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REX Awards 2022 OTC & Preventive Health Page 64


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Vol. 44 No. 3

Facebook.com/DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/DrugStoreNews




Industry Experts Offer Big Ideas


Existing challenges are likely to continue, but bold thinking will provide opportunity



Men’s Grooming

Is the men’s personal care category expecting a bounce this year?



Committed to the Community

Patient-centric regional pharmacies play an important role in many small towns and communities throughout the United States



Delivering Differently Pill fatigue drives delivery format innovations 62


Got CBD? Get Gummies DEPARTMENTS 8








The popular form factor offers a consumer-pleasing opportunity



GUEST COLUMN By Biologics by McKesson’s Paula Bickley and Ashleigh Burdette ONE-ON-ONE with Kaleidoscope Hair Products’ Jesseca Dupart



ONE-ON-ONE with OneEvent Technologies’ Kurt Wedig LAST WORD By David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel



Providing Solutions

DSN’s Retail Excellence Awards spotlight companies that develop innovative over-the-counter products

DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) is published monthly 12 times a year by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rate in the United States: $125 one year; $230 two year; $14 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $150 one year; $270 two year; $16 single issue copy; Foreign: $170 one year; $325 two year; $16 single issue copy. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Vol. 44 No. 3, March 2022. Copyright © 2022 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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Problem Solvers Sure, retail pharmacy has challenges, but great minds are exploring solutions By Nigel F. Maynard


Here at Drug Store News we are constantly talking with industry folks and writing about all of the challenges retail pharmacy is facing. The headwinds are similar for many retail sectors in general, but some are specific to the pharmacy business, whether you’re talking about legacy stand-alone retailers or those within other brick-andmortar chains. This month we thought we’d continue the conversation with more experts to find out possible solutions to some of these issues the industry is facing. We assembled a panel of consultants, suppliers and pharmacy executives to discuss the challenges and the fixes. As a refresher, the challenges facing retail pharmacies include increasing competition from e-commerce players, the need to drive foot traffic into brick-and-mortar stores, the tight labor market, DIR fees and more. Experts say retail pharmacy brands are already doing their part to help drive foot traffic: They are transforming their stores into healthcare destinations. “In terms of opportunities, we see many major retail pharmacies, like CVS and Walgreens, broadening their offerings into healthcare services, which we view positively,” Julie Utterback, senior equity analyst, healthcare, at Morningstar Research Services, told us. “Continued growth in services could increase the productivity of their ubiquitous store footprints — an area of differentiation for the retailers versus local primary care physicians and competing managed care organizations — and make the stores an even more integral part of the U.S. healthcare system.” Building loyalty with reward programs, offering convenience and creating personalized service will also benefit pharmacies. “To further encourage a healthy lifestyle, drug stores could award points or rewards for consumers achieving certain fitness milestones, like hitting a step goal or sleeping a set number of hours,” said Sean Burke, a retail industry lead and associate partner at Clarkston Consulting. “Loyalty and reward programs are a great avenue for this.” Our panel had many other bold — and not so bold — moves for retail pharmacy, but you’ll have to read our story to find out what they had to say. The article begins on page 39. dsn

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 | Editorial Director Nigel F. Maynard nigelmaynard@ensembleiq.com


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AUDIENCE LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti 914-309-3378 SUBSCRIBER SERVICES/ CUSTOMER CARE TOLL-FREE: 1-877-687-7321 FAX: 1-888-520-3608 contact@drugstorenews.com REPRINTS & PERMISSIONS Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com or (877) 652-5295. EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD John Beckner, NCPA Becky Dant, Costco J. Jeremy Faulks, Thrifty White Pharmacy Doug M. Long, IQVIA Nancy Lyons, Health Mart Pharmacy K. Wayne Orvis, Walgreens Katie Scanlon, Publix Super Markets Heidi Snyder, Drug World Pharmacies

CORPORATE OFFICERS Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer, Jane Volland Chief Human Resources Officer, Ann Jadown EVP, Operations, Derek Estey Senior Vice President, Content, Joe Territo



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New Products, New People, New Challenges & Opportunities... Offer YOUR Solutions in DSN’s NACDS Show Dailies Live from the show: topical news

about the people, products and ideas moving retail pharmacy forward

Contact your sales rep now to see the possibilities for your brand. Alex Tomas Sales Account Manager 212.756.5155 atomas@drugstorenews.com

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Steven Werner Regional Manager 312-961-7162 swerner@drugstorenews.com

3/1/22 4:04 PM


DrOwl, SingleCare Join Forces on Prescription Discount Service DrOwl, a patented, HIPAAcompliant platform enabling users to securely access, understand and share their medical records, partnered with SingleCare. Through this partnership, DrOwl users will have access to savings of up to 80% on their medications through integration with SingleCare, the companies said. DrOwl, which was created to aid users in easily accessing their medical information, will now provide customers with information on their prescriptions, real-time pricing and provide savings on more than 10,000 medications at nearby pharmacies. From this alliance, the companies look to empower their customers by providing price transparency and access to lower-cost prescriptions, which aids users in making more informed decisions while saving money and staying healthier longer, the companies said. The DrOwl app is a free platform that enables users to sync their medical information and get a customized Patient Portal that features their specific conditions, medications and allergies.

Walgreens, Volta to Expand Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Walgreens is poised to offer more customers new and different digital experiences alongside convenient solutions, thanks to an expanded partnership with electric vehicle infrastructure company Volta. Volta began working with Walgreens in 2019 and currently has DC fastcharging stations across 49 of its stores. The expanded partnership has a target of installing 1,000 of these stalls at more than 500 of the retailer’s locations nationwide. “As we expand our DC fast-charging presence across the country, Walgreens is an ideal match for faster forms of Volta charging given the average time a Walgreens shopper typically spends in-store,” said Scott Mercer, founder and CEO of Volta. With high impact, large format digital screens, Volta stations also double as an innovative, digital out-of-home advertising opportunity. Through its screens, the company allows brands to reach shoppers seconds before they enter a store to make a purchase while simultaneously driving measurable business results and environmental impact, Volta said.

Kroger’s Tuffin Announces Retirement

Mark Tuffin

Kenny Kimball


Kroger is undergoing some changes within its leadership division. The retailer announced that Mark Tuffin, senior vice president of retail divisions, will be retiring on April 1 after more than 26 years of service. Tuffin began his career in the grocery industry at Smitty’s in Arizona, where he had various positions before joining Kroger subsidiary Smith’s in 1996. Since joining the company, he has served as vice president of transition and president of Smith’s before taking over as senior vice president of retail divisions. Kenny Kimball, president of Smith’s division, will take

over for Tuffin upon his departure, the company said. In his new role, Kimball will oversee several retail divisions across the organization, including during the interim, as well as continue to manage the responsibility of Smith’s division. Kimball joined the organization in 1984 as a courtesy clerk in the Smith’s division and has had several leadership roles in the years that followed. Most notably, he served as senior vice president of sales and merchandising in 2009, vice president of merchandising for the Ralphs division in 2012 and vice president of operations at Ralphs in 2013.


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Ahold Delhaize Appoints Private Brands Head

Madam by Madam C.J. Walker Caters to Textured Hair Care Needs Madam C.J. Walker is aiming to respect, protect and perfect the wide range of styles worn by women of color by launching the Madam by Madam C.J. Walker hair care line by Sundial Brands. The collection features 11 products with damage-defying formulas that cater to the hair care needs of textured tresses. The collection includes: • Healthy Scalp with Wonderful Hair Balm to Oil and Healthy Scalp Serum; • Stronger Hair with Revive and Reset Shampoo, Strengthen and Restore Conditioner, Instant Repair Deep Conditioner and Detangling Leave-In Conditioner; and • Unlimited Styling with Stretch and Define Curl Cream, Humidity Shield Styling Gel, Strengthen and Shine and Braid Spray, Split End Smoothing Serum, and Smooth and Sleek Heat Protectant Spray.

Xiromed Debuts Generic Nitropress Xiromed is introducing sodium nitroprusside injection in a dosage strength of 50 mg/2 ml (25 mg/ml). The medication, which is the generic of Nitropress, is used to treat the symptoms of acute heart failure, hypertensive crisis and controlled hypotension during surgery. “The launch of sodium nitroprusside injection is Xiromed’s latest offering from our pipeline of injectable products and demonstrates our commitment to providing value to our institutional customers,” said Xiromed CEO Narasimhan Mani. Nitropress and its generics had a market value of $3.7 million for the 12 months ending November 2021, according to IQVIA.


Peapod Digital Labs, the digital, commercial and e-commerce arm of the Ahold Delhaize USA brands, is welcoming Ian Prisuta to the company as senior vice president of private brands. In this role, Prisuta will lead the team responsible for delivering a full suite of private brands services from new product development to innovation, product packaging and design, quality, product integrity and sustainability to the local brands of Ahold Delhaize USA. “We are proud to welcome Ian to the company,” said J.J. Fleeman, president of digital and commercial services at Peapod Digital Labs. “I am confident that Ian’s leadership and experience will enable us to deliver products, with compelling price and product positioning, and a story that surprises and inspires customers, especially during a continued time of growth for the private brand sector,” Fleeman said. Prisuta will be responsible for the full suite of private brand products, including Taste of Inspirations, Nature’s Promise, CareOne and other private labels.


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Splat Melts Blends Chocolate Browns, Vivid Bolds Splat is debuting a brand-new hair color collection that combines rich chocolate hues with bold shades. Splat Melts, which mixes chocolate browns and vivid bolds to help users create on-trend and personalized looks, is formulated with quinoa extract and baobab seed oil for conditioning and strengthening properties. “At Splat we encourage self-expression and embracing individuality through bold hair color; expanding our offer to include Splat Melts felt like a natural next step,” said Jenniffer Paulson, vice president of marketing


at Developlus, Splat’s parent company. “Splat Melts semipermanent ombre complete kits are perfect for beginner DIY-ers looking to experiment with bold hair color. Whether bold bangs, split dye or color melt, the creativity is bold and endless with this collection.” Available in four kits — milk chocolate and purple plum, milk chocolate and mixed berries, dark chocolate and blueberry, and dark chocolate and strawberry — each contains pre-measured bleach and hair dyes to eliminate the need for various kits, the company said.


* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Higi’s Health Guide Program Looks to Help Control Blood Pressure Consumer health engagement company Higi is unveiling its Health Guide program. The launch of this new program follows the company’s previous announcement of a partnership with the American Heart Association’s Center for Health Technology & Innovation Innovators’ Network in November 2020. Offering solution-focused and personalized actionable opportunities for the improvement of blood pressure, the Health Guide program is an enhancement of the existing Higi platform delivered via its nationwide network of nearly 10,000 FDA cleared, free-to-use self-screening Smart Health Stations and home health devices. The Health Guide program provides easy-to-use access to best-in-class science from the American Heart Association via the association’s CarePlans, which provides participants with information based on self-selected health topics and actionable guidance designed to help them better manage their blood pressure, the company said. For participants who feel they lack the time, knowledge or resources to address their risk factors, the program looks to help them better understand and manage hypertension, as well as empower users to take action to work toward improved health. According to data collected by Higi in an earlier iteration of the program, nearly 60% of participants had blood pressure readings in the hypertensive range, yet only 28% had received a hypertension diagnosis from a healthcare professional and only 39% self-identified as actively working to better manage their blood pressure.


CVS Health to Give Pharmacists Dedicated Lunch Break It’s no secret that pharmacists have been tasked with additional duties amid the lingering pandemic. CVS Health is aiming to ease their workload during the day with a new initiative. The company recently announced that it is rolling out a lunch break across its pharmacies that will enable pharmacists to have an uninterrupted break. “We want to make sure our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are at their best, which means supporting their schedules accordingly. While we’ve always had a meal break policy, we’ve begun rolling out a pre-scheduled, uninterrupted lunch break across our pharmacies,” a CVS spokesperson said. “This break gives our pharmacy teams a predictable and consistent daily pause while minimizing disruption to our patients. Starting Feb. 28, most of our pharmacies will be closed for a lunch break from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., local time. We’re proactively notifying customers and appreciate their support and understanding.” The news about lunch closures comes a year after the pharmacy chain announced it is closing 900 stores — about 10% of its locations — over the next three years. Both CVS and Walgreens temporarily closed some stores in January due to staff shortages during the omicron surge, with some CVS locations temporarily closed one or both days of the weekend, according to a TCplam.com report.


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Cardinal Health, Kinaxis Partner to Optimize Digital Supply Chain Planning

Miss Spa’s No-Slip Masks Simplify At-home Skin Care Routines When it comes to at-home skin care, a concern many consumers may face is having face masks slip off while performing other tasks. To help make this an issue of the past, Miss Spa is introducing six new no-slip masks that not only stay in place but also target an array of skin care concerns. Available in 64% recyclable bioplastic packaging made from sugar cane, the vegan masks feature a cruelty-free formula, the company said. Miss Spa’s no-slip masks include: • C U L8R Neck hydrogel patch made with watermelon and aloe extract, which helps smooth neck lines; • Future So Bright serum-infused hydrogel patch formulated with caffeine and B3 vitamins, which brightens and depuffs the under eyes; • Smoothin’ On Over hydrogel patches containing tiger grass and watermelon, which help moisturize and smooth fine lines; • Pout Perfect hydrogel patch made with avocado oil and watermelon, which hydrates and smoothes dry lips; • Eyes on the Prize hydrogel patch formulated with eucalyptus and marigold extracts, which is designed to smooth and revitalize the eye area; and • No Tox hydrogel forehead patch containing tiger grass and watermelon, which hydrates skin and smoothes fine lines.

Cardinal Health is set to increase medical product visibility and supply chain agility via a collaboration with Kinaxis’ RapidResponse platform. Kinaxis said it expects to enhance Cardinal Health’s medical supply chain through concurrent planning and end-to-end network visibility and transparency while factoring in seasonality and pandemic planning. In addition, the companies plan on enhancing and instantly balancing demand and supply while accounting for capacity safeguards; and simulating product supply scenarios in seconds to create bestfit solutions for customers. The platform supports fast, confident decisions using advanced insights and analytics in real time, the companies said. Cardinal Health will focus initial implementation efforts of Kinaxis RapidResponse within the Cardinal Health at-Home Solutions business, the largest direct-to-home supplier of disposable medical supplies, with an expected completion date of summer 2022. “Integrating Kinaxis RapidResponse allows us to view our entire supply chain in real time to proactively mitigate and minimize potential impacts to our customers — and, ultimately, their patients,” said Paul Rodio, senior vice president of global planning at Cardinal Health. “Kinaxis is a key enabler to driving optimization in our end-to-end global planning process.” Full implementation of the RapidResponse platform across the Cardinal Health medical business is anticipated for completion by the end of the calendar year 2023, the company said.

Camber Introduces Generic Emend Camber is offering fosaprepitant for injection. The medication is the generic of Emend. Fosaprepitant for injection is indicated in adults for the prevention of acute and delayed nausea and vomiting associated with initial and repeat courses of highly emetogenic cancer chemotherapy, including high-dose cisplatin. The medication also is indicated for delayed nausea and vomiting associated with initial and repeat courses of moderately emetogenic cancer chemotherapy. Camber’s generic Emend is available in a dosage strength of 150 mg per vial-single dose.



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The Importance of Holistic Supplier, Retailer Partnerships The final panel of DSN’s annual Industry Issues Summit highlighted supplier and retailer partnerships By Sandra Levy

Drug Store News kicked off the final panel of its three-day annual Industry Issues Summit on Dec. 1 with a panel of retailers and suppliers sharing their views on how to create holistic partnerships. Moderator Dan Mack, founder of Mack Elevation, started by saying that the nature of partnerships is changing due to a variety of factors. “We’re seeing a world where there’s increased costs, inflation and limited faceto-face interaction,” Mack said. Every time there’s a disruption, there’s an opportunity “if you’re staying in front of it and ask the right questions,” he continued. “We’re in an age of ideas, knowledge and co-creation. The best partners co-create.” Jacob Trombino, divisional merchandising manager of HealthHUB at CVS Health, noted that a key in making a change was thinking about the met and unmet needs of consumers. Trombino emphasized that it’s important


for suppliers to take retailers along the journey. “What’s your pipeline, where are you going?” he said. “It’s an openness to innovate together and create something that will be customer relevant. We have to have openness to listen to each other. What is the data and respective customers telling us? Openness to being mostly right versus perfect. Some things won’t work and that is OK. We need to learn what works and what doesn’t. I’ve been walking the store with brand and product development teams, whether small or large companies, looking for gaps and needs in the marketplace, and ultimately watching those products grow and sell and deliver long-term value. The customer of today is not the customer of yesterday.” Maya Bowie, vice president of health merchandising at Walmart, echoed the sentiments by stating that we will not create true innovation without thinking about the true problems we need to solve.

“How customers shop, for us it’s all about omnichannel,” Bowie said. “One focus we have is looking for innovation in customer experience. The second focus is product innovation. Pushing on the science to solve the problems. How do we continue to innovate there? Third is around marketing and storytelling. How do we take some of the same solutions and be more relevant, and speak to customers with more stories that resonate? We encourage suppliers to think of the broader ecosystem for customers, including how we are managing conditions.” BUILDING TRUST Shifting to the topic of ensuring profitability, Jeff Mondelli, vice president of pharmacy, health and beauty at Wakefern, discussed how honesty is still the best policy when it comes to working with certain partners. “Delivering bad news is part of the job and may not feel good at the moment, but


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We have to have openness to listen to each other. What is the data and respective customers telling us?

— Jacob Trombino, divisional merchandising manager of Health HUB at CVS Health

We encourage suppliers to think of the broader ecosystem for customers, including how we are managing conditions.

— Maya Bowie, vice president of health merchandising at Walmart

long term it’s the only recipe for success,” Mondelli said. “At the end of the day, this is about relationships and trust. During joint planning sessions, tops to tops, it’s best to be straight partners about delivering bad news.” Mike Wolf, senior director, divisional merchandise manager of advanced care and home health care at Walgreens, agreed with Mondelli and highlighted another area of importance — finding areas of commonality and growth. Wolf said that when it gets down to how we solve this problem, innovation is key. “Innovation is taking a customer problem to be solved and solving it in a better way,” he said. “It’s good for us and the manufacturer. It’s a win across the board,” he said. Lastly, Wolf said being honest is important. “If we see a ‘me too’ product, we’re going to tell you. Maybe you’re lukewarm and we love it. Maybe we’ll have a conversation on that too,” he said.

to disappear, and organizations will need to figure out how to modify expectations. “From a supply chain perspective, investments in supply chain are not going to go away either,” she said. “I’d love to see partners come together and do provocative things together, such as share in costs and reap benefits together.” When it came to addressing what the future of health and wellness looks like, Trombino noted that having a customer-first lens is vital to figuring out the next steps. He also emphasized the importance of data and how it can help predict what categories will continue to see growth. “Wellness is all around our store,” Trombino said. “Health is the most obvious. It’s a lifestyle and a journey, through the supplements we take, the products we use on our hair and skin, the things we eat and diagnostic tools we use.”


Trombino said we need to ensure that we offer customers a holistic experience in the way we communicate and how we merchandise products in stores and online. Womens’ wellness was among the growth categories, Trombino cited. “We need to broaden that horizon. There are gaps in that space we can solve,” he said. Sleep and immune support categories and cognitive

Jessica Donati, vice president of consumer products at AmerisourceBergen, shifted the conversation to discuss how proactive innovation between partners is key, and how modifying expectations in a sustainable way can benefit both parties. Donati said she expects that delivery options and curbside pickup are not going



Delivering bad news is part of the job and may not feel good at the moment, but long term it’s the only recipe for success.

— Jeff Mondelli, vice president of pharmacy, health and beauty at Wakefern

and mental health space also need attention. “Over the last year and a half, testing, such as OTC COVID testing, has put a spotlight on that category,” Trombino said. “If people get comfortable testing on their own, we’ll learn and see how big this area can grow for us in the years to come. The onus on health is going to be on us. We need to think about how to brand the product.” Bowie broached the subject of selfcare, stating that it is often driven by a person’s economic status, lifestyle and where they live. “A lot of trends we’re seeing and focused on have transformed and sped up,” Bowie said. “Proactive engaged health, it’s about how they prevent, diagnose and understand. For us, it’s vitamins, supplements. There’s a huge trend there.” Bowie said that diagnostic testing is shifting the category story. “We’re making some changes in the next year,” she said. “We’re looking at our whole business, not just in front of the pharmacy but big box. We have a huge food home business working together with our wearable business. How do we help people with the entire lifestyle journey? There’s a binary moment of people shopping online but still coming into stores, engaging in stores. We have to do both.” dsn


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i Health, Inc. A Division of DSM




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New & Noteworthy HRG’s Products to Watch from February 2022

Suppliers had another strong month in February, with a relatively high volume of new product introductions. For the month, companies introduced 172 new products in the health, wellness and beauty categories. Hamacher Resource Group’s new product team evaluated 11 products in the health category, 90 products in the wellness sector and 71 in the beauty aisle to highlight the top five that could prove important to retailers in 2022. Here are the products they found:

1. Hyland’s Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar Blast Gummy Hyland’s Naturals USDA Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Blast dietary supplement is formulated to provide support for a healthy gut, digestion and enhanced metabolism. The 60-count green apple-flavored gummies are formulated to be gelatin free, non-GMO, free of the top eight allergens and cruelty free, with no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors or fructose corn syrup.

2. O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet Foot Mask O’Keeffe’s single-use moisturizing foot mask is designed to treat, soothe and soften cracked skin. Developed for extremely dry, rough feet, the product contains shea butter, coconut oil and skin conditioners with antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties.


3. Nervive Pain Relieving Cream Made with maximum strength ingredients, lidocaine HCI and menthol, Procter & Gamble’s Nervive Pain Relieving Cream is formulated to target multiple nerve receptors in hands and feet to alleviate discomfort quickly. The topical medicated cream is nongreasy and comes in a 3-oz. size.

4. Sensodyne Sensitive Care Manual Toothbrush Developed by GSK Consumer Healthcare, Sensodyne Sensitive Care Manual Toothbrush is designed to provide better cleaning with DuoFlex Neck Technology. The brush is meant to provide improved pressure control to help users reduce over-brushing their sensitive teeth while still protecting them against plaque. It’s also gentle on gums and enamel. The packaging is 100% plastic free and 100% recyclable.

5. Band-Aid Hydro Seal Acne Blemish Patch Johnson & Johnson has developed Band-Aid Hydro Seal Acne Patch to provide a healing environment to reduce scarring while also removing impurities from the skin. A hydrocolloid patch, the large, triangular-shaped products provide coverage anywhere on the face, including cheeks, chin and forehead. It comes in a seven-count package. dsn


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Addressing Nonadherence: What Pharmacists Can Do Pharmacists have a golden opportunity to promote medication adherence — improving patient outcomes and protecting revenue By Paula Bickley and Ashleigh Burdette

Paula Bickley, vice president of market access, Biologics by McKesson

Ashleigh Burdette, MSN, RN, OCN, senior director of clinical innovation, Biologics by McKesson

When a 60-year-old endometrial cancer patient almost skipped her medication due to a side effect of acute high blood pressure, her specialty pharmacy care team took action. Communicating with her provider, the team advised a dose change to counteract the side effect, helping the patient manage her blood pressure yet stay on therapy — avoiding nonadherence and increasing her chances for a better outcome. Medication nonadherence is a common problem with staggering effects: Approximately 30% to 50% of U.S. adults do not remain adherent to their long-term medications, resulting in about $100 billion a year in preventable healthcare costs. Perhaps the biggest driver of unnecessary medical spend, nonadherence affects all stakeholders, from the health of patients to the bottom lines of payers, health systems and pharmacies. The endometrial cancer patient’s care team was the high-touch specialty pharmacy Biologics by McKesson. However, retail pharmacies too are well positioned to address the issue of nonadherence. The benefits of taking action are many: improved patient care, stronger customer relationships and fewer emergency room visits.

Putting the Patient First Retail pharmacists have more opportunities than many healthcare providers for one-on-one interactions with patients. Yet the risks for nonadherence often go unrecognized, resulting in a missed opportunity to keep the patient on track. Addressing nonadherence starts with a focus on patientcentered care, and with an understanding of the multiple factors that can prevent a patient from complying with treatment. The World Health Organization has recognized five key areas proven to impact a patient’s ability to remain adherent to long-term therapy. These include the patient’s attitudes and beliefs, including confidence and motivation; disease-related factors, such as symptom


severity and managing comorbidities; therapy-related factors such as side effects; health system and caregiving factors, including the level of comfort between patient and provider; and socioeconomic factors, such as financial barriers to treatment. Every patient is different, and every patient will have a different reason for not complying to therapy. This makes solving adherence issues a complex and challenging task. The key is meeting the patient where they are and understanding their unique circumstances. That way, all clinician actions can result in better care for the patient, driving optimal outcomes overall.

Rethinking the Pharmacy Workflow At Biologics by McKesson, an individualized approach to patient management involves making a care plan that’s tailored to each patient’s circumstances. A care plan is a vital part of the nursing process and provides a centralized place to document the patient’s challenges, goals and progress as well as any education needed. We have found that patients on care plans experienced fewer adverse event-related therapy discontinuations; notably, high-risk patients had a 35% reduction in the rate of hospitalization. While creating a detailed care plan is not always possible in a retail setting with a high patient volume, a pharmacist in any setting can still create a model that meets the patient where they are. Pharmacists shouldn’t miss an opportunity to get to know patients and understand their challenges — which is critical for developing a meaningful and effective plan of care that provides value for all stakeholders. Putting the patient first might involve rethinking the pharmacy workflow to include an ability to counsel patients more broadly through tools such as risk-assessment questionnaires, checklists or conversation starters. Also, it could involve a retail pharmacy partnering with a specialty pharmacy and developing a collaborative relationship that simply starts with a pharmacist-topharmacist conversation. Patient-centered care, however a pharmacy can best provide it, truly is key to improved patient adherence. Failure to take medication properly is likely the reason for up to two-thirds of hospital admissions in a year, most of which are unavoidable if patients have the clinical support they really need. Although adherencerelated hospitalizations are expensive, they’re also avoidable, which is great news for both patients and payers alike. When pharmacists focus on patients, they make a difference across the healthcare continuum. dsn


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Hair Growth Consumers challenge Kaleidoscope Hair Products’ CEO to think outside the box for new ways to approach hair care Founded in 2014 by Jesseca Dupart, Kaleidoscope Hair Products is a fast-growing hair health brand that is now available in Walmart and Target stores. The company offers a variety of hair care products that address moisture control, therapeutics, hair growth and general maintenance. Drug Store News recently sat down with Dupart to discuss the brand, the growth and the future of the company.

Jesseca Dupart, founder and CEO, Kaleidoscope Hair Products

Drug Store News: Why do you think Kaleidoscope Hair Products has become one of the fastestgrowing brands in the hair care industry? Jesseca Dupart: We really listen to our consumers to ensure we’re putting out meaningful products. We constantly connect with our loyal community online to capture insights on their needs and wants from hair care, which we feed into our new product development. We take these insights very seriously to ensure we’re delivering collections that will resonate with our consumers. We aren’t afraid to do things differently, and our customers challenge us to think outside the box for new ways to approach hair care. DSN: Explain the white space that you saw in the hair care market? JD: I initially created Kaleidoscope in 2014 to address the hair loss that my salon clients were experiencing after doing their own weaves and color at home, and it has exploded into a beauty sensation with results-driven hair health at the forefront. When launching Kaleidoscope Hair Products, we foremost aimed for convenience and efficacy. Filling a white space isn’t always about creating an entirely new category, but rather the ability to roll out a high-quality product that finally gives consumers the results they want at an affordable price. DSN: How have you utilized social media marketing to grow your brand? JD: Authenticity and transparency are at the core of our business. We’ve built such an incredible community online because we are not afraid to be ourselves and disrupt the status quo. No matter how colorful that is — in language and personality


— we have created a brand that welcomes every consumer. We believe in relatable beauty and celebrate building an honest community that empowers and uplifts one another on and off the screen. There is no better way to showcase the amazing before and after transformations than to see the real-life images from our customers shared on social media. They are our greatest advocates! DSN: What will working with such partners as CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid mean for the brand in 2022? JD: We have been on an incredible growth trajectory over the last few years at Kaleidoscope Hair Products, celebrating entry into Walmart, Target, Sally Beauty and more across the country. We are so excited to announce partnerships with CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens for 2022 so that we can continue to meet new consumers on their product discovery journey. These retail giants can really move the needle for beauty and hair care, and we are so honored to sit on their shelves next to other major brands. DSN: What do you have on the horizon? JD: We have so many incredible products rolling out this year, including our Miracle Drops Collection that is debuting later this month. I can’t wait to roll this one out. It’s a full, multi-product collection — shampoo, conditioner, styling and more — that pays homage to our hero bestselling Miracle Drops. The collection is expertly formulated to nourish, restore and protect strands while promoting healthy hair growth. All products are infused with the original Miracle Drops hair growth oil and other amazing ingredients like coconut milk, aloe vera and castor oil. dsn


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Cold Storage OneEvent Technologies makes a case for its important role in retail pharmacy Refrigeration and freezing may not get as much attention in a retail pharmacy, but keeping medicine, beverages and food cool and safe to consume is a huge deal. One company on the front lines of refrigerator and freezer monitoring is OneEvent Technologies in Mount Horeb, Wis. The company believes managing the temperature of drugs, vaccines and biologics is a critical component of our healthcare system. We recently caught up with Kurt Wedig, president and CEO, to see how the company is leading the charge and to see what’s on the horizon.

Kurt Wedig, president and CEO of OneEvent Technologies, a subsidiary of National Presto Industries

Drug Store News: Can you tell us one of the important ways you work with retailers in supporting their front end and pharmacy needs? Kurt Wedig: The OneEvent refrigeration monitoring system helps pharmacies safeguard food, vaccines and medication. Our clients tell us we save them money, help ensure the safety and value of their inventory, reduce stress and provide peace of mind. Too often, temperatures are monitored by staff with a pen and paper, which is inefficient and cannot detect temperature issues that occur when readings are not taken properly or after hours. By digitally monitoring the temperature of refrigeration a wealth of actionable information is available. For example, OneEvent communicates if a unit is running too cold, too warm or in need of service. Measuring and managing this data provides insightful information, which can help prevent expensive breakdowns in advance and reduce energy costs. DSN: You offer refrigeration services that are a little different from the competition. Can you explain? KW: One of the primary causes of improper refrigeration is the breakdown of the refrigeration unit itself. OneEvent’s predictive analytic platform, Thermo Heartbeat, provides vital information about a refrigeration unit’s health and advance notice of a breakdown. With advanced Internet of Things (IoT) technology, refrigeration temperatures are analyzed. Alerts are sent when temperatures exceed upper or lower limits, empowering our clients to take preventive action before inventory is damaged. We’re all doing more with less, especially now with the staff shortages many are facing. When we’re short-staffed, the last thing we need is an emergency. Diverting staff to manage a refrigeration


breakdown creates additional stress and is incredibly inefficient. In addition, many repair companies are having significant scheduling issues and are not as responsive, and after hours and rush service are more expensive. The benefits of the Thermo Heartbeat include the prevention of potentially disastrous excursions, improved productivity, and reduction or elimination of expensive off-hours or urgent repair. DSN: How does remote monitoring work and what are the benefits for stores? KW: Data is collected from a variety of small, battery-powered wireless sensors that send data to the OneEvent Gateway, which communicates to the Internet via cellular network or Wi-Fi. Data is then transferred to the cloud for storage, retrieval and analysis. OneEvent remote refrigeration monitoring provides real time oversight of temperature inside chilled storage with real time alerts sent to cell phones when temperatures rise or fall beyond preset thresholds. Detailed data is securely stored in the cloud for compliant, reliable and cost-effective reporting. Door monitoring is also valuable and allows our clients to know when inventory is accessed and assures that doors are closed properly. DSN: What other tech do you see on the horizon? KW: The most significant advancements will come from enhanced analytics and reporting. This will have far-reaching benefits to both the end user as well as service companies. OneEvent data scientists are currently working on new analytics that will not just predict if a unit will fail to maintain temperature, but also identify the specific cause of an issue, including loss of coolant, fan failure, compressor issues, etc. dsn


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Vice president and chief pharmacy officer. Chief operating officer. Senior vice president of pharmacy. Senior vice president of operations. President of health. These top brass positions, and many similar prestigious titles, currently belong to women who are not only breaking the glass ceiling, but who are shattering it. Yet, what does it take for women to secure a senior-level job in pharmacy and retail health operations? Women executives who have climbed the corporate ladder in pharmacy and retail chains concur that the corporate culture, particular personality


traits, the availability of mentoring and leadership training, as well as expertise in myriad areas contribute to womens’ ascent in the industry. Many female pharmacy executives agree that a supportive corporate culture is an essential ingredient for success. Micaila Ruiz is the chief operating officer and chief pharmacy officer at Amber Specialty Pharmacy, a subsidiary of Hy-Vee. She has been with the company for 10 years, but she decided to go back to school for a master’s degree in public health last year. Ruiz credits the encouragement she


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received from company leaders, including a senior executive who advised her that “anyone who wants to enrich their education also enriches the company.” Angie Nelson, Hy-Vee’s senior vice president of pharmacy, also has experienced a supportive culture. “There’s a huge interest from women wanting to do more,” Nelson said. “Our executive team recognizes and appreciates the value that women bring to our company in leadership positions.”

No ‘I’ in Team Aside from having a supportive culture, female executives contend that success depends on teamwork. Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, said that collaboration and partnerships are key to success in leadership roles. “At Kroger Health, we’re on a journey to change the way health care is delivered in this country, which cannot be done alone,” Lindholz said. “We understand that we uniquely sit at one of the most critical intersections of health and wellness — pharmacy and clinical services combined with fresh food. Our partnerships within the company and beyond our four walls are crucial to our success and living our vision of helping people live healthier lives.” Nancy Lyons, vice president and chief pharmacy officer of Health Mart, concurred. Lyons, who has been with Health Mart for five years, said that from the onset of her career, which has included stints at Albertsons and SuperValu, people who were promoted to higher positions were encouraged to collaborate. “Rather than climbing the corporate ladder, the culture stressed encouraging teams to work together and [to] recognize the contributions of all,” Lyons said. “With that you were propelled by all the good that was around you. At Health Mart, leaders also are genuinely excited and invested in developing your skills and abilities. The leaders are focused on finding your hidden talents and exploiting them in a good way so that they can move the company’s business goals forward while supporting an individual’s growth and development.” Lisa Badgley, Walgreens’ senior vice president of operations, has been with the retailer for 30 years and gives credit to “a lot of great people who were willing to share their expertise and time in teaching and training. When you get to a level like this and have a scope that is this broad, it’s important to have a high-performing team that works with you.”


Breaking the Glass Ceiling

“A genuine desire to develop others is important because nobody will be successful if they climb over each other to get there.” — NANCY LYONS, VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF PHARMACY OFFICER, HEALTH MART


“When granted the privilege of leading people, it’s important to understand the value of emotional intelligence.” — COLLEEN


The desire to propel their female colleagues to top positions is yet another hallmark of a successful woman leader. Jacquetta “Shea” Manigo, vice president of HealthHUB growth and strategy at CVS Health, said that leaders have to be passionate about developing talent and empowering their people. “Give them the tools and resources they need and then get out of their way,” she said. “There’s nothing more empowering than transferring authority.” Lindholz credits part of her success to Women’s Edge, a Kroger resource group that brings women together from across the company to provide an environment that enables women to grow from a personal and professional standpoint. She led that group from 2014 to 2015. “This group of talented women and men were an inspiration and a catalyst for me as I took on new roles and responsibilities within the company,” Lindholz said. Additionally, in 2020, Kroger launched Framework for Action for diversity, equity and inclusion. “It includes 10 actions our company is taking to transform our culture and our communities,” she said. One of the 10 actions is to establish a new mentorship and advocacy program for the future development of diverse talent. Furthermore, Kroger participates in “Break the ceiling, touch the sky,” which is a cross-industry learning and collaboration effort between Kroger and leading companies, including Coca-Cola and P&G. “It’s a fast-growing platform for women in leadership roles and male champions of diversity,” Lindholz said. The group’s mission is to grow the number of women CEOs from 14 to 70 by 2029. “The platform enables organizations like Kroger to learn and share best practices for leadership, success in recruiting and retaining top talent, and to highlight gender diversity,” Lindholz said. Jennifer Zilka, president of Good Neighbor Pharmacy, said the company is committed to providing female pharmacists with the critical support and resources needed to help them continue to grow and to seize the opportunities that are available. “Within AmerisourceBergen, we’re keenly focused on bringing more women into leadership roles,” Zilka said. Nelson shared that Hy-Vee is always looking for ways to advance individuals at the pharmacy and store level. To that end, when a pharmacy manager or pharmacist asks for advice on how they can advance their career, Nelson is responsive


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and encourages her colleagues to do the same. “This allows them the opportunity to learn from what we’ve learned throughout the years,” Nelson said. Lyons took Nelson’s thoughts one step further. “A genuine desire to develop others is important because nobody will be successful if they climb over each other to get there,” Lyons said. “It’s only when that wealth of success is shared that one is truly a leader.”

Top Traits What are the key personality traits that contribute to leadership success? “A top trait in my opinion is authenticity,” Lindholz said. “When you’re leading people, they need to know you’re real and the things you’re trying to push and get done are truly what you believe in and are coming from the heart,” she said, noting that resiliency and aspiration are equally important. Badgley agreed, pointing out that authenticity is a key trait in Walgreens’ leaders. She recalled the advice of a senior vice president when she was promoted to vice president in 2005: “Don’t forget where you came from.” Zilka said she believes that the best way to inspire others is to be passionate about the work you do, lead by example and believe in the path forward. “As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve learned that having confidence in who you are and being yourself is the best strategy,” Zilka said. “You will earn people’s respect and trust as a leader if you’re genuine and have a true passion for the work you’re doing.” Lyons, who started her career at Health Mart as a senior manager in a pharmacy operation role, still remembers the excitement she felt during the interview process for her current role as she learned of the vision the manager had for the position and how she could make a meaningful impact to achieve it. “Anybody who is going to excel to a higher level needs to be as passionate about the direction the

people and places that the company is impacting to be able to make a sustainable difference,” Lyons said.

“Give them the tools and resources they need and then get out of their way. There’s nothing more empowering than transferring authority.” — JACQUETTA “SHEA” MANIGO, VICE PRESIDENT OF HEALTHHUB GROWTH AND STRATEGY, CVS HEALTH


Meaningful Mentorship Female pharmacy industry leaders also contend that finding a mentor, whether through a formal or informal mentorship at any stage of one’s career, is helpful in navigating the way to the top. Lyons, who credited at least three key individuals who she still turns to today for “a quick gut check about something that is going on in my professional career,” also works with a mentee in a program dubbed “Own It,” which identifies women who want to network or develop certain skills. CVS Health is not standing on the sidelines when it comes to mentorships. The company has a formal mentoring program, which is an enterprise-wide effort to connect and build networks for professional development and career mobility. “I’ve seen mentorships and sponsorships as an opportunity for us to be advocates and brokers for career progression,” Manigo said. “This year I connected with an enterprise mentee, and that person shared something they hadn’t shared with anyone. Another mentee was going through something personally, impacting them at work. Having the opportunity to connect with the individual and understand their thinking and build trust is a very rewarding part of my job.” Manigo also chairs CVS Health’s diversity management leadership council, a council of vice presidents and other high-level executives. “We have all committed to being enterprise mentors,” she said. “While I’m extremely proud of that achievement, to me that is still not enough. Our next journey is to be sponsors.” At Hy-Vee, informal mentorships abound. “It’s about developing relationships with others,” Nelson said. “It’s very rewarding to be able to mentor others

M I L E S T O N E S 1848



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and that is part of our overall culture. You see that across all departments at all levels.” To foster high-performing talent, Walgreens’ business resource group, Women of WBA, offers coaching, mentorship programs and other initiatives that support women leaders. “Women from all of the different countries where we operate share information to increase leadership opportunities for women and women of color,” Badgley said. “They focus on professional development, building your personal brand and networking.” In 2019, the group launched its Executive Mentor program, which partners the vice president-level females and executives with director- and senior director-level women in the organization. The program, which has hundreds of female employees, was so successful that Walgreens expanded it to all levels of the organization in 2020. Good Neighbor Pharmacy hosts a “Women in Pharmacy” panel at ThoughtSpot, its annual conference and trade show. “We bring in leading women in the industry to offer guidance, inspiration and networking opportunities for our female pharmacy customers,” Zilka said. “Our goal is to help women in pharmacy amass a support system that they can carry back into their daily lives.”

Mix It Up Beyond mentoring, women executives agree that it is very beneficial to have had varied roles to ensure success in the C-suite. Lindholz, who currently leads 2,260 pharmacies, 224 clinics, nine specialty pharmacies and a healthand-wellness strategy dubbed Food as Medicine, also has had various roles at Kroger. These include working as a pharmacist in one of the highestvolume Kroger pharmacies, where she became familiar with the operational side of the business, working in HR recruiting pharmacists and leading


First Woman Speaker of the House

2009 First Woman of Color Supreme Court Justice


Mary T. Barra, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, General Motors Company

“You have to be agile and pivot very quickly and react because you often don’t get a lot of lead time.” — MICAILA RUIZ, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AND CHIEF PHARMACY OFFICER, AMBER SPECIALTY PHARMACY

“As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve learned that having confidence in who you are and being yourself is the best strategy.” — JENNIFER ZILKA,


2017 Gail K. Boudreaux, President and CEO, Anthem


the Cincinnati division of 102 pharmacies. Lindholz also said her experience as president and CEO of the Little Clinic and the decision to sidestep into a management training program in 2009 were contributing factors to her success. “I took a step back and learned the rest of the store,” she said. “I was able to understand the operations of the total store. I learned about our customers and the inner workings of all of the grocery, produce, meat and OTC departments. This experience gave me a solid foundation, which evolved into the health-and-wellness strategy that I am leading today.” Badgley said that the majority of the roles she has had at Walgreens lasted three years, and she also moved around geographically in “field” roles. “Walgreens continues to move you into different roles so you grow and get unique experiences,” she said. Badgley’s varied roles also included special assignments where she represented operations in some of Walgreens’ restructuring programs and when the company announced its intention to buy Rite Aid. “I had the opportunity to work on mergers and acquisitions when I supported the operational aspects of that integration,” Badgley said. “In my current role, I have responsibility for all of retail and non-retail operations, which includes all of our stores, centralized services facilities and operations administration, which is our support center, and operations support team. Beginning in March, I also will have responsibility for our property team and asset protection team.” Nelson also assumed different roles. She began her career with Hy-Vee in 2002 as a pharmacist, and shortly thereafter she was promoted to pharmacy manager and then store director, where she learned about the business side of pharmacy. “I did that for



First Woman, Black & Asian American Vice President Heyward Donigan, CEO, Rite Aid

Reshma Kewalramani, CEO and President, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Linda Rendle, CEO, The Clorox Company

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eight years, and then I came back to the office and started as a pharmacy supervisor,” she said. “Since then, I’ve taken on various roles within Hy-Vee that have led to my current role.” Nelson oversees the operations of over 270 retail pharmacy locations. In addition to her stints at pharmacy chains, Lyons worked at other companies and did some digital work. “With each role, I came back with new experiences,” she said, pointing out that she felt well prepared when McKesson and Health Mart decided to more fully expand patient care programs for community pharmacies and needed a leader to move it forward. Manigo’s career experiences tell a similar story. She started her career in 2007 with Target as a pharmacist and was quickly promoted to pharmacy supervisor, where she ran the district in parts of South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. She relocated to Texas in 2015 to run a region of approximately 200 stores. Manigo came to CVS in 2015 through its acquisition of Target Pharmacies. “Since then, I have had several roles including a pharmacy region director, where I was focused on leading our pharmacies, our chains and our businesses within our Target stores, and then I had the opportunity to step into a region director role that was transformative for my career,” Manigo said. “It was the first time I led a business that I didn’t previously work in. I had the opportunity to learn merchandising, vendor relationships, real estate and how to lead our front store businesses.” Manigo also served as a division vice president in Dallas, where she Ied more than 1,400 CVS stores across 13 states in the mid-South, including pharmacies in Target and Schnucks grocery stores. Today, in her role as vice president of HealthHUB’s strategy, her responsibilities include project management and format evolution, as well as adoption and execution of HealthHUB initiatives.

The Art of Pivoting Besides gaining expertise from serving in different roles, aspiring leaders also need to be able to lead their teams in a healthcare environment that is undergoing changes at an accelerated pace. Manigo pointed out that consumers want more flexibility in how they engage with their providers. “Their shift has focused, ours has to shift too, with a focus on improving access and adding convenience,” she said. “Health care is


personal. It requires us to not just have strong business acumen, agility and drive, but also to be connected, authentic and to be able to hear what our consumers are telling us.” Badgley shared the same outlook. “It’s about the ability to adapt to change, to move quickly, and you have to innovate, especially when you look at how pharmacies are evolving to become a central part of community health care,” she said. “You have to be agile and pivot very quickly and react because you often don’t get a lot of lead time,” Ruiz noted. “We have to make sure that we are always providing top-level care of all of our patients. For me that covers everything from our call center, our clinical teams, the fulfillment sites and shipping. I oversee all of these aspects and I have to be very in tune with what’s going on across all of our 21 locations.”

The Support Squad In addition to training and leadership courses, female leaders concur that it is more crucial than ever for aspiring leaders to lean on experts. Zilka said that having a strong support system personally and professionally has become even more critical over the last few years. “My greatest advice is to find your support squad and lean on them in times of need,” she said. Ruiz chimed in, “We can’t be experts in everything, but you surround yourself with a great team that complements you and recognizes that everyone has a role to play,” she said. What advice do women leaders have for women who want to follow in their footsteps? Lyons said she believes individuals will need to develop solid business skills and an understanding of public health needs in order to be successful. Badgley recommended female leaders must be extremely proactive in communication to help employees understand that when changes occur, they are part of the process. “Planning and preparation for upcoming events also is extremely important,” she said. “With all of the video communication today, you also need to be present and in tune with the conversations we’re having.” Ruiz said that pharmacy leaders have to think about how things are evolving for patients today, including how HSA plans and high-deductible insurance plans impact patients, as well as the latest trends in drug development and changes in treatment protocols. Manigo said that future leaders should remain open to opportunities. “Take a chance on yourself,” she said, noting that’s what she did when she relocated to Texas. “It may not be moving across the country. It could be transitioning to a new role within your enterprise to pursue professional growth.” She also encourages new leaders who are starting out to be brave and courageous. “Don’t be afraid to make the call,” she said. “Our teams are looking for leaders who will step up and lead.” Future female leaders also should learn how to set boundaries and find balance. “There were times I was killing it at work and not at home, and vice versa,” Manigo said. “Set boundaries and give yourself grace as you’re navigating the multidimensional parts of your leadership and of your personal life.” Finally, future leaders may want to heed this advice from Lindholz: “When granted the privilege of leading people, it’s important to understand the value of emotional intelligence. It is the single-biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and a strong driver of leadership and personal excellence.” dsn


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Industry Experts Offer Big Ideas Existing challenges are likely to continue, but bold thinking will provide opportunity By Mark Hamstra

Left to right: Sean Burke, a retail industry lead and associate partner, Clarkston Consulting; Eyad Farah, president of McKesson’s Health Mart and Health Mart Atlas; Inna Kuznetsova, CEO, 1010data; George Van Antwerp, managing director, Deloitte Consulting; and Leslie Lotano-Saba, vice president of pharmacy solutions, AArete

The challenges facing retail pharmacy, including increasing competition from e-commerce players and the need to drive store visits, are expected to linger through 2022 and beyond. In addition, drug store operators are faced with immediate challenges around the tight labor market, as many workers may have either dropped out of the workforce or found employment that does not involve interacting with the public, said Julie Utterback, senior equity analyst, healthcare,

at Morningstar Research Services. As a result, retailers may be paying higher wages, which could impact profit margins, she said. “In terms of opportunities, we see many major retail pharmacies, like CVS and Walgreens, broadening their offerings into healthcare services, which we view positively,” Utterback said. “Continued growth in services could increase the productivity of their ubiquitous store footprints — an area of differentiation for the retailers versus local primary care

physicians and competing managed care organizations — and make the stores an even more integral part of the U.S. healthcare system.” If foot traffic declines as the COVID19 pandemic eases, retailers could benefit from accelerating the pace of transitioning their stores to provide more healthcare services, she said. Following are some other big ideas from industry experts about how retail pharmacies can prepare for the future.


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Three Challenges Facing Retail Pharmacy — and Their Possible Solutions Sean Burke, a retail industry lead and associate partner at Clarkston Consulting, outlined the following challenges facing retail pharmacy in the year ahead, and suggested solutions for each:

1. Adapting to hybrid retail

“While there is an increased interest in online pharmacy and mail-order companies, many consumers still value and demand personalized attention when it comes to their health.” — Sean Burke, a retail industry lead and associate partner, Clarkston Consulting

Loyalty, Convenience and Personalized Service Sean Burke, a retail industry lead and associate partner at Clarkston Consulting, suggested that as telehealth and online pharmacies remain viable options for most consumers, drug stores need to identify ways to establish customer trust and loyalty. “Loyalty and reward programs are a great avenue for this,” Burke said, noting that drug store retailers can go beyond the “spend more, get more” approach. “To further encourage a healthy lifestyle, drug stores could award points or rewards for consumers achieving certain fitness milestones, like hitting a step goal or sleeping a set number of hours,” Burke said. “These same programs also offer more than simple coupons or discounts but find ways to provide unique experiences, products and services that make sense based on the brand characteristics and mission.” Making prescription pickup more convenient has also become important, as options, such as buy online/pick up in store, curbside pickup and same-day delivery, have grown in popularity, he said.


The traditional drug store retail model has been largely the same for several decades, so adapting to the new expectations of the modern shopper has been a challenge for drug stores. A digital-first approach and organizational mindset is critical to meeting the demands of the current market and realizing a hybrid model. Infrastructure is also key. Beginning with a digital technology core, and layering on the necessary data and analytics capabilities, are the first steps toward adopting a hybrid retail model.

The solution: Drug stores must invest in the solutions and processes

to create an omnichannel presence — the ability to meet and transact with customers across multiple channels and platforms — through initiatives such as an app that allows customers to buy online and quickly pick up in store, search the exact location of a product while in a store, or keep track of their loyalty status with the click of a button. More retailers are also leveraging self-checkout kiosks and experimenting with checkout-less stores, which drug stores could experiment with to improve the store shopping experience.

2. Regulations: Drug Supply Chain Security Act

Increased regulation on the traceability of prescription drugs will also serve as an obstacle for drug stores if they are not prepared. The final stage of the multiphased Drug Supply Chain Security Act, or DSCSA, will take effect on Nov. 27, 2023. Created in 2013 to provide the Food and Drug Administration with more regulatory teeth in the drug supply chain, the DSCSA outlines the steps to building an electronic system to identify and trace certain prescription drugs distributed in the United States.

The solution: Those involved in the drug supply chain need to

begin reviewing their policies, processes and systems against the existing guidance to make sure the appropriate DSCSA compliances are in place.

3. Standing out from the competition

With consumers increasingly prioritizing their health and wellness, retail pharmacies will continue to face competition. Brick-and-mortar retailers, subscription services, mail-order companies and online pharmacies are all offering similar products and services and competing for the same consumer business.

The solution: Drug stores need to find ways to remain viable and

competitive, such as instituting loyalty programs to enhance the consumer experience and build brand loyalty; investing in technological solutions to create an omnichannel presence and create a better in-store experience; and assessing and evaluating consumer data to adapt and respond to the evolving needs of the consumer.


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“With more and more people working from home, brick-and-mortar drug stores will face a real challenge if they can’t compete in the digital landscape and put their product in the consumer’s hands faster,” Burke said. While drug stores have long offered drivethru lanes, they need to make in-store pickup even more convenient with amenities such as pickup lockers or kiosks. In addition, offering designated curbside pickup locations outside the stores can allow multiple people to check in at a given time. Burke suggested retailers should also look at investing in a partnership with a delivery service to support same-day delivery as CVS has done with Shipt. Focusing on the personalized customer experiences that pharmacists provide represents another big idea for drug stores, he said. When patients come in to pick up their medication or receive a vaccine, the pharmacist might be the only direct contact the customer has. “While there is an increased interest in online pharmacy and mail-order companies, many consumers still value and demand personalized attention when it comes to their health,” he said. “If drug stores market themselves as consumer-centric and emphasize the role that a pharmacist plays in the customer experience, they are establishing a sense of trust and loyalty amongst their consumers — a true competitive advantage.”

Rethink Assortments and Inventory Inna Kuznetsova, CEO of 1010data, a provider of analytical intelligence to the financial, retail and consumer markets, said the company’s recent E-Commerce Health & Wellness Spotlight report suggested a dramatic shift in the way consumers buy OTC pharmaceuticals. “From the data we examined, we noted a clear opportunity for chain pharmacies to grow their share in certain OTC categories, and our findings illustrated the importance to chain drug retailers of having channel-specific marketing strategies tailored to both the online and offline consumer,” she said. Drug stores should also take a close look at their inventory management, product assortments and merchandising to ensure that their offerings are optimized to drive foot traffic,


“I can Google anything, and all of a sudden I feel like I may be dying of some disease, but interpreting those results with context is something where I see a great role for the pharmacy and the pharmacist.” — George Van Antwerp, managing director, Deloitte Consulting

Kuznetsova said. “Rethinking demand planning to ensure that they carry the right inventory with faster turnover, sharing intelligence with their CPG providers to collaborate better around stock-ins and assortments, and personalizing promotions are just some things the pharmacies can do,” she said. Kuznetsova cautioned that e-commerce is here to stay and will continue to grow, as consumers have grown accustomed to the convenience and as providers have improved their capabilities. Drug stores will continue to see competition from online pharmacies and e-sellers of health and beauty products, she said. “It is time for the drug stores to rethink their business models by becoming the healthcare centers of the community, rewiring their supply chain planning and monetizing data by sharing it with CPG providers,” Kuznetsova said.

Put the Patient First Eyad Farah, president of McKesson’s Health Mart and Health Mart Atlas, said retailers need to rethink their business around serving patient needs. “For nearly 200 years, pharmacy engagement has been about the customer walking up to the counter to pick up their prescription,” he said. “That’s still the interaction that most people think of when you say the word ‘pharmacy.’ I challenge us to think boldly because in this scenario, the pharmacy is the center of the equation — not the patient.” Retail pharmacies going forward must reimagine how they engage their patients, Farah said. “It should be about more than the prescription,” he said. “Each pharmacy should provide services to patients at the top of their license.” This includes interpreting lab results, providing diagnostic testing and telehealth services, tracking with digital wearables, stocking the right medical surgical items and vitamins, and even supporting patient mental health, which has taken on increased importance during the pandemic.


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• Use data analysis to proactively identify clinical issues that would benefit from a pharmacist intervention; and • Use technology and digital tools to connect with customers — for example, using text messaging, telehealth and virtual care.

Coordinate In-store and Digital Services

“I challenge us to think boldly because in this scenario, the pharmacy is the center of the equation — not the patient.” — Eyad Farah, president of McKesson’s Health Mart and Health Mart Atlas

“We can do a lot more for patients,” Farah said. “So, my bold idea is to tailor your business to meet those needs. The boldest move we can make is to push our pharmacy operations beyond the prescription to surround the patient, utilizing pharmacy team training, education and experience … to provide services to patients.”

Use Technology to Improve the Customer Experience Leslie Lotano-Saba, vice president of pharmacy solutions at AArete, a global management consultancy, suggested that retailers should challenge boards of pharmacy rules and others that are outdated and limit pharmacies’ ability to innovate. Retailers also need to think about creating better working environments: “It’s stressful to see the pharmacist needing to multitask behind the counter,” she said. Staffing shortages, illness and burnout could be a key challenge in the coming year, LotanoSaba said. Along those lines, she also suggested that retail pharmacies: • Embrace technology to automate tasks, identify and resolve insurance issues, etc., to free up pharmacists’ time so they can interact with patients and build the customer relationship; • Consider adding a nurse in the pharmacy if needed, to free up pharmacists’ time to speak with patients;


Retail pharmacies need to find the right mix of in-store and online services and connect their brick-and-mortar and digital offerings, said George Van Antwerp, managing director at Deloitte Consulting, and author of a recent report called “The future of pharmacy — Disruption creates transformative opportunities and challenges.” Antwerp said the industry is asking itself, “What’s the mix of physical with virtual, and how do we integrate so that we can be a front door to health? And how can we do that both virtually for some people and physically for other people?” The answers, he said, may vary by patient, by the stage of their disease, by the pharmacy location and other factors. “That’s driving a very interesting discussion across the entire market to try to understand the different approaches to the retail store, and the different patient segments and customer journeys,” Van Antwerp said. At the same time, he said, retail pharmacies need to consider how they will use data and technology to implement these services, how they will staff their stores to provide these services, and how they will seek reimbursement. “In order for the pharmacist and the store to take on a broader role, they have to be able to collect and use data,” Van Antwerp said. “And it’s not only the data itself, but it’s the translation of that data into knowledge and ultimately into wisdom.” Such a plan requires artificial intelligence or other analytics to help pharmacists understand the needs of each patient entering the pharmacy. Technology should be able to assist pharmacists in identifying gaps that may exist in a patient’s care, for example, or could suggest when it is appropriate to offer a particular screening or test. Pharmacies will also need to consider the labor-management tools that may be required to free up pharmacists for these kinds of activities. These could include centralized prescription-filling solutions or the use of predictive algorithms for refill patterns, for example, or the use of centralized call centers or digitized communications, he said. Reimbursement, meanwhile, “requires a whole different way of looking at how they contract with payers and what their relationship is with the payer,” Van Antwerp said. The industry has been making progress on the payment front, he said, citing the development of integrated networks that include pharmacies, hospitals and payers working together to better manage risk or provide care for patients with chronic disease or other complex care needs. Other emerging areas where pharmacies can play a role are in remote patient monitoring and assisting patients in using at-home diagnostics. As more and more apps and devices that help patients manage their own health are introduced, pharmacists and technicians may be able to help patients use them correctly and understand test results, for example. “I can Google anything, and all of a sudden I feel like I may be dying of some disease, but interpreting those results with context is something where I see a great role for the pharmacy and the pharmacist,” Van Antwerp said. dsn


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Men’s Grooming Is the men’s personal care category expecting a bounce this year?

Mass market retailers are expecting the men’s grooming market to pick up this year as more people return to the office and social activities increase. Consumers who acquired DIY grooming skills during quarantine should also lift the market. Rod Little, CEO of Edgewell Personal Care, parent company of Schick, said in a recent “Closing Bell” interview with CNBC that there will be a surge in shaving and other grooming activities. Jessica Estrada, founder and CEO of Hue for Every Man, said retailers have already leveraged their newly upgraded selections in women’s brands for the great shopping return. “Now the attention is turning toward men.” IRI data show that several men’s areas are already gaining traction after two soft years. Men’s shaving lotions and talc registered sales gains of 6.3% for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 23, 2022 in multi-unit doors. Razor volume jumped 15.3% and grooming tool sales rose almost 4%. Chains are taking action. Walmart just revealed the latest iteration of a new store look the company first introduced in an incubator location in Springdale, Ark., two years ago. The store concept, called Time Well Spent, offers a special area where men can get hands-on experience with grooming tools. Erik Keptner, Rite Aid’s chief merchandising and marketing officer, said the company will be spotlighting men’s items in its new beauty departments. “You

are going to see some interesting new brands come out in the men’s care category,” he said. “Men’s skin care continues to see tremendous growth and innovation.” Target has its Men’s World stores, which several top executives at men’s brands call the best in the business. The stores have clearly defined areas for men’s products and feature such brands as Duke Cannon, Harry’s, Nivea Men, Every Man Jack, Cremo, Jack Black, Bevel and Dove Men. The sections have been successful in trading shoppers up, according to Anthony Albanese, a cofounder of Duke Cannon. The chain did so by marketing men’s items as affordable luxuries. The men’s department also is a focal point of CVS’ BeautyIRL stores, which offer huge endcaps dedicated to Duke Cannon and other brands. CVS executives credited brands like Duke Cannon with rejuvenating “old school” men’s grooming products. While mass merchants have always had a robust shaving and aftershave business, emerging categories such as skin care, tools and hair color will bring incremental sales as well.


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Wahl Clipper Wahl Manscaper

SRP: $59.99 This grooming tool features a proprietary wraparound safety guard with rounded edges to prevent snags and eliminate knicks and cuts. The patented handcrafted, finely ground stainless steel blades smoothly cut through even coarse hair without ever touching skin.

Scotch Porter Nourishing Beard Mask

SRP: $18.99 These new masks are made with clean and natural ingredients, including shea butter and sunflower seed oil. The masks were designed to help hydrate dry, dull or coarse beards.

Hue for Every Man Awakening Spray

SRP: $16.99 This spray features a black pepper scent that awakens the senses, but also tightens the pores and gives the skin a noticeable lift.

Kiss Products Kiss Colors and Care

SRP: $4.99 to $12.30 The collection consists of Power Wave Crushed Velvet Durags in burgundy and black, Twist King Styling Tool and, launching later this spring, Power Wave Boar Brushes in palm-sized and with a handle.


During the pandemic, more men began experimenting with skin care. — Jessica Estrada, founder and CEO of Hue for Every Man

Skin care is one of the big opportunities in the mass market. “During the pandemic, more men began experimenting with skin care,” Estrada said. “I think skin care is definitely expanding on men’s grooming.” Estrada also said she thinks DIY grooming rituals that emerged during the pandemic have staying power, even as men return to barbers. “There are those dedicated to their favorite barber, but there are men who feel comfortable cutting or growing their hair into new styles.” Stuart Hendrickson, senior marketing director of men’s hair care at Combe International, said he expects a surge in men’s hair color. “During the pandemic, the trend was to experiment and try new things — we all remember the Quarantine Beard, for example,” he explained. “Now that we are reemerging and returning to work or more active social lives, guys are returning to trusted routines. In the case of Just for Men, we are seeing men return to coloring their hair and beards.” For 2022, Combe is focusing on three key items in its portfolio of go-to Head Hair and Beard Color items. “Just For Men had a strong year in 2021, and we will build upon that in 2022,” Hendrickson said. The brand just updated packaging for its Control GX brand, which the company said is the first shampoo that gradually reduces gray with each use. The refreshed look better aligns with the Just for Men portfolio, Hendrickson said. “With


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Duke Cannon The Tactical Scrubber

SRP: $17.50 The Tactical Scrubber is a U.S. military grade mesh soap pouch, custom made for Duke Cannon’s Big Ass Brick of Soap. The brand counts on its community of directto-consumer customers to launch items quickly and, based on feedback, bring to physical retail with support it will sell.

Men’s shaving lotions and talc registered sales gains of

for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 23, 2022 in multi-unit doors. triple-patented technology, Control GX is the most advanced hair color available.” Combe offers virtual try-on capabilities on the shelf with technology that allows for easy shade matching in stores. The brand is also teaming up with retailers to offer value to shoppers watching their wallets. “We have been able to execute some unique promotional programs to ensure consumers who are struggling with disposable income, but don’t want to give up on their hair


Combe Easy Comb in Color This no-mix formula comes with an applicator designed to SRP: $9.49

target grays as easy as combing hair.

coloring routine, can rely on Just for Men to deliver in even bigger ways on our already strong value proposition,” he said. Not all men are giving up their quarantine facial hair. Scotch Porter delivers the selfcare experience to beards with its Nourishing Beard Mask. “In the past year, we have witnessed men go beyond mere physical fitness and take a more intentional approach to engage in self-care practices through their grooming and integrative health options,” said Calvin Quallis, founder and CEO of the Scotch Porter brand. The company also just introduced a men’s fragrance called It Hits Different. Men also became more adept at hair removal over the past two years. That has prompted a rush to Wahl’s Manscaper, which has been hard to keep in stock, according to Steven Yde, divisional vice president of marketing at Wahl Clipper. The good news for mass merchants is the groomer carries a basket-building $59.99 suggested retail price. Kiss Colors and Care, a new textured hair brand from Kiss Products, has brought in star power for its men’s collection in 2022. The rapper and actor Bow Wow is partnering with the brand on five products available at kisscolors.com and Walmart.com. The products will also be in select Walmart and Kroger stores. “From the jump, I’ve been a fan of the KISS brand and everything they do to help us push the culture through hair,” Bow Wow said in a release. “I knew from day one, our collaboration would be the perfect fit because I know they care about their customers and giving them the best, top-of-the-line products.” He will serve as a brand ambassador and content creator through editorial, press and store events throughout the year. “Here at Kiss, we have been long-time fans of Bow Wow, inspired by his creativity and personal style,” said Annette DeVita-Goldstein, senior vice president of marketing at Kiss.” He is an iconic figure who has influenced generations of consumers through his music and films. He is the ideal partner for the brand’s new men’s collection. Bow Wow embraces the power of self-expression through not only his work but his style, particularly his ever-evolving hairstyles.” dsn


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Committed to the Community

Patient-centric regional pharmacies play an important role in many small towns and communities throughout the United States By Carol Radice

As the overall number of pharmacies continues to dwindle, some regions have not only survived during these turbulent times but have managed to stand out among the crowd. What is the common denominator they share? They are relentlessly focused on helping their patients achieve better health outcomes. COVID-19 has highlighted the fact that local community pharmacies were uniquely positioned to step in and offer vaccines and other related services. Regional pharmacies, with their strong ties to the community, established trust and familiarity with the neighborhoods they operate in, which helped encourage many people who might not have otherwise obtained COVID-19


vaccination. Moreover, during this time, many pharmacists and their staff eagerly traveled to nursing homes and long-term care and mental health facilities in their communities to administer the shots. Jeremy Faulks, vice president of pharmacy operations at Thrifty White Pharmacy based in Plymouth, Minn., said his company’s focus on driving clinical engagement is a key factor in its success over the years. “We believe it’s imperative to leverage the patient-pharmacist relationship beyond traditional dispensing, and our strategies align to unlock this potential, through providing clinical services, closing gaps in care and delivering better quality care to our


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Average number of opens over a 1-week period: Gross Opens:


Gross Open Rate:


Health & Wellness 36,817

Unique Opens:


Generics Gross Average Weekly Opens:

Website Visitors 137,200 over a 3-month period Webinar Total Registrants for 2021 - 5,781


Beauty Gross Average Weekly Opens:


Contact your sales rep now to learn about the possibilities for your brand: Alex Tomas Sales Account Manager 212.756.5155 atomas@drugstorenews.com

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Steven Werner Regional Manager 312-961-7162 swerner@drugstorenews.com

3/1/22 4:05 PM


Fruth Pharmacy retailer info: Year founded:

1952 by Jack Fruth


Point Pleasant, W.V.


More than 150 people


Lynne Fruth has served as president of Fruth Pharmacy since 2010; John Galvan, vice president of operations; Charles “Drew” Massey, director of pharmacy operations; Andy Becker, vice president of pharmacy; Larry Anderson, director of purchasing/marketing; and Dee Weaver, specialty care coordinator

Area of operation:

West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky

patients,” Faulks said. These outcomes unlock additional partnership opportunities with industry stakeholders, circling back to create better patient experiences, he said. Employee owned, most of Thrifty Whites’ pharmacies are in small, rural Midwest towns that range from 1,000 to 90,000 in population. While drug stores have come and gone in their operating area of West Virginia, Point Pleasant-based Fruth Pharmacy is one of the survivors. Lynne Fruth, president and chairman, said the key to remaining competitive is the company’s focus on delivering the best personal care it can to


“Good customer service, offering extras like home delivery and caring long-tenured pharmacists are the secrets to competing.”

Number of pharmacies: More than two dozen

Services: • • • • • • • •

Customized medication (flavoring available upon request) Vitamin and nutritional supplements Medication therapy management Compliance packaging service at select locations Home delivery service Immunizations Synchronization service Specialty medications

— Lynne Fruth, president and chairman, Fruth Pharmacy


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every patient. “Good customer service, offering extras like home delivery and caring long-tenured pharmacists are the secrets to competing,” Fruth said. At the same time, her company is vocal regarding its capabilities and pushes for access to products and services its communities need, especially during times of urgency like the pandemic.

Many Faces of Competition

Thrifty White retailer info: Year founded: Its roots date back to 1884

Services: •

Headquarters: Plymouth, Minn.


• •

More than 1,300 employee owners


Robert Narveson, chairman and CEO; Matt Ode, CIO/executive vice president; Justin Heiser, COO; Tanya Schmidt, vice president, central operations; Senell Jaster, vice president/general counsel; and Jeremy Faulks, vice president of pharmacy operations

Area of operation:

Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota

Number of pharmacies: More than 90


• • • • • • • • • •

Prescriptions: Ready refill, Rx MedSync and Healthy Pack Rx URAC and ACHC Accredited Specialty Pharmacy Home-delivery pharmacy Vaccines and medication injection Pharmacy counseling 24-hour automated voice response Medication therapy management Durable medical equipment Alternate care pharmacy Device training Point-of-care testing Health screenings Drug interventions Affiliated Pharmacy Program Clinical Services

Surviving in today’s ultra-competitive world gets harder and harder each year. Competition is coming at regional pharmacies from many places, both physical and virtual. The rise of digital pharmacy start-ups offering mail delivery, cash pricing and disease-statespecific services is one of the most recent operators vying for market share. Another issue regional pharmacies are facing is the growth of health-system specialty pharmacies. They are not only competing against the large payer-owned specialty pharmacies but also against the local health systems that are trying to capture and keep these patients within their pharmacy. By having similar offerings of their own and doubling down on the patientpharmacist relationship, Faulks said Thrifty White has been successful in holding its customers’ attention and retaining their business. Alongside the growth of health-system owned specialty pharmacies, shifts have occurred in the 340b program, which is encouraging health systems to focus on increasing their patient capture rate for a broader spectrum of therapies. Officials at Fruth Pharmacy have been pushing for fair reimbursement and to level the playing field. The company is involved at the local, state and federal levels to lobby on behalf of fair competition, fair reimbursement and access to patients. Fruth Pharmacy faces the same issues most regional chains do: unsustainable reimbursement, unfair practices by PBMs and problems with enforcing current laws. In fact, many chains, including Fruth Pharmacy, view PBMs as their main competitor. Fruth said her


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“Through our partnership, we are able to fulfill the medication, schedule the appointment and have our pharmacist deliver the injection in the comfort of our private suites, saving the patient time while also allowing the provider to care for more patients.” — Jeremy Faulks, vice president of pharmacy operations, Thrifty White

company is positioned to compete with any pharmacy, but it cannot overcome PBM practices that force mail order, steer patients or otherwise shut out competition by offering reimbursement that won’t cover the cost of doing business “while taking huge profits as the middleman.”

Standing Out Continuing with its focus on the patient, Thrifty White’s offerings have been developed to drive clinical engagement with its patients, and partnerships with health plans, employers and providers. “In one instance, we created a program with a local health plan where they send us a list of patients with certain gaps in care. Our pharmacy teams receive alerts in workflow, identify the specific gap — perhaps a missing A1C value or vaccination — and provide instructions on steps they should take to address,” Faulk said. Once the gap is addressed, this information is communicated back to the health plan and provider, either


through HL7 secure messaging or directly via an electronic medical claim, and the health plan receives credit for closing that gap. These clinical interventions create additional patient engagement opportunities and allow the pharmacist to be a true partner in that patient’s continuum of care, he said. Thrifty White has also developed partnerships with behavioral health clinics to better support their patients taking long-acting injectable medications. Historically, these patients had to return to a clinic multiple times a month just to receive injections, but as Faulk noted, many clinics don’t have bandwidth to manage these injections. “Through our partnership, we are able to fulfill the medication, schedule the appointment and have our pharmacist deliver the injection in the comfort of our private suites, saving the patient time while also allowing the provider to care for more patients,” he said. Among other things, offering vaccines to the public has also allowed regionals to maintain their close community connection. During the past year, Thrifty White has delivered nearly 400,000 COVID-19 vaccinations. Faulk said by offering a simple, streamlined scheduling process and a well-run pharmacy experience, the company has enhanced its reputation in the region, even in markets where it doesn’t have physical locations, enabling additional opportunities for growth. A similar story unfolded at Fruth Pharmacy. During the pandemic, Fruth worked closely with officials from West Virginia and Ohio to provide testing, vaccinations and other services. “This type of relationship with state governments allowed us to quickly engage in different areas and prove that we could deliver for our communities,” Fruth said. “The regional pharmacies all have areas of geographical significance that makes us a critical partner in any state. Fruth, along with other regionals, has demonstrated the huge impact that we can have in any state.” In the coming months, Fruth Pharmacy is preparing to roll out a program in West Virginia that will be funded by the WV Drug Intervention Institute to provide free naloxone with opioid prescriptions. This program will include a counseling component at dispensing and a follow-up call later. Fruth said as a family-owned business, the company is in a unique position to lead the way against drug abuse. Fruth Pharmacy is also working on some innovative ways to be able to dispense the new oral antivirals in conjunction with testing sites. Additionally, it has been communicating with state task force members to devise ways to get more high-risk COVID-19 positive patients in treatment sooner. Through a new partnership with the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, Fruth Pharmacy has found a distinct way to drive patient engagement. It will have a UC professor and pharmacy students on site part time to engage in Comprehensive Medication Reviews and other follow-ups needed. “Our aim is to improve adherence and overall health while getting patients more accustomed to having follow-up calls and counseling sessions with pharmacists,” Fruth said. dsn


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Delivering Differently Pill fatigue drives delivery format innovations By Taffel Sturgeon

Time was, capsules and tablets were the singular way consumers consumed dietary supplements. Place in mouth, add water, swallow. Twenty-five years ago, the Hero Nutritionals brand of children’s supplements came up with the novel idea of using gummy bears as a way to encourage supplement use in children. Sure, there were dosage limitations, and yes, sugar was a necessity, but, as Mary Poppins counseled, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. And then, perhaps because that generation of children grew up, the idea of gummies for adults began to catch on. Fast-forward to 2019 and an incredible milestone was reached: non-pill supplement delivery formats, led by gummies, overtook capsules and tablets as the primary means shoppers consumed supplements. Today, most brands use gummies. But that’s not all. Powders, shots and other beverages, tincture bottles of oils, pumps, nutrient-lined straws and more all vie for the affections of the pill-fatigued. “We have seen many changes since Windmill was established 50 years ago,” said Keith Frankel,


In 2019, non-pill supplement delivery formats overtook capsules and tablets as the primary means shoppers consumed supplements.

president and CEO of Windmill Vitamins. “Certainly, delivery forms have expanded to include gummies, liquids, chews, powders, confections and more, which offer consumers more interesting nutritional options. Throughout the decades, we have embraced how the consumer continues to include vital nutrition in their dietary consumption. We are excited to thrive at the forefront of the development and distribution of these new and innovative products.” Some elderly shoppers have difficulty swallowing pills, while younger “smoothie nation” shoppers gravitate toward powders as part of their morning pick-me-up and go. Brands have responded. “While gummies are currently a smaller piece of the category in comparison to pills, they are the preferred format for Olly’s younger consumers,” said Giselle Balagat, brand director at Olly, a powerhouse hip and trendy brand for which 58 of its 77 SKUs are gummies. “Gummies are one of the fastest-growing formats in the category.” Even with today’s dosage limitations in gummies, brands are innovating their way around this issue. Fish oil leader Nordic Naturals has long had to


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America’s #1 Fish Oil Brand

Rigorously Tested. Proven Effective. Based on ClearCut, Nielsen, and SPINS annual sales data

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contend with the problem of delivering efficacious doses of DHA and EPA that are the heart of fish oil supplements. Through R&D work on its own and partnerships with innovative suppliers, Nordic can now offer more. “Normally that is the case regarding an effective dose for EPA/DHA with gummies,” said Brian Terry, director of sales FDM and specialty at Nordic Naturals. “However, we have an Ultimate Omega Chew that is releasing in the spring that will have 1,200 mg in a gummy chew serving, which will be about 10 times more potent than other omega gummies.” Potent products also include shots, which have moved far afield from energy shots. Urbl is a Canadian company that has built superfood shots with efficacious doses so much so that it has received Canadian regulatory approval for claims of adaptogen, stress relief and energy. “There are many methods to consume healthy ingredients. Certain distinctions give RTD form an edge — greater absorption, convenience, more bang for the buck, flavor, thirst quenching and simply fun,” said Suhas Verma, founder and CEO of Urbl. “Nutraceutical in a fun shot form, Urbl has distinctively merged the supplement and grocery aisles.” Novel delivery formats show no sign of abating as a means of meeting modern consumers where they are. While traditional tablets and capsules have their appeal to a pharma, pill-based culture, a new generation of supplement takers is looking for expanded choices for their nutritional intake — blurring the lines between supplements, foods, beverages and drugs. dsn


Mason Natural Marine Collagen 10 effervescent tablets

SRP: $12.49 Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is to enhance hair, skin and nails. Meant for on-the-go consumption (drop a tab in a water bottle and go), the formula contains matcha for a little caffeine kick and turmeric for inflammation modulation. It also contains antioxidants and the protective beauty boosters collagen, biotin and vitamin C.

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Gummy Chews 54 gummy chews

SRP: $42.95 There’s an ocean’s worth of innovation in this fish oil product. For one, no sugar! Yet these soft gummies still come in a tasty tropical fruit flavor. In addition, Nordic Naturals has managed to somehow cram 1,200 mg of omega-3 EPA plus DHA into a single-serving size, which is impressive even for softgels thanks to the use of concentrates.

Urbl Roar 2 fl. oz.

SRP: $3.99 The shot category is rapidly expanding beyond caffeinated energy shots. Urbl is a new brand with a growing spectrum of single-serve shots for a range of health concerns. Its Vigor SKU features the king adaptogenic herb ashwagandha, plus beetroot, cayenne pepper and other ingredients to help the body enhance endurance and reduce stress.

Trace Minerals Research Apple Cider Vinegar 60 gummies

SRP: $29.99 There may be no better use of a gummy than in apple cider vinegar supplements. ACV is one of the trendiest supplement ingredients of the year, which is used to assist with digestion and for weight management — but for that vinegary taste! Gummies solve the ick factor. Each gummy provides 500 mg of unfiltered, organic ACV in gummies that are gluten free, gelatin free, certified vegan and non-GMO.

Vibrant Health Green Vibrance 30 servings

SRP: $44.80 The original greens powder company started three decades ago and keeps on innovating. It’s now up to version 19.1 and contains an absolute kitchen sink’s worth of nutritional bioactives. Containing more than 100 ingredients, the formulation starts with the letter vitamins and minerals, and then goes with cereal grasses, adaptogenic herbs, fibers, enzymes as well as ingredients for immune support, bone health, liver support and digestion.

Windmill Vitamins Evolution_18 Beauty Bites 60 servings

SRP: $14.98 This decadent offering comes in either dark or milk chocolate and is infused with quality skin health ingredients like collagen peptides, the B vitamin biotin and hyaluronic acid. Incredibly, each chocolate piece contains only 1 g of sugar — less than a gummy!


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Since 1972, Windmill has offered numerous market-responsive supplements to help grow your wellness category. Our array of products satisfies a variety of health needs, including multi and single vitamins and minerals, whole food supplements, specialty formulas, weight management, keto, performance nutrition, functional beverages, and herbals. These efficacious formulas are available in convenient and diversified delivery systems. Windmill has remained at the forefront of creating cutting edge, clinically based formulas to deliver incremental profits to our retail partners. As an industry leader, we also bring top performing, national direct response brands to retail channels. Windmill services clients in all market segments at competitive prices to promote repeat purchases and customers’ quest for better health.

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3/1/22 11:51 AM


Got CBD? Get Gummies The popular form factor offers a consumer-pleasing opportunity By Taffel Sturgeon

When the hemp CBD craze stormed the country about five years ago, manufacturers delivered consumer products via tincture bottles. The delivery format of CBD oil was a little messy, and shoppers did not always get the dosage exactly right when they squirted a little oil under their tongues. But if there’s one thing that can be said about the CBD business, it’s innovative. Oils are so 2019. Just like regular supplements, CBD can now be found in the most popular way shoppers enjoy taking any supplement — gummies. Gummies are easy to take, they allow for more accurate dosing compared to liquid oils, plus they can have attractive flavors and can often accommodate co-ingredients within the soft and sweet morsels. “These were significant considerations in our decision to launch our Sleep and Calm products as gummies,” said Tim Hitchman, vice president of operations for pioneering hemp CBD brand CV Sciences, makers of +PlusCBD. “That’s why gummies


“If it is necessary to mask unpalatable flavors or adjust pH, it can take numerous iterations to get the formulation right.” — Tim Hitchman, vice president of operations, CV Sciences

are a very popular form factor amongst consumers.” Another possible consideration to think about is the target consumer as well as the downstream health concern. This is important for both brands and retailers keen on maintaining a diverse set of brands, applications and product formats. So while gummies might make more sense for a daily sleep gummy, a hemp CBD product aimed at relieving muscle aches and pains might be better suited as a topical cream or balm. Gummies, it bears mentioning, can be trickier to formulate than one might imagine. It is not always possible to formulate ingredients — especially ones with bitter notes — into gummies due to challenging flavor profiles. Other ingredients can affect the stability or consistency of the gummy matrix. “Taste and texture are critical,” said Ola Lessard, chief marketing officer at pioneering brand HempFusion, which specializes in blending hemp CBD with other herbs and nutrients to address


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Harmony Sleep CBD/CBN gummies 30 gummies

HempFusion CBD Immune Support Gummies 30 gummies

Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies: Recovery 60 gummies

SRP: $44.99 The O.G. and market leader of the hemp CBD world, Charlotte’s Web produces a broad range of products in oils, capsules, topicals, sprays and gummies. This SKU helps people on the move who might suffer from exerciseinduced inflammatory discomfort. Turmeric and ginger help the 10 mg of CBD per gummy, and each gummy contains 1.5 g of sugar.

SRP: $29.99 HempFusion lives up to its name by using 100 mg of real elderberries for an immune kick blended with 10 mg of organic, DNA-verified, heirloom hemp extract per gummy. The entire product is non-GMO and is tested by a third party, ISO-certified lab to ensure potency and compliance. The gummies are gluten free, vegan and contain 2 g of sugar per piece.

CV Sciences Sleep 30 gummies

SRP: $29.99 Two new wellness blends — Sleep and Calm — from CV Sciences have gummies using 2 g of organic sugar to sweeten the old school supplementstyle formulation that starts with 20 mg of hemp CBD extract. The company then added 3 g of melatonin to support a body’s natural sleep/ wake cycle, magnolia to relieve occasional anxiety and lemon balm as a calming mint.

SRP: $34.99 Harmony is a trend-setting, certified USDA organic hemp brand that develops condition-specific products using CBD as well as minor cannabinoids (in this case, dozy CBN) and complementary ingredients. The company also grows, extracts, bottles and distributes its own from its South Carolina property, using regenerative practices in its farming methods. The orange flavored sleep gummies contain 20 mg of CBD per serving, 10 mg snoozy CBN per gummy and 2 mg of supplement-style sleep standby melatonin per gummy.

Healist Calm Chews 46 chews

SRP: $79.99 Chronic stress is reportedly the sixth leading cause of death worldwide, costing U.S. businesses some $300 billion a year. Hemp can help with that. Healist uses hemp CBD as a base, then adds the master adaptogenic herb called ashwagandha, which is used to bring the body back to balance. L-theanine is the green tea compound found to bring about calm without drowsiness. A custom calming terpene blend supports the body in chilling out stress and feelings of anxiety.

specific health concerns. “We worked really hard to get both of those things right as we developed both our regular CBD gummies and our CBD + Elderberry Immune Support gummies.” Lessard said for brands to get it right, it requires close collaboration between R&D, marketing and the contract manufacturing team that specializes in gummies. “If it is necessary to mask unpalatable flavors or adjust pH, it can take numerous iterations to get the formulation right,” Hitchman said. “In extreme cases, it may be necessary to run pilot production batches to confirm flavor and consistency of the final product.” A well-created gummy can deliver the necessary

dosage along with a superb taste and texture that will delight shoppers. That bonus X factor in supplement intake — taste and flavor sensations — is no small thing. It’s always the No. 1 concern with foods and beverages, so it becomes equally important with taste-forward gummies. “Is the person actually going to use this product as instructed to obtain the benefit? That’s where gummies come in,” Lessard said. “Let’s be honest: Grownups are really just big kids. Common sense tells us that we’re all more likely to take a supplement we actually enjoy, but the data also backs that up — gummies are far and away the No. 1 CBD format among consumers.” So in the end, if someone would rather take hemp CBD in gummy format because they enjoy it, then retailers should offer the best quality and most delicious gummy they can find. Unlike capsules and tablets, gummies offer retailers the power to sample the product themselves to see if the gummy really is as delicious as claimed. Your taste buds are asking you to get them involved in your selection process. dsn


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Providing Solutions DSN’s Retail Excellence Awards spotlight companies that develop innovative over-the-counter products By Nora Caley

Self-care is more important than ever. Whether they are reluctant to visit healthcare providers during the ongoing pandemic, or just to take charge of their own health, consumers are seeking over-thecounter medicines. The demand is still growing for products that provide solutions for cough-cold, pain, sleep, stress and other maladies. According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, citing figures from The Nielsen Company, retail sales of OTC medicines totaled $36.5 billion in 2020 compared with $35.2 billion in 2019. Among the largest categories in 2020 were upper respiratory at $8.65 billion, internal analgesics at $4.5 billion, heartburn at $2.16 billion, first aid at $1.56 billion and eye care at nearly $1.3 billion. The pandemic did not stop innovation, and manufacturers developed innovative products that answer key consumer needs. This month, DSN recognizes some of the leaders in the OTC medicine and preventive health space. Here are this year’s Retail Excellence Awards – OTC and Preventive Health.

Xlear Xlear is a manufacturer of xylitol-based products. The American Fork, Utah-based company makes Xlear Sinus Care products, Spry Dental Defense products and XyloSweet natural sweetener. Nathan


Jones founded the company in 2000, after his father, Dr. Lon Jones, developed a xylitol nasal spray after reading extensive research done in Finland about the benefits of xylitol. Last year, Xlear (pronounced “clear”) reformulated its Spry toothpaste. Nathan Jones explained that the reformulation is based on a new study, published in the Journal of Dentistry, which found that the combination of fluoride and nanosized trimetaphosphate, or TMP, more effectively hardens teeth against damage and decay than fluoride alone. “The inspiration for this innovation came from where Xlear finds inspiration and innovation as a rule: sound science,” he said. “We fund research and pay close attention to the everevolving state of health knowledge. Then we use that data and research to produce products that help people stay healthier and happier.” In 2022, Xlear will highlight Spry and focus on the nasal spray. “The last two years have demonstrated the importance of nasal hygiene in a world full of novel pathogens,” Jones said. “We want to educate people about the importance of washing your nose as a way to both breathe

better and be healthier.” Additionally in 2022, the company plans to focus on the benefits of Xlear nasal spray in helping reduce snoring, an issue that makes many relationships suffer. “Not only does it impact both partners’ sleep, but it can put a huge damper on intimacy,” Jones said.

WishGarden Herbs A provider of whole herb liquid extracts, WishGarden Herbs pioneered conditionspecific blends that are fast acting and gentle on the body. The Louisville, Colo.based company makes several immune support products for children and adults. Among the newest products are two cough syrups. Serious AM Cough Soothing Syrup has wild cherry, elecampane, linden, hawthorn, marshmallow and elderberry to open up the chest, soothe the bronchioles, relax the cough reflex, evict the excess phlegm from the body and support a healthy inflammatory response in the throat and upper respiratory. Serious PM Cough Soothing Syrup has passionflower, wood betony, hops and wild lettuce to promote restful sleep and wild cherry, elecampane and mullein to open the airways.


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Last year, WishGarden Herbs expanded its product offering to new categories. “Immune has an ebb and flow in sales every year,” said Sindy Wise, vice president of business development. “The push for us was getting into product categories that sell year-round.” Exercise and Revive Recovery Aid contains turmeric and maca root, tart cherry, wild yam, and white willow bark to support a healthy inflammatory response. Rise and Shine Daily Energy Boost has maca root for supporting strength and stamina, and schisandra traditional Chinese longevity berry, yerba mate, milky oats and gotu kola. Party Prep has traditional herbs that help maintain normal liver function and detoxification, prickly pear to support a healthy inflammatory response in the liver, and Japanese raisin seed to encourage the production of enzymes. There’s also a topical: Clear Complexion Blemish with calendula flower, burdock root and other ingredients.

ADM Protexin In 2020, ADM Protexin, which makes BioKult probiotics, expanded its lineup with Bio-Kult Boosted, which the Doral, Fla.based company said was its most successful launch yet. “We listened to our customers, who were asking for a higher CFU count of the original Bio-Kult formulation,” said Alexa Wood, brand manager at ADM Protexin. “As most people looking for a higher CFU count are likely to be taking alongside antibiotics or traveling, we


opted to add vitamin B12 to help the normal function of the immune system.” The original Bio-Kult and Bio-Kult Boosted are the brand’s top products. The company will continue to focus on both for 2022. “With the ongoing pandemic, consumers are looking to support their immune system, so we know it will be a strong year for both these products,” Wood said. Other products in the portfolio include Bio-Kult Candéa, which targets the intimate flora; Bio-Kult Pro-Cyan, which targets the urinary tract; Bio-Kult Infantis for babies, toddlers and young children; Bio-Kult Migréa, which targets the head; Bio-Kult Mind, which targets cognitive function; and Bio-Kult S. Boulardi, which targets the digestive and immune system. The products do not need to be refrigerated, have no artificial colors or flavors, and are manufactured to pharmaceutical MHRA cGMP standards. ADM Protexin developed its own research-driven probiotic strains, identified with the initials PXN. All strains are included in the European Qualified Presumption of Safety list compiled by the European Food Standards Agency, which assesses the safety of microorganisms in food in Europe.

Bausch + Lomb For nearly 170 years, Bausch + Lomb has been focused on developing products that support eye health. The Bridgewater, N.J.-based company’s portfolio of OTC

products includes ocular nutritional supplements, eye drops and lens care solutions. In 2021, Bausch + Lomb launched Alaway Preservative Free, which the company said is the first and only FDAapproved OTC preservative-free antihistamine eye drop. When the pandemic limited travel and in-person gatherings, the number of hours people spent outdoors increased, impacting many of those who suffer with itchy eyes as a symptom of allergies. Alaway Preservative Free antihistamine eye drops provide relief that lasts up to 12 hours. Also in 2021, the company introduced Biotrue Hydration Boost lubricant eye drops, formulated to relieve symptoms associated with irritated, dry eyes due to a prolonged use of digital devices. In 2022, the company plans to launch several new OTC and vision care products, including a new multipurpose contact lens solution. “We will also continue to highlight our broad portfolio of ocular nutritional supplements, lens care solutions and eye drops,” said Joe Gordon, U.S. president of Bausch + Lomb. In addition to product innovations, Bausch + Lomb also expanded its sustainability programs by launching the Biotrue Eye Care Recycling Program, which provides consumers the ability to properly recycle all brands of their eye drop singledose units, lens cases and lens solution caps, depending on each city’s recycling guidelines, as well as Biotrue Hydration Boost eye drops multidose bottles.

Boiron USA The homeopathic medicine company Boiron is known for its Arnicare line of pain relievers and Oscillococcinum flu reliever. Founded 90 years ago by twin brothers and pharmacists Jean and Henri Boiron, the Newtown Square, Pa.-based


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Let's Talk Immune Health Immune system support for the whole family. Bio-Kult is the original formulation with 14 probiotic strains to support the digestive and immune system. Bio-Kult Boosted is a unique multi-action formulation with the same great 14 probiotic strains found in Bio-Kult but at 4 times the concentration. Bio-Kult Boosted also contains vitamin B12 to support the immune system. Bio-Kult S. Boulardii is an advanced multi-action formulation designed to target both the immune system and digestive tract. It contains Saccharomyces boulardii as well as vitamin D3 which contributes to the normal function of the immune system. Bio-Kult Infantis is an advanced probiotic formulation for babies, toddlers and young children. Containing 7 probiotic strains, Preplex and vitamin D3 which contributes to the normal function of the immune system.

For more information contact Bio-Kult




Distributed By: ADM Protexin, Inc., 1833 NW 79th Avenue, Doral, Miami FL 33126. Tel: 786.310.7233 Manufacturer: ADM Protexin, Lopen Head, Somerset, TA13 5JH

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company sources more than 1,000 botanical substances from botanists and harvesters, who take care to preserve the plants used and the land on which they grow. The Arnicare line relieves stiffness, pain and swelling, and includes Cream, Gel, Leg Cramps and Arthritis. Oscillococcinum is a multi-symptom flu medicine that temporarily relieves body aches, headache, fever, chills and fatigue. Other OTC remedies from Boiron include SinusCalm, ColdCalm and StressCalm in dissolvable tablets that can be taken without water. The brand also offers digestive products for gas bloating relief.

Country Life Vitamins With the goal of empowering individuals on their personal journeys, Country Life Vitamins offers vitamins, minerals, fitness optimization and skin care. The Hauppauge, N.Y.-based company is driven by a quest to understand consumer needs. “In 2021, we saw a large shift in the health-and-wellness space as people began navigating the pandemic and wanting to understand how to keep their minds and bodies as healthy as possible,” said Sharon Paguio, senior director of marketing and development. “There was an increase in interest surrounding areas of the space, including immune support, cognitive support and overall daily wellness as a


means to stay healthy, active and free from illness during these uncertain times.” In 2022, Country Life Vitamins plans to continue listening and observing consumer trends and needs. The company will focus on key areas including immunity (Gut Connection Immune Balance, Quercetin + D3), energy (vitamin B), cognitive health (Sharp Thought, Gut Connection Cognitive Balance) and overall wellness (Core Daily 1 Multivitamins). “As we have done for decades, Country Life Vitamins will continue to uphold our Pledge of Integrity in 2022 by committing to our key pillars of authenticity, cleanliness, freshness, consistency and accuracy,” Paguio said.

“The inspiration for innovation comes from understanding what consumers are looking for and Gaia’s commitment to purity, potency and transparency, and ensuring that we deliver on those standards in everything that we make,” said Alicia Richman, director of brand strategy and innovation. This year, Gaia will highlight its newest gummy products: Ashwagandha, Relax and Sleep. “We believe that more and more consumers are understanding the benefits of adaptogens and how they can support their health,” Richman said. All three gummies are also USDA Organic certified, Non-GMO Verified and sweetened with real fruit.

Gaia Herbs

Hyland’s Naturals

Gaia Herbs is known for its turmeric products, used to help reduce occasional inflammation. The Brevard, N.C.-based company offers Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength, Turmeric Supreme Joint, Turmeric Supreme Sinus Support and others. In the last year, Gaia Herbs launched two turmeric gummies, Adult Daily and Extra Strength, to offer consumers a more convenient way to take their Gaia Turmeric. They are both full spectrum, USDA Organic certified, Non-GMO Verified and sweetened with real fruit.

Among the best-known products in the Hyland’s Naturals portfolio are Hyland’s Organic Elderberry Plus for immune support, Hyland’s Leg Cramps ointment and tablets for pain relief, and Hyland’s Naturals Stress Busters with L-theanine, chamomile and lemon balm. In addition to providing OTC products that offer relief, the company has a prevention focus. “We were really excited to launch gummy supplements at the end of 2021 that allow our brand to not just take care of consumers when they’re not feeling well, but also help


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them stay healthy the rest of the time,” said Les Hamilton, chief revenue officer. The gummy supplements are made with natural ingredients, with no artificial flavors or sweeteners, no high fructose corn syrup and no added preservatives. They are also certified organic where possible. “Hyland’s families have trusted our brand for generations, so we have to make sure that we deliver supplements at the same high quality as our OTC products, albeit more fun and delicious to take.” Hyland’s Naturals has many exciting new products planned in 2022, and will continue to expand its portfolio supporting babies, kids, moms and active consumers.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health is driven to improve the health of consumers around the world, with a portfolio of iconic brands that are rooted in science and endorsed by professionals. By staying close to consumers and deepening its partnerships with customers, the company delivers meaningful innovations across its portfolio of brands in the self-care category. In 2021, J&J launched innovative and inclusive products. One hundred years after Band-Aid Brand adhesive bandages were invented, the company launched Band-Aid Brand Ourtone adhesive bandages in three brown shades to provide options for communities of color. Zyrtec Non-Medicated Soothing Face Wipes cleanse and refresh skin. Extra Strength Tylenol Cold + Flu Multi-Action is available behind the counter at the pharmacy without a prescription. The company said COVID-19 reinforced the importance of health and has driven consumers to be more proactive with their healthcare decisions than ever. To meet their fast-evolving needs, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health is focused on outcomes, and in the past year delivered several innovations across its portfolio.


Additionally, over the course of the last year, the company adopted new ways of working and fueled its digital ambition, embracing a critical shift in how it reaches consumers every day.

Natrol Originally a beauty company founded in 1980, Natrol is now one of the most recognized names in vitamins, minerals and supplements. Natrol makes products in the sleep, immune, nutrition and beauty categories. Also in the ’80s, Natrol developed Ester-C for immune support. Today, the product has evolved to Easy-C, one of the brand’s top sellers. In 2020, the company answered the demand for immune health products by reintroducing Natrol Chewable Zinc and Natrol Immune Boost, and rolled out two new products — Immune-Biotic and Elderberry Gummies. In addition to immune support, sleep has been the focus lately for many consumers. Last year, the Chatsworth, Calif.-based company launched Natrol Sleep+ line, gummies that feature melatonin and other ingredients. The lineup consists of Sleep+ Immune Health Berry Gummies, Sleep+ Calm Strawberry Gummies, Sleep+ Beauty Raspberry Gummies, Kids Sleep+ Immune Health Berry Gummies and Kids Sleep+ Calm Strawberry Gummies. This year, Natrol is expanding that line

into a new form factor and adding a new secondary benefit as well. “We believe this will appeal and are excited for its introduction into the market in February,” said Harel Shapira, brand director of innovation. “When we innovate, we always have the consumer front and center, and this approach is at the heart of what makes our innovations successful.” The new form factor can help retailers attract more consumers into the aisle. Gummies have grown in popularity over the past few years, so much so, Shapira said, that approximately 75% of new items in sleep supplements this year were in the gummies form. Still, most consumers prefer traditional forms like tablets, capsules and softgels, so it is important to include these in an assortment.

PharmaCare US PharmaCare US makes the Sambucol Black Elderberry line of products. Black elderberry is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and provides immune support. The company makes syrup, gummies, effervescent tablets and powders, and other products for adults, as well as infant drops, gummies and syrups for kids. To make immune support even easier, the company posts recipes on its website, such as the Black Elderberry Winter Smoothie, which contains soy milk, orange juice, beets,


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Plus up your sleep. Powerful blends for restful and revitalizing sleep.†

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natrol.com †These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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strawberries, mango, Black Elderberry Syrup and other ingredients. Sales exploded during the pandemic, and the products are still in demand as kids go back to school and adults return to offices. PharmaCare US, based in San Diego, is a division of Australia-based PharmaCare.

a Nano Silver gel used to treat injuries, prevent infections and neutralize viruses. The company said the Nano Silver technology also effectively kills 99.9% of harmful bacteria, such as MRSA and VRE, staph and more. This year, the company is extending its line of Nano Silver products with an antibacterial wound wash, immuno throat drops and an immuno boost supplement. “With the rising trends of natural products in the wound care industry, we feel Nano Silver technology offers the healthiest and most powerful solution for our consumers’ needs,” Gonzalez said.

Doctor Easy Total Resources International More than a provider of first-aid kits and wound care, Total Resources International wants to change how people think about being prepared. “Our purpose and intent is to be forward thinkers and change the mindset of consumers to become proactive instead of reactive,” said Geolyn Gonzalez, vice president of sales and marketing. The Walnut, Calif.-based company’s flagship brand is the Be Smart Get Prepared line of first aid and emergency preparedness products. The Home and Family first-aid kits have whimsical names like What a Healin’ Deluxe First Aid Kit, Tender Lovin’ Diabetic Wound Care and Sneeze the Moment Face Masks. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are Hiking Buddy, Happy Explorer and Happy Wanderer First Aid Kit, as well as Lone Wolf Emergency Survival Kits. “We design with the consumer and their lifestyle in mind,” Gonzalez said. “We address serious first-aid concerns in unconventional ways by offering fully comprehensive solutions packaged with a playful aesthetic.” The products are designed to provide smart, sensible solutions for individuals and families to achieve overall safety and wellness at home and away from home. In addition to first-aid kits, Total Resources International launched a flagship product in 2018, Silvex Wound Gel,


In 2021, Doctor Easy Medical Products continued its mission of bringing professionalgrade ear washing to retail with WaxRx. The company said WaxRx is different from any other OTC ear cleaning solution since it can remove even the most stubborn ear wax impaction safely and easily at home. “From our 25 years of experience in the professional arena, we knew the demand was out there for a truly effective ear cleaning system,” said Marsha Garcia, president of the women-owned, Orange Park, Fla.-based Doctor Easy. “So we’re excited to be reaching more and more consumers in chain drug and mass market with our self-care system. WaxRx has already helped over half a million consumers avoid costly medical visits for earwax removal.” Garcia also said that the company will continue to promote WaxRx in 2022 with ongoing national cable TV and digital ad campaigns. “Our focus is on supporting our retailers by educating the consumer about WaxRx and the availability of professional-grade ear care products at retail,” she said.

Focus Consumer Healthcare Focus Consumer Healthcare manufactures consumer healthcare products across several categories including Pamprin, Garlique, Herpecin L, Blue Star, Zapzyt, Sun In, UltraSwim and Benzodent. The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company launched and expanded several innovations in 2021 across its brands. For Herpecin L, the company identified an unmet need within the cold sore category that led to the launch of new Herpecin L Pain Relief with Lidocaine. This maximum-strength tripleaction item, which launched exclusively at a mass retailer for year one, is proving to be incremental and is helping propel Herpecin L sales. Garlique Healthy Blood Pressure launched in select retailers in 2020, and the company expanded on this new innovation in 2021 as more retailers brought the item into distribution with a fullscale launch. With this launch, Garlique is positioned to help consumers support both their healthy cholesterol and healthy blood pressure needs, with the Garlique franchise growing more than two times the VMS category growth. Pamprin is a heritage brand that has been around for decades, helping women deal with the pain, discomfort and irritability associated with their menstrual cycle. Based on consumer feedback and insights, the company repositioned the brand with updated packaging and expanded advertising. dsn


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Getting Creative with Hiring and Retention Retailers need to work harder to become employers of choice By David Orgel

The pandemic didn’t cause the employment problem, but it made it a lot worse. Food and drug retailers face growing challenges with employee hiring and retention in a more competitive labor environment. The obstacles are formidable. A 2021 Future of Work report from FMI and Deloitte pointed to important findings from a food industry survey. Retailers cited talent availability as the biggest workforce challenge, followed by talent retention, retraining and reskilling. While many retailers have reacted strategically to labor shortfall challenges, there is a need to take efforts to the next level. That requires absorbing best practices of the past few years and putting in place strategies to drive enduring success. It’s time to get really creative about the workforce.

a simulated retail store to support those efforts. The center supports the retailer’s focus on providing employment and training in underserved populations, including for people with disabilities, mature workers, youth and veterans.

Rethinking Entry-Level Requirements

David Orgel is an award-winning business journalist, industry expert and speaker. He is currently the principal of David Orgel Consulting.

Going All in on Education The good news is that retailers are heavily experimenting, on fronts ranging from compensation to training and education. Walmart is a good example of a company that has ramped up its investments in college education and tuition. The giant retailer is now paying the entire cost of associates’ college tuition and books through its Live Better U education program. It plans to spend nearly $1 billion over a five-year period on career-focused training and development. The retailer also has added to its list of university partners to give associates a wider range of choices.

Finding New Pools of Candidates Retailers have increasingly realized the need to find new sources of job candidates, which often means becoming more engaged in communities. One of the most creative and ambitious examples is at CVS Health, which has been opening Workforce Innovation and Talent Centers. Last year, the retailer opened a center in Pittsburgh at Ebenezer Baptist Church geared toward providing training for a range of retail roles. It even included


The good news is that retailers are heavily experimenting, on fronts ranging from compensation to training and education.

Labor shortages have led more retailers to reconsider which education prerequisites are most important in hiring — a proactive move that benefits both company and job candidate. CVS Health has taken a lead by eliminating the high school diploma or GED requirement for most entry-level roles.

Reimagining the Office Building On the list of creative approaches to workforce challenges, an initiative by Rite Aid has to fall somewhere near the top. The retailer has unveiled a “corporate workplace of the future” that lines up with its “remote-first” work philosophy. This “reimagined workplace model” prioritizes flexibility while also creating an official headquarters space in Philadelphia for in-person collaboration and company gatherings. Additionally, the company will open country-wide regional collaboration centers where Rite Aid teams may attend in-person meetings, training and development, and other activities.

The Big Payoff There are many ways to grow a retailer’s reputation as an employer, but what does success look like? We’ve all seen rankings of top employers, such as Fortune’s annual Best Workplaces in Retail. It’s no accident that companies such as Wegmans Food Markets, Target, Nugget Market and Publix Super Markets score high on those lists. Those brands have worked hard to gain the reputation of best-in-class workplaces, which provides a competitive edge in hiring. That kind of status is within the grasp of just about every retailer, but they have to make the effort to get there. dsn


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