skin remedies supplied by nature,” said Brett Michel, COO. “Our innovative and intentional combination of full-spectrum hemp CBD paired with a powerful blend of natural, food-grade botanicals, oils and extracts make our products unique in the marketplace and provide our consumers with the cleanest products possible.”

MyBite Vitamins Unveils New Visual Identity MyBite Vitamins has a new look. The Vancouver, Wash.-based brand has created a new campaign, inspired by its love of the outdoors, that highlights its mission of “Health, made happy.” Company officials said the campaign is aimed at highlighting the flavor combinations MyBite is offering in the vitamin channel. The campaign centrally features a chocolate mountain, which is meant to evoke MyBite’s flavor profile. It will be featured on MyBite’s website and social media presence starting in April. Alongside the brand visuals,



MyBite also introduced refreshed labeling, which make the bites themselves the central focus, drawing the eye to the appeal of chocolate and a caramel drizzle, the company said. “Our label refresh allows us to show off the flavor profile and ingredients that make MyBite unique and so innovative,” said Kate Jones, president of MyBite Vitamins. The company’s products include Hers, His, Multi and Kidz multivitamin offerings, as well as Beauty Inside and Out, calcium, Energy, Sweet Zzzz and Immune supplements.


BoomBoom Naturals, Maty’s Healthy Products Woo ECRM Cough-Cold Buyers BoomBoom Naturals won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its all-natural daily-use nasal inhalers during ECRM’s Cough, Cold, Preventative & Allergy Program held last month in Jacksonville, Fla. Maty’s Healthy Products was a finalist for its Organic Baby Cough Syrup. The two companies were selected from dozens of entries in the award program, samples of which were displayed in the ECRM hospitality area during the buyer and seller appointments. Buyers cast their votes based on product innovation and packaging. “The two Buyers’ Choice Award winners both focus on using products with clean, natural ingredients to address consumers’ health needs,” said Craig Chmielowicz, senior vice president of health and beauty care at ECRM. “Today’s consumers are increasingly vigilant about what they put on and into their and their family’s bodies, and both companies have

developed innovative products to address this. Congratulations to both winners.” BoomBoom Naturals is a wellness brand focused on creating unique, all-natural products. BoomBoom’s natural nasal inhalers are made with essential oils, menthol and other stimulating scents developed to influence overall well-being and to be used daily, not just when sick or congested. After building the brand online and appearing on “Shark Tank,” the company is pushing into retail across more than 1,500 doors. Maty’s Healthy Products, founded in 1996 by Carolyn Harrington and named after her daughter, manufactures all-natural and organic coughcold, baby and digestive remedies made with real, functional and transparent ingredients. The company aims to take clean labeling to the next level by using pure, whole-food ingredients. Maty’s Organic Baby Cough Syrup, made with ingredients that include organic agave, cinnamon and apple cider vinegar, is available in daytime and nighttime formulations. The cough syrup is free of artificial flavors and preservatives, wheat, drugs or chemicals, dairy, sweeteners, alcohol or color additives.



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Paraffin International, Farmskin Win ECRM Beauty Buyers’ Choice Awards

Colgate Zero Keeps Ingredients Clean, Too

Paraffin International won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its Parasilk paraffin hand and foot treatments during ECRM’s Everyday & Holiday Cosmetics, Fragrance & Bath Program held last month in Chicago. Farmskin was the finalist for its Superfood for Skin Christmas Gift Box. The two companies were chosen based on innovation and packaging by buyers at the program who saw entrants’ samples displayed in the ECRM hospitality area during buyer and seller appointments. “The two Buyers’ Choice Award winners are true examples of innovation — both from a product development perspective, as well as packaging,” said Craig Chmielowicz, senior vice president of health and beauty care at ECRM. “Paraffin International developed a unique way to use paraffin wax for home beauty treatments, and Farmskin, which has had great retail success already at our sessions, developed a unique gift set with its most popular products. Congratulations to both winners.” Paraffin International makes “ready to heat and treat” thermotherapy paraffin wax treatments with a distinct application of the paraffin wax bath. The brand was founded by cosmetologist and salon owner Deanna Montrose, who wanted a faster, less messy paraffin wax bath that could be sold at retail. Parasilk is made with pure paraffin, coldpressed virgin coconut oil and vitamin E. Parasilk consists of individual gloves and boots filled with a proprietary blend of paraffin that heats in two minutes in a microwave or in water on the stovetop. Each pair can provide up to four treatments. The company offers Parasilk Performance for those suffering from joint and muscle conditions; Parasilk CBD, a topical heated CBD treatment; and Parasilk Beauty, which adds marula oil and argan oil to provide additional antioxidants that give hydrating intensive care for dry, cracked hands and feet. Farmskin was founded by Taeil Kwak, who wanted to make skin care products using colostrum, the first milk from livestock. Farmskin’s Superfood for Skin Christmas Gift Box is a bell-shaped box that includes Farmskin’s best-selling items: Superfood Salad Mask, Hair Masks, Hand Cream, Clay Mask and Cleansing Wipes. The Superfood for Skin Christmas Gift Box has products that effectively work on tired, stressed skin with gentle formulas to brighten, hydrate, and soothe the consumer’s face, hands, and hair during the winter months.

Colgate is looking to make waves in natural oral care. The Colgate-Palmolive brand has introduced its Colgate Zero line, which is free of artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and colors. “Improving oral health is our top priority. As consumer preferences shift towards products containing less artificial ingredients, we wanted to ensure Colgate users had products that fit their lifestyles,” said Greg Ross, general manager, oral care, North America at Colgate-Palmolive. “Every Colgate Zero formula is clear, which helps signal to consumers that they are free from certain ingredients, while still delivering on all the protection you have come to expect from Colgate.” The full Colgate Zero collection, which includes a line for adults as well as children, includes: l Peppermint Toothpaste with a micro-foaming formula that looks provide a deep clean, protect from cavities, strengthen enamel and freshen breath. It also comes in a spearmint variety; l Fresh Breath Mouthwash, which looks to kill 99% of germs. It has a natural peppermint flavor, and comes in two other variants — Mouthwash Healthy Gums and Mouthwash Strong Teeth; l Toothpaste for Kids 2 to 6 years old, which aims to strengthen the enamel, protect against cavities and comes in a strawberry flavor; l Toothpaste for Kids 3 months to 24 months old, which contains a fluoride-free formula, offers a gentle clean for teeth and gums, features a baby-friendly mild fruit flavor and is safe if swallowed; and l Kids Manual Toothbrush, which is BPA-free and suitable for children 2 years old and older. Colgate Zero is launching at such retailers as Walmart and Target, and on Amazon.com.



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CBD Brands Win Buyers’ Choice Awards MIA Relief won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its soothing period care bath soak during ECRM’s CBD Health & Beauty Care Program held last month in Jacksonville, Fla. Mad Ritual was a finalist for its CBD topical balms. The two companies were selected from dozens of entries in the award program, samples of which were displayed in the ECRM hospitality area during the buyer and seller appointments. Buyers cast their votes based on product innovation and packaging. “The two Buyers’ Choice Award winners have created unique wellness alternatives to traditional OTC products used by consumers,” said Craig Chmielowicz, senior vice president of health and beauty care at ECRM. “CBD is becoming increasingly mainstream and pervasive at mass retail, and innovative brands like these two are helping

drive adoption. Congratulations to both winners.” MIA Relief is an all-natural period pain-relief brand dedicated to helping women find joy in their cycle and redefine period care. It offers clean period care products to all “menstruators” that are formulated with either full- or broad-spectrum CBD, vegan, glutenfree, THC-free, and made in the United States. Its CBD is grown organically in Oregon, lab tested and manufactured in an ISO 9001 certified and FDA-approved facility. Go With The Flow is MIA’s bath soak, which contains CBD and epsom salt to help ease muscle tension and attack pain. Mixed with an essential oil blend of rose, ylang ylang and frankincense, the product was developed to have a calming and restorative effect. Mad Ritual was founded in 2017 with a mission to serve others by offering sustainable products that make a positive impact on their lives. Mad Ritual’s balms are scented naturally with organic essential oils. Varieties include Eucalyptus + Peppermint and Lavender + Frankincense. The balms, which are vegan and made with sustainable, organic ingredients, have no synthetic emulsifiers or fragrances. The topicals, developed to be fast acting and fast absorbing, have a creamy, nongreasy texture and great scents.

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Dymatize’s Protein Powders Capture Post Cereal Flavors

Milani, Salt-N-Pepa Channel the ’90s Milani Cosmetics is embracing the return of ’90s style with a new collaboration. The beauty brand has partnered with female hip-hop artists Salt-N-Pepa on a makeup collection that celebrates the duo’s style and signature looks. “Milani was one of the first brands to champion diversity and stand behind the mission of offering prestige quality to all,” said Evelyn Wang the chief marketing officer at Milani Cosmetics. “Throughout their career, Salt-N-Pepa have achieved many notable firsts — first female rap act to gold and platinum status; first female rap act to win a Grammy Award. It’s been a collaboration that celebrates breaking barriers and true confidence.” Inspired by the ’90s, the collection features CD-shaped eye and face palettes, as well as matte lipsticks and lip liner, while also highlighting bold graphics of the artists wearing their eight ball jackets, the Los Angeles-based company said. Products featured in the collection include: l The Hot, Kool and Vicious Eyeshadow and Highlighter Palette, which contains 12 shades of eyeshadows — nine are matte and three are shimmer. It also has a CD palette with a champagne highlighter and retails for $19.99; l The Very Necessary Eyeshadow & Highlighter Palette features a multiuse CD palette with 12 shadows — four are soft metallics, two are matte, two are bold metallics, two are shimmery, one has a pearlized shimmer, and one is a pearl matte. It also has a golden highlighter and retails for $19.99; l The “Push It” Lip Kit, which consists of a red lip liner and lipstick, retails for $11.99; and l The “Shoop” Lip Kit, which is a ’90s inspired nude lipstick and liner that retails for $11.99. The limited-edition collection made its brick-and-mortar debut on March 15 at CVS Pharmacy, H-E-B, Ulta Beauty and Walgreens, as well as Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada.



Two new Dymatize Iso100 protein powder flavors will have users waxing nostalgic about their favorite breakfast cereals. The company is launching Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles protein powders, which were created in partnership with Post Consumer Brands. “We are excited to team up with a leader in the sports nutrition industry to bring the taste of the iconic Pebbles cereal brand to athletes,” Leah Broeders, head of partnerships and licensing at Post Consumer Brands said. “Dymatize’s commitments to quality and innovation align well with the Pebbles brand. With this collaboration, people will now have the chance to enjoy the unmistakable, classic flavor of Pebbles cereals that they have come to know and love in a different form.” The products, which launched nationwide March 1, contain hydrolyzed 100% whey protein isolate and 25 g of protein per serving, the company said. “Pebbles cereals are a household legend. When we were developing the Iso100 Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles protein, we wanted to make sure we captured the nostalgic, iconic flavors — and we nailed it,” Annie Seal, vice president of marketing at Dymatize said. “With every sip of Iso100 Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles Whey Protein, customers will feel like a kid again.” Shoppers will be able to find Dymatize Iso100 protein powders in Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles at The Vitamin Shoppe and on Amazon.com.


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Alcon Makes Two Pataday Offerings Available OTC

Johnny’s Chop Shop Crosses the Pond British men’s grooming brand Johnny’s Chop Shop is making its stateside debut. The line, which originated in the eponymous U.K.-based chain of barbershops, offers hair styling products, as well as a shampoo and two-in-one conditioner. Johnny’s Chop Shop lineup includes No1 Matt Paste for a strong hold and matte finish; Johnny Sheen Hair Pomade with jojoba oil and pro vitamin B; Glide ‘Em High grooming cream with a touch of polish; firm-hold Hell Gel; Sports & Social Hair Fibre with humidityresistant hold; and Wild Cat Hair Clay with beeswax, sage leaf extract and black pepper. The Born Lucky shampoo and conditioner contains shea butter, glycerin and pro vitamin B. The U.S. retail launch, which accompanies the opening of the Johnny’s Chop Shop flagship barbershop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is bringing Johnny’s Chop Shop offerings to Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Silk Intros Plant-Based Lattes Silk is looking to bring coffeehouse beverages straight to the refrigerated section. The Broomfield, Colo.-based company has launched two new plant-based ready-to-drink lattes, which contain a blend of almond milk and oat milk. Available in espresso and mocha flavors, both options are created with cold brew Arabica coffee, the company said. “Skip the line, chatter and spotty WiFi with Silk Lattes — the perfect way to savor a coffeehouse-quality latte from the comfort of your home,” said David Robinson, senior brand manager at Silk. “Silk is excited to enter the coffee category with a dairy-free and hassle-free option that brings baristaquality coffee into your home, minus the upcharge.” Silk’s Lattes come in a recyclable plant-based bottle that has had at least 80% of its material made from renewable sugarcane. The coffee is grown by UTZ Certified farmers and is Non-GMO Project verified. Silk’s Lattes come in a 48-oz. bottle that retails for $5.49 at such retailers as Target, Kroger, H-E-B and Fairway.



Alcon’s Pataday is making the switch. Two versions of the former Rx-only product now are available over the counter following Food and Drug Administration approval of the eye drops for OTC sale. “At Alcon, we are focused on delivering new eye care products and solutions that meet the needs of patients and consumers, including those who suffer from allergies,” said Sergio Duplan, Alcon North America region president. “We are proud to launch prescription-strength Pataday as a convenient, more easily accessible, overthe-counter option to relieve the itchy eyes that almost one-in-five Americans experience due to ocular allergies.” Pataday Once Daily Relief and Pataday Twice Daily Relief contain the top doctor-prescribed eye allergy itch relief ingredient. Both products are meant to provide long-lasting relief for itchy eyes within minutes. “While eye allergies impact millions of Americans, only a small percentage of those use over-the-counter allergy eye drops likely due to a lack of awareness of effective options that treat the problem at the source,” said Michael Cooper, a doctor of optometry with Solinsky Eye Care in Hartford, Conn. “For years, olopatadine has been my ‘go-to’ eye drop for patients struggling with itchy allergy eyes, and I’m thrilled they will now be able to get the same relief over the counter whenever they need it. My hope is that more allergy sufferers will discover the benefits of Pataday and add it to their medicine cabinet this spring allergy season and beyond.” The company launched the Pataday products at retail on March 2 ahead of allergy season.


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Nature’s Truth Debuts Line of Gummies Nature’s Truth is expanding its vitamin lineup with a trendy delivery method. The Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based brand is introducing a line of gummy vitamins, looking to capitalize on the dollar growth that the segment is driving within the category. According to Nielsen data for the 13 weeks ended December 28, 2019, gummies contribute 55% of all category dollar growth, generating nearly 20% of vitamin sales. Nature’s Truth lineup of gummies includes apple cider vinegar, turmeric, melatonin, elderberry and collagen supplements in both traditional gelatin-based gummies and pectin-based gummies to provide a vegan option. The products are naturally flavored, free of chemical additives and

allergens, gluten free and non-GMO. “Taste was a key factor and a critical benchmark in the development of each gummy formulation. It was very important to us that our gummies were nutritious without sacrificing taste,” said Kimberly Vigliante, senior vice president of wholesale sales and marketing at Nature’s Truth. “Our goal was to delight the customer experience and focus on

top segments as well as ingredients that you typically wouldn’t think would taste good as a gummy. We had to be sure that they weren’t bitter or have any unpleasant odor, which can often be associated with ingredients like apple cider vinegar and turmeric.” The gummies will be rolled out in the spring alongside eye-catching displays, the company said.

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The Future of Pharmacy Transforming work systems and processes of care for the next generation of community pharmacy By Jon C. Schommer

T Jon C. Schommer, professor, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy


his month in Washington, D.C., my colleagues and I will present the findings from the 2019 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey at the American Pharmacists Association’s Annual Meeting and Exposition. Among the key insights gained from the survey of pharmacists is that the way they spend their time is changing. The proportion of U.S. pharmacists who devoted their time exclusively to medication dispensing dropped from 40% in 2014 to only 34% in 2019. The majority of pharmacists (52%) now contribute a significant portion of their time to providing patient care services that are distinct from the medication dispensing process (up from 40% in 2014). This has created a blended work system in which sometimes product distribution is the focus of attention and other times decision-making about medication therapy and health is the focus of attention. In response, community pharmacy practice has been shifting its strategy to one in which, as an article from the June 2018 edition of the journal Pharmacy put it, pharmacies are “being organized by their capacity to operate as healthcare access points that provide and are reimbursed for patient care and public health services.” Comprehensive integrated care models are being created through horizontal integration with clinics, medical centers and places of employment so that medication and medical costs can be combined in risk portfolios and meet pay-for-performance goals. Vertical integration is affecting pharmacy practice as well. Insurance companies, wholesalers, manufacturers, integrated delivery networks, pharmacy benefit management companies, pharmacies, clinics and medical centers are integrating in order to provide coordinated services at lower cost, improve access to services, leverage data, and bear financial risk for the health outcomes of patient populations. Transforming community-based pharmacies to sustainable and successful health and personal care service centers that coexist with the business of distributing medications will be a significant undertaking requiring concerted profession-wide support.


Careful attention to how work systems and processes of care affect organizations and patients will be important as our profession goes through this ongoing profound, frenetic and demanding change. When it comes to organizational change, work systems and processes of care will involve joint decision-making among key stakeholders of an interorganizational domain, so that participating organizations can create and capture mutual advantages that translate into positive return on investment and more efficient management. This will require business entities to work on collaborative performance systems, information sharing, decision synchronization, incentive alignment and integrated processes. Negotiation, contracting and attention to regulation will be required for such collaboration to take place. Successful examples of this approach can be found in product supply chains and the travel sector, with multiple organizations working together to fill gaps, achieve efficiencies and create extra value for all participants. When it comes to people, new work systems and processes of care will be needed to deliver products and services in new ways that fit with clients, playing an increasingly active role in their own care. Four C’s can be instructive in this regard: ● Communication entails a continual dialog with clients, with the goal of getting them to see the organization as a health partner represented by the organization’s service offerings; ● Customization tailors individual offerings from a “base platform” grounded in an understanding of the client’s particular needs or behaviors; ● Collaboration is an extension of customization that engages the client in the actual design and delivery of a service offering; and ● Clairvoyance anticipates client needs regarding the organization’s services in advance. The next generation of community pharmacy is unfolding. To paraphrase one pharmacy executive, we are transforming community pharmacies from being “solution centers for the sick” to “hubs for the healthy.” Changing our work systems and processes can help make this a reality. dsn


Testing, Testing Understanding the pharmacogenomics testing landscape to inform patient care By Adrijana Kekic

C Adrijana Kekic, pharmacogenomics pharmacist and instructor, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science

onsider the following scenario: A patient presents to your pharmacy with the results of their 23andMe genetic test and would like to know how these results affect their medications. Their physician recommended they speak to you. You are grateful for their trust, but you are thinking: “I don’t know enough about different pharmacogenomics, or PGx, tests that are out there. I don’t know enough about PGx to make recommendations; the phone is ringing. I don’t have time for this.” This article will give you some key points when assessing pharmacogenomics, or PGx, tests. Among the key points to consider are genes and variants of clinical significance (pharmvar.org is a good resource for this), the strength of evidence used to make medication recommendations and the context of your patient, including concurrent medications, disease states and such habits as smoking. Pharmacogenomics Testing There are two forms of PGx testing: direct-toconsumer, or DTC, and clinical. PGx testing analyzes a person’s DNA to predict the patient’s medication metabolism and response. Some are used clinically to help guide required dose and identify increased risk of side effects or lack of efficacy. Variety and lack of standardization are factors you likely are to encounter. Genotyping Versus Sequencing PGx tests assess genetic variants in genes related to drug response (pharmacogenes). They typically are not disease-predictive tests, such as those for Huntington’s disease. There are two main types, depending on technologies used: genotyping or sequencing. Most PGx tests use genotyping, which means they look for known and specific variants. They can test only one gene or panel of genes. Their advantages over sequencing are being cheaper, quicker and easier to interpret, and are mostly used for reactive prescribing — patient already is on a medication. Sequencing tests (Sanger, NGS) identify all variants



in a tested region. They are more expensive, take longer, and results may be difficult to interpret clinically. Their advantages are increased sensitivity, and are more optimal for preemptive prescribing, especially if clinically significant variants are present. DTC Versus Clinical Genetic Testing How DTC tests compare with clinical tests depends on the testing platform in question and genes tested. So far, 23andMe is the only DTC testing platform approved by the Food and Drug Administration for pharmacogenomics testing, which uses a saliva sample to obtain a person’s DNA for the eight common genes, including CYP2D6. It analyzes about 17 variants of CYP2D6, whereas some clinical tests may double that. In general, be aware of “false negatives” — for example, CYP2D6 normal metabolizer, where genetic variants exist but are not identified. Some DTC platforms test variants that may or may not have clinical significance with varying degrees to support their claims. In addition, not all DTC companies test for the same set of variants. Currently, there are ongoing efforts on recommendations for alleles that should be included in clinical versus direct-to-consumer testing. Clinical Evidence Behind Genes Tested Many genes are selected based on validation studies that assess clinical utility of drug-gene interaction that are reported in PGx studies. There are several international, curated databases on PGx variants and their guidelines. Efforts are taking place to assign function and determine dosing recommendations for these variants. I also would recommend becoming familiar with resources on pharmgkb.org, as well as the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium, the Dutch Pharmacogenetics Working Group and other sources. In summary, resources are available to help you navigate the expanding field of pharmacogenomics testing. Incorporating PGx testing can help you elevate and differentiate your pharmacy practice through individualized medication management. dsn


100 Years Young Upsher-Smith builds its business with a focus on novel and high-quality offerings BY SETH MENDELSON


nnovation and products — those are the two foundations for Upsher-Smith Labs, the generic pharmaceutical company that celebrated its 100th birthday last year with a pledge that the next 100 years will be even more exciting than its first century. It is heady times for the Maple Grove, Minn.-based company. Powered by the support of Japan-based Sawai Pharmaceutical, which acquired the company in 2017, Upsher-Smith aggressively is moving forward. The company has about 435 employees, 50 products and a new 300,000-sq.-ft. addition to its headquarters, which will house a proposed state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. “Since its inception 100 years ago, Upsher-Smith has focused on creating innovative, life-enhancing products that the healthcare providers and patients can trust,” said Rusty Field, the company’s CEO and president. “Our founder, Alfred Upsher Smith, revolutionized the treatment of congestive heart failure by perfecting the refinement of digitalis and, for the first time in history, producing it in a standardized potency. Today, we draw on that tradition, as we continue to offer innovative, high-quality products that improve lives.” In 2019, for example, Field said that Upsher-Smith acquired two branded treatments for acute migraine in adults: Tosymra (sumatriptan) nasal spray and Zembrace SymTouch (sumatriptan) injection. “These treatments take a proven medication, sumatriptan, and utilize novel delivery systems that relieve migraine quickly and effectively,” he said. “Whether through acquisition or organic growth, we



will never stop trying to bring innovative products to market that truly serve the needs of patients. We also continue our tradition of manufacturing high-quality generic products. Going forward, we plan to bring a greater diversity of generic products to a wider array of U.S. customers than ever before.” Field views that building a sense of trust with its partners is the key to the company’s long-term success. “Our health partners trust us because they know we make high-quality, high-value products, and that we bring them to market in a consistent way,” he said. “We are totally committed to delivering for our partners — from suppliers to patients, pharmacists to physicians — now and in the future.” Support from Sawai Pharmaceutical is helping spur sales and profits. Field said that Upsher-Smith and Sawai plan to leverage each other for worldwide growth, bring more value to stakeholders and help their patients. That backing also is allowing Upsher-Smith to continue expanding its Pathways Platinum Pass Program, a best-in-class savings and support program that Field said significantly can reduce out-ofpocket costs for patients. Education also is a huge part of the services provided by Upsher-Smith, especially with new products like Tosymra. “We reach out to healthcare providers through various medical meetings. At the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society, we introduced Tosymra to a broad audience,” Field said. “At the Child Neurology Society, we shared research about epilepsy, migraine prevention and Qudexy XR. We have


FOCUS ON: UPSHER-SMITH LABS also shared data on Vigadrone at the Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society. Through meetings such as these and through our sales and marketing teams, we are constantly reaching out to share information about our products, as well as to spread the word about our savings and support programs, specifically the Access Pathways Platinum Pass.” Not bad for a company that traces its roots back to the early last century. In 1919, the company’s namesake — a chemist and pharmacist, as well as a recent English immigrant to the United States and director of the well-regarded Minnesota Institute of Pharmacy — began his quest to take the cardiac drug digitalis to the next level of innovation. He tilled the fields of his Wayzata, Minn., farm, planted foxglove seeds into the soil, and later harvested their purple-and-white flowers to extract the drug. Upsher Smith started the company Upsher-Smith that same year, and operating in a laboratory in nearby Minneapolis, he figured out how to deliver digitalis in a standardized potency — an advancement never before achieved since the drug’s discovery, and one that put Upsher Smith’s fledgling business on the map. Over time, physicians and pharmacists throughout North America made sure that this improved medication benefited thousands of people suffering from congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Yet at mid-century, the pharmaceutical industry underwent a revolutionary transformation as synthetic drugs overtook those derived from plants and other natural sources, huge chemical conglomerates grew powerful, and the most successful companies invested heavily in building large sales forces. By the 1960s, despite its early promise, Upsher-Smith had receded into the background. That all changed in 1969, when Ken Evenstad and his wife Grace received a call from one of her relatives. Her uncle Jim — James Upsher Smith — was selling the family business. Nearly extinct, Upsher-Smith was a very small company with a name that still meant something to pharmacies and pharmaceutical wholesalers and Evenstad, a 25-yearold, Minnesota-born pharmacist with entrepreneurial inclinations, but little money, wanted to buy it. Driven to become a pharmacist because he wanted to help sick people, Evenstad soon came to feel he could help patients even more through his business pursuits, so he scraped together $1,500 and became the new owner. He already had a product idea and had been looking for a vehicle for selling it. Evenstad’s first venture was the product SSKI (potassium iodide oral solution, USP), an expectorant for certain lung conditions. The new product was a huge success and Upsher-Smith continued to break new ground, with pioneering advances in the manufacturing of unitdose generic medications, which helped reduce drug dosing errors and improved the care of hospital patients. These advancements also ushered in a period of rapid growth, as sales reached $1 million by 1977, then doubled in only two years. Upsher-Smith then capitalized on its momentum by introducing a series of new products and making a major real estate acquisition. The introduction of Klor-Con (potassium chloride) and anti-arrhythmic medication Pacerone (amiodarone HCl) tablets signaled the arrival of branded generics, and the purchase of Rosemont Pharmaceuticals in 2001 hailed the arrival of new expertise and additional manufacturing capacity. In short order, the company quickly built a new corporate headquarters in Maple Grove, added a Morristown, N.J., office to tap into regulatory expertise on the East Coast and then expanded the



Maple Grove headquarters yet again. Ken’s son, Mark Evenstad, took the reins of Upsher-Smith in 2003, having spent his formative years learning the business from the inside. Under Mark’s leadership, Upsher-Smith experienced tremendous growth. He expanded beyond generics into the production of innovative central nervous system branded therapies — the highlights being the development and launch of seizure disorder drug Qudexy XR (topiramate) extended-release capsules in 2014 and the ultimate FDA approval of seizure rescue drug Nayzilam (midazolam) nasal spray. Today, the company is in the midst of a strategy to double its onmarket offerings. Last year, it launched Vigadrone (vigabatrin) for Oral Solution, indicated for the treatment of infantile spasms, further building on Upsher-Smith’s existing portfolio of epilepsy medications. Soon after, an exclusive marketing and distribution agreement for six ophthalmic and otic generics brought new dosage forms into the company’s portfolio. Then came the return of Klor-Con and potassium chloride product families — one of the company’s biggest product families — in 2019, positioning Upsher-Smith to continue manufacturing and again marketing private label and branded potassium chloride products. Field said to expect more acquisitions of generic and targeted brand opportunities that will leverage the company’s capabilities and allow it to dominate its markets, as well as expand into new areas. “Over the next few years, through both internal research and development and external partnerships, we will substantially expand our pipeline,” he said. “This effort is being supported by an investment in infrastructure with the construction of a state-of-the-art, efficient, high-quality manufacturing facility at our Minnesota headquarters.” “Upsher-Smith is one of the oldest, most trusted names in the pharmaceutical industry,” Field said. “For 100 years, we have brought generics and brands to a wide array of customers backed by an attentive level of service, strong industry relationships and dedication to uninterrupted supply. Let’s think about where we could partner.” dsn


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Eye-catchers Five products from February that stood out


amacher Resource Group’s new product team continues to be tireless. The evaluators at the Waukesha, Wis.-based company pored over 246 new products in February to assess which five hold the most potential. Below are the ones they chose from the 22 OTC products, 164 wellness products and 60 beauty products that companies brought to market last month.


Senokot Laxative Gummies


Sambucol Black Elderberry Infant Drops


ACT Dry Mouth Moisturizing Gum

Sanofi’s ACT oral care brand is offering a new dry mouth gum in a non-mint flavor meant to offer dry mouth relief to severe sufferers, for whom mint can be a harsh flavor. The ACT Dry Mouth Moisturizing Gum’s Bubble Fresh flavor is designed to provide instant dry mouth relief.


Band-Aid Disney Princess Waterproof Bandages


Tom’s of Maine Prebiotic Deodorant Stick



PharmaCare’s Sambucol brand, known for its elderberry offerings meant to boost users’ immune system, has unveiled a product that it said is safe for children as young as 6 months old to 3 years old. The five-ingredient Black Elderberry Infant Drops are free of added colors, flavors and artificial sweeteners. As Johnson & Johnson updates three of its children’s Band-Aid bandages to be 100% waterproof, the company is including its Disney Princess bandages. The new waterproof bandages, which feature Disney’s iconic princess characters, have a four-sided seal to block out water, dirt and germs and is designed to stay on even when wet.

Avrio Health is positioning its digestive health brand’s Senokot Laxative Gummies as the first and only gummy laxative. The gummies use natural senna as the laxative ingredient. The product is available in a mixed berry flavor.

Natural product maker Tom’s of Maine is putting a new spin on one of its cornerstone categories — natural deodorant. The company’s Prebiotic Deodorant Stick is a natural offering formulated to support good bacteria and prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. The product, available in Clean Coast scent, is designed to dry clean and let skin breathe. dsn


New, Now and Making a Difference Why new products matter more than ever By Gina Acosta


here are not many sure things in retail these days, but one safe bet is that product innovation and quality will be as relevant to shoppers in the future as they are today. No matter how well curated the assortment or how userfriendly the online technology, shoppers will not flock to any retailer unless it offers the possibility of discovering new, quality products. Every generation, from baby boomers to the highly coveted cohort of Generation Z, or Zoomers, is looking to retailers to offer the most innovative products in their stores or on their websites and apps. Zoomers especially are on track to become the largest generation of consumers by the end of this year — responsible for as much as $143 billion in direct spending. And the vast majority of those sales will come from Zoomers actively on the hunt for innovative products. According to Intel Research, 73% of Zoomers like to discover and buy new products, especially in brick-and-mortar stores. Meanwhile, 42%



of consumers across all generations said that they love trying new products, and a further half (49%) of consumers can be moved to experiment with a new product via marketing, according to Nielsen. With an overwhelming majority of consumers actively looking for product innovation and quality at retail, the risks for retailers and brands ignoring these trends have never been greater. These attributes are the key drivers of competitive advantage for brands and retailers, and this year’s crop of Product of the Year recipients shows why. Each year, Product of the Year — in collaboration with global research company Kantar — surveys 40,000 consumers in an attempt to find truly inventive products. This year, 41 winners have been recognized in their respective categories. Product of the Year launched 30 years ago in France and 12 years ago in the United States as a way to champion brands for product quality and innovation. The program

accepts entries from consumer goods that demonstrate innovation in their function, design, packaging or ingredients, and a category winner is selected through Kantar’s nationally representative study. “For Product of the Year, it’s always been about innovation; yesterday, today and tomorrow — that’s what we love, are laser focused on and champion. Coupled with that, our unique process of asking 40,000 independent voters means shoppers, retailers and manufacturers continue to genuinely trust the seal,” said Mike Nolan, global CEO of Product of the Year management. “2020 sees exciting new categories that reflect the ever-changing face of innovation in the U.S., delivering us another great group of winners.” This year’s winners were revealed on Feb. 6 at the annual Product of the Year Awards Show at the Edison Ballroom in New York. Drug Store News’ parent company, EnsembleIQ, is the program’s exclusive B-to-B marketing partner in the United States in 2020.






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PRODUCT OF THE YEAR Many of the 2020 winners are representative of much larger trends in the industry. For the first time, two cannabidiol, or CBD, products — an emerging category in grocery stores and drug stores nationwide — were winners in the health-andwellness space. Additionally, as more consumers adopt plant-based diets or switch to privatelabel products, it makes sense that plant-based meatballs, veggie bowls and a number of storebrand products also made the list. What also is fundamentally evident from this year’s Product of the Year Awards is that consumers are strongly bound to novel, creative, impactful products that are exciting to share on social media. To drive deeper connections with this increasingly adventurous consumer, retailers and brands must satisfy curiosity through product innovation, new experiences and telling the story behind the product. Retailers and brands have an opportunity to generate excitement and drive sales by creating buzz around these new products — Product of the Year winners Aunt Jemima Pancake on the Go and Mr. Clean Clean Freak went viral on Instagram shortly after launch last year. For retailers and brands of all categories, marketing these kinds of new products to consumers will continue to be a strong driver of sales and the lifeblood of the industry well into 2020 and beyond.


Product of the Year is the world’s largest consumer-voted award for product innovation. Product of the Year currently operates in 40-plus countries with the same purpose: Guide consumers to the best products in their market and reward manufacturers for quality and innovation. Product of the Year accepts entries every year from consumer packaged goods that demonstrate innovation and were launched within the previous year. Entered products are then placed into specific categories, such as food, beverages, personal care and household care, with a product then being chosen as a winner in its category through a nationally representative online study involving 40,000 consumers, conducted by Kantar TNS. Winning products are announced in February of each year and receive the right to use the Product of the Year, seal in marketing communications for two years. dsn













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Boosting Strategies to Battle Chronic Conditions Panelists underscore the importance of improving outcomes and lowering costs By David Orgel


harmacy increasingly is a crucial player in the battle against chronic diseases, placing retailers at the center of one of health care’s biggest challenges. That point was underscored by participants in an executive panel at the Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit in New York City in December. Participants in a panel called Chronic Care Patient Management said pharmacists need to play at the top of their games to lower costs and boost outcomes in the face of formidable healthcare challenges. They emphasized that chronic care is a quickly changing and complex topic that requires collaboration among



partners and technology-driven innovation. “Chronic care used to focus on diabetes, but today it covers all kinds of chronic conditions,” including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, said panel moderator Dave Wendland, vice president of strategic relations at Hamacher Resource Group. “There’s a great deal of healthcare complexity in an aging society.”

Retail on the Front Lines

Wendland cited challenges on the cost and patient-care fronts, and asked panelists what role retail will play in this landscape. “Retail is a really great place for somebody to access care easily,” said panelist Becky

Dant, director of professional services at Costco Wholesale pharmacy. “We, at Costco, have knowledgeable staff and extremely low prescription prices, so that’s very helpful for the underinsured or the uninsured to meet some of their medication needs. We also have a large selection of supplements and over-thecounter items to help them manage their care. And we’re also working on being the largest seller of organic items. So we have a lot of healthy food options that are going to be more reasonably priced than you may see at another retailer. So, our pharmacy can kind of be that hub to get our patients in touch with what they need, whether it’s a pharmacy need or a supplemental need.”


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DSN INDUSTRY ISSUES SUMMIT Panelist Leon Nevers, director of business development and procurement at H-E-B, said pharmacists should never forget the important role they need to play in chronic care and health care in general. “I recently looked into the store from the pharmacy, and I had an epiphany,” he said. “We have so many customers that come into the store in all different shapes, sizes, needs and other variations. And looking out from the pharmacy into that sea of humanity is humbling, and it’s something that I think the pharmacy needs to do frequently. They need to temporarily stop work and look out and think, ‘Wow, the need is great and the providers are few.’ There’s a sea of humanity out there with needs. And there’s not that many people back there in the pharmacy.” Panelist Summer Kerley, vice president of clinical services and business development at Rite Aid, said the pharmacist’s role includes boosting patient adherence. “We can text a patient a hundred times that their medications are ready, but they still may not come in and get it,” she said. “We have multiple programs in place from that perspective, whether it be Rx,

Left: Panel moderator Dave Wendland of Hamacher Resource Group; first column: Colette Heimowitz of Atkins Nutrition, Becky Dant of Costco and Leon Nevers of H-E-B; second column: Rite Aid’s Summer Kerley, UnitedHealthcare’s Shannon Huneke and BD’s Stacy Burch

What’s Ahead in Chronic Care Management? What will be top of mind a few years down the road in the world of chronic care management and health care? That question was posed by Dave Wendland, vice president of strategic relations at Hamacher Resource Group, during the Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit in New York City in December. He moderated an executive panel called Chronic Care Patient Management. Panelists responded to future considerations of how chronic care is broadening to include a wider range of topics beyond such conditions as diabetes. “I think food as medicine is really a wave and nutrition is really a wave that we’re starting to play more of a role in and trying to better understand,” said panelist Shannon Huneke, senior director of strategic partnerships and alliances at UnitedHealthcare. “We don’t currently have a universal standpoint on what nutrition really is. And I think that’s indicative of our whole industry. We need to apply actionable, data-driven insights to be able to get to and recognize good nutrition.” Panelist Becky Dant, director of professional services at Costco Wholesale pharmacy, said the conversations increasingly will shift to prevention and having patients take ownership of their health care. “We all want to help patients keep themselves healthy, whether it’s through food, exercise or whatever else they can do,” she said. “And I



think as we see that grow, we’re going to see more digital influence and patients finding ways to manage themselves through digital platforms. They will interact with their healthcare providers through digital platforms to make it more convenient for them and give them better access to the care they need.” Panelist Stacy Burch, vice president of U.S. diabetes marketing and commercial excellence at BD, said the industry needs to work on helping patients make earlier progress to boost outcomes and lower costs. “It’s absolutely about focusing on prevention,” she said. “Patients are getting far more involved in their healthcare prevention earlier. As an industry, we will start to see trends that help to increase engagement.” Panelist Leon Nevers, director of business development and procurement at H-E-B, said the future will tie together chronic care, health care and the need for collaboration. “It used to be we focused primarily on diabetes,” he said. “And now we’ve widened the discussion to chronic care, which is a much broader category. Chronic care takes in a certain part of the population. Honestly, I think we all need health and wellness, and hopefully the opportunity is there for all of us. The door’s open. It’s just a question of how we connect and continue to work together.” —David Orgel

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DSN INDUSTRY ISSUES SUMMIT messaging or predictive refill programs. So, those are there. But I think the secret sauce is relationship-building between the patient and their healthcare team. You have to really peel back the onion to understand what is the root cause for a patient not being adherent. Adherence belongs to that whole team that is there to help that patient.”

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Panel speakers emphasized that partnerships and collaboration increasingly are needed to make progress in the face of daunting healthcare challenges, especially for chronic care. “The industry has been focused on the ways we manage care, but we also need to look at enabling our members or consumers to really take care of themselves,” said panelist Shannon Huneke, senior director of strategic partnerships and alliances at UnitedHealthcare. “We believe that through retail partnerships we’ve been able to start doing this more and more.” Huneke said that patients engage with pharmacists much more frequently than

with medical providers. “It’s important to look at the journey of that consumer and that retailer to improve outcomes and also lower costs,” she said. Panelist Stacy Burch, vice president of U.S. diabetes marketing and commercial excellence at BD, emphasized the importance of partnering with pharmacists. “That partnership with the pharmacist and the retailer is absolutely critical for the patient, and it’s where we really focus a lot of our time,” she said. “We’ve started to evolve not only patient education, but spending a good amount of time with the pharmacist through better discussion videos so the pharmacist can learn more about the disease state and where we fit into the mix at a time that’s right for them.” Panelist Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education at Atkins Nutritionals, said it’s important to help educate pharmacists so they have more tools when interacting with patients. “We’re spending a lot of time educating the consumer, but I think we can make more of an effort to educate the pharmacist

Pharmacists Should Not Be Afraid of Technology Digital tools are transforming every profession and pharmacy is no exception. Will there come a time when robotics and automation replace the need for pharmacists? Should pharmacists be afraid? Panelists at the Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit in New York City in December said the growth of digital tools adds a lot of value and complements the work of pharmacists. “Will it replace us? No,” said panelist Leon Nevers, director of business development and procurement at H-E-B. “Will it replace the ones that probably need to be replaced because they don’t communicate well? Or they don’t meet the customer where the customer requires? Maybe.” Nevers said he supports such technology-driven efforts as the retailer’s auto-refill program, that boost efficiencies to give pharmacists more time to engage with patients. “You’re taking away a little from the pharmacist in the part of their workload that doesn’t really add value, and you’re actually placing it instead on where they do add a lot of value, in that consultation and communication,” he said. “And that’s really what you want. You want the pharmacists to recognize you and know you, and then you’ve got the technology to take care of the rest.” Panelist Summer Kerley, vice president of clinical services and business development at Rite Aid, said that pharmacists should not fear technology. “I can promise you that no pharmacist went to school and said, ‘I can’t wait to get out and count by fives,’” Kerley said. “We should embrace technology because the automation of the dispensing component frees up time for the pharmacist to really have that relationship with their customers.” —David Orgel



as well,” she said. “What I envision for the future, and what I’ve done in the past, is creating educational materials and CME courses or CEU courses for the pharmacist because the science has advanced at a rapid rate over the last two decades. For instance, there’s enough science to make a pharmacist feel comfortable to tell a prediabetic, an overweight patient or a diabetic patient, ‘Cutting back on sugar and carbohydrates is really important if you want to minimize your exposure to insulin.’”

Making Health Care Central to Culture

Embedding health and wellness in company cultures is essential to making progress with chronic diseases and other challenges, according to panelists. “We’ve taken a step back and set in place an overall strategy that makes health and wellness really part of our culture,” H-E-B’s Nevers said. “And so, chronic care falls under that, along with everything else, and it’s become much more of an individualized approach based on the customer’s needs. We’re doing everything that we can to meet the customers where they want to be met.” Rite Aid’s Kerley spoke of the importance of placing health care at the center of retailers’ chronic care strategies. “We’re focused on how we are changing our strategy to be seen as a healthcare organization, and not as just a retail pharmacy per se,” she said. “And by doing that, we have a tool that our pharmacists are utilizing to help deliver that holistic care to our patients.” Costco’s Dant said her organization is seeking to become more of a support for primary care patient needs. “We want to fill in some of those gaps that we’re seeing in primary care and be able to offer some of those things that pharmacists are able to do,” she said. “That might be, for example, a point-of-care test for somebody that may have strep or the flu, and wants to be assessed and treated quickly, and get home. Immunizations have been a great way for us to help patients with preventive health and to grow our pharmacy business. We really want to change that perception of the pharmacist, so they are one of the first stops when someone has an issue they need help with.” dsn

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Who’s Your Coach? Offering our expertise and example can be a difficult but fruitful undertaking BY DAN MACK, FOUNDER, MACK ELEVATION


e don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are. After 30 years of leading teams, training and consulting, I remain confident of one thing: We all have underappreciated how our own blind spots affect us, as well as how it affects others. Our preconceptions alter the way we see the world and hinder us from seeing ourselves accurately. It is time to ask yourself one very important question: Are you open and courageous enough to collaborate with a performance advisor? Today’s leaders are confronting more cynicism, volatility, unpredictability and skepticism than ever before. Most employees are experiencing stress levels that are off the charts, and there is a lack of direction that often can lead to chaos in the workplace. The result is that it seems that a majority of workers are looking for new places of employment. But unless you look deep within yourself, the same issues will reoccur elsewhere.

In a fast paced digital world, it seems we have forgotten that trusting coaching relationships will create healthy, transparent, high-performing teams. Today’s best leaders are “facilitators” who are not afraid of difficult decisions. The most effective leaders embrace holistic thinking. They are able to cultivate strong relationships and are open to others’ critique. This healthy mindset becomes refined when one commits to collaborating with others who challenge one’s thinking, while offering candid, honest counsel. No one person has all the answers, and we all need mentors, advisors and personal coaches to help navigate a shifting marketplace. An individual’s communication patterns are the most important predictor of success, and the key to performance lies not in the content of discussions, but in one’s communication style. Communication styles are as significant as intelligence, personality,



skill and the quality of discussions — combined. The world run by “command-and-control” leaders is obsolete. Thriving teams now are run by situational leaders, who adapt to the needs of their associates. They are flexible and speak to those surrounding them — not at them. They are excellent at understanding that there is a time for directing and a time for asking questions. Even in my own consulting practice, I find that today’s highest-performing leaders are thoughtful and flexible. They are not and should not be demanding dictators. In a fast paced digital world, it seems we have forgotten that trusting coaching relationships will create healthy, transparent, high-performing teams. Today’s best leaders are “facilitators,” who advise others to answer their own questions and who are not afraid of difficult decisions. They model poise under pressure and are not afraid of addressing such tough questions as: l What’s hindering your coaching philosophy and what’s at risk if not resolved? l What strengths do you overplay and how does this affect the team? l What are your fears as a leader and how do they negatively affect your effectiveness? We all must expand our self-awareness, embrace change and learn to rebound faster from setbacks. The next-generation leader will possess a deep understanding of the changing industry, exhibit strong personal influence with the customer, and will be skilled at achieving internal organizational alignment and industry impact. It takes vulnerability to work with a partner to advance your game. It’s not easy to pull off and, in fact, can be quite overwhelming for many people. But let us be totally clear: Working with a coach is not for the weak, it’s for the committed. Healthy leadership begins with one’s ability to take responsibility for his or her behavior. The healthiest leaders I know work with a coach to elevate their game and are fully committed to this relationship. As the industry keeps shifting, our leadership skills must continue to evolve. dsn












5:09 PM



DSN’s annual rundown of the biggest names in the growing category By Nora Caley

You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.” The well-known saying for those hawking baseball scorecards might be just as appropriate in the fledgling CBD category. With more and more players entering the marketplace and many predicting that the category is finally ready to explode in sales, retailers may need a scorecard to know who the players are in the marketplace. According to Boulder, Colo.-based BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research, the collective market for CBD sales, which includes cosmetics, health products, food and beverage, pet products, skin care, and pharmaceuticals, is expected to exceed $20 billion in the United States by 2024. Consumer Reports has noted that 64 million Americans have tried CBD, and one in seven people use it every day. Chicago-based Brightfield Group estimated the CBD market will grow to $23.7 billion through 2023. There have been some acquisitions, and industry experts said there will be more. Manufacturers and retailers still are waiting



for the Food and Drug Administration to develop regulations related to CBD in food and dietary supplements. Last November, the FDA sent warning letters to 15 companies “for illegally selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD) in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,” according to the agency’s press release. The FDA maintained that there is a lack of scientific information supporting the use of CBD in food, and also noted that the agency is continuing to explore pathways for various types of CBD products to be marketed. While they wait, many retailers are limiting their assortments to topical products. Even banking regulations have changed to keep up with this evolving industry. In December 2019, four federal agencies — the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Office of the Comptroller

of the Currency — and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors issued a statement together, clarifying the legal status of hemp growth. Even though hemp growing was made legal with the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, banks that provided services to hemp-related businesses had to file suspicious activity reports, or SARs. The statement emphasized that banks no longer are required to file an SAR solely because a customer sells hemp-related products. In the meantime, there is nothing suspicious about the growth CBD companies are enjoying. Manufacturers are continuing to generate excitement by launching innovative products, expanding distribution and moving into new facilities. Retailers that want to satisfy consumer demand for an expanding array of products said certain consumer trends are driving sales. Here is a roundup of what some of the top companies in the CBD space are doing.

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Abacus Health Products

In February, Abacus Health Products announced it had acquired Salt Lake Citybased Harmony Hemp. The Woonsocket, R.I.-based Abacus said the acquisition enabled it to expand its retail footprint by approximately 50% to more than 12,000 retail locations, and expand Abacus’ offering to include a range of beauty and bath products offered by Harmony Hemp. In a press release, Abacus CEO Perry Antelman said Harmony Hemp had long-standing relationships with quality retailers in food, drug and mass, with a lineup of highly complementary products with Abacus. Harmony Hemp, established in 2017, makes such hemp bath products as bath bombs, lotions, bath salts, oils and soaps, as well as such OTC topicals as Flexible and Neurocomfort joint relief sprays, pain relief gels, roll-ons and lotions with active pharmaceutical ingredients. For the consumer market, Abacus offers CBDMedic, including three top-selling SKUs — Arthritis Deep Rub Ointment, Back & Neck Ointment and Muscle & Joint Medicated Pain Relief Spray. For the professional practitioner market, Abacus offers CBD Clinic products, including CBD ClinicMassage Therapy Series, a line of eight new massage oils and creams.

The Alkaline Water Company

Founded in 2012, The Alkaline Water Company produces premium bottled alkaline and flavored water sold under the brand names Alkaline88 and A88. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company recently announced a broad line of CBD infused topical and ingestible products. For its topicals line, A88 infused products produces salves, balms, lotions, essential oils and bath salts, all made with lab-tested fullspectrum hemp. For its ingestibles line, the A88 Infused Beverage Division produces CBD-infused drinks, beverage shots, tinctures, capsules and powder packs.


CBDfx offers full-spectrum hemp, broadspectrum hemp and CBD isolate products. CBD topical products include creams, balms,



face masks, facial cleansers, serums, massage oil and bath salts. CBD edibles include drinks, capsules and gummies. The Chatsworth, Calif.-based company said it uses the best botanicals and skin care ingredients available, including such natural aromatics as white willow bark and menthol.


February was awards season not only for movies, but for cbdMD. The brand announced that its CBD PM and CBD Freeze Roller products won the 2020 Product of the Year award in the CBD Sleep Aid and CBD Topical categories, respectively, from research firm Kantar Media Group. This was the first year that Product of the Year USA, in which 40,000 voters participated in an online study, provided a category for CBD companies. “This is an exciting time to be a part of the CBD space,” said Pancho Mangual, executive vice president of sales at Charlotte, N.C.based cbdMD. “Not only did we win Product of the Year in two separate categories, but it seems like barriers are beginning to break down across the industry. More people are

open to exploring CBD options, and it seems like the conversation is only continuing to grow in support.” CBD PM is a sleep aid that contains THCfree, non-GMO CBD, 150 mg of melatonin, and the calming herbs valerian root, passionflower, hops, chamomile and lemon balm. The CBD Freeze Roller combines the painrelieving properties of menthol with the natural power of domestically sourced non-GMO, THC-free CBD. The gel formula includes aloe vera and tea tree oil to keep skin soft, as well as arnica, a traditional herb used for inflammation. Mangual said the company is dedicated to changing the narrative around the entire CBD industry. “Through superior products, robust marketing strategies and complete customer transparency, we’re setting the standard when it comes to public perception about trustworthy CBD companies.”

CBD Unlimited

CBD Unlimited develops and distributes such products as oils, capsules, topicals and pet products, all with the focus on therapeutic and pain relief for humans and pets. The Cave Creek, Ariz.-based company is launching two topical products, expanding its current offering from two to four topical products. It will also soon unveil two ingestible products, hemp-derived CBD-infused chocolates and honey sticks.

Charlotte’s Web

While some companies take a wait-and-see approach to the lack of clarity in regulations, Charlotte’s Web has invested in external and internal government affairs expertise. “We are interacting regularly at the federal and state level, seeking clarity and a path forward for hemp-derived cannabinoid products to be regulated as dietary supplements,” said Tony True, chief customer officer at Charlotte’s Web. “The company’s goal is to urge legislative entities to define clear regulations to ensure safety for all consumers and define high quality standards for the industry.” The efforts focus on educating legislators about the basic differences between marijuana and hemp, the difference between hemp extract and THC based recreational and medical products, and identifying the


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optimal testing standards to be used throughout all phases of manufacturing. The work will help not only Charlotte’s Web, but the entire industry, the company said. “A lack of clear enforcement guidelines creates an unsettled market for investors, consumers, farmers, retailers and for state regulators,” True said. “We hope Congress or the FDA will provide clarity before the next harvest.” Charlotte’s Web also announced two milestones. Its edible pet supplements have been approved to carry seals of approval from the National Animal Supplement Council and the U.S. Hemp Authority. Also, the company earned NSF International’s Good Manufacturing Practice, or GMP, registration for its manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colo.

CV Sciences

CV Sciences makes PlusCBD Oil products. The company recently added to its lineup of PlusCBD Oil Original and Extra Strength Balms with PlusCBD Oil Roll-Ons. The products are sold at more than 5,700 retail locations in the United States, including natural food stores, healthcare provider offices and, most recently, at more than 1,350 Kroger stores in 22 states under various banners. “That kind of scale is hard to achieve,” said Joseph Dowling, CEO of San Diego-based CV Sciences. “In six years, we’ve developed a brand that has earned the trust of the consumer.” As the brand gains distribution, the



company is demonstrating its expertise at navigating a crowded category. “You have to make sure you have the right brand, right product offering, right pricing, right messaging and right marketing for every sales channel you’re in,” Dowling said. For example, price is important in big-box stores, while convenience is key online, and trust in the brand is essential in natural foods stores. With topicals, certain premium ingredients and the premium price are more relevant at department store cosmetic counters than at food, drug and mass retailers. The brand has invested in the scientific evidence necessary to receive selfaffirmed Generally Recognized as Safe status. “That’s going to be table stakes down the road, demonstrating the safety of your product,” Dowling said. “We’ve done that from the beginning.”

Eagle Labs

In November, Eagle Labs announced the launch of its impirica brand of CBD products. The St. Petersburg, Fla.-based company said impirica is made in an FDA registered manufacturing facility that follows GMP, and all finished batches are tested by multiple thirdparty laboratories. There are eight new impirica CBD products, including CBD liquid drops, capsules, soft gels, relief skin cream, roll-on relief, transdermal relief patch, eye serum and CBD for pets.

Founded in 2015, Functional Remedies said it is a pioneer in the wellness industry, creating full-spectrum hemp oil products using 100% sustainable farming. The Superior, Colo.based company produces products that maximize the natural benefits of the whole plant to create a synergistic effect with the body, the company said. “Functional Remedies provides true fullspectrum hemp oil products, which means it’s made with the whole hemp plant and contains high levels of phytocannabinoids, plus all the other beneficial phytonutrients, including terpenes, flavonoids, polyphenols, etc.,” said CEO Andrew Campbell. “This combination acts synergistically within your body, giving you the true entourage effect.” Officials at Functional Remedies said they are the only hemp company that has earned three GMP certifications and has been admitted to the Consumer Products Health Association. The company uses its patented LipidTrans process, which is a gentle alternative to high-pressure CO2 or chemical solvents to extract CBD from the hemp plant “For over 20 years, we have been perfecting our hemp plants on our own farm, hand pressing the oils from the plants to create the most phytonutrient-dense hemp oil available today, to help our customers achieve balanced wellness,” Campbell said.


Elixinol uses full- or broad-spectrum hemp extract in all its products. “This enables the entourage effect, which harnesses the interactive synergies of all those ingredients to provide maximum therapeutic benefits,” said Leif Harrison, CEO of the Americas. Among the new items is 1,000 mg Broad Spectrum Sports Gel, which features a blend of such essential oils as eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, basil, grapefruit, chamomile and cassia bark extract, with true broad-spectrum hemp extract containing zero THC and a full profile of other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. It is nongreasy and offers fast absorption for all skin types. Also new is a line of capsules in Omega Turmeric, Body Comfort, Stress Less, Happy Belly and Good Night.

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In November, HempFusion announced it had expanded its brick-and-mortar distribution to over 500 new stores, including such premium retailers as Sprouts Farmers Market, ShopRite, Heinen’s Grocery Store, Better Health Store, Harmons Grocery, and more than 100 new independent natural retailers. HempFusion’s family of brands now is available at more than 3,900 retailers across 47 states. The company offers Whole Food Hemp Complex, which contains CBD and other cannabinoids, along with additional plant-based terpenes and omegas formulated to optimize the ensemble effect of all beneficial compounds. The brand also features 25-plus CBD products with a full spectrum of cannabinoids that are sourced from quality phytocompounds manufactured under current GMP that are designed to attain efficacy and safety. The company’s pain-related products are seeing strong sales among consumers aged 55 years old and older. “As we age, our bodies do not act like we’re 20,” said HempFusion co-CEO and co-founder Jason Mitchell. “CBD provides an alternative to being overly medicated.” Products include Hemp Extract Cream and Hemp Extract Balm, and contain such ingredients as jojoba oil, peppermint oil and aloe vera. The products do not contain beeswax, as the company is focusing on the preservation of bees. “If we don’t have bees, we won’t have food,” Mitchell said. “Bees are important to focus on.”



Holistik Wellness

People quickly have traded up from buying a $4.99 single pack of Holistik Wellness beverage dissolvable stir sticks to buying 10 packs for $39.99. “We’ve proven out a lot of our launch assumptions,” said co-founder and CEO T.J. Stouder. That’s good for retailers that are seeing increases in average basket size as people trade up to larger sizes of the water dissolvable, broad-spectrum CBD product. The biggest sellers are Holistik Sleep, which has chamomile, melatonin and 10 mg of broad-spectrum CBD Wellness; and Holistik Stress, which has 10 mg of broad-spectrum CBD Wellness and lemon balm extract. The products are answering consumer demand

for alternatives to prescription treatments. “It’s super exciting to see those impacts,” Stouder said. “Consumers are being touched by the plant.” Although many retailers are not selling ingestibles while the industry waits for FDA guidance, Stouder said the company is in talks with 100 retailers that will place orders soon. “We think it’s around the corner,” he said. Also, in the works is a way to manufacture the stir sticks out of hemp instead of plastic at the same cost.

Joy Organics

Family-owned Joy Organics was co-founded by Joy Smith, who struggled with sleep and



other issues and wanted to find a natural solution, and her husband Todd Smith, who has 28 years of experience at a metabolic health company. Joy Organics directors and managers include Joy Smith’s two daughters, as well as Todd Smith’s brother and sister-in-law. “We started in April 2018, and we expanded to other members of the family,” said Todd Smith, who added that his son Jared handles digital marketing. CBD is different from other industries, Smith said, because of the lack of federal regulations and the wide availability of products and information online. “I’ve never seen anything where results of trying the product are actually driving the industry,” he said. Topical products from Joy Organics include CBD Salve Balm, CBD Salve Stick and, to help the consumer unwind after a long day, CBD Bath Bombs. The company plans to roll out a CBD Lip Balm soon. The Fort Collins, Colo.-based company has a goal of making all products under a retail price of $40 to make the products more accessible to consumers. Todd Smith, who is chief partnership officer at Joy Organics, sees a bright future for the category. “In 10 years, CBD will be the No. 1-selling supplement,” he said. “This is the tip of the iceberg.”



Lazarus Naturals

The latest from Portland, Ore.-based Lazarus Naturals is a line of lotions infused with 50 mg/tsp of Oregon-grown CBD. The lotions are available unscented and in two scents inspired by the Pacific Northwest: Portland Rose and Pacific Pine. Earlier this year Lazarus Naturals offered the limited-time Portland Rose CBD Body & Massage Oil. The product features organic jojoba seed oil, and organic sweet almond oil with Vitamin E as an all-natural moisturizer. Lazarus Naturals also offers Full Spectrum CBD balms, tinctures, and capsules.


CBD products should help people in all demographics, and MarketHub is doing its part by managing the category for Dollar General Stores. “They’re looking at and answering consumer demand,” said Blake Patterson, CEO of Denver-based MarketHub. “CBD is good for everyone.” As a wholesale partner, MarketHub vets products for retailers and helps stores with merchandising, legal, customer engagement and other areas. MarketHub is the exclusive hemp category manager for Dollar General, which will sell topical CBD products, mostly pain and beauty items, in 4,500 stores. The

products are all $19.99 or less at retail, a price point that reflects CBD’s growing distribution. “We’re just looking at different channels and markets that are nontraditional for their space,” Patterson said. “I think that two years ago you could find these products only in specialty kinds of natural shops.”


While Colorado gets a great deal of attention for the state’s hemp growing industry, Kentucky also is an important state for this particular agricultural sector. Not only did Sen. Mitch McConnell, the senior senator from Kentucky and senate majority leader, play a key role in getting the 2018 Farm Bill passed with the hemp language, but hemp was historically an important crop in Kentucky. Kentucky is where Irvine, Calif.-based Medterra sources its hemp. Founded in 2017, Medterra originally was a supplier of high-quality isolate to other CBD manufacturers. Today, the company makes products with CBD that are fully compliant under the Kentucky Department of Agricultural Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. Medterra said it takes the highest quality CBD and blends it with the highest quality natural ingredients. The product lineup includes such ingestibles

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as tinctures, capsules and soft chews for pets. Topical products include Manuka Cream, designed to be part of an everyday skin care regimen, that combines CBD with the healing benefits of New Zealand manuka honey. CBD Rapid Cooling Cream combines CBD and such organic ingredients as menthol and arnica for joint and muscle support.

opportunity for Mile High Labs. “As big companies come in and want to add CBD product lines, their standards are very high,” he said. “That’s something we have been focused on from the beginning.”

Mile High Labs

Since New Leaf Pharmaceuticals launched in 2005, there have been many changes and, in some ways, no changes. “There is movement in the area of banking, which potentially will help so many people,” said Rod Deraney, managing partner at the Newtown, Conn.-based company. “But there is still not much clarity into FDA oversight, and that’s still a problem.” Another change, he said, is that hemp prices have decreased as more farmers got into the business and created a huge supply. One positive trend, Deraney said, is the emergence of exotic cannabinoids, which are other active compounds from the hemp plant, such as cannabichromene, or CBC; cannabinol, or CBN; and cannabigerol, or CBG. New Leaf Pharmaceuticals plans to launch a sleep product that contains these compounds and an herbal blend.“We have our ear to the pavement, and we’re listening and waiting for changes to be handed down, and continuously evolving and improving our products,” Deraney said. For clinical settings, the company will soon release a topical gel for such procedures

Last year, Mile High Labs purchased a 400,000-sq.-ft. production facility in Broomfield, Colo. The facility formerly was owned by pharmaceutical company Novartis. Stephen Mueller, founder, CEO and chief technology officer of Mile High Labs, said the move was particularly fitting. “People are finding positive results with CBD that they haven’t found with pharmaceutical drugs,” he said. The sale included the land, labs, manufacturing equipment and building. Mile High Labs began as an ingredients manufacturer, and the October move into the new facility will help the company expand into the finished product business. “In Colorado, we have an incredible pharmaceutical infrastructure,” Mueller said. “This was a facility where they made 10 billion capsules a year.” The move reflects a bigger shift in the industry. Large corporations are adding CBD products to their lineups, a contrast to the early days when the industry mostly was run by smaller, online companies. That spells



New Leaf Pharmaceuticals

as photopheresis or ultrasounds. Deraney expects some industry consolidation. “The cream of the crop are going to survive,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of companies that don’t survive.”

Prana Principle

Last year, Prana Principle CBD, part of the Apax Group, launched a full line of topicals and ingestibles. For 2020, the Castle Rock, Colo.-based company said it is developing a unique manufacturing process that is organic, Non-GMO and does not use any solvents or CO2 to extract CBD. This new extract will first be featured in Prana Principle ingestible products. Also this year, the topical line will include an under eye skin-firming serum to treat puffiness, dark circles and wrinkles. The company also is launching a CBD serum with plant-based stem cell therapy that promotes healthier, smoother skin. Another new product is ultra-moisturizing CBD skin cream that reduces crepey, flaking and dry skin concerns. It specifically targets delicate skin on hands, chest and arms. These new topical products will be available in the second quarter of 2020. Prana also is launching a variety of infused CBD wellness shots for focus and metabolism, inflammation response, stress and mood,

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healthy hair, energy and sleep. The company also will expand its pet line with salmon and bacon tincture flavors. Prana Principle CBD has distribution in more than 4,500 retail stores with more than 20 different SKUs.

Quicksilver Scientific

Officials at Quicksilver Scientific said they are changing the way consumers take dietary supplements by launching a new line of products. Quicksilver Scientific’s CBD Synergies line is available in three formulations that combine the power of CBD and other effective nutraceuticals and botanicals, boosted by the proprietary Quicksilver Delivery Systems. The new products are AX-Calming Formula, SP-Sleep Formula and PN-Relief Formula. The proprietary Quicksilver Delivery System provides greater bioavailability and more immediate uptake for such difficult-to-absorb supplements as CBD and curcumin. “We are combining the power of CBD with the best ingredients in the natural health toolbox to create targeted remedies that fully express each of the many aspects of CBD’s broad range of beneficial effects,” said Christopher Shade, founder and CEO.

Social CBD/Sentia Wellness

Sentia Wellness launched Social CBD in 2019, and the newness of the brand is something that the company said is a positive feature. “We consider ourselves the most legally compliant of the CBD players because we were born after legalization, after the Farm



Bill,” said Angelo Lombardi, president of the Portland, Ore.-based brand. “We could join the green rush, making claims and putting ourselves right against the edge of what the FDA says, but we chose to be the trusted partner.” The brand makes 100% plant-based, phytonutrient-rich products and uses thirdparty testing. Products, which include topicals and ingestibles, are available in 18,000 stores. Muscle Balm — available in Calming Lavender and Cooling Mint — is among the top-selling topicals. The balm sticks are especially popular among active adults, and the company recently entered a partnership with Sports Illustrated to launch athlete-focused CBD-infused products. “The Muscle Balms fit the demographic of someone who has an active lifestyle,” Lombardi said.

Uleva Products

Uleva Products recently reformulated four of its original products in dye-free, vegetarian capsules. The four formulas are Flex with glucosamine and chondroitin, Fuel with green tea, Relax with ashwagandha, and Sleep with melatonin. On the horizon for Uleva are three new capsule SKUs — Focus, Vitality and Sleep 2.0 — along with a skin care line. Contract Pharmacal manufactures Uleva in Hauppauge, N.Y.

Veritas Farms

Veritas Farms started the year with several product launches. They include Zen

Roller, a full-spectrum CBD roll-on for travel or on the go, that is available in two scents — Mind, a blend of full-spectrum hemp oil with rosemary and peppermint essential oils, and Mood, a blend of full-spectrum hemp oil with bergamot and lavender essential oils. Each Zen Roller contains 100 mg of fullspectrum hemp oil and 0.3% or less THC. Last year, Veritas Farms launched Veritas Beauty, a line of full-spectrum hemp oil beauty products, including Cucumber Eye Cream, Rejuvenating Night Cream, Hyaluronic Day Cream and Mattifying Blemish Cream. The line also is free of parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals and animal products.

Wana Wellness

Boulder, Colo.-based Wana Wellness recently introduced Mixed Berry Hemp Gummies and Tropical Hemp Gummies, made with fruit pectin so they are vegan. The gummies are infused with Colorado-grown broadspectrum hemp oil. The packaging has product batch numbers so consumers can look up contaminant and potency test results related to CBD content. “Wana Wellness products are THC free, and we’ve included the test results as proof on our website since the company’s inception,” said CEO Nancy Whiteman. “Customers have an appetite for transparency and safety, and we knew it was our duty to provide this service to anyone seeking the benefits of hemp supplements.” dsn








he times have, perhaps, never been more challenging for independent drug store operators. Yet, many are finding a path to success by expanding into new, more profitable areas of business and exiting from unprofitable ones, as well as strengthening their community ties and maintaining tight control of their expenses. Independent pharmacies generated $75.8 billion in revenues in 2018, according to the 2019 National


Community Pharmacy Association Digest, but their profitability is decreasing amid reimbursement pressures from third-party payer and government plans. The unpredictability of DIR fees — direct and indirect remuneration — for dispensing prescriptions under Medicare Part D have been particularly onerous for pharmacy operators. “There is tremendous profit pressure on the pharmaceutical side of every independent pharmacy,” said Dave Wendland, vice president of strategic relations at Hamacher

Resource Group. “You cannot have a conversation with a pharmacist today who doesn’t talk about DIR fees.” Those and other pressures on independents have been reflected in store closures. The NCPA research showed that the number of independent pharmacies in the United States declined to 21,767 in 2018, down from 22,478 in 2014, a net drop of more than 700 locations. A separate study by the University of Illinois at Chicago, published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that independents in poor, innercity locations that serve a high percentage of patients using Medicare and Medicaid have been particularly hard-hit. Kurt Proctor, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at NCPA, however, said that retail stores of all types have been under pressure, and pointed out that independents have been opening new locations as well.

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INDY PHARMACISTS FORM NEW PBM Michael Kim, the owner of Grubb’s Pharmacy in Washington, D.C., is seeking to take on large PBMs with a new network of independent pharmacies that will seek to compete in the Medicare Part D marketplace. His new venture, Indy Health, is seeking to create “innovative alternatives” to traditional Medicare Part D plans, as well as a new PBM with supplemental health services. “If you can’t beat them at their own game, what’s the next best thing? You’ve got to join them and try to provide something better than what they have, especially for independent pharmacies,” Kim said, citing the exclusion of independent pharmacies from the preferred networks of PBMs. “We’ve got to turn the tables around on the big guys and say, ‘This plan is an independent pharmacy preferred network, and the big chains are not preferred,’” he said. Indy Health, which was formed by a group of about 10 independent pharmacists from around the country, is planning to roll out its first offerings later this year for the 2021 plan year in about five states. Kim said he hopes the plan will attract additional investors and expand to all 50 states eventually. “Hopefully it’s going to provide a better reimbursement for independent pharmacies, and we’re looking at possibly having no DIR [direct and indirect remuneration] fees included in this plan as well, which is going to be huge,” he said. He also said that while he is hopeful that regulators eventually will solve the challenges that PBMs present to independent pharmacies, he doesn’t expect relief to come soon enough. “Too many businesses are going to go out of business by the time something comes around, or it’s just never going to happen,” he said. “So, the next best thing is to just enter the arena and play their game, and just do it better than they have been doing.” —Mark Hamstra 62


COVER STORY “The economics are certainly tight for many, and you do see some closing,” he said. But, he added, the changing nature of the industry, with its shift away from a reliance on prescription dispensing into more of a “longitudinal care” model centered on other services, may also be leading some older pharmacy operators to leave the business. “I think there are some owners who are saying, that, ‘As this change happens, I’m too late in my career and I’m not really going to go down that road,’” Proctor said. At the same time, he said, NCPA continues to see interest from young pharmacists seeking to become independent owners and embracing new models of care, such as CPESN networks that seek to help pharmacists generate revenues for playing a role in reducing costs in the system. Those independent pharmacists who are choosing to remain in business are making tough economic decisions about which third-party networks it makes sense for them to join while simultaneously expanding their cash-based offerings and seeking profitable niches that satisfy a need in their trade areas. Jeff Scherr, president of Apple Discount Drugs, which has five locations in Maryland, said one of the main strengths of independent pharmacy is the high level of customer service these operators can provide. “Our competitors — the big-box stores and the chains — have really become convenience stores that operate with a pharmacy in the back,” he said. “The pharmacy brings the people into the store, and while they’re there, they’re making other purchases, and the stores are generating revenue and profit from that.” In order to remain competitive, Apple has diversified into related healthcare lines, including durable medical equipment, or DME; medical oxygen; drug compounding; diabetes counseling; and other services. “We’ve created these niches that have certainly helped us,” Scherr said. “The tough part is you can generate revenues, but you’ve got to make profit. We’re not talking about hitting home runs. We just want to be able to show a profit so we can continue to provide these services for people.” Scherr said he has had to exit some lines of business that had been covered by Medicare, such as diabetic test strips and ostomy bags, simply because they were unprofitable in the long run. “Some of the things we as pharmacists do are great moral decisions, but terrible business decisions,” he said. “We care about the patients and the customers, but staying in these lines of business becomes much more difficult as time goes on.” Likewise, Michael Kim, owner of the Grubb’s Pharmacy chain in Washington, D.C., said he has exited from some PBM networks that simply were not profitable. “You can’t survive if they are going to reimburse you less than what you’re paying for your cost of goods, and that’s pretty much how the contracts are written,” he said. “It’s a tough decision because you’re going to lose patients, but we’re not a nonprofit.” NCPA’s Proctor said that many pharmacies may find that although they may lose some customers at first from exiting certain contracts, they could gain some of them back in the long run as loyal customers either change insurance plans in order to remain with their favorite pharmacy or employers switch their benefit programs to satisfy the demands of their workers.

Expanding into New Business

One of the areas where Kim has grown his business is through an expanded assortment of CBD product offerings. “There are plenty of revenue streams over the counter that I think many pharmacies are going toward, and CBD products would be one of those revenue streams,” he said. “It’s about focusing on things that you know you’re


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COVER STORY going to make a profit on, and nobody’s going to come back and take it back from you later on.” As far as the profitability of prescription dispensing, Kim said, “I think it’s just very hard to win at dispensing prescriptions nowadays,” Kim said. “I feel like it’s a losing battle. You have to turn your attention to what you can do and what you can control because you can’t control the PBMs at this point.” Kim said profit pressures also have forced him to reduce his staffing by about a dozen employees in the last few years. “That changes lives, which is not something that I want to do, but it was a necessary decision that I had to make,” he said. Proctor said staff cutbacks are a decision many pharmacists may have to face, although he suggested opportunities also might exist for some personnel to be retrained for different responsibilities, or for responsibilities to be shifted in a more cost-effective way among employees. For example, some tasks that are performed by pharmacists could be turned over to technicians. “You’ve got to make sure that you’re deploying the resources that you have efficiently, and if you have too many resources, then you need to make adjustments there too, of course,” he said. Proctor agreed that many independents are finding opportunities in such niche businesses as weight-loss counseling, injectable medicines, disease state management and offering a wide range of vaccines, among other offerings. “You certainly see many pharmacies doing very well with things like CBD, where the pharmacist engagement with the patient is very important,” he said. Wendland agreed that such offerings as smoking cessation programs, diabetes education, and other forms of “holistic care beyond traditional over-the-counter medicines” could be profitable niches for independents to pursue. “Are there vitamins, dietary supplements, natural products, or CBD-based products that could help keep people well through better counseling and service offerings?” he said. “That to me is one of the ways to differentiate, and it’s a big opportunity.” Perhaps the biggest opportunity for independent pharmacies is to reconnect



“There are plenty of revenue streams over the counter that I think many pharmacies are going toward, and CBD products would be one of those revenue streams.” —Michael Kim, owner, Grubbs Pharmacy in Washington, D.C. with their communities to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the local customers and the local medical care providers in the market. “You have to know your own local marketplace, and what’s available there and what isn’t,” Proctor said. “Is there a need that you could step in and fulfill?” In terms of partnering with physicians and others in the local healthcare community, he said pharmacists need to understand the goals that those medical professionals are seeking to achieve and to identify not only ways to help them, but also how to share in the revenues related to those services. Independent pharmacies may also need to rethink their store layouts and assortments, Wendland said. “Do you have the right products in the right place at the right time?” he said. “Maybe there’s an ethnic switch in the neighborhood, and you need to start carrying kosher products, or halal products, or maybe products that cater to lifestyle diets, and you have not kept up with the times. It’s a big opportunity to reassess how to differentiate by being relevant to your neighborhood.” Kim, for example, said he has been seeking to customize the offerings at each of his company’s locations. At his store in the affluent Georgetown area, he offers a line of highend, imported brushes and combs from Italy that can sell for as much as $250. Technology is another area of opportunity that independents need to consider, Wendland said, citing not only the need for an online presence, but also a robust social media plan and an e-commerce strategy that helps satisfy consumers’ demands for fast delivery or pickup of products. In addition, he said pharmacists often need to better promote their own capabilities, which might not

be a skill that comes naturally to them. “Pharmacists have a really good story to tell, and they keep it under a bushel basket,” Wendland said, “so we encourage pharmacists to tell their story more appropriately.” He suggested using the “About Us” area of the website, for example, to focus on things that are important to the customer, such as how the pharmacist can be a partner in many of life’s challenges. In-store communication of all of the auxiliary services offered also is important. Overall, Wendland said he’s encouraged by a lot of what he’s seeing in the independent pharmacy channel. “I am impressed with some of the energy that’s coming into independent pharmacy today,” he said. “There are new owners who are emerging. We’ve had great conversations with pharmacies that have been acquired by extremely business-savvy individuals, who recognize that they want to reinvent the experience, focused on self-care or focused on well-being and prevention.” In addition, he said there are young pharmacists with an entrepreneurial spirit who don’t want to work for a large chain or a bigbox merchant. “They’re really building from the ground up an entirely new experience for the constituency that they want to serve,” Wendland said. Kim sees ongoing challenges ahead for independents, but he’s hopeful for the longterm future of operators like himself. “I feel like if you can survive the storm, then on the other side it’s going to be a better pharmacy environment,” he said. “But it’s a rough storm and not everyone’s going to survive, unfortunately, especially if you’re not making changes to your business to find other revenue sources.” dsn

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Ready with Remedies Highlighting the standout OTC manufacturers in the industry By Carol Radice


ne of the oldest segments in retail pharmacy — over-thecounter medications — has been on a fast track as of late. With medical out-of-pocket costs climbing, many consumers increasingly are turning toward OTC products to address myriad health-and-wellness concerns, including pain relief, weight loss, sleeplessness, gastrointestinal issues and cough-cold and sinus needs. Among the features consumers look for are simple, clean ingredient profiles, efficacy, ease of use, safety and convenience. Seeking to satisfy consumer demands, suppliers are introducing many items that shoppers want and need. This month, DSN recognizes the OTC companies at the forefront of innovation that are pushing to make consumers’ lives the healthiest they can be. Here are the winners of the Retail Excellence Award – OTC:

from developing its own research-driven probiotic strains. Alexa Wood, brand manager, said all of the company’s strains are included in the European Qualified Presumption of Safety list. “These lists are compiled by the European Food Standards Agency to assess the compiled evidence and confirm the safety and nomenclature of the bacteria used, ensuring the most stable, effective and research-based strains make it to the marketplace,” she said. This year, the company will be introducing its newest addition to the Bio-Kult range. Bio-Kult Mind joins Bio-Kult Migréa, expanding the probiotic range specifically targeting the gut-brain axis. Bio-Kult Mind is an advanced multi-action formulation designed to target the digestive tract and cognitive function, Wood said. Bio-Kult Mind contains the company’s own probiotic strain — Bacillus subtilis PXN 21 — and zinc, as well as grape and wild blueberry extracts.

ADM Protexin

Avadim Health

Miami-based ADM Protexin remains focused on ensuring that it is always ahead of the cureve with the latest science. Its Bio-Kult products are manufactured at the company’s state-of-the-art facility, designed specifically for probiotic research, development and production. ADM Protexin’s innovation and leadership in the market comes



Asheville, N.C.-based Avadim Health is committed to addressing the needs of patients by offering evidenced-based topical solutions that fill therapeutic gaps in care. Its flagship brand, Theraworx Relief, was created to help minimize muscle cramps, spasms, joint discomfort and inflammation.


Given the concerns raised by the CDC and other healthcare organizations regarding the growth of antibiotic resistance in treating urinary issues, Avadim recently launched Theraworx Protect U-Pak for Daily Urinary Health. The product includes Theraworx Protect Topical Immune Health System wipes and foam, which are formulated to help protect against urinary tract infections. “To us, innovation means being on the forefront of delivering lifechanging healthcare products that meet the evolving needs of the patients,” said Ralph Lombardo, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Boiron’s digestive line includes Acidil, plant-based melt-away tablets that target heartburn, stomach pain and bloating. It has no known drug interactions, will not slow down the absorption of other medications or micronutrients, and can be taken before or after a meal on a full or empty stomach. The company recently launched Diaralia, which relieves symptoms of diarrhea, including traveler’s diarrhea, intestinal pain, bloating and gas. Boiron rounds out its digestive line with Gasalia, which the company said targets the entire digestive tract, not just the stomach, to bring relief.

Bausch + Lomb

Daily Body Restore

If Bauch + Lomb were a tree, it might be an aspen colony, with farreaching roots and a reputation for longevity. The Bridgewater, N.J.based company was founded in 1853 and is the world’s leading provider of eye health products. In the OTC world, its flagship products are contact lens solution and eye drops, including redness reducer Lumify and dry eye remedy Soothe Xtra Protection Preservative Free. It also markets the PreserVision and OcuVite brands of eye-focused vitamins. The latest addition to the PreserVision lineup is Areds 2 Minigel Eye Vitamins, which were developed to help prevent the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Besides its products, Bausch + Lomb funds awareness campaigns about eye-related maladies in its efforts to carry out its mission of “helping people see better to live better.”


Founded in 1932, Boiron offers more than 200 SKUs in a number of categories, including cough-cold, external analgesics and children’s medicines. It is best known for its pharmaceutical-grade quality drugs, including the Arnicare line of pain relievers and Oscillococcinum flu medicine. “As the U.S. shopper has shifted toward a healthier lifestyle, there is a growing need for products that contain more plant-based and natural active ingredients,” said MaryEllen Tefft, vice president of sales, food, drug and mass at the Newtown Square, Pa.-based company. Tefft said the fallout over issues with certain OTC heartburn medicines last fall has fueled demand for safer, more natural alternatives to treat heartburn.



Daily Body Restore is best known for its award-winning, sciencebased probiotic products with digestive enzymes, which are designed to support gut microbiome, immune function, overall health and heartburn prevention. The company was founded by Kim Shafer, CEO, after one of her children was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. “Our idea of innovation is leading by example,” said Miranda Prichett, vice president of marketing at the Wixom, Mich.-based company. “We strive to exceed not only the industry standards, but also that of our own.” Prichett said the company’s motto — “We take what we make”— ensures that she and her team remain personally involved in all aspects of its business. “We have learned from successful entrepreneurs, buyers, distributors, customers and input from our family,” Prichett said. The company said it soon will introduce a pet-specific line of products, featuring DBR’s science-based formulations.

Doctor Easy

Doctor Easy Medical Products is known as an ear care innovator, first in the medical arena and most recently with WaxRx, a professionalgrade ear wash system developed for OTC. “We knew ear wax sufferers were looking for an answer that was not on the retail shelf,” said Marsha Garcia, president of the Orange Park, Fla.-based business. “To date, our self-care ear wax solution has helped numerous consumers avoid costly medical visits.” The success of WaxRx inspired the company to introduce another

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innovative ear care product. For 2020, Doctor Easy has expanded its retail line to include Earvana, the first-ever, vitamin C-based solution for itchy ears. Earvana was created as a natural alternative to traditional oil-based ear itch remedies, Garcia said. “Deciding to enter the consumer market took us out of our comfort zone, but the adventure has been worth it,” she said. “We have seen tremendous success with WaxRx and we know this is just the beginning. We are committed to supporting retailers by educating the consumer about the availability of professional-grade ear care products at retail.”

GSK Consumer Healthcare

When the joint venture combining GlaxoSmithKline’s and Pfizer’s consumer health businesses closed last August, GSK Consumer Healthcare became the largest OTC business in the world. Under the umbrella of the Warren, N.J.-based company are such well-known brands as Advil, Tums, Flonase, Centrum, Caltrate, Excedrin and more. The company’s biggest move this year has maintained its position as a savvy switcher. In February, the Food and Drug Administration gave the OK for the company to sell its previously prescription-only Voltaren Gel over the counter as Voltaren Arthritis Pain, an external analgesic meant to address pain from arthritis. Worldwide, Voltaren already is a leading OTC product. The product joins Flonase, GSK Consumer Healthcare’s allergy-relief nasal spray that made the switch in 2015 and has since come to dominate the allergy category alongside Flonase Sensimist, which launched in 2017.

Hisamitsu America

Hisamitsu is a leading innovator and pioneer in OTC topical analgesic patches. Salonpas is the only OTC patch to receive new drug application approval status. While the company may be best known for its patches, it also offers spray, gel, cream and roll-on items that are safe and effective for external pain relief. “At Hisamitsu, we believe in the Kaizen approach of always trying to improve our products to help enhance one’s quality of life,” said Alan Squeri, vice president of sales, North America, at the Florham Park, N.J.-based company. “This also applies to how we think of product and marketing innovation.” Squeri said the company constantly looks for ways to improve its existing products to make them more relevant and attractive to consumers. For instance, it recently changed the shape of its patches to reduce accidental peeling and is improving the adhesion of its top selling lidocaine patch this year. The company also recently made some changes to Capsicum Hot by reducing the product’s size and taking it from a one-count to a threecount offering. Squeri said this change increases the item’s profit per square inch, while providing consumers a better value.“By continuously improving our product offerings, we increase shopper satisfaction and gain more users,” he said.


For 117 years, Los Angeles-based Hyland’s has been on an important mission to identify the unmet needs of consumers and create products that address them.



Les Hamilton, president, said Hyland’s does extensive research using focus groups to identify unmet needs they feel are not being addressed with natural offerings. Once a product idea is formulated, the company works closely with retailers to determine if it will sell well. This cough-cold season, the company will be launching three new 4Kids products, including a liquid pain-relief product, a liquid sore throat product, and a stuffy nose and sinus dissolvable tablet. Hamilton said the company formulated its new items after hearing moms say these types of natural items were missing from the shelves. Its new pain relief product will be the first homeopathic option targeted at kids. “From the food she gives her child and the HBC products she uses on their bodies to the OTC medicine she puts in their stomach, moms are looking for natural alternatives she can give her kids that address their healthcare needs simply and safely,” Hamilton said. “When she heads to the cough-cold aisle, she reviews all her choices and increasingly selects natural alternatives, such as homeopathic options.”


Bridgewater, N.J.-based Matrixx is best known as the maker of Zicam Cold Remedy, a line of homeopathic products clinically proven to shorten colds. The brand’s platform: Unlike other cold medicines that only mask cold symptoms, using Zicam at the onset of a cold can lessen the duration of symptoms. Zicam’s range of products also includes homeopathic allergy relief, nasal congestion and sinus relief. Gulam Khan, vice president of marketing, said Zicam Nasal AllClear, the company’s newest product, is the only patented swab technology that delivers a triple-action formula. “With this product we have created a completely different approach to protecting against nasal discomfort, while easing congestion,” Khan said. “The portable, individually sealed and sanitary cotton-tipped swabs cleanse one’s nose by helping to clear pollutants, irritants and excess mucus, and soothe irritation by keeping delicate nasal passages moist.”

The Bio-Kult range is a line of probiotic supplements for the whole family. 30 clinical trials Leading probiotic brand Resistant to the acid of the stomach Manufactured to Pharmaceutical Standards (MHRA cGMP)

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The company recently has expanded Zicam’s offerings with a chewy fruit drop. The gummy drops are made with a proprietary zinc formulation and are clinically proven to shorten a cold when taken at the first sign. The line first launched with a medicated version and was quickly followed up with an elderberry and orange variety.


When the NasoNeb brand was launched, it had a single goal: to meet the unmet needs of sinus sufferers by offering a superior drug delivery system to help people feel better and breathe easier. Initially, the NasoNeb Complete Sinus Therapy System was introduced in 2009 as a prescription-only controlled intranasal delivery system product. It was so effective that the Medina, Ohio-based company brought it over the counter, making it available without a prescription in 2018. Company officials said the NasoNeb system’s flexible delivery approach means users can cleanse with a saline solution, maintain nasal and sinus health with a saline-based moisturizer, or treat a specific condition with an OTC or prescription medication. Studies show that NasoNeb’s aerosolized system delivers medication to the nasal and sinus cavities more thoroughly than traditional sprays. It was created to help moderate-to-severe nasal and sinus congestion sufferers better manage their symptoms. Going forward, NasoNeb said it would continue to invest in research and product development to uncover more ways to help nasal and sinus congestion sufferers breathe better.

Newell Brands

Sunbeam, a division of Newell Brands, is most known for its range of electric heated pain-relief products. Sunbeam is evolving the one-sizefits-all heating pad by offering heated products that are designed to treat specific needs and target specific body parts. “Consumers are looking for modern-day options to treat their individual pain,” said Aimee Yu, senior brand manager at the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company. Yu said Sunbeam products stand apart from other offerings by providing a total solution to pain relief. “Our products can be used to prevent pain and help the healing



process as heat increases blood flow to promote tissue healing.” Some of the innovations that Sunbeam has introduced include the FlexTempHot Cold Joint Wrap, which targets elbow and knee joints; FlexFit Heated Wrap, which wraps around body parts like the arm, elbow, wrist, ankle and lower leg; and the Heated Back Wrap, which contours to the back. One of Sunbeam’s newest innovations, the ConformHeat heating pad, flexes around curved body parts to improve contact and provide better heat transfer.


PanTheryx is a biotechnology company committed to addressing a wide range of serious GI microbiome-related health conditions. Founded in 2007 and located in Boulder, Colo., the company is at the forefront of immunology, microbiology and gut health. PanTheryx uses its proprietary technology platform to develop interventions ranging from supplements to biologics that address unmet consumer needs. The company is best known for its flagship product, DiaResQ, which launched nationally in 2016. Brian Budeselich, vice president of sales, said the difference between DiaResQ and other OTCs is that it addresses the source, not just the symptoms, associated with diarrhea relief. “It is a food for special dietary use that contains immune factors, micronutrients and macronutrients that are beneficial for children and adults with diarrhea,” Budeselich said. “Unlike the standard of care for diarrhea, which primarily focuses on symptom relief and rehydration, DiaResQ works with the body to address the underlying issue quickly.”

PharmaCare US

San Diego-based PharmaCare US is part of the PharmaCare Australia group, a family-owned business that produces a variety of health-andwellness products. PharmaCare offers condition-specific formulas for building immune health, prostate health and women’s health. It is the company behind such popular brands as Sambucol, Bioglan Kids Smart, Real Health Labs and Promensil. It also has been one of the fastest growing independent OTC companies over the past two years. PharmaCare is best known for Sambucol Black Elderberry, the

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top-selling black elderberry supplement for immune health. Developed by a world-renowned virologist, Sambucol can be taken every day. “For immune support, we feel that the black elderberry market can be on par with vitamin C, and we are proud to be the leading participant in cultivating sustainable growth for the category,” said Art RoweCerveny, vice president of marketing. The Sambucol lineup includes gummies, chewable tablets, pastelles and liquids. The company also offers a children’s line, Sambucol for Kids, which Rowe-Cerveny said has increasingly grown popular as demand from mothers looking for alternative options has risen.

Prestige Consumer Healthcare

Prestige Consumer Healthcare is the largest independent provider of over-the-counter products in North America, holding the top position in several categories. While the company’s name might not sound familiar, many of its brands are household staples — Summer’s Eve, Monistat, Dramamine, BC/Goody’s, Chloraseptic, Clear Eyes, Compound W, Nix and Fleet. According to Joseph Juliano, vice president of marketing, the Tarrytown, N.Y.-based company’s approach to innovation centers on delivering on both the consumers’ and the retailers’ needs. “It could be around a product, communication or the path to purchase, but our strategy remains the same,” Juliano said. “We invest heavily in understanding the needs of the consumer and use these insights to drive our business across all classes of trade.” Recently launched products include Goody’s Hangover, Dentek Cross-Flosser, BC Max and Summer’s Eve Active. Juliano said each of these items represents innovation within its own category. For example, the Dentek Cross Flosser is an advanced floss pick that was created to remove 80% more plaque from between the teeth than the leading rolled floss, he said.

Randob Labs

Randob Labs is a private, family-held company that has been in business since 1979. The Cornwall, N.Y.-based company has been in the Creagan family since 1991, and Jim Creagan, its current president, has guided Randob to achieve consistent double-digit growth year



over year by revitalizing and maintaining heritage brands. In 2018, Randob acquired the Balmex brand, and in 2019, the Chiggerex first aid ointment and E-R-O ear wax removal solution were added to the brand portfolio. Looking to 2020, Creagan said Randob is committing to growing share by deploying new marketing strategies, implementing packaging creative, penetrating new markets and providing top level service. “Balmex has been a trusted name in baby care for over 65 years, and the product does not rest on its laurels,” Creagan said. “The Balmex Cream is powered by zinc oxide, which provides a barrier against moisture and prevents chafing.” Where Balmex goes above and beyond the competition is by neutralizing rash-causing irritants with botanical extracts, he said. In addition to the Balmex baby line, there also are two Balmex adult SKUs. Creagan said these products are positioned to support an aging population from conditions ranging from light bladder leakage to incontinence.


Several years ago, officials at Rhinomed set out to address what they saw as a growing issue among consumers — the inability to get a good night’s sleep. It was not long before the company found a correlation between poor sleep and the struggle many have to breathe fully through their nose during the night. Thus was born two of the company’s most popular products — Mute and Turbine. Michael Johnson, CEO and managing partner of the New York City-based company, said 10 years ago, no one understood the connection between good respiration and getting a restful night’s sleep. “A lot has changed since then, and consumers now see how a bad night’s sleep can affect their cognitive and physical health,” Johnson said. Rhinomed recently introduced Pronto Sleep, a rechargeable vapor inhaler that opens the nose and delivers a continual stream of essential oils to help people sleep better, and Pronto Clear, which uses essential oils to help clear stuffy noses. “There has been a chronic misuse of sleep drugs occurring for a while now. Consumers are looking for more natural, safer ways to sleep better, and this starts with breathing better through their nose,” Johnson said. dsn


Top of the Class How pharmacy schools are changing their approach to prepare students for an increasingly expansive profession By Sandra Levy

Students at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in the classroom


hen Karen Sando attended pharmacy school a decade ago, she lacked exposure to the role of the pharmacist and to many experiential opportunities during her first year. Instead, the focus was on basic science and medicinal chemistry to learn how drugs work. Fast forward to 2020 and Karen Sando is assistant dean of accreditation and assessment at Nova Southeastern University School of Pharmacy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where a new curriculum launched last



fall differs dramatically from prior course work, incorporating active learning and a strong focus on teamwork. To be sure, the new crop of pharmacy students nationwide need more than a basic understanding of drugs to provide optimal patient care. With pharmacy reimbursement increasingly tied to patient outcomes and more pharmacy retailers making the foray into primary care, it is crucial for pharmacists to have expertise in providing patients with medication therapy management, immunizations and a wide array of

point-of-care testing and health screenings. Pharmacists also need to understand how to work with other healthcare practitioners as working collaboratively to improve patient care is fast becoming a universal theme. And there’s a host of ever-changing technologies for pharmacists to wrap their arms around. “We are trying to break out of silos and operate more in team-based care and valuebased payment models, so we felt that it was important to have that undercurrent throughout the curriculum,” Sando said. The first course in the curriculum is

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Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy students participate in an annual innovation event.

Patient Care Basics, during which students learn from faculty pharmacists with patient care experience about how a pharmacist moves through the patient care process. “We teach them early on how to do patient care assessment skills, such as checking blood sugar and blood pressures, so they can interact with the community and perform those skills throughout the entire first year,” Sando said. “We try to introduce the role of the pharmacist earlier and lean it up against the science that they are learning, so that there’s a purpose behind it rather than just learning about structures on their own.”

Updating the Syllabus

Nova Southeastern is not alone in transforming the pharmacy school curriculum to prepare students for a career that entails going beyond dispensing of medicines. Gayle Brazeau, professor and dean of Marshall University School of Pharmacy in Huntington, W. Va., said that students are immersed in active learning and a team environment early in their pharmacy education. To foster this atmosphere, the pharmacy school, which will graduate its fifth class this spring, built studio classrooms rather than large lecture halls. “We want students to feel confident about applying their knowledge, skills and



problem-solving as a team,” Brazeau said. Asim Abu-Baker, associate dean for clinical and professional affairs at Texas A&M University Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy in Kingsville, Texas, also is presiding over a curriculum that wasn’t common when he graduated from pharmacy school in 2003. Abu-Baker wasn’t exposed to clinical settings until he did his rotations in the last year of pharmacy school, whereas students at his school receive clinical training as early as their first year. With the increased pressure on pharmacies to show that they can impact health outcomes, pharmacists must possess a high level of clinical knowledge. “It’s not a matter of just handing patients their medication. You have to show more value with the knowledge that you have as a pharmacist. How can you help patients manage their chronic diseases and take the appropriate medication needed? How do you get the best value out of health care?” Abu-Baker said. Texas A&M University Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy students learn how to provide point-of-care testing, such as cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure measurements in the first semester. “We want them to have those skills so they can screen patients; for example, if they participate in a health fair. Most importantly is the communication piece

— how to talk to patients and how to ask open-ended questions,” Abu-Baker said. After undergoing the American Pharmacists Association’s immunization certification program in their first year, pharmacy students provide immunizations at Texas A&M University’s drive-through flu clinic, alongside the school’s medical, nursing and public health students. “This is intentional. When they graduate, they will be expected to consult with each other,” Abu-Baker said. Brazeau said she sees the need for academia to include interprofessional experiences in the curriculum. As health care embraces more patient-centered medical homes, she said that interactive medical teams ensure that patients get everything they need based on quality. To that end, first-year pharmacy students interact with students from Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and College of Health Professions, including those who are studying nursing, physical therapy, dietetics and social work. “The students form a fantasy team to find out what each person brings to the table so that when they begin to practice, they’ll know what role these persons play in health care for patients,” Brazeau said. In their second year, the fantasy team works with patients who come to the school. Faculty members observe the students and provide feedback. During their third year, pharmacy students interact in a case study scenario with medical students, and they are supervised by an attending physician. Marshall University School of Pharmacy also launched an Interprofessional Education Day, which enables 1,200 students from various health professions to rotate through different activities, working with other professions to learn about their roles in the healthcare team.

Keeping Current

As pharmacy school curricula emphasize team-based learning, they also are covering many bases when it comes to preparing students to adapt to ever-changing technologies. Michael Hogue, dean of Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy in Loma Linda, Calif., and the American Pharmacists Association’s new president, said that the


school is preparing students for a future that includes leveraged technology and the integration of the pharmacist to optimize patient care. Beginning in their first year, pharmacy students evaluate patients in EPIC, the electronic medical record system Loma Linda uses. “We’re ensuring that there’s consistent access to patient data through the EMR and dispensing system, so that regardless of where a pharmacist is in the system, they have a complete picture of the patient’s medications and health history, and can work together across the continuum of care,” Hogue said. “We’re engaging students day in and day out in that whole process.” Since the pace of change is happening rapidly, Hogue said that healthcare professionals need to learn how to trust each other and how to cooperate, as well as understand how other disciplines utilize technology and systems to optimize patient care. “When you have students from across the health disciplines engage together in direct patient care, and not just theoretically talking about it, you begin to really change the way health care is provided,” Hogue said. “By the time they graduate, they have a much higher comfort level using these technologies and integrating them with patient care.” Hogue cited the example of a physician who refers a discharged cardiology patient to a community pharmacist to do post-discharge counseling and follow-up care. “The pharmacy students accompany the transitions of care pharmacists. Using the EMR, the community pharmacist can reconcile the patient’s medications and have a face-to-face appointment with the patient to ensure the medicines are working effectively,” he said. “The community pharmacist can document in EPIC the care that’s been provided, so the cardiologist can see what the pharmacist has done and then there can be leveraged communication back and forth using the EMR system to ensure that the patient’s outcomes are optimal.” Beyond EMRs, academia also is providing experiences with telepharmacy so that students can collaborate with physicians who increasingly are using this technology. In fact, while all digital health tools



Left: A Marshall University School of Pharmacy student learns in the lab. Right: Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy students get hands-on experience with automation.

have seen increases in adoption by physicians since 2016, the biggest growth in adoption was among digital tools in virtual visits and remote monitoring for improved patient care, according to the American Medical Association’s Digital Health 2019 study. Beginning this year, Loma Linda will provide all pharmacy students learning opportunities in its access center, which is a large call center. This will give students practical hands-on skills in being able to deliver care telephonically, Hogue said. Similarly, Texas A&M University Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy partners with clinics that use telemedicine to serve patients in rural areas, so that students can see how telemedicine is being used. Marshall University School of Pharmacy offers a rotation experience at the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center that involves telepharmacy. Another effort to educate students on using technology is the school’s elective, dubbed “There’s an App for That,” which includes learning about apps that provide such medication information resources as Lexicomp.

New Horizons

Looking beyond technology instruction, pharmacy schools are broadening students’ expertise in innovations in patient care, such as pharmacogenomics, in which clinicians use data to learn which medicines are more effective for patients. Texas A&M University Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy is in discussion with its College of Medicine about developing a clinic where nurses, pharmacists and physicians would treat patients based on pharmacogenomics. Health informatics, which involves utilizing population health data to leverage population-based metrics and outcomes, is yet another innovative growth area pharmacists need to be aware of, Hogue said, which is why Loma Linda is offering a new master’s degree in that area as a dual-degree opportunity for students. Jon Schommer, a pharmacy professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy in Minneapolis, said the pharmacy school revamped its curriculum several years ago to include a focus on clinical advancements,

including pharmacogenomics, pharmacogenetics and evidence-based medicine, as well as a leadership track and research tracks. The latter includes courses in experimental and clinical pharmacology that are combined with graduate-level classes to address how to develop best practice guidelines if a drug is approved, Schommer said. Schommer believes that it’s important for students to know how to set up systems of care to achieve the best outcome for patients. This semester, 17 of the Minnesota College of Pharmacy’s Doctor of Pharmacy students — roughly 10% of its pharmacy class — are enrolled in a graduate-level seminar class devoted to this area. Several students also are doing a research emphasis track in the social and administration pharmacy areas that address how to achieve best value. The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy also has taken a giant step to support pharmacy students’ research opportunities. In February, the school completed an expansion of the Skaggs Pharmaceutical Sciences Center, which will house the Arizona Center for Drug Discovery.

The expansion supplies additional space for new chemistry laboratories that will be used for drug discovery, development and research in pharmaceutics, pharmacogenomics and pharmacology. It also will provide research opportunities for students in the college of pharmacy’s undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral programs. “This expansion will allow the college of pharmacy to remain on the forefront of drug discovery research and will provide current and future pharmacy students more opportunities to assist in reshaping the future of health care and treatment,” said University of Arizona College of Pharmacy dean Rick Schnellmann. If that weren’t enough, pharmacy schools also are instructing students on how they can be involved in public health issues. A good example is Marshall University School of Pharmacy’s drugs of abuse elective class, as well as its Substance Use Disorder Certificate Program for professional healthcare students and licensed professionals. “Some pharmacists are now involved with medication-assisted treatment to help folks get off of opioids,” Brazeau said. “We’re helping pharmacists understand they can be a key player in working with patients who are going through a challenging disease condition.”

Managing Projects

Project management is another critical skill needed by new pharmacists, and instilling skills in this area is on academia’s radar. Nova Southeastern is a case in point. The school is rolling out a project management concentration following a grant from CVS Health. “We’ve heard from employers, when pharmacists go into a community pharmacy setting, if they are going to take on a management role, they need to manage a project from start to finish,” Sando said. “You have to think about resources, time lines, and how to engage people in that process.” Many pharmacy schools also are encouraging students to be entrepreneurial, a trait that is becoming extremely valuable in this new era of pharmacy. For instance, Nova Southeastern’s pharmacy students participate in PharmaCon, which involves working as a team to create a

new service or product based on an assigned topic, such as transitions of care. They create a business plan, prepare a presentation, and then present it to external members of the community, including venture capitalists. “They can get feedback. Is this idea feasible, could it be funded?” Sando said. Marshall University School of Pharmacy’s focus on building entrepreneurial skills involved one team’s creation of Prescription Safety Playland, a board game based on Candyland that provides scenarios about medication safety. The game was given to 300 elementary schools in 18 school districts. Although the majority of pharmacy students enter the workforce following graduation, post-pharmacy school education is gaining importance. A case in point is Texas A&M University Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. “We talk to students about different career paths and postgraduate education, such as residency and fellowship training. We talk to them about specialty areas, such as endocrinology, cardiology, infectious diseases and oncology,” Abu-Baker said. “We’re creating more residency programs to train students who are interested.” What does the future hold for pharmacy schools? Academia experts agreed that it will be anything but status quo and pharmacy colleges will need to continue to adapt. Pharmacy schools have to stay abreast of areas that are growing, including specialty pharmacy, informatics and population health, Sando said. “Schools are trying to be innovative and to think about how can we bring some of these skills like entrepreneurship and innovation into the classroom and expose that to a big cohort of students,” she said. Finally, Hogue believes that although the way pharmacists practice pharmacy has changed rapidly, and some of the changes have been painful, there’s a tremendous opportunity for pharmacists to rethink how they engage with the system in the future. “We are trying very diligently to ensure students are exposed to those practice opportunities and have experiences, so they can take advantage of future opportunities,” he said. dsn




Point of Pride Stocking diabetes essentials can help build shoppers’ baskets By David Salazar


here are plenty of reasons for suppliers and retailers to pay attention to the diabetes category. At least 34 million reasons and, perhaps, many more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 34 million Americans have diabetes and, of those, one in five are not aware they have the condition. Other experts said the total patient population could total 50 million people. In addition, these consumers tend to spend more money on their overall healthcare needs, leading to more sales and profits for retailers that get more involved in the diabetes market. Per insights provided by GMDC | Retail Tomorrow and Hamacher Resource Group, the average health, beauty and wellness basket for a patient with diabetes is $8.01, compared with $5.81 for the average basket — a roughly 36% difference. In order to drive those supplemental purchases, though, retailers’ selections also should focus on — and keep abreast of new developments about — the essentials for patients’ disease state, particularly self-injection supplies and glucose monitoring.

Injection Safety

One of the most crucial elements of a diabetic patient’s routine is his or her daily insulin injection. And retailers with pharmacies can be a twofold resource — having a pharmacist who is educated about the condition and proper injection techniques that can be shared with patients, and stocking a selection of pen needles that are as effective as they are noninvasive. BD is looking to cover both of those bases. Besides providing pharmacist outreach and educational offerings that the company shares with retailers, the Franklin Lakes, N.J.-based company also has been upgrading its



injection offerings. Having previously introduced the BD Nano pen needles, the company recently rolled out the BD Nano 2nd Gen offering, which features a 4 mm-by-32 gauge pen needle — the minimum length needed for a subcutaneous injection. “This is the next generation to our current flagship product that is out there,” said Stacy Burch, vice president of marketing and commercial excellence at BD Diabetes Care. “It really is going to help patients with ease of use and comfort in the injection.” Burch said that the needles were designed based on Food and Drug Administration regulations, American Diabetes Association guidelines and patient feedback. The BD Nano 2nd Gen also features a contoured needle base to help compensate for variable injection. “We found out that a lot of people were jabbing themselves when they inject, which could cause the needle to go in deeper and possibly result in an intramuscular injection,” said Claire Levine, BD Diabetes Care senior manager of strategic customer marketing. “This product minimizes that potential.” Owen Mumford also focuses on injection comfort. The company’s Unifine Pentips and Pentips Plus pen needles feature its DiamondPoint and OptiFlow technologies to minimize the delivery force needed and improve drug flow. Additionally, Pentips Plus

feature a built-in removal chamber that allows patients to safely remove and contain pen needles until they can be disposed of safely.


Without ongoing monitoring of blood glucose levels, patients cannot figure out their insulin doses. Tracking these results also is a central part of condition management, and in helping physicians see how patients are doing. Enter Tampa, Fla.-based Smart Meter, whose iGlucose monitor is cell enabled, making it possible to instantly send reading results to a cloud server to help patients track results and easily share them with their doctor. Rather than needing to be connected to a computer to download results or share them via Bluetooth, iGlucose “bypasses all of those potential points of friction,” said Brahim Zabelli, Smart Meter’s CEO. “From the user’s perspective, they’re not doing anything different than they’ve done for the last 30 years. They just test their blood glucose and, for them, it’s a very seamless process.” The company offers web-based dashboards for visualizing results, as well as a mobile app for tracking on the go. There also is a virtual coach that sends feedback to patients, offering kudos for readings within range, or letting them know when they might be out of range and suggesting ways to get to a better baseline. Importantly, Zabelli said, it enables providers — a group that increasingly is including pharmacists — to keep better tabs on their patients. “The healthcare provider can see the data and quickly get back to the patient if there’s something that looks like it’s bad,” he said. “That feedback is really meaningful in this type of environment.”dsn

SAME GREAT PRODUCT, FRESH NEW LOOK Packaging that makes it easy for the pharmacy staff to identify and dispense the right product to the right patient. Plus, you can count on the very same #1-selling brand of pen needles and insulin syringes your patients prefer.1 Discover the difference of convenience. Discover the new BD.


bd.com/pharmacypartner-DSN 1 Symphony Rx data. Jan.–Dec. 2017. © 2020 BD. BD and the BD Logo are trademarks of Becton, Dickinson and Company. 4377

1910004377-0220-BDM-DC-20 MED DC-FINAL.indd 1

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MDC | Retail Tomorrow and Hamacher Resource Group have joined forces to bring to life the Selfcare Roadmap, a tool meant to identify opportunities, reveal how next practices can reshape the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, inspire new merchandising and service models, and provide impact across all aisles. The tool, which 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 the diabetes category. dsn Diabetes




UNIT SALES OF BEAUTY ITEMS IN MARKET BASKET 1% Multicultural Beauty Care 2% Hair Accessories 4% Sun Care



13% Shaving and Grooming


26% West

13% Cosmetics


15% Deodorants

30% 24%

15% Hair Care Key insight: Across all regions, the top categories patients with diabetes intend to purchase from are: diet/nutrition and vitamins/supplements. Tied for third were skin care medication and hydration.


37% Skin Care


Average HBW Product

Jan 2018 Jan 2017




14. 5.64 60

15. 5. 29

Jan 2019



13. 5.73 92


The average retail price of diabetes care products has been decreasing the last two years, however, it is still nearly 2.5 times greater than the price of an average HBW item.

Key insight: Test strips led the way with a nearly $4 drop in average test strip retail prices.



Key insight: Thirty-three percent of non-therapuetic skin care units are store-brand items.



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Pen Needles with a Built-in Remover 1. Comparison of 33G to 32G max outer needle diameter in accordance with ISO 9626:2016 standards. 2. HRW (2014) Impact of Unifine Pentips Plus on pen needle changing behaviour amongst people with diabetes medicating with injectable formats. 3. Unifine Pentips Plus was preferred by 61% of patients to their standard pen needle. 4. Compliance is defined as the changing of pen needle after every injection. 5. Complete compatibility information available on owenmumford.com 6.Independent and chain pharmacy co-pay adjudication (April 2016). Actual coverage and co-pay may vary from setting to setting, and insurer to insurer. Data on file. DSN2019ADVA/OMI/1018/1/US

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Untitled-2 1

1/24/2019 11:26:26 AM


Selling Past the Taboo Shifting consumer values and a host of product introductions are changing the way retailers merchandise the sexual wellness category By Seth Mendelson


ex sells. Well, at least that is what more and more retailers and suppliers are hoping. As decades-long taboos finally start to subside across the country, more mass merchants are willing to stock sexual wellness items, including devices and toys that just a few years ago would never find their way onto retail shelves. Yes, that means that retailers are stocking a greater variety of condoms and placing the items on open shelves so consumers do not have to ask a clerk or pharmacist for the items. It also means that retailers are venturing into territory that many thought they would never traverse, even just a few years ago. They are stocking — on open shelves — such products as vibrators, messagers and other devices. They also are being more brash



— some said realistic — about the marketing of condoms and lubricants, and even promoting the sex toys with in-store signage. Most consumers, many industry officials said, are not complaining. Why not? “Because consumer sentiment quickly has changed over the last few years and more shoppers — especially women — want easy access to buying these items,” said a senior executive at a Southeastern supermarket chain. “We started stocking these items and placing them in open areas about two years ago, and we have received nearly no complaints, even in the more rural and conservative areas of our marketing territory. Plus, it means more sales and profits for us.” Unfortunately, it is not that easy for mass retailers to find a spot in the sexual wellness marketplace. As demand for some of

these products soar, more shoppers are turning to the Internet to purchase them, seeking anonymity and the advantage of having these products arrive in unmarked packages, not to mention competitive prices and an extremely broad selection of merchandise. So how do traditional retailers hold on to their share of the market while trying to gain more traction in the new, more risqué, ends of the segment? Some said it is as simple as stocking the right items at the right price points, and in the right locations. Stephanie Trachtenberg, head of marketing at Newton, Mass.-based Clio, said her company’s line of sexual wellness products, all introduced over the last year or so, is booming because of the assortment and affordable price points — not to mention the success in getting retailers to carry them.


“Consumers need to be served the right products,” Trachtenberg said, noting that during anxious times, consumers are looking for ways to reduce stress. “The taboo of being forced to go to secret stores to buy these items is over. Now, consumers can go to many of their favorite drug stores to purchase these items, and the list is growing all the time. Our products are palatable and approachable. And, they are priced correctly to get consumers to purchase them.” Clio offers six devices, plus a line of lubricants and toy cleaning wipes. Price points range between $10 and about $35, Trachtenberg said, noting that similar items sold at other retailers can be double or triple the price points. “We have to encourage retailers to create a sexual wellness department, so that consumers will know where to find these items when they are looking for them,” she said. “These shoppers have a lot more spending power these days. It is in the interest of these retailers to create a sexual wellness section that will show these shoppers that they want to be involved in the category.” Retailers may also want to take a closer look at the lubricant market, a segment that most of the major players in the industry — including LifeStyle brands and Trojan — have gotten involved in, and a segment that most think has a big future ahead of it. “The lubricant market is growing in retail,” said Michael Trigg, founder and CEO of Trigg Laboratories. “As society is changing, sexual health and wellness products are becoming more mainstream. Consumers also love something new, fresh and fun.” Trigg also said the market has seen an increase in the more ingredient-conscious



consumer. “People, especially women, are paying more attention to the ingredients in lube and thinking about how they will affect their bodies,” he said. “Cruelty-free, parabenfree and organic products have become more important to consumers. Therefore, we focus on providing these elements in wet products.” Yet, retailers need to help here as well. Trigg said that although sexual healthand-wellness products are becoming more widely accepted, some people may still be hesitant to ask questions about the product. “It’s important to have clear signage and any information up and/or available,” he said. “Some retailers and pharmacies have also found success adding our products to their female hygiene section.” Trigg said that it is always important for suppliers to be innovating and updating when it comes to their products. Trigg said the company is releasing several new and updated products this year, including the Wet Gold Hybrid and Wet Cool Tingle. “Our Gold Hybrid is a luxury siliconeand water-based blended formula,” he said. “Fans of our Wet Platinum product who are interested in taking advantage of the easy cleanup of a water-based lubricant will love this combination product. With our Wet Cool Tingle arousing lubricant, we are addressing a desire that women have of wanting a lubricant to add more sensation during use. This product is sure to heighten pleasure and intimacy for all who use it. “ While sexual wellness devices and associated products are gaining more acceptance with retailers and consumers, the more traditional products in this category — mostly condoms — have been struggling at retail. Industry

officials said that a combination of increased sales through the Internet and more consumers deciding not to use them for one reason or another is playing havoc on the segment. According to Carol Carrozza, marketing manager at Florham Park, N.J.-based Okamoto USA, younger consumers — Generation Z and millennials in particular — are having less sex or are having sex with fewer partners. “In addition, there is a trend where emergency contraception is skyrocketing, and that shows that these people are not using condoms,” she said. “That is a scary thought because it does not address the need to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and the role condoms can play in preventing them.” Okamoto is combating the consumers’ decision not to use condoms by introducing Wink to the marketplace. The product, which Carrozza said is the thinnest condom available and it features discreet, upscale packaging. “This product is designed to restore sensitivity to the condom category,” she said. “It makes us different than most other products in the marketplace, and it gets more people to use condoms again.” Other players in the market also are getting much more aggressive with product innovation and marketing. Category leader Trojan, owned by Church & Dwight, is pushing various condoms that focus on offering a better experience for the user. The company is offering its Ultra Ribbed, BareSkin and Nirvana products in upscale packaging to gain consumer awareness. Not to be outdone, LifeStyles Healthcare has introduced Zero, a condom that company officials said is 52% thinner than its other products and features its patented Ultraglide lubricant. dsn


It’s Raining Men’s Opportunities for men’s products continue to grow even as shave sales decline By Seth Mendelson


t seems that it is all up to men this year. At least that might be true when it comes to big parts of the health and beauty care landscape, where lackluster sales in parts of the category seem to be hoping that the men’s care segments can pick up much of the pace. The bottom line is that men are spending more than ever on their HBC needs, and that is helping retailers survive a slowdown in much of the industry. Still, merchants and suppliers are looking to men to open their wallets even wider to buy not only new products, but items in such categories as skin care, where they have not traditionally purchased many items in the past. Men’s personal care is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 5.4%, en route to $166 billion by 2022 worldwide, according to Allied Market Research. Nielsen vice president Genevieve Aronson shared data that revealed men’s grooming as the second largest gainer (behind eyelash treatments) for the 52-week period that ended last December, up 26% in dollars and 31% in units. Deborah Weinswig, founder of Coresight Research, predicted continued growth will be driven by change in gender stereotypes, aggressive marketing campaigns, advancements in technology of products and the rise of disposable income. Men’s products, industry experts predicted, will be one of the bright spots of 2020. Yet, it will not be the traditional razors and shavers pacing



With beards in vogue and maintenance a budding segment of the category, CVS Pharmacy is highlighting upscale shave brand The Art of Shaving, which previously had only been sold in prestige doors.

sales and bringing men to stores — those categories are suffering, losing out to online competitors and a decline in daily shaving. Instead, retailers expect more launches of shave products that do more than facial hair removal, and continued push into beard care, unisex grooming lines, skin care, devices and hair thickening.

Innovating on Hairitage

As shave, the longtime men’s grooming cornerstone, is losing its cachet, manufacturers are getting creative. Category mainstay Edgewell Personal Care, the maker of Schick, is thinking out of the box. “As weekly hair removal penetration continues to decline, there is a need to

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search beyond the traditional ‘clean shaver’ by addressing the more diverse men’s grooming needs,” said Nicole Harris, senior brand manager at Edgewell. “And with no sign that the facial hair trend is going away, manufacturers and retailers must think about new ways to cater to the needs of these men.” Harris said one of Edgewell’s answers is the Xtreme3 Face & Body razor under its Xtreme Men’s Disposable Brand that is exclusive for this year to Target. “Equipped with our unique flexible blade technology, this razor is designed for total body comfort, with a pivoting head that easily adapts to body contours,” Harris said. “It has lubricating strips with aloe vera and vitamin E to help prevent skin irritation and a guard bar formulated with jojoba oil and shea butter for skin comfort.” Harris also said the brand will continue to push its core brand Xtreme in an effort to streamline and simplify the shopping experience. “We learned that over 60% of shave consumers are undecided at shelf, and when they spend less time searching, it directly correlates to the number of items in their basket.” While razor/blade companies seek new avenues, other companies are bringing skin and hair care to the forefront of mass retail departments. “Men’s skin care in the U.S. is vastly underdeveloped versus many international markets,” said Michael Law, chief commercial officer at Eagle Labs, which produces RSVP Skin Care for Men, a premium skin care brand for men with natural and organic properties. The much-heralded men’s skin care explosion has been a long time coming. Parallel to the natural beauty category, which has been touted as a revolution for years and is only now hitting stride, men’s sales have long been promised to surge. Big brands that include Nivea for Men and Dove + Men have been trailblazers and are now being joined by a plethora of nascent brands looking for a share of the pie. Yet men are tricky. They need to be wooed. Experts believe the foundation is in place to make 2020 a breakthrough year, with burnished departments at chains including CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid and Target. The good news is that men like to shop physical spaces, according to a 2018 Prosper Insights &



Duke Cannon Supply’s products are featured prominently on endcaps in CVS Pharmacy stores. The fixture welcomes shoppers to the men’s area in the retailer’s latest store format.

Analytics report, “Men’s Grooming Category is Ready for Disruption,” which showed that Walmart is the destination most preferred by men for shopping for personal care and hygiene, followed by CVS Pharmacy, Target, Walgreens and Amazon. Yet more is needed to accelerate men’s sales and halt any migration to online. Sam Swartz, co-founder of Duke Cannon Supply, suggested putting effort behind emerging lines. “Traditional retail wisdom suggests it is best to dedicate the most valuable display space to the biggest and established brands,” he said. “But we’re seeing the most progressive retailers, the ones enjoying the most incremental growth, dedicate endcaps to newer, up-and-coming brands.” CVS Pharmacy is a case in point. The powerhouse drug chain counts Duke Cannon among a long list of nascent brands it is stocking to shake up the status quo. One of the most dramatic displays in its new store format is an eye-catching Duke Cannon endcap, positioned at the entry of the men’s area. The

range has beard, shave and face items, as well as body and hair products. As part of its efforts to gain a bigger share of men’s spending, CVS Pharmacy also devotes an endcap to The Art of Shaving, which previously only had been sold in prestige doors.

A Niche in Time

Niche brands have made inroads in women’s grooming, and that same trend is emerging in the men’s category. Scotch Porter recently announced a retail partnership in roughly 500 Target stores that will stock its beard and skin collection. The brand was founded when Calvin Quallis, who gained experience working in his family’s barbershop, experimented in his kitchen making products. Today, he’s expanded into beard and skin collections, as well as a just announced hair care range. Featuring such ingredients as kale protein and white willow bark, Quallis said the collection focuses on coily, curly, kinky and wavy hair. “Our brand is built on being inclusive and cross cultural,” Quallis




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said. “We know how to talk to these customers, and that’s the benefit we bring Target.” Some industry experts felt the beard craze would fade, but fashion and sales trends have said it is here to stay — at least for a while. Quallis is confident that beards are not a fad, and not just for hipsters. Accordingly, beard care represents a big opportunity for mass retailers and can serve as an entry point for sales of skin care. The theory is that they’ll start with beard care and add a full skin care regimen. Target’s expanding men’s department supports that theory. The chain has added more than 600 new products in its new men’s selection, including Harry’s Cremo, Beardbrand, Hue for Every Man and BYRD.

Coming by it Naturally

Ensuring there are men’s products for all hair types and complexions is paramount at Target. One of the brands checking off that box is Hue for Every Man. “Our all-natural line of men’s premium grooming products work for all hair textures, as well as every skin type and color,” said Jessica Estrada, founder of Hue for Every Man. The natural positioning also is key, she said. That’s crucial, according to Coresight Research’s Weinswig, who said men are more likely than women to prefer natural and organic skin care. That’s prompting a flood of “better-for-you” formulations. Dr. Tusk is a new brand that hits upon



growing consumer interest in buying products with a purpose teamed with natural ingredients. The brand supports organic farmers, promotes natural grooming and is dedicated to environmental sustainability. Also, the brand donates 3% of proceeds to charitable partners specializing in the preservation and conservation of elephants. The products hit upon major trends in grooming — natural formulas harnessing the power of hemp, caffeine and dragon’s blood in skin care, while hair and styling use water-based hemp protein extract and caffeine pomades. Former McKesson executive turned brand founder Stan Ades and his wife, C.C. Sofronas, launched Pacific Shaving to break down the barriers giving shaving a “bad name.” The lineup is naturally derived with vegan ingredients. Hero products include Natural Shave Oil, Caffeinated Shaving Cream, and Aftershave and Bamboo PreShave Scrub. The range is sold at more than 10,000 stores, including select Target and CVS Pharmacy locations. With all of the products coming out of the woodwork, Ades recommended balance. “Brands made up of ‘me-too’ products are popping up on the shelf, which is only giving retail shelves the appearance of variety,” he said. “I think this category boom — and virtuous cycle — can continue if retail continues to offer consumers the right balance of product and brand variety. Without it, the shaving aisle stops being a destination for

discovery, and the cyclical retail exercise of SKU rationing is imminent.” “That goes for packaging, key ingredients and, most importantly, benefits. That’s not to say the products need to be simple,” Ades said. “I think men will purchase expanded-regimen products, especially if they are effective and differentiated. What’s important is that the whole package needs to be easy to understand and answer the question, what’s in it for me?” RSVP, according to Eagle Labs’ Law, was created as a natural, organic skin care alternative to large national men’s care brands that may contain a lot of unnecessary chemical ingredients. “Both men and women are becoming more educated on chemical ingredients and their impact on both the environment and their bodies” Law said. “It’s actually very scary to learn about the impact that chemicals can have as they enter your bloodstream through your skin care products. Women are ahead of men in their education in this area, but they are teaching their men and reading labels much more carefully.”

Bright Spots

Devices continue to constitute a solid opportunity in the space. Beard grooming has opened the door for greater sales of tools. Men can’t always visit a barber, so they are doing more grooming at home. To that end, retailers are adding more shelf space for such items as beard and body trimmers from brands such as Wahl and Andis. “Analysts are predicting category growth of over 40% in the next several years,” said Bruce Kramer, senior vice president of North America consumer division at Wahl Clipper. “The industry has recognized this and is providing new tools and products to help men achieve the look they want.” Wahl has responded with new brushes and combs for hair, beards and body. Grooming and removing hair are top of mind, but so is thickening hair. From the makers of women’s Keronique is Thick Head, which without an aggressive marketing push, already is No. 4 in the category, according to Charlene Deegan-Calello, vice president of new product development and research and development at Atlantic Coast Brands. With a robust marketing plan expected for 2020, she predicted “big things for the brand.” dsn












3:12 PM


Beauty is not one-sizefits-all or one-genderfits-all. Men need to show their skin, hair and bodies a little TLC. This month, Drug Store News is highlighting a few products to help men give their grooming routines a bit of an upgrade.

Scotch Porter’s new hair care collection builds on the company’s men-focused brands. Featured in the line is a Hydrating Hair Wash, which contains an herbal and botanical blend, that aims to activate healthy scalp and hair growth, as well as reduce flakes. The hair wash, which also contains kale protein and horsetail extract, retails for $11.99. The collection also includes Scotch Porter’s Nourish & Repair Hair Conditioner, which contains biotin to promote softness and shine; features a blend of botanicals to promote healthy hair growth; and retails for $11.99. Other products featured in the collection are hair balm, hair serum and a leave-in conditioner.

Personal care can’t be ignored, but men increasingly are skeptical of some ingredients in traditional deodorant products. That’s where Every Man Jack’s Natural Deodorant comes into play. Featured in a variety of scents that include natural hemp, activated charcoal, volcanic clay and shea butter, the deodorant is made with naturally derived ingredients, is free of parabens and phthalates, and is not tested on animals. It currently retails for $7 online at everymanjack.com.



Hue for Every Man’s Shave Lotion Lotion, which aims to nourish skin and prevent ingrown hairs, also acts as a purifying exfoliant that cleanses pores while shaving. The shave lotion, formulated to combat razor bumps, skin discoloration and irritation from shaving, looks to lift the hair follicles and tone facial pores. It can be found online and at select Target stores.


Addressing the Workforce Challenge Big steps are needed to secure talent and prepare for the changing nature of work 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, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. You know how it went: One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. One of the biggest lessons was that you can accomplish almost anything if you really set your mind on it. It’s in that spirit that I bring up one of retail’s biggest challenges: workforce. I would call this a giant challenge, and a bit later I’ll address how an actual retail giant — Giant Food Stores — is addressing workforce hurdles. But first, what is involved and why is this such a big challenge? The most high-profile hurdles involve recruitment and retention as the competition for talent intensifies. In my October 2019 column, I outlined how retailers are responding by boosting training, benefits and compensation. But workforce issues are about more than just hiring and retention. The nature of retail work itself is changing. Many retail jobs still involve decadesold tasks in physical stores, but the reality is that workforces are “a collage of full-time employees, gig workers and artificial intelligence, performing an ever-widening range of tasks,” as noted in a recent Progressive Grocer piece from Jan. 3. Today’s retail goals — from boosting physical stores’ experiential offerings to excelling in omnichannel — require new associate skill sets. An increasingly diverse workforce needs to be comfortable working in an environment that melds humans and robots.

Workforce issues are about more than just hiring and retention. The nature of retail work itself is changing. Today’s retail goals require new associate skill sets. Technology adds complexity, but also can make things easier. Walmart and other retailers are adopting the latest workplace technologies that enhance communications, scheduling and efforts to provide flexibility for associates. The future of retail workforces was spotlighted at the recent FMI Midwinter Executive Conference,



hosted by FMI – The Food Industry Association. One compelling educational session focused on the need to break down bias barriers to foster a more inclusive workplace for associates. One of the speakers was Nick Bertram, president of Giant Food Stores, who outlined his organization’s efforts. Bertram said he has a personal passion for workplace inclusion and that he wants his retail organization to be heavily focused on this goal. I had an opportunity to sit down with Bertram for an extensive discussion. Some of the company’s recent initiatives he emphasized include: l Business Resource Groups: Giant Food Stores operates affinity groups for everyone from veterans to black and Latino associates. These groups create community and awareness, and support employees; l President’s Inclusion Council: This council is a forum for associates to relay ideas and challenges. For example, recent input led to a new parental leave policy. Bertram said the council is adding some external voices that will help bring new input to widen the perspectives; and l Inclusion Index: Giant’s parent, Ahold Delhaize, has created an index based on an annual engagement survey. This inclusion index already is providing important internal feedback for the company. Meanwhile, parts of the company’s global team are involved in a “reverse mentoring” program to enable employees to help teach leaders. I give a lot of credit to Bertram, Giant Food Stores and Ahold Delhaize for their progress in trying to boost inclusion and create supportive workplace environments companywide. Retailers need to pursue multiple solutions for the workforce challenges they face. Efforts that might seem contradictory — such as empowering people and boosting automation — actually are different parts of the same effort to build more sustainable workplaces. Success isn’t necessarily a straight line. It took a lot of trial and error to get to the moon, but the Eagle finally landed. dsn

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