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APRIL 2023


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Important Safety Information: InPen™

The InPen™ is a home-use reusable pen injector for single-patient use by people with diabetes under the supervision of an adult caregiver, or by a patient age 7 and older for the self-injection of a desired dose of insulin and for calculating an insulin dose or carbohydrate intake based on user entered data. A healthcare professional must assist in dosage programming of the device prior to use, based on various patient-specific criteria and targets. The InPen™ requires a prescription. For additional product and safety information, please consult the Instructions for Use and bit.ly/InPenSafety.

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1 year warranty. US-DBA-2100408 v2.0


In addition to pharmacies, the retail health ecosystem is an intricate, multifaceted organism that is an essential part of American life



What are the OTC products most recommended by pharmacy clinicians? Our new survey lists the top picks across 12 categories Page 54

Join the growing list of drug and grocery retailers satisfying their customer’s demand for problem solving hair care products David Horwitz, Vital’s International Group 818-421-8739 | davidh@vitalsintl.com Therapeutic Shampoos, Naturally! Pure Proven Powerful

Go beyond ordinary. Be exemplary.

“ We believe that Lewis Drug is on the leading edge of finding new ways for quality improvement. We chose The
Team because they are forward thinking in their approach to patient care.”
for Community Pharmacy/DMEPOS Scan for more information about becoming an accredited Exemplary Provider.® Accreditation Organization Renewing DMEPOS in 2023/2024? Contact us now. TheComplianceTeam.org 215-654-9110
— Jessica Strobl, PharmD and VP of Professional Services at Lewis Family
Drug - 60 locations accredited


36 FUTURE 50

HRG Future 50

These products set themselves apart on store shelves in 2022


What are the OTC products most recommended by pharmacy clinicians?


60 INSIDE BEAUTY ROUNDTABLE Executives Explore the Major Issues Facing Beauty in 2023

Even as consumers face rising prices, most don’t want to give up on buying beauty, especially wellness and clean products.


Bushbalm’s Breakthrough

The Canadian brand, selected for the Sparked at Ulta Beauty program, is increasing its visibility



Technology and Automation

This month’s awards feature leaders in the technology and automation industry


NSAIDs Reign, Naturals Rise

Traditional OTC pain relievers remain popular, but topical and natural solutions are gaining traction


Rethinking the CBD Mix

A wider range of products offers opportunities for retail pharmacies

92 NACDS ANNUAL MEETING Product Showcase

Take a look at some of the participating companies’ new products and services you can expect to see at this year’s Annual

6 April 2023 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM 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. 45 No 4, April 2023. Copyright © 2023 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved. DEPARTMENTS 8 EDITOR’S NOTE 12 INDUSTRY NEWS 24 PRODUCTS TO WATCH 30 ISSUES SUMMIT REPORT 34 WOMEN IN THE NEWS COLUMNS Facebook.com/DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/DrugStoreNews
26 GUEST COLUMN By Thomas Borzilleri Founder of InteliSys Health 98 LAST WORD By Mark Thierer CEO and co-founder, Waltz Health 42
Vol. 45 No. 4
In addition to pharmacies, the retail health ecosystem is an intricate, multifaceted organism that is an essential part of American life
★ ★Based on a survey of pharmacists who recommend branded vitamins and supplements. *Source: IRI Total US - All Outlets: Latest 52 Weeks Ending Feb-26-2023 #1 brand purchased by first-time category buyers.* Choose Nature Made® to unlock your category growth.

Real Retail Ecosystem

Pharmacy is having a moment, and it’s coming at a critical time

If a January 2023 report from the Commonwealth Fund is to be believed, America has a health care problem. The Fund has the numbers to support that statement.

The report compares the U.S. health system performance to the high-income countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a forum where 37 democracies with market-based economies collaborate to develop policy standards to promote sustainable economic growth. Data for the Fund’s analysis come from the OECD and other international sources.

Here’s what the Fund found: In 2021, the U.S. spent 17.8% of gross domestic product on health care—nearly twice as much as the average OECD country—yet Americans experience worse health outcomes than their peers around the world. Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was 77 years in 2020—three years lower than the OECD average. Provisional data shows life expectancy in the U.S. dropped even further in 2021

The Fund also reported that people in the United States experience the worst health outcomes overall of any high-income nation. We have among the lowest rates of physician visits and practicing physicians, and the obesity rate is nearly double the OECD average. As a result, Americans are more likely to die younger (and from avoidable causes) than residents of peer countries.

This is an opportunity for retail pharmacy to step up and provide much-needed support to the health care system. It proved its mettle during the pandemic and is expanding into clinical services, including testing for strep and flu, smoking cessation counseling, diabetes prevention programs, medication adherence and much more.

But retail pharmacy is only one component in a wide-ranging, complex ecosystem with specialized players that provide care for millions of Americans. So what does this system look like? We set out to answer that question.

After months of legwork, we have assembled the Real Retail Health ecosystem report (page 42), which lists all of the pieces that make up retail health care today, including regional pharmacies, insurance companies, virtual care companies, clinical services, wholesalers, insurance companies, home health care outlets and more. The system is surprisingly vast! dsn

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Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Litterick

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Executive Vice President, Operations

Derek Estey


John Beckner, NCPA

Becky Dant, Costco

J. Jeremy Faulks, Thrifty White Pharmacy

Doug M. Long, IQVIA

Nancy Lyons, Health Mart Pharmacy

Katie Scanlon, Publix Super Markets

Heidi Snyder, Drug World Pharmacies

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Amazon intros delivery from Rite Aid in New Jersey, California

Hy-Vee set to host Best of Local Brands summit

Hy-Vee will host its next quarterly Best of Local Brands Summit in May to expand and enhance the product offerings at its more than 285 retail stores in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Since the Best of Local Brands summits began in early 2021, more than 125 new brands have been selected and are available to Hy-Vee customers.

Amazon is offering Prime members two-hour delivery windows from Rite Aid in select zip codes in Newark, N.J. and Burbank, Calif. for their health and personal care, cosmetics, grocery essentials and more.

Prescriptions and pharmaceuticals are not available through this service.

This new delivery service provides Prime members who live within the greater Newark, N.J. and Burbank, Calif. areas a wide product assortment from Rite Aid and a high level of service available through Amazon’s two-hour delivery, the company said.

Prime members can shop here or on the Amazon shopping app. New customers will receive 20% off their first order of $40+ using code RiteAid20 (valid only for one purchase). Currently, Amazon offers Prime Members twohour delivery windows from other retailers including Bristol Farms, Bartell Drugs, Pet Food Express, Cardenas Markets and Save Mart among others.

“Rite Aid’s availability on Amazon provides our local Prime members in Newark, N.J. and Burbank, Calif. with even more selection and convenience as they continue to shop for health and personal care, cosmetics, and grocery essentials online and trust they will be delivered to their door fast,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “We’re consistently looking for ways to offer more choice, flexibility and value for Prime members so we look forward to expanding our two-hour delivery window offering to more Rite Aid locations in the future.”

“Our customer-centric approach complements the busy lives of our consumers to conveniently meet them where they are, which is why we are excited to team up with Amazon to provide local Prime members convenient access to deliver everyday essentials right to their doorstep with twohour delivery windows. We look forward to expanding the offering to more locations in the future to help more communities achieve whole health,” a Rite Aid spokesperson said.

This year, Hy-Vee seeks to identify suppliers with diverse backgrounds and encourages minority-owned and women-owned businesses to apply for the quarterly summits.

The summit will consist of 15- to 30-minute virtual presentations from selected suppliers on Wednesday, May 10.

Hy-Vee started accepting submissions for its Best of Local Brands Summit online on March 20 in the following categories: grocery, produce, deli, general merchandise, frozen, dairy, and health and beauty care. The submission deadline was April 3. ECRM and RangeMe are helping Hy-Vee source, qualify and connect with suppliers. Suppliers can submit their products through RangeMe, an online product discovery and sourcing platform. All meetings will be conducted through ECRM’s virtual meeting platform, ECRM Connect. Suppliers not chosen for participation in this summit will still be accessible through RangeMe and may be reviewed by Hy-Vee again in the future.

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Kellogg unveils names for snack, cereal companies ahead of spinoff

Kellogg has unveiled the names of the future companies it will create through its planned separation into two public companies. The names will go into effect with the spin-off of the North American cereal business, which Kellogg intends to complete by the end of 2023. While the company names will change upon completion, the

“Kellogg’s” brand will remain on product packaging of both companies worldwide.

The North American cereal business will be named WK Kellogg Co, a food company in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.

The global snacking, international cereal and noodles, plant-based foods and North American frozen breakfast business will be named Kellanova.

Kellanova will be a global snacking company with a portfolio of brands, including Pringles, Cheez-It, PopTarts, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats, MorningStar Farms, Incogmeato, Gardenburger, Nutri-Grain, RXBAR and Eggo. Kellanova will also steward a suite of international cereal brands, including Kellogg’s, Frosties, Zucaritas, Special K, Krave, Miel Pops, Coco Pops and Crunchy Nut.

“The name Kellanova signals the company’s ambition for the future, building on the strong brand equity and legacy built over the past 117 years as Kellogg Company,” said Steve Cahillane, Kellogg’s chairman and CEO and future chairman and CEO of Kellanova.

Walmart’s website, app gets a makeover

our customers can explore the endless aisles of walmart.com with a sleek new look and experience that offers a more engaging way to browse and discover our incredible assortment. Whether you’re searching for the perfect gift, looking for inspiration to redecorate your home, or just want to browse the hottest trends right now, it all begins with the Walmart app.”

Ward shared that the retailer is rolling out a completely redesigned homepage, building a customer-centric and curated storefront on walmart.com and the Walmart app so customers can easily find what they need and be inspired to shop more of the hundreds of millions of items in its online assortment.

Walmart is giving its digital storefront a revamp. The move was unveiled by Tom Ward, executive vice president and chief e-commerce officer at Walmart U.S., in a post on the company’s website.

“In the past year, Walmart made hundreds of enhancements to transform the core digital experience for our customers, elevating our e-commerce offering by creating more personalized and seamless interactions that make shopping how it should be: fast, easy and fun,” Ward said. “And now, we’re improving how

Lastly, Ward said, “Whether customers shop with us on the Walmart app, on walmart.com or in stores, we are fully connecting the experience across channels to remove friction and make shopping easier than ever before. With our full suite of pickup and delivery options, including Express Delivery, Next Day Delivery, Two-Day Delivery and curbside pickup, customers can truly shop however and wherever they want. Looking ahead, we will continue to innovate to deliver an experience that makes Walmart our customers’ first choice for online shopping, every day, every season, for every item.”


“The ‘Kell’ overtly recognizes our enduring connection to Kellogg Company, while ‘anova,’ which combines ‘a’ and the Latin word ‘nova,’ meaning ‘new,’ signals our ambition to continuously evolve as an innovative, next generation, global snacking powerhouse. The Kellanova logo retains the iconic Kellogg Company ‘K’ to intentionally connect to our heritage and the strong foundation that got us to where we are today. The forward curved and extended ‘v’ embodies our forward momentum as we embark on this next chapter.”

The North American cereal business, WK Kellogg Co, will serve the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. The portfolio of brands includes Kellogg’s, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, MiniWheats, Special K, Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Kashi and Bear Naked, the company said.

“The name WK Kellogg Co honors the legacy of founder W.K. Kellogg, celebrating his spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Gary Pilnick, CEO designate of WK Kellogg Co. “At the same time, we are looking forward, focused on propelling the company into the future. We

eliminated the use of periods in the name to signal the start of a new, unwritten chapter.”

With the help of employees, Kellogg created names that would maintain a strong connection to its legacy while also capturing both the spirit and ambition of each company’s portfolio and trajectory, the company said. Kellogg invited employees from around the world to submit company name suggestions. Nearly 1,000 employees submitted more than 4,000 name suggestions along with qualitative feedback.

“Unveiling the names for the global snacking and North American cereal businesses is an exciting milestone for both companies as we progress towards unleashing their full potential as standalone businesses,” Cahillane added. “Upon spin completion, we believe both businesses will be better positioned to focus on their distinct strategic priorities, execute with increased agility and operational flexibility, realize improved outlooks for profitable growth, and shape distinctive corporate cultures, each rooted in Kellogg Company’s strong values.”

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Kroger provides autonomous delivery in Dallas

H-E-B offering digital access to home services

The San Antonio, Texas-based regional grocery retailer is rolling out branded displays from Thumbtack, which provides homeowners digital access to home service providers, in more than 300 of its Texas-based stores. The displays enable H-E-B customers to scan a QR code to find and hire local pet service providers while shopping.

Pet services available through the H-E-BThumbtack integration include dog walking, grooming, pet sitting and training. This is Thumbtack’s first move into physical retail, and the platform plans to further expand its physical footprint in the year ahead.

Gatik, an autonomous middle-mile logistics provider, announced a multi-year commercial collaboration to transport customer orders within Kroger’s Dallas distribution network.

Under the collaboration, Gatik’s medium-duty autonomous box trucks will transport products from a Kroger Customer Fulfillment Center in Dallas to multiple retail locations.

Gatik’s trucks each feature a cold chain-capable 20-foot box designed to transport ambient, refrigerated and frozen goods safely and efficiently. The collaboration involves consistent, repeated delivery runs multiple times per day, seven days per week across Kroger’s Dallas distribution network. The operations will launch in Q2, 2023.

“Kroger’s commitment to redefining service levels for its customers through innovative technology meant that our collaboration came together very quickly,” said Gautam Narang, co-founder and CEO of Gatik. “We’re deeply familiar with operating our autonomous fleet within the Dallas ecosystem, and we’re very excited to bring that experience to support Kroger in its mission to reshape the future of goods delivery.”

“We are so excited to see Gatik trucks starting to deliver groceries throughout our Dallas division,” said Raúl Bujalil, vice president of supply chain strategy and technology enablers. “These autonomous box trucks will help us continue our commitment to creating a seamless shopping experience—where customers can access their favorite fresh foods, with zero compromise on value or convenience.”

Since launching commercial operations in 2019, Gatik has delivered half a million customer orders, leveraging its commercial-grade autonomous technology to transport freight safely and efficiently on the middle mile. Gatik provides Autonomous Transportation as a Service daily for customers across multiple markets including Arkansas and Ontario. It is continuing to densify its commercial presence in the state of Texas to meet customer demand.

In addition to offering pet services via H-E-B displays, Thumbtack is also offering its Thumbtack On-Demand feature in select H-E-B stores. This feature allows consumers to find and hire local handyman, lawn care and cleaning services at a 10% discount. Thumbtack plans to expand its physical footprint in the year ahead, kicking off with H-E-B.

“Thumbtack’s job is to make caring for everything in and around the home a seamless experience for the homeowner,” said David Steckel, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at Thumbtack. “Expanding into physical retail brings us one step closer to that by allowing us to be a partner for consumers whether they’re shopping in-store for their pets or getting their backyards ready for hosting.”

H-E-B is experimenting with ways to expand the range of services its stores offer shoppers. In February 2023, the grocer opened a 97,000-square-foot multi-level Austin store that is packed with unique features designed to make it a community gathering place, including a twostory porch with views of Lake Austin, a full bar with indoor and outdoor seating and a coffee shop serving handmade breakfast tacos.

In addition, the new H-E-B houses a True Texas BBQ restaurant (named best barbecue chain by Texas Monthly) and a SouthFlo Pizza eatery. Structured underground parking allows for a welcoming, pedestrian-friendly perimeter. The sidewalks are wide to encourage walking to the store.

This story originally appeared on Chain Store Age, DSN’s sister publication.


Meijer first retailer to support SNAP benefits on Flashfood

In an ongoing effort to make fresh food more accessible, Meijer announced an expansion of its Flashfood program. The move makes the nationwide retailer the first to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits through the Flashfood app, which allows customers to purchase surplus close-dated food at a deep discount.

In partnership with Flashfood, Meijer is now accepting the payment capability at all its Midwest supercenters and Meijer Grocery stores, which allows customers with SNAP benefits to pay for their Flashfood orders using an Electronic Benefits Transfer card in the Flashfood app.

“As a company committed to enriching lives in the communities we serve, we’re pleased to be the first retailer to expand our Flashfood program in this way,” said Rick Keyes, Meijer president and CEO. “Feeding people has always been at the heart of what we do, and this is another

way Meijer is working to provide extra value to those customers who need it most.”

Meijer launched Flashfood as a sustainability program focused on minimizing food waste in November 2019 at a handful of its supercenters in Metro Detroit. The service is now offered at all Meijer supercenters and Meijer Grocery stores and is used by more than 500,000 shoppers. Meijer customers can now use their SNAP benefits on their Flashfood orders; they simply need to add their EBT cards as a payment method in the app.

While also cutting down on in-store food waste, Flashfood allows customers to purchase food nearing its sell-by date—like meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery products—at up to 50% off on the Flashfood app and then pick them up from a designated refrigerator or storage rack located at the front of Meijer stores. As a result, customers have diverted nearly 5.6 million pounds of food nearing its sell-by date at a discount, preventing it from potentially entering landfills.

“We want to make healthy, high-quality groceries an affordable reality for every American family and adding SNAP benefits to Flashfood gets us one step closer to that vision,” said Josh Domingues, founder and CEO of Flashfood. “We’re incredibly grateful to Meijer for being our first partner to expand access to Flashfood with SNAP EBT, and for their industry-leading commitment to reducing food insecurity and increasing access to healthy food.”

BJ’s Wholesale Club adds 5 new locations, expands into Alabama

BJ’s Wholesale Club is adding five clubs to its growing portfolio across the United States. The expansion includes plans for a new club in Madison, Ala., increasing the retailer’s footprint to 20 states.

BJ’s also will open clubs in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., Johnson City, N.Y., Lewis Center, Ohio and North Jacksonville, Fla. These clubs add to BJ’s 2023 roster of openings, following the retailer’s newest locations in Davenport, Fla., and McDonough, Ga., as well as the recent announcement of the company’s first-ever club in the state of Tennessee, slated to open this summer in LaVergne.

All five newly announced locations will include a BJ’s gas station, providing members with even more ways to save through the wholesaler’s Fuel Saver Program and enhanced membership tiers, the company said.

“We are always striving to bring our BJ’s membership model to new markets and even more smart-saving families,” said Bill Werner, executive vice president of strategy and development at BJ’s Wholesale Club. “We have seen tremendous success with our newest openings. Our expansion into Tennessee and Alabama shortly thereafter is a great example of our efforts to meet the demand

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for the value, convenience, and assortment that BJ’s has to offer its growing member base.”

Members can choose from various shopping options like in-club shopping, curbside pickup, in-club pickup, sameday delivery and standard delivery from its website. When shopping in-club, members will have access to ExpressPay through BJ’s mobile app, which allows shoppers to scan products as they go and avoid the checkout line at the end of their trip.

The wholesale retailer offers a one-stop shopping experience with a vast selection of fresh foods, produce, a full-service deli, household essentials, pet supplies, exclusive offerings and more, the company said. The new clubs also will carry local and seasonal items, as well as home décor, apparel, toys, and the latest in tech, among other things.

Members will find:

• Up to 25% off grocery store prices every day on

everything they need for weekly shopping;

• Brand-new on-site gas stations, equipped to help shoppers reach their destinations faster; Plus, members can save through BJ’s Fuel Saver Program;

• Shoppers can try BJ’s risk-free with the company’s 100% money-back guaranteed membership; and

• BJ’s coupons + manufacturers’ coupons: Members can stack savings using BJ’s coupons on top of manufacturers’ coupons.

Members can take advantage of the new, upgraded BJ’s One Mastercard program, BJ’s recently announced partnership with Capital One. The program allows members to earn never-expiring rewards and savings at BJ’s Gas. Cardholders earn up to 5% back in rewards on most BJ’s purchases, and up to 2% back in rewards everywhere else Mastercard is accepted, in addition to up to 15 cents off per gallon at BJ’s Gas.

BJ’s Wholesale Club rolls out Simbe’s Tally technology platform

BJ’s Wholesale Club is partnering with Simbe to roll out the company’s business intelligence solution, Tally, to all club locations across the company’s footprint.

Incorporating Simbe’s AI-powered solution into chainwide operations will provide greater visibility into club conditions and deeper business insights, ultimately improving operational efficiencies and enhancing the member experience, the company said.

“We are excited to collaborate with Simbe to bring their industryleading technology and platform to our clubs,” said Jeff Desroches, executive vice president and chief operations officer at BJ’s Wholesale Club. “By deploying Tally in all of our club locations, we will gain

unprecedented insights which will leverage real-time data, enabling us to continuously improve our operation and ensure that we’re offering the best possible experience to both our team members and members.”

Tally autonomously roams club aisles multiple times per day, leveraging computer vision technology to collect highly accurate shelf data that ensures products are in-stock, shelved appropriately and accurately priced. This real-time data unlocks powerful efficiencies that enable faster restocking, directs BJ’s team members and members to quickly locate products and provides valuable visibility into inventory tracking. Ultimately, Tally allows team members to be more efficient and re-focus more of their time toward providing exceptional customer service. Additionally, data captured by Tally can be virtually reviewed to ensure optimal club conditions and accurate merchandising execution.

“BJ’s Wholesale Club and its executive leadership are committed to providing the best experience possible for both team and club members, and our platform unlocks actionable data that will take that mission to the next level,” said Brad Bogolea, CEO of Simbe. “Our team has partnered with BJ’s to refine our computer vision technology to accommodate the unique layout and product assortment in a warehouse club.”

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New & Noteworthy

HRG’s five notable products from March 2023

Product introductions strongly rebounded in March as job growth remained strong and the economy appeared to stabilize. It was the first increase after three months of modest declines.

For the month of March, suppliers introduced 282 new products, which is 88 more than they released in February. Waukesha, Wis.-based HRG reviewed 22 products in the health category, 169 in the wellness sector and 91 items in the beauty aisle to see which ones stood out as Products to Watch. Here is what they found:

1. Pepto Kids Gummies

Pepto Kids Gummies from Procter & Gamble are formulated to provide fast relief of occasional upset stomach, acid indigestion, sour stomach and heartburn for children ages 4 and up, the company said. In addition, the gummies are bubblegumflavored, so kids have an easier time taking them. The gummies come in a 24-ct. pack.

2. EasyRinse Men’s Disposable Razor

BIC Corporation said the EasyRinse Men’s Disposable Razor includes anti-clogging technology to provide a smoother shave with less irritation. The razor features an open-blade design with four titanium-coated flex blades and dual lubrication strips. Also available in a women’s razor, the product comes in a 2-ct. pack.

3. Nasonex 24 Hour Allergy Spray

Perrigo Company PLC said its Nasonex 24 Hour Allergy Spray features a prescription-strength formula of Mometasone Furoate to prevent nasal symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis in people 12 and older. The product relieves nasal congestion, sneezing and runny and itchy nose. In addition, it can treat nasal polyps in people 18 years and older. Non-drowsy and scent-free, one bottle delivers 60 Sprays.

4. Retaine Liposome Eyelid Spray

OCuSOFT’s Retaine Liposome Eyelid Spray with hyaluronic acid was developed to soothe dry, irritated eyelids with a refreshing cool mist. The spray utilizes liposomes containing vitamins A, C and E to provide relief and protect against moisture loss, the company said. It comes in a 1-oz. bottle.

5. PreserVision AREDS 2 + CoQ10 Soft Gels 100 mg

Bausch Health’s PreserVision AREDS 2 + CoQ10 soft gels combine eye and heart health support. The addition of CoQ10 to the existing formula is said to support healthy heart function, the company said. Bausch Health claims the soft gels contain the “same clinically proven formula” recommended by the National Eye Institute to help reduce the risk of advanced AMD progression. The product comes in a 100-ct. pack. dsn


Fighting Back Against Discount Cards

The programs claim to help consumers save money but only further line the pockets of PBMs while carving into pharmacies’ bottom lines

claim to help consumers save money but really only further line the pockets of PBMs and the drug discount card brands that market them. Today, new technology is available that can analyze, reprice and adjudicate pharmacy claims from drug discount card programs, SuperBin’s and PBM or carrier claims in real-time.

Americans are squeezed tight by the cost of living, rising inflation, soaring heating prices and spikes in food and gas prices. By the time they pay for basic necessities, there’s not much left to cover lifesaving prescription drugs.

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe prescription drug prices are too high, but that hasn’t stopped prices from climbing. Prescription drug prices rose at an average rate of 31.6%, with some increasing up to 500% over the last year. Faced with rising prices, many people face a harrowing choice between filling prescriptions for chronic conditions or paying for food and rent each month.

It’s no wonder Americans are looking for ways to circumvent high drug prices, which hit low-income households, the uninsured and underinsured harder and resulted in one in three Americans being unable to afford medications.

One way consumers have sought relief is through the use of drug discount cards. But consumers—and even some pharmacists—are unaware that these cards are heavily padded and come with markups that hurt pharmacies’ bottom lines and consumers’ wallets due to high administrative fees, also known in the industry as “clawbacks.” In fact, our review of data from more than 10,000 pharmacies revealed that the average admin fee/clawback on a discount card or SuperBin claim is $5.86 per prescription. Additionally, the review found that more than half of all prescriptions studied carried fees of $5 or more, with many carrying fees of over $20.

Price transparency is crucial for pharmacies that want to increase their margins and fight back against drug discount cards. One way to solve the issue of murky drug prices and discount cards is to use technology to assist consumers in decision-making.

We can fight back against discount card programs that

The software can be built into many pharmacy management systems, making it possible to regain some of the prescription costs without dealing with any extra paperwork or calls to insurance companies or physicians’ offices. It runs in the background to calculate the best price for medications at the point of purchase so that a consumer can ditch their discount card but still save money while simultaneously boosting the pharmacy’s bottom line.

The whole process happens within milliseconds and, once a lower price is calculated, the system automatically informs pharmacy staff that there’s a lower price option. If the consumer agrees and chooses the lower price, then the solution automatically overrides the drug discount program price or the carrier copay and charges the customer less. It’s a sliver of transparency that could add up to cost savings for those who need it most—struggling families, people living in poverty, the elderly and uninsured/underinsured adults.

Until there is a way to stop drug companies and PBMs from profiting off the backs of vulnerable Americans, pharmacies must integrate technology into their systems and give drug manufacturers and the drug discount card marketers a taste of their own medicine. dsn

Thomas Borzilleri is the Founder of InteliSys Health
“Price transparency is crucial for pharmacies that want to increase their margins and fight back against drug discount cards.”

Leveraging Technology to Create Greater Efficiencies that Reduce Staff Stress

be automated and how it will reduce staff pressure. After all, nearly every workflow has an automation opportunity.



the gaps

Worker shortages are real, and every industry is feeling the heat. In a recent survey, pharmacy executives reported losing 41% of their technician workforce. From point-of-sale to dispensing and clinical services, staffing problems can disrupt every aspect of a pharmacy, creating overworked employees, longer wait times, and unhappy patients.

The good news is that pharmacy automation can provide a solution. Pharmacy automation increases workflow efficiencies while it relieves the pressure of staffing shortages, reduces stress, and improves team morale. Plus, it frees up staff to deliver high-value clinical services and increases revenue opportunities.

Pharmacy Technology Solutions 101

Pharmacy automation runs the gamut from PMS to clinical platforms, medical billing, and registry reporting. Before purchasing additional software that works with your PMS, it’s important to keep what’s best for your pharmacy in mind. The most efficient workflows come to life when they solve problems now, while opening up opportunities for the future. Choosing the wrong solution or trying to implement too many at once can create additional stress.

Steps to Successful Technology Implementation

1. Identify manual processes

What workflows take the most manual time? Is it documenting vaccines with state registries? Handing out, scanning, or filing paperwork? What about verifying insurance for DME and clinical claims? Create a list of manual processes; it will be helpful in the next steps. Be sure to highlight the manual workflows, such as answering refill calls, and documenting immunizations.

2. Analyze existing skills vs. resources

You only have so many people resources. The key to making pharmacy automation work at its highest level is to maximize your people resources by using technology to alleviate administrative workload and drive greater efficiency. What are staff most needed for? Dispensing medications? Counseling patients? Administering vaccines and clinical services? All of the above?

Take your list of manual processes and compare it to what your staff is most qualified to do, what brings in the most revenue, and what technology or machines simply can’t replicate. Similarly, think about what can

Now put steps one and two together. Be purposeful in how you determine what makes the most sense financially for your business now and in the future. Look beyond quick wins for the processes that will deliver long-term success: That’s what you automate. Below are some of the most common, realistic, and efficient automation suggestions for pharmacy.

What Processes Can You Automate?

Prescription Interactions

For most pharmacies, this is an easy area for technology to take over. In fact, you may already have automation in place here. However, if you are still doing over-the-phone refills, there is room for improvement. From patient communications to guided medication management— the opportunities are nearly endless.


Immunizations provide a valuable patient service and are a vital part of any pharmacy’s revenue. But without automation, immunizations can be a manual workflow nightmare. The great news is that many automation opportunities are available. Want to eliminate paper? Automate consent forms and documentation? Better manage walk-ins? Automate state registry reporting, both pushing data to the registry and receiving it back? All those options are available.

Companion Revenue Opportunities

Pharmacy automation that brings in additional revenue? Yes, revenue-accelerating automation does exist and comes in many forms. These include targeted patient messaging, customized inbound IVR messages, and an EHR that offers companion vaccines during an encounter—and more.

The Bottom Line

A strong technology foundation builds efficient workflows that power your pharmacy business both today and well into the future. By taking the steps listed above, your pharmacy can be well on its way toward automating prescription interactions, immunization paperwork, and companion revenue opportunities. Plus, the right tech solutions enable greater efficiencies and reduce staff stress. It can also help keep your pharmacists and staff working at the top of their licenses, which improves staff satisfaction and retention.

Go to www.OmniSYS.com/3steps to learn more.
How Pharmacies Can Implement Time-Saving Technology Using This Simple 3-Step Method David Pope PharmD, CDE, Chief Pharmacy Officer, OmniSYS, XiFin Pharmacy Solutions
Ready to deliver a frictionless patient and pharmacist experience and improve your bottom line? Power your pharmacy-based clinical services program with the industry’s most trusted, billing-enabled pharmacy EHR platform that integrates within the pharmacy workflow and digital ecosystem. Visit OmniSYS.com/Ready to learn more and to download our medical vs. pharmacy benefit white paper.
Shift Testto-Treat into Hyperdrive

Industry Issues Summit: How Shopper Wallets are Shaping Baskets

The panel of executives explored how retailers and suppliers can help price-conscious consumers

Declining shopper wallets was the big topic of conversation on panel three of Drug Store News’ 24th annual Industry Issues Summit. Panelists at the November event weighed in on how retailers and suppliers can help shoppers who are watching their purses but trying to stay healthy.

The session, “Shopper’s Wallets are Shaping Their Baskets: What Can Retailers & Suppliers Do About it?” was moderated by Deborah Weinswig, CEO and founder of Coresight Research.

Panelists included Bill Miller, senior vice president, central operations at Rite Aid; Silvia Azrai, senior vice president, consumables health and wellness at Walmart; Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education at Simply Good Foods; Lari Harding, senior vice president, business development at Inmar Intelligence; and Eyad Farah, president of pharmacy and

healthcare solutions at McKesson.

Harding pointed out that overall health and beauty care sales are flat, average price is up and units are down, with the exception of cough and cold. “We’re all getting back out there and everyone is getting sick,” she said. “‘Trips for shopper’ are down, digital coupon redemptions are at an all time high, with 20% increases year over year. People are looking for savings.”

Harding also noted that 40% of all prescriptions filled are 100% paid for by the patient, and they’re paying or using a discount card or a low-cost generics program.

“That’s significant,” Harding continued. “That’s higher than ever before. People filling prescriptions through e-commerce has doubled in the last year and the number of patients also using traditional pharmacy models is down. Personalization and

consumers are different, is real, and we have to address that. We’re seeing clients talking about how patients are postponing care.”

Heimowitz added that it’s important to give people nutritious solutions and meal plans on a budget, including sources of protein.

Azrai shifted the discussion to the topic of customer behavior. “There’s this drive and motivation in customers’ minds,” she said. “First, they want to take ownership of their health and wellness journey. They look at that in the sense of cost, which is a good driver of that; second, is about the ability to be more open to digital and technology; third is the readiness for building wellness habits. Proactiveness is there.”

Azrai explained that because people can’t afford to be sick or take time off from work, 50% of customers initiate a self-remedy before they engage with any

A panel of executives at DSN’s Industry Issues Summit explored ways retailers and suppliers can help price-conscious consumers.

Putting patients , healthcare providers , and our people at the center of everything we do

At Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., we recognize how important it is to hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards led by compassion, empathy, and excellence.

We value our responsibility as a trusted partner in providing the best possible care; therefore, our commitment is guided by the following:

Responsible and appropriate use of our products

Development of educational resources for healthcare providers and patients to address potential gaps in treatment

Ensuring transparency and integrity in all that we do

This includes our determination and promise to provide all the necessary support to you and to your patients who take LIVALO® (pitavastatin).

Our commitment to helping serve your needs and those of your patients and our communities drives every decision we make.

QUESTIONS? Reach out to tradequestions@kowapharma.com.

Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. (2023) All rights reserved. LIV-TR-1029 March 2023

professional. “Cost is an important mindset driver,” she said.

Walmart has been talking to customers since COVID and found that 1 in 3 customers will engage in preventive services, whether exercising more, eating healthier, prioritizing sleep, nutrition or more checkups.

“They are focused on six mindset shifts around health, nutrition, appearance, sleep, mindfulness and fitness,” Azrai said. “They want to build habits. Many work from home. The problem now is they can’t stick to the plan and regimens are failing. We have an opportunity to help.”

Azrai also addressed the fact that

digital and technology are super important, and customers are very open to having data from a health perspective in one location. “Twenty five percent of our customers already engage in digital health management type of services, and 88% think it’s more important today than a year ago for you to think of me as a personal journey. Personalization is key. The role of social commerce is going to double in the next few years. There is quite a bit of opportunity here.”

Miller added, “We’re accessible. People are making decisions. There’s less discretionary spend. They’re making decisions to focus on health and wellness, whether it’s OTC vitamins or beauty products and focusing less on discretionary items.”

Miller said he expects 2022 to be down slightly, and he foresees that there will continue to be supply chain challenges. “Having everyday fair prices is important,” he said. “People want to make sure they are getting value for what they are purchasing. Everyday fair price means more than ever before. We’re seeing a lot of out of stocks and challenges around own brand. We’re disappointing them. We need to do a better

job of focusing on that to give them value. The supply chain has been a roller coaster. We’re almost six to nine months behind because of supply chain challenges.”

On the topic of collaboration between retailers and suppliers, Heimowitz shared that Simply Good Foods’ nutrition department “sits within its legal department” to meet regularly. “Our advocacy efforts are to help people make smart, healthy choices for prevention and sometimes even to reverse the trends of any particular disease,” she said, noting that the company has worked with Walmart and Kroger on lending its expertise in their newsletters and digital communications.

“We came up with a thrifty menu for seven days, met thrifty requirements that the government expects you to do for $10 or less,” Heimowitz said. “For $70 a week you can eat healthy and include our products. We are sharing that information with our partners to give out to consumers. They are interested in thrifty recipes. How do I save money but still keep healthy? Health is the utmost target in your communication. How can I have the best health for me and my family and be able to afford it without sacrificing other things?” dsn

—Lari Harding, senior vice president, business development, Inmar Intelligence
People filling prescriptions through e-commerce has doubled in the last year and the number of patients also using traditional pharmacy models is down. ‘Personalization and consumers are different,’ is real, and we have to address that.
People want to make sure they are getting value for what they are purchasing. Everyday fair price means more than ever before. We’re seeing a lot of out of stocks and challenges around own brand.
They are focused on six mindset shifts around health, nutrition, appearance, sleep, mindfulness and fitness. They want to build habits. Many work from home. The problem now is they can’t stick to the plan and regimens are failing. We have an opportunity to help.
—Silvia Azrai, senior vice president, consumables health and wellness, Walmart
S rt r th Wh l F mily * F l Y r P t ti lT ‡ Based on: Nielsen xAOC 52 W/E 10/08/2022 and the #1 Pharmacist recommended menopause brand based on the 2022 Pharmacy Times OTC Survey. † #1 Most Trusted Brand based on Total AZO Brand Nielsen data through 10/08/2022 (Urinary Pain Relief, Cranberry Supplement and Bladder categories). φ Culturelle® voted Most Trusted Probiotic Supplement Brand by American shoppers based on the 2022 BrandSpark® American Trust Study. with E tir Li Pr d ct F rm l t d t H l R li v Phy ic l & Em ti l Sym t m * with F ll Li Pr d ct D ig d t S rt Uri ry, V gi l, & Bl dd r H lth* BrandSpark® Most Trusted Awards logo is a trademark of Best New Product Awards Inc. AZO®, Culturelle®, Estroven®, up4® and Fuel Your PotentialTM are trademarks of *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. tt d t I p g th i Health, Inc. Sym t m FRO THE #1 Most Trusted Urinary Health Brand† VOTED THE #1 Most Trusted Probiotic Brand i Am ric φ INGREDIENTS TO SUPPORT Urinary Tract + Vaginal + Digestive & Immune Health* #1 Brand Choice A ONG WO EN & RECO ENDED BY PHAR ACISTS‡

Homeward Bound

Three former Livongo executives launch a new health care provider that’s focused on rural communities

Led by Dr. Jennifer Schneider, three former executives of Livongo (part of the virtual health care company Teladoc) have launched a new venture focused on improving access to affordable primary and specialty care in rural communities.

Homeward launched with an initial $20 million investment from General Catalyst and includes key executives from Livongo, including Amar Kendale, Dr. Bimal Shah and Schneider. Homeward will be the first comprehensive provider to take on full risk in rural markets, the company said.

“Homeward was created to provide high-quality and affordable care for people who live in rural communities using a model that is designed to meet their unique needs,” said Schneider, CEO of Homeward. “We believe that by combining easy-to-use technology, evidence-based care delivery, in-home and in-community services, and aligning the care model to the right incentives, we’ll be the first to offer a new approach that provides the high-quality care that everyone deserves—no matter where they live.”

As the company explains, 60 million Americans living in rural communities face a crisis of access to care. As a result, rural Americans experience significantly poorer clinical outcomes and higher costs in the U.S. healthcare system. This trend is rapidly accelerating as rural hospitals close and physician shortages increase, exacerbating health disparities. “Americans living in rural communities suffer a mortality rate 23% higher than those in urban communities, in part because of the lack of access to quality

care,” Homeward said.

As a physician and business leader, Dr. Schneider has focused her career on finding innovative solutions to some of the healthcare system’s most challenging problems. In her most recent role, she shepherded Livongo as president through its growth stage, IPO and subsequent $18.5 billion merger, the company added.

The funding was led by General Catalyst, whose health assurance thesis aims to transform the delivery of health care and champion health access and equity for people everywhere. Homeward is the first investment in General Catalyst’s new $800 million Creation fund, which focuses on collaborating with executives to create and build new businesses in the firm’s core areas of interest.

“One of the core tenets of health assurance is health equity, and serving our rural communities is an urgent imperative for us,” said Hemant Taneja,

General Catalyst’s managing partner. “We feel privileged to be working with the incredible Homeward team that deeply cares about this mission.”

The company said Homeward will deliver a new, hybrid model of technology and services that will increase access to primary care and specialty services, beginning with cardiology. The company employs a multidisciplinary care team, available both virtually and on the ground via mobile care units, with in-home remote monitoring that keeps patients connected to their care team. Rather than rely on broadband in these markets, Homeward will employ cellular-based monitoring devices and virtual services to better connect to even the most remote members.

Homeward also has announced a partnership with Priority Health to deliver care in Michigan and a partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota to deliver care in Minnesota. dsn

“Homeward was created to provide high-quality and affordable care for people who live in rural communities using a model that is designed to meet their unique needs.”
— Dr. Jennifer Schneider, CEO, Homeward

HRG Future 50

HRG has compiled the Future 50 list of stand-out new health, beauty and wellness (HBW) items for Drug Store News since 2016. This year, we decided to do a five-year look back on the Future 50 lists from 2017-2021—which spans the review of approximately 10,000 HBW items—to see how well the products selected by HRG analysts have fared. Out of the 333 items chosen for the Future 50 over these years, more than 85% are still available today!

Products in the pain relief category made up 16.2% of chosen items, the most of any category. As of today, more than 90% are still available and 30+% have an IRI Chain Drug rank in the top 50. Products featuring lidocaine, a popular trending ingredient in recent years, make up 15% of the Future 50 pain relief items. Pain relief was also a strong category among smaller manufacturers whose products make up 18.5% of all Future 50 products in the category.

When comparing the past five years of Future 50 products

to IRI’s drug rank, we found that many of the reviewed items continue to perform very well. Just under half of all items are in the top 50% within their respective categories. We also found that 15% of the Future 50 items are in the top 10% of their categories and 2.5% are in the top 1% of their respective IRI categories.

These products set themselves apart on store shelves in 2022
Looking at the top five items from the past five years of the Future 50, all have been incredibly successful and worthy of their high rankings.
do good. feel good. live good. VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS NEW NEW ADULT NUTRITION DIGESTIVE SUPPORT ACTIVE NUTRITION NEW HYDRATION nestlehealthscience.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. PEDIATRIC NUTRITION

Looking at the top five items from the past five years of the Future 50, all have been incredibly successful and worthy of their high rankings. One hundred percent are still on the market and 60+% are in the top 25% of their IRI category. In addition to their Future 50 rank, more than 70% of these items were awarded a coveted HRG Star Rating.

HRG’s Star Rating System focuses on product innovation, marketing support, profitability of margins, desired market and subcategory and category strength. Nearly 60% of all items listed in the Future 50 had received at least one Star from HRG, and 25% had received two or three Stars. The higher the Star Rating, the more potential HRG sees in the new item to bring added revenue to retailers.

Be sure to review HRG’s Future 50 list from 2022 to learn about the next group of top items that will drive register rings.


RANK PRODUCT DESCRIPTION MANUFACTURER CATEGORY SUBCATEGORY LAUNCH DATE 1 Systane Complete Preservative-Free Dry Eye Relief Lubricant Eye Drops (10 ml) Systane Complete Preservative-Free Dry Eye Relief Lubricant Eye Drops (10 ml twin pack) Alcon Eye & Ear Care Dry Eye Relief Jan. 2 Eucerin Sun Advanced Hydration Lotion SPF 50 (5 oz.) Beiersdorf Sun Care Therapeutic/ Beauty Body Sun Protection Jan. 3 Goli Ashwagandha Gummies (60 ct.) Goli Nutrition Vitamins & Dietary Supplements Mixed/ Miscellaneous Herbals & Botanicals Oct. 4 Astepro Allergy Nasal Spray (60 sprays) Astepro Allergy Nasal Spray (120 sprays) Bayer Inc. Cold & Allergy Allergy Nasal Sprays, Drops & Inhalers / Children’s Allergy July 5 LASTACAFT Eye Allergy Relief (5 ml) LASTACAFT Eye Allergy Relief (5 ml twin pack) Allergan Eye & Ear Care Eye Relief Products March 6 Eucerin Sun Advanced Hydration Lightweight Sunscreen Lotion Spray SPF 50 (6 oz.) Beiersdorf Sun Care Therapeutic/ Beauty Body Sun Protection Jan. 7 Aquaphor Baby Healing Balm Stick (.7 oz.) Beiersdorf Baby Care Baby Therapeutic Skin Care Jan. 8 BAND-AID Bandages Sensitive Skin, XL (7 ct.) Johnson & Johnson First Aid Adhesive & Liquid Bandages Feb. 9 Bausch+Lomb Biotrue Hydration Plus Multi-Purpose Solution (10 oz.) Bausch+Lomb Biotrue Hydration Plus Multi-Purpose Solution (4 oz.) Bausch + Lomb Eye & Ear Care Soft Lens MultiPurpose Solutions April 10 Cetaphil Restoraderm Eczema Moisturizer (10 oz.) Galderma Laboratories Skin Care Therapeutic Hand & Body Moisturizers July 11 Salonpas Flex Patch (7 ct.) Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co., Inc. Pain Relief External Muscle/ Joint Pain Relief Lotions, Liquids, Roll-Ons & Sprays July 12 Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies 60ct Goli Nutrition Vitamins & Dietary Supplements Mixed/ Miscellaneous Herbals & Botanicals Oct
When comparing the past five years of Future 50 products to IRI’s drug rank, we found that many of the reviewed items continue to perform very well.

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RANK PRODUCT DESCRIPTION MANUFACTURER CATEGORY SUBCATEGORY LAUNCH DATE 13 OneTouch Verio Test Strips Value Pack (30 ct.) Lifescan Diabetes Management Test Strips Dec. 14 Colgate Optic White Pro Enamel Strength Toothpaste (3 oz.) ColgatePalmolive Oral Care Whitening Toothpaste Jan. 15 Gillette Labs Razor + Cartridges (2 ct.) Procter & Gamble Shaving & Grooming Men’s Shaving & Hair Removal Jan. 16 iVIZIA Preservative Free Dry Eye Drops (5 ml) iVIZIA Preservative Free Dry Eye Drops (10 ml) Similasan Eye & Ear Care Dry Eye Relief April 17 Qunol Ultra CoQ10 Softgel 100mg (120 ct.) Qunol Ultra CoQ10 Softgel 100mg (60 ct.) Quten Research Vitamins & Dietary Supplements Heart & Vascular Health April 18 Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 (3 oz.) Galderma Laboratories Sun Care Therapeutic/ Beauty Body Sun Protection March 19 CLEAR CARE PLUS Solution (3 oz.) Alcon Eye & Ear Care Soft Lens Cleaners Nov. 20 Vicks Non Contact Infrared Body Thermometer (1 ct.) Procter & Gamble Aids for Daily Living Thermometers, Fever Strips & Accessories Feb. 21 Stye Eye Drops (.5 oz) MedTech Products Eye & Ear Care Eye Relief Products April 22 Lotrimin Ultra Athlete’s Foot No Touch Applicator (20 g) Bayer Inc. Foot Care Antifungal Creams & Liquids April 23 Delsym No Mess Vapor Roll-On Cough Relief Ointment (1.76 oz) Reckitt Cold & Allergy Vapor Products Aug. 24 Dr. Scholl’s Athlete’s Foot Spray (5.3 oz.) Scholl’s Wellness Company Foot Care Antifungal Sprays July 25 Bactine Max Liquid Bandage (.3 oz.) Wellspring First Aid Wound, Burn & Skin Treatments May 26 BAND-AID Bandages Sensitive Skin, Assorted (20 ct.) Johnson & Johnson First Aid Adhesive & Liquid Bandages Feb 27 Mucinex HBP Cough & Chest Congestion Liquid Gels (16 ct.) Reckitt Cold & Allergy Cough, Cold, Flu & Sinus Tabs & Caps Aug. 28 Vanicream Z-Bar 2% (3.53 oz.) Pharmaceutical Specialties Hair Care Therapeutic Shampoos Nov. 29 Trojan BareSkin Raw Condom (10 ct.) Church & Dwight Family Planning Male Condoms March 30 3M Advanced Filtering Face Mask (3 ct.) 3M Consumer First Aid Wound, Burn & Skin Treatments March 31 Ricola Max Throat Drop Honey Lemon (34 ct.) Ricola Inc. Cold & Allergy Throat & Cough Drops Dec. 32 Certain Dri Antiperspirant Deodorant Dry Spray Extra Fresh (4.2 oz.) Bridges Consumer Deodorant Unisex Roll-Ons Dec.


*Rankings based on HRG’s proprietary star-rating system, measuring such key criteria as product innovation, promotional support, category growth, product orientation and earning potential.

RANK PRODUCT DESCRIPTION MANUFACTURER CATEGORY SUBCATEGORY LAUNCH DATE 33 Clear Eyes Once a Day Allergy Itch Relief Drops (2.5 ml) MedTech Products Eye & Ear Care Eye Relief Products June 34 Dulcolax Chewy Fruit Bites, Assorted fruit (30 ct.) Sanofi Digestive Health Laxative Tabs & Powders June 35 Parondontax Active Gum Health Mouthwash Fresh Mint (500 ml) Haleon Oral Care Mouthwash Feb. 36 Colgate Optic White Pro Stain Prevention Toothpaste (3 oz.) ColgatePalmolive Oral Care Whitening Toothpaste Jan. 37 Secret Deodorant Aluminum Free Solid, Rose (2.4 oz.) Procter & Gamble Deodorant Women’s Solids & Gels Jan. 38 Flonase Headache & Allergy Relief Caplet (48 ct.) Haleon Cold & Allergy Allergy Tabs & Caps July 39 Blink 3-in-1 Extended Relief Dry Eye Drop (10 ml) Johnson & Johnson Eye & Ear Care Dry Eye Relief Dec. 40 Icy Hot Pro Dry Spray (4 oz.) Sanofi Pain Relief External Muscle/ Joint Pain Relief Lotions, Liquids, Roll-Ons & Sprays March 41 Tena Men Absorbent Guard, Moderate (48 ct.) Essity Incontinence Disposable Pads, Shields, Guards & Drip Collectors July 42 Johnson's Baby Bedtime Cream (8 oz.) Johnson & Johnson Baby Care Baby Lotions, Creams, Oils & Powders Nov. 43 Kerasal Athlete's Foot 5-in-1 Powder Spray (2 oz.) Advantice Health Foot Care Antifungal Sprays April 44 Cremo Shave Cream Original Formula (6 oz.) Edgewell Personal Care Shaving & Grooming Men's Shaving & Hair Removal May 45 Kaopectate Diarrhea & Upset Stomach Liquid, Vanilla (11 oz.) Arcadia Consumer Healthcare Digestive Health Multi-Symptom Products Aug. 46 Nervive Pain Relief Cream (3 oz.) Nervive Pain Relief Roll-On (2.5 oz.) Procter & Gamble Pain Relief External Muscle/ Joint Pain Relief Creams, Ointments & Gels Feb. 47 Compound W Freeze Off For Kids (15 applications) MedTech Products Foot Care Wart Removers April 48 Tom's of Maine Complete Protection Natural Deodorant for Women, Lemon & Bergamot (2.25 oz.) Tom's of Maine Deodorant Women's Solids & Gels April 49 Summer's Eve Spa Luxurious Wash (12 oz.) MedTech Products Feminine Care Wipes & External Washes April 50 Cetaphil Sun Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50 (3 oz.) Galderma Laboratories Sun Care Therapeutic/ Beauty Body Sun Protection March
Tom's of Maine Complete Protection Natural Deodorant for Women, Lemon &


What is the state of the retail health ecosystem? More importantly, what does it look like?

Drug Store News set out to answer both questions.

Retail pharmacy is having its moment. Over the years, the industry’s players have rightfully earned a reputation as patient navigators, serving as the first point of contact for patients and guiding them to the appropriate level of care. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this march toward recognition as a vital cog in the U.S. healthcare system.

In addition to its swift actions amid the pandemic, retail pharmacy tallied numerous achievements, including helping patients and payers with disease prevention and management of chronic conditions and playing a significant role in eliminating costs associated with ER and hospital admissions, length of stays and readmissions.

The tailwinds and the factors in retail pharmacies’ favor are numerous. They include the increased demand for prescription drugs, an increased occurrence of chronic diseases and an aging

population. Additionally, new and more innovative drugs are being approved by the FDA, and healthcare insurance has expanded.

Retail pharmacies’ strategy continues to be locating physical retail stores in high-traffic areas, with 90% of Americans residing within a 5-mile radius. Additionally, many pharmacy retailers have shifted their focus from expanding their footprint to improving store utilization and focusing on core pharmacy and health offerings, including participating in the nationwide “test to treat” initiative and prescribing medications in states where it is permitted.

In addition to pharmacies, the retail health ecosystem is an intricate, multifaceted organism that is an essential part of American life

To be sure, retail pharmacy is not only convenient, accessible, affordable and increasingly personalized, but it has also ratcheted up its technology to allow customers to order prescription drugs from their smartphones and computers and have the medications delivered to their homes or available for pick-up. Many pharmacies also have rolled out telehealth consultations, medication reminders and adherence monitoring capabilities.

Then there’s the integration of retail pharmacy with healthcare clinic services, poised to attract more customers and increase customer loyalty and retention by offering convenient and accessible care.

On the insurance front, pharmacies also are making headway. With lucrative Medicare Advantage plans and value-based care agreements outweighing the old model of “fee for service,” there are opportunities for providers, such as CVS and United Healthcare Optum, that are buying physician practices in


1] Walmart — $572.754 billion

2] Amazon — $514 billion

3] United Healthcare — $324.2 billion

4] CVS Health — $322.5 billion

5] McKesson — $273.903 billion

6] AmerisourceBergen — $238.587 billion

7] Costco — $226.954 billion

8] Cardinal Health — $181.3 billion

9] Cigna $180.5 billion

10] Kroger — $137.888 billion

11] Walgreens — $132.184 billion

12] Humana — $92.870 billion

13] Ahold Delhaize — $90.671 billion

14] Albertsons — $76.768 billion

15] Sam’s Club — $73.6 billion

16] Publix — $54.5 billion

17] H-E-B — $38.9 billion

18] Rite Aid — $24.06 billion

19] Meijer — $19.6 billion

20] Wakefern — $18.6 billion

21] Wegmans — $12 billion

22] Hy-Vee — $12 billion

23] Weis Markets — $4.70 billion

24] Kinney Drugs — $690 million

25] Thrifty White — $213.7 million

26] Lewis Drug — $140.0 million

27] Hi-School Pharmacy — $52.3 million

28] Fruth Pharmacy — $50.7 million

29] Care Pharmacies — $18 million

states that contain a large number of Medicare Advantage members.

But, naturally, retail pharmacy does not exist in a vacuum; it’s part of a much bigger “ecosystem” that needs every entity to do its part. After months of legwork, Drug Store News this month is publishing The Real Retail Health Ecosystem report, listing all of the pieces that make up the retail healthcare ecosystem today, including regional pharmacies, insurance companies, virtual care companies, clinical services, wholesalers, insurance companies, home health care outlets and more.—Sandy Levy, Senior Editor


1] CVS Health — 9,636

2] Walgreens — 8,802

3] Walmart — 5,100

4] McKesson/Health Mart — 4,650

5] AmerisourceBergen/Good Neighbor — 2,510

6] Kroger — 2,256

7] Rite Aid — 2,178

8] Ahold — 1,500

9] Publix — 1,070

10] Albertsons — 1,059

11] Sam’s Club — 566

12] Costco — 550

13] Cardinal Health/Medicine Shoppe — 334

14] H-E-B — 290

15] Hy-Vee — 285

16] Meijer — 255

17] Weis Markets — 199

18] Wakefern — 147

19] Kinney Drugs — 96

20] Thrifty White — 91

21] Care Pharmacies — 52

22] Lewis Drug — 45

23] Hi-School Pharmacy — 30

24] Fruth Pharmacy — 29


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CVS Specialty — $52.9 billion

Accredo/Freedom Fertility — $43.5 billion

Optum Specialty Pharmacy — $25.8 billion

AllianceRx/Walgreens stores — $19.2 billion

Humana Specialty Pharmacy — $4.9 billion

Acaria Health — $4.7 billion

Kroger Specialty Pharmacy/Kroger stores — $4 billion

CarePathRx — $2 billion

Specialty Pharmacy Solutions — $1.8 billion

AHF Pharmacy — $1.7 billion

US Bioservices — $1.6 billion

SenderraRx — $1.3 billion

Walmart Specialty Pharmacy/Walmart stores — $1.1 billion

Elixir Speciality/Rite Aid stores — $800 million

Amber Pharmacy/Hy-Vee stores — $600 million

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy — $35 million

Source: Drug Channels Institute/Becker’s Hospital Review


• Aetna/CVS Health

• Cigna/co-investor with Walgreens in Village MD & Summit Health

• United Healthcare Group/ collaborating with WMT on WMT Health Clinics

• Elevance (Anthem)


• CVS Health/ Caremark

• Cigna/Express Scripts

• United Healthcare Group/OptumRx

• Humana Pharmacy Solutions

• Prime Therapeutics

• Medimpact Healthcare System


• Minute Clinic, Oak Street, Signify Health/CVS Health

• Village MD, Summit/City MD, Walgreens Health Corners/Walgreens & Cigna/Care Centrix

• Walmart Health Centers/Walmart

• One Medical/Amazon

• Optum Family Medicine/UHG

• Kroger/Little Clinics

• Quick Care, On the Go, Convenient Care, Express Care/Hy-Vee

• HEB Wellness Primary Care, RediClinic/H-E-B

• RediClinic, Rite Aid

• Community Health Center/Thrifty White


• Express Scripts Pharmacy/ Cigna

• RxPass, PillPack, Amazon Pharmacy/Amazon

• Blink Health

• DiRx

• Alto Pharmacy

• Mark Cuban Cost Plus

• Select Rx

• 30 Madison


• McKesson/Health Mart

• Alfresa holdings

• AmerisourceBergen/Good Neighbor

• Cardinal Health/Medicine Shoppe

• CR Pharmaceutical Group

Nevada has the lowest number of physicians per 1,000 residents, which is 6.1 times lower than in the District of Columbia, the highest at
Florida has the highest projected share of the population aged 65 and older by 2030, which is two times higher than in Utah, the lowest at



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Online Pharmacies See Growing Sales

E-commerce prescription drug platforms, which gained momentum during the pandemic, have continued to increase their share of the pharmacy market by offering a combination of convenience and sharp pricing for consumers.

Revenues for this sector in the U.S. are projected to total $5.56 billion in 2023. They are expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.98% during the next five years, reaching $8.58 billion in 2027, according to data from Statista. The research also projects that user penetration will reach 36.85% by 2027, up from an estimated 32.71% in 2023.

Statista data also shows, however, that the top five traditional retail pharmacy operators—CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Kroger and Rite Aid—account for more than 50% of the pharmacy market in the U.S., while pharmacy benefit managers’ mail order platforms account for the overwhelming majority of the remaining share.

Industry observers have long speculated that e-commerce giant Amazon could eventually have a significant impact on the traditional drugstore market, however. The company acquired online pharmacy PillPack in 2018, then launched the Amazon Pharmacy platform in 2020 and the RxPass discount program for Prime members this year. Other online players include Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs, Alto, Capsule, Hims & Hers Health, Nurx and others.

“CVS and Walgreens are ripe for disruption,” one industry analyst was quoted as saying when Amazon launched Amazon Pharmacy during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legacy brick-and-mortar retailers have not been ignoring the threat that e-commerce competitors could pose, however. They have expanded their digital capabilities to provide more personalized relationships with their customers and more convenient, omnichannel access to their services.

Meanwhile, many of the online pharmacies are highly specialized and lack the long-term relationships that traditional drug retailers enjoy. Hims & Hers Health, for example, focuses primarily on the particular health concerns of men and women, while Mark Cuban’s Drug Cost Plus focuses on a limited list of generic medications that it can obtain at low cost. Both those companies, along with others in the space, anticipate ongoing growth, however.

“We find ourselves at an inflection point in which we’re reaping the benefits of our size and scale,” said Andrew Dudum, CEO of Hims & Hers Health, in a recent conference call with analysts during which the company reported $527 million in revenues in 2022. “We believe our brand awareness and customer loyalty have never been stronger. Our product offerings have never been more expansive and personalized, and our platform scale and insights are enabling clinical excellence and efficiency unlike anything in the market today.” — Mark Hamstra


1] Rhode Island

2] Massachusetts

3] Hawaii

4] Minnesota

5] Maryland

6] Vermont

7] Colorado

8] Connecticut

9] Maine

10] Iowa



South Carolina 46] West Virginia 47] Arkansas
Missi ssippi
42] Tennessee 43]

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Hospital Partnerships Offer Potential ‘Win-Win-Win’ Scenarios

Collaboration between retail pharmacies and hospitals presents big opportunities for both parties, as well as the promise of improved patient care.

Retail pharmacies offer the convenience of community-based touchpoints for patients, and are well-positioned to monitor patients’ medication adherence as well as their potential needs for other clinical and testing services.

Jeremy Faulks, VP of pharmacy operations at Plymouth, Minn.-based Thrifty White Pharmacy, which operates a chain of 100 retail pharmacies in the Upper Midwest, said his company sees a lot of potential for collaboration between retail pharmacies and healthcare networks and hospitals.

“We work very closely with a number of them, both in extending their ability to care for patients and offering expanded access for patients,” he said of the chain’s relationships with local hospitals and clinics.

For example, at one location, Thrifty White offers a space where patients can have a telehealth meeting with a mental health professional at a clinic that is located a few towns away. The chain also offers medication administration, primarily for patients requiring long-term injectable therapies that would

Continued on page 52

The U.S. is the only highincome country–among the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Korea, The Netherlands, France, Japan, Norway and Sweden–that does not guarantee health coverage.

Government/ compulsory health insurance:

Voluntary health insurance:

Physician consultations in all settings per capita Practicing physicians per 1.000 population
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Continued from page 50

otherwise require scheduling appointments with doctors.

“They can simply come to Thrifty White, and we can deliver that injection in our clinical suite,” said Faulks.

Thrifty White is also exploring opportunities to identify clinical needs, such as testing and screenings, among its patients in collaboration with local healthcare systems. These patients often visit pharmacies more frequently than their doctors, he explained, creating opportunities for deeper involvement in patient care.

In addition, Thrifty White has also opened two retail pharmacies that are physically located inside hospitals, with a third set to open this spring. In those locations, the retailer has been working closely with the on-site clinicians to collaborate on what clinical services the pharmacies can administer, such as vaccinations and potentially other services, such as risk assessments, “where the pharmacist can play a role and take some of that burden off the health system,” said Faulks.

Meanwhile, Vivo Health Pharmacy, a 10-unit retail banner operated by New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health, has an even deeper relationship with its parent company. The retailer has ready access to patient

information, facilitating a more holistic level of care, said Onisis Stefas, CEO at Vivo Health.

“We honestly see our retail pharmacies as an extension of the healthcare system,” he said.

Vivo Health pharmacies are particularly focused on medication adherence. In fact, the company is exploring creating a system in which Northwell clinicians could be notified in real-time when a patient fails to pick up a scheduled prescription, allowing for potential interventions that could benefit the patient health and help provide a higher level of care.

Like Thrifty White, Vivo Health is also looking at opportunities to assist in steering patients toward appropriate diagnostic tests and other clinical services based on the frequency of interactions they have with those patients. Vivo can easily communicate directly with Northwell Health doctors to help them monitor patients, Stefas explained.

“We are really trying to leverage pharmacists as kind of patient navigators, educators, communicators … to help support overall health and wellness,” he said.



In 2010, over a half (51.7%) of all Americans had at least one chronic condition and almost 1/3 (31.5%) of all Americans had multiple chronic conditions.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

of healthcare spending is for patients with multiple chronic conditions. Said another way, 71¢ of every dollar of healthcare spending goes to treating people with multiple chronic conditions.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


#1 Selling pen needles just got even better.1,2*

Patient-preferred BD Nano™ 2nd Gen Pen Needles2*

Patented features include:2,3

Wider outer cover easier to attach to pen device

Larger, green, inner needle shield easier to grip and remove before an injection

4 mm x 32G

BD Nano™ 2nd Gen Pen Needles

#: 08290-3205-50

Pen Needles

will replace BD Nano™ Ultra-Fine™ Pen Needles

Contoured needle base provides greater comfort and compensates for injection force variability, supporting more reliable subcutaneous injections

The unique features of BD Nano™ 2nd Gen 4mm Pen Needles offer a number of potential benefits, including:

• Reduction in injection pain6†

• Less force required to deliver the full dose4‡

• Greater confidence that the full dose has been delivered compared to other pen needles studied4§||

Compatible with widely used pen injection devices7 Covered

completed 6 pairs of abdominal injections of 0.3 mL sterile saline in random order and utilized a Likert Scale where ratings range from -2 to 2; positive scores reflect less thumb force for BD Nano and negative scores reflect less thumb force for the comparator pen needle. Scores of 0 indicate no difference. BD Nano™ 2nd Gen 32Gx4mm contoured hub 5-bevel extra thin wall demonstrated superiority vs each comparator group for less injection force. [(P <0.01) (Artsana 33Gx4mm mean +0.80, 95% CI, +0.62 to +0.98); (Artsana 34Gx3.5mm mean +0.98, 95% CI, +0.80 to +1.16); (Comfort EZ 33Gx4mm mean +0.31, 95% CI, +0.13 to +0.49); (Terumo 34Gx4mm mean +0.21, 95% CI, +0.07 to +0.35)]. §198 patients with diabetes were included in this prospective, multicenter, randomized, open-label, 2-period, crossover study to evaluate differences in confidence that the full dose of insulin was delivered between the participants’ usual pen needle (PN) and the corresponding extra-thin wall (XTW) PN. Confidence in delivering the full dose of insulin was assessed with the use of a visual analog scale (VAS). Confidence results would be considered statistically significant if the 95% CI for the mean VAS score was either positive (XTW preferred) or negative (current PN preferred). XTW PNs had statistically significantly increased confidence that the full dose was delivered by 24.4mm ([95% CI, 19.7-29.1] [P<0.001]). ||Single-blind, randomized, control trial of 154 patients with diabetes where each completed 6 pairs of abdominal injections of 0.3 mL sterile saline. Leakage was measured with a calibrated analytical scale. The occurrence of leakage from the needle tip and the injection site (measurements combined) was defined as wet weight equivalent to ≥5% of the injection volume, [equivalent to ≥0.015 g (0.015 mL)]. Leakage frequency for BD Nano™ 2nd Gen 32Gx4mm contoured hub 5-bevel extra thin wall was 0.4% vs 3-bevel posted hub (Artsana 33Gx4mm, 6.2%; P<0.001); (Artsana 34Gx3.5mm, 18.8%; P 0.026); (No significant difference vs Comfort EZ 33Gx4mm). ¶Fingertip Formulary, as of 1/27/2022.

1. IQVIA XPT Device Retail TRx Data. United States, Nov 2020- Oct 2021. 2. Whooley S, Briskin T, Gibney MA, et al. Evaluating the User Performance and Experience with a Re-Engineered 4 mm x 32G Pen Needle: A Randomized Trial with Similar Length/Gauge Needles. Diabetes Ther. 2019;10(2):697-712

3. Rini CR, Roberts BC, Morel D, Klug R, Selvage B, Pettis RJ. Evaluating the Impact of Human Factors and Pen Needle Design on Insulin Pen Injection. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2019; doi: 10.1177/1932296819836987.

4. Aronson R, Gibney M, Oza K, Berube J, Kassler-Taub K, Hirsch L. Insulin pen needles: effects of extra-thin wall needle technology. Clin Ther. 2013;35(7):923-933

5. Hirsch L, Gibney M, Berube J, Manocchio J. Impact of a modified needle tip geometry on penetration force as well as acceptability, preference, and perceived pain in subjects with diabetes. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2012;6(2):328-335. 6. Gibney M., Fitz-Patrick D., Klonoff D., Whooley S., Lu B., Yue W., Glezer S. User experiences with second-generation 32-gauge × 4 mm vs. thinner comparator pen needles: A Prospective Randomized Trial. Current Medical Research and Opinion, DOI: 0.1080/03007995.2020.1803248, 2020. 7. BD Compatibility Confirmation for Pen Needles and Pen Injector Manufacturers, Document Number: 149OTH-0004-20, Ver S, Dated 3 February 2021.


embecta, formerly part of BD. BD is the manufacturer of the advertised products. embecta and the embecta logo are trademarks of Embecta Corp. BD and the BD Logo are trademarks of Becton, Dickinson and Company. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2022 Embecta Corp. All rights reserved. U.S. Patent Nos. D787054, D825749, D804023 and other patents pending. 2203772033N1SADDSN

Existing proven benefits of BD Ultra-Fine™ PentaPoint™ Comfort and EasyFlow™ Technology4,5
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embecta, formerly part of BD *226 patients with diabetes on insulin treatment were studied with a 150 mm visual analog scale (mean scores of >0 mm; clinically significant difference of ≥5 mm). BD Nano™ 2nd Gen demonstrated superiority vs. BD Nano™ for overall preference.†Single-blind, randomized, control trial of 209 patients with diabetes where each completed 6 pairs of abdominal injections of 0.3 mL sterile saline in random order and utilized a 150mm visual analog scale (mean scores of >0mm; clinically significant difference of ≥5mm). BD Nano™ 2nd Gen 32Gx4mm demonstrated superiority vs each comparator group for less injection pain. [(P <0.01) (Artsana 33Gx4mm mean +17.4 mm, 95% CI, +11.3 to +23.5mm); (Artsana 34Gx3.5mm mean +17.6mm, 95% CI, +11.4 to +23.7mm); (Comfort EZ 33Gx4mm mean +9.1mm, 95% CI, +3.1 to +15.3mm); (Terumo 34Gx4mm mean +7.3mm, 95% CI, +2.2 to +12.4mm)]. ‡Single-blind, randomized, control trial of 209 patients with diabetes where each
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Providers’ Picks

What are the OTC products most recommended by pharmacy clinicians?

Our new survey lists the top picks across 12 categories

Research compiled by Drug Store News

Often, retail pharmacies are the first entry points of care for concerned customers who walk in the doors. Some days, it’s the frazzled parent of a child looking to soothe a cough. Others, it’s a former athlete looking to relieve stubborn joint pain. And with all the OTC pills, syrups, supplements and creams lining the shelves, the options can be overwhelming. So, they turn to retail pharmacy workers, seeking the most powerful endorsement of all: “What do you recommend?”

Drug Store News wanted to uncover the OTC brands that received the most recommendations directly from the source. So whether the recommendation was for a patient treated in the clinic or a consumer shopping in the store, we surveyed providers to get answers.

Twelve categories out of the 23 surveyed denoted clear brand winners. Broadly, OTC products in the cold, cough, flu and allergy categories received the most word-of-mouth brand referrals. Of note, Zyrtec ranked as the top brand amongst three different allergy and antihistamine categories, including children’s allergy medicines.

Another takeaway from the survey was that providers generally recommended NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, Motrin and naproxen, non-aspirin pain relievers like acetaminophen either by drug name, brand name or generic. However, in the Oral Arthritis Pain Reliever category, Tylenol dominated the brands, and twice as many providers indicated ibuprofen over naproxen. Tylenol was also the top indicator in the Arthritis and Joint Pain category, beating both acetaminophen and generic/store brands by a wide margin.

Dive in and take a deeper look at the findings in the breakdowns:

Who took our survey?

*Other responses include:

U.S. state in which respondents are licensed:

Which retail pharmacy/clinic do you work in?

*Other responses include: Express Care, FoundCare, H-E-B RediClinic, MedExpress, Meijer, Rite Aid RediClinic, Walmart, Village Medical and other convenient and private practice care clinics, as well as providers who conduct virtual and house call visits

Editor’s note: DSN gathered the following statistics via an online survey from April 5 to July 20, 2022, and surveyed 239 participants, who provided open-ended answers regarding each category. Percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number, and only responses with an incidence of 1% or higher are shown.

54 April 2023 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM OTC SURVEY: BRAND WINNERS Arizona 2% California 3% Colorado 1% Connecticut 1% Florida 7% Georgia 3% Illinois 2% Indiana 5% Kansas 5% Kentucky 7% Maryland 2% Massachusetts 2% Michigan 2% Minnesota 1% Missouri 1% New York 3% North Carolina 2% Ohio 32% Oregon 1% Pennsylvania 2% South Carolina 2% Tennessee 8% Texas 3% Virginia 2% Washington 1%
CNA, DNP, LPN, LVN, NCCPSS, Pharmacists
Physician assistant 2% 88% Nurse practitioner Doctors 4% Dietician 1% Other* 4% 11% Other*
CVS/Minute Clinic
Walgreens/Village MD
Target 56% Kroger/ The Little Clinic

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What OTC brand(s) do you recommend for each of the following types of products?

Antihistamines for Allergies

The number of times respondents make a recommendation, per month (approx.):


[3] Antihistamines for Allergies: 41.2

[4] Cough Suppressants: 38.7

[5] Cough, Cold and Flu Combinations for Daytime: 35.0

[6] Cough Lozenges, Sore Throat Remedies: 34.2

[7] Oral Decongestants: 33.9

[8] Cough, Cold and Flu Combinations for Nighttime: 31.5

[9] Children’s Allergy Medicine: 23.8

[10] Children’s Cough and Cold Combinations: 21.5

Combinations: 21.5

Children’s Cough Medicine: 20.5

Children’s Sore Throat Products: 17.4

Essential Vitamins: 13.1

Allergy Eye Drops: 12.3

Arthritis and Joint Pain Treatment: 10.9

Oral Arthritis Pain Relievers: 10.3

Children’s Multivitamins: 8.3

Migraine Relief Medications: 6.8

Blood Pressure Monitors: 5.1

Acne Treatment: 4.0

Menopause and Women’s Health Supplements: 3.5

Prenatal Vitamins: 3.1

Pregnancy Testing: 2.1

CATEGORY BRAND WINNER WINNING BRAND Acne Treatment No Allergy Eye Drops No Antihistamines for Allergies Yes Zyrtec Arthritis and Joint Pain Treatment Yes Zyrtec Blood Pressure Monitors No Children’s Allergy Medicine Yes Zyrtec Children’s Cough and Cold Combinations No Children’s Cough Medicine No Children’s Multivitamins No Children’s Sore Throat Products No Cough, Cold and Flu Combinations for Daytime Yes DayQuil Cough, Cold and Flu Combinations for Nighttime Yes NyQuil Cough Suppressants Yes Delsym Cough Lozenges, Sore Throat Remedies Yes Cepacol Essential Vitamins No Expectorants Yes Mucinex Menopause and Women’s Health Supplements No Migraine Relief Medications Yes Excedrin Oral Arthritis Pain Relievers Yes Tylenol Oral Antihistamines Yes Zyrtec Oral Decongestants Yes Sudafed Pregnancy Testing No Prenatal Vitamins No
Zyrtec 59% Claritin 29% Allegra 18% Xyzal 13% Benadryl 11% Can’t Remember/None/ No Specific Brand/Any Brand 9% Generic/Store Brand 7% Flonase 5% Cetirizine 3% Loratadine 2% Arthritis and Joint Pain Treatment Tylenol 31% Voltaren 21% Aleve 14% Can’t Remember/None/ No Specific Brand/Any Brand 12% Ibuprofen 10% Advil 10% Motrin 7% Naproxen 3% Generic/Store Brand 3% Diclofenac 2% Biofreeze 2% Capsaicin 2% Icy Hot 2% Bengay 1% Aspercreme 1% Salonpas 1% Topical Pain Cream 1% Osteo Bi-Flex 1% Acetaminophen 1% Children’s Allergy Medicine Zyrtec 51% Claritin 34% Can’t remember/None/ No Specific Brand/Any brand 8% Benadryl 8% Generic/Store Brand 7% Loratadine 3% Xyzal 3% Allegra 2% Cetirizine 2% Flonase 2% Tylenol 1%
Oral Antihistamines:
42.0 [2]

Oral Decongestants

Cough, Cold and Flu Combinations for Nighttime

Cough, Cold and Flu Combinations for Daytime

Cough Suppressants

DayQuil 53% Mucinex 15% None 12% NyQuil 8% Generic/Store Brand 8% Tylenol 6% Coricidin 5% Robitussin 4% Theraflu 4% Alka-Seltzer Plus 3% Advil 3% Sudafed 3% Pseudoephedrine 1% Delsym 1% Flonase 1% Do Not Use Multi-Symptom Products 1% Zarbee’s 1%
NyQuil 57% None 13% Mucinex 11% DayQuil 7% Generic/Store Brand 7% Tylenol 4% Robitussin 3% Benadryl 3% Akla-Seltzer Plus 3% Theraflu 3% Advil 3% Delsym 3% Dimetapp 1% Vicks 1% Sudafed 1% Coricidin 1% Pseudoephedrine 1% Do Not Use Multi-Symptom Products 1% Any Brand 1%
Delsym 45% Robitussin 22% Mucinex 17% None 13% Generic/Store Brand 6% Triaminic 3% Halls 2% Cough Drops/Lozenges 2% DayQuil 2% Vicks 1% Honey 1% Dimetapp 1% Cepacol 1% Tylenol 1% Zarbee’s 1% Migraine Relief Medications Excedrin 64% Can’t Remember/None/ No Specific Brand/Any Brand 14% Ibuprofen 12% Tylenol 10% Advil 6% Aleve 4% Motrin 4% Generic/Store Brand 4% Naproxen 2% Expectorants Mucinex 79% None 9% Robitussin 8% Generic/Store Brand 7% Guaifenesin 4% Delsym 1% Oral Arthritis Pain Reliever Tylenol 44% Aleve 18% Ibuprofen 16% Advil 12% None 12% Naproxen 8% Generic/Store Brand 5% Motrin 4% Acetaminophen 3% Voltaren 3% Any brand 1% NSAIDs 1% Bayer 1% Excedrin 1% Diclofenac 1% Oral Antihistamines Zyrtec 55% Claritin 31% Benadryl 22% Allegra 18% Xyzal 10% Can’t Remember/None/ No Specific Brand 7% Generic/Store Brand 7% Cetirizine 3% Loratadine 2% Any/Any Brand 1% Sudafed 1%
Sudafed 67% Mucinex 10% None 9% Generic/Store Brand 8% Pseudoephedrine 6% Claritin 2% Coridin 2% DayQuil 2% Stahist AD 1% Phenylephrine 1% NyQuil 1% Alka-Seltzer 1% Coricidin HBP 1% Cepacol 33% Halls 23% None 15% Chloraseptic 11% Ricola 11% Salt Water 6% Generic/Store Brand 6% Luden’s 4% Vicks 3% Cough Drops/Lozenges 3% Any 2% Sucrets 2% Hot Throat Coat Tea 2% Fisherman’s 2% Coldeeze 2% Robitussin 1% Advil 1% Tylenol 1% Honey 1% Delsym 1% Triaminic 1%
Cough Lozenges,
Throat Remedies


Executives Explore the Major Issues Facing Beauty in 2023

Even as consumers face rising prices, most don’t want to give up on buying beauty, especially wellness and clean products. Mentions by TikTokers don’t hurt, either

LEFT TO RIGHT: Yamit Sadok, TwinLab; Scott Kestenbaum, Maesa; Chris Lopez, OKAY Pure Naturals LEFT TO RIGHT: Annette DeVita-Goldstein, Kiss Products; Creighton Kiper, Walmart; Vera Oh, glowoasis LEFT TO RIGHT: Brian King, RoC Skincare; Penny Coy, Ulta Beauty; Gina Daley, L’Oréal Dermatological Beauty


Blending zinc oxide with chemical sun filters, CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen’s hybrid formula provides the protective benefits of a mineral sunscreen with the cosmetic elegance of a chemical sunscreen.

• Mineral and chemical sun filters help reflect and absorb harmful UVA and UVB rays

• Suitable for sensitive skin

• Ceramides 1, 3, & 6-II help restore and maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier

• Water resistant for 80 minutes

• MVE® technology continually releases moisturizing ingredients for 24-hour hydration


NEW NEW †IQVIA, ProVoice Survey: Latest 12 months rolling, ending Jan 2023. CeraVe is a registered trademark. MVE is a registered trademark of DFB Technology, Ltd. All other product/brand names and/or logos are trademarks of the respective owners. ©2023 CeraVe LLC CVE.S.P.0427.1 Explore the importance of a ceramide-containing suncare regimen in our 2-minute highlights video


Beth Ann Catalano, president and CEO, North America, Ahava: Yes–at Ahava we have used influencers in the past and have continued to push this style of marketing. We have used influencers to promote new and existing products. We see the importance of influencers, whether macro- or micro-influencers, and the impact they have made on Ahava, especially with brand awareness. The impact on sales has been significant.

Scott Kestenbaum, chief growth officer, Maesa: In today’s world, modern beauty brands cannot survive or thrive without an influencer marketing strategy. In the earlier days, the golden era of YouTube, many of our brands undoubtedly gravitated toward collaborations with mega influencers–those with millions of followers. Some of our best-selling weeks in Flower Beauty were directly attributable to content that our founder, Drew Barrymore, created with the likes of Tati Westbrook, Carli Bybel, Nikkie de Jager, as well as MannyMUA.

Nothing, however, beats a truly organic viral post. When Maesa launched Believe Beauty in Dollar General, the brand immediately got a lot of buzz on social media. Jeffree Star pulled up in his Lamborghini to a Dollar General store in Grand Rapids, Mich., bought the entire Believe Beauty line, reviewed the products on his YouTube channel, gave them his stamp of approval, and over 14 million views later, our brand sales went through the roof.

We have diversified from mega- to macro- to micro- and now to nano-influencers who have a genuine affinity toward our brand values. We have learned over time that the number of topline followers is not the most valuable metric for ROI. What matters today is engagement and authenticity.

Today, Tik Tok, aka BeautyTok, has become the ultimate destination for beauty discovery and democratizer, whereby the quality of content counts much more than the size of someone’s audience.

Sarah Freedman, director, business optimization and integration, Walgreens: With regard to micro-influencers, we have a real opportunity to reach a younger generation through

social media. A skin condition, such as acne or eczema, can really influence someone’s mental health, so using micro-influencers to reach teens can let them know they aren’t alone.

Jasteena Gill, vice president of marketing, CeraVe: CeraVe frequently collaborates with influencers and content creators to amplify their brand love and our messaging among their followers. Over the last several years, we have worked with diverse influencers spanning different categories—like beauty, lifestyle and parenting—as well as dermatologists and other credentialed influencers to make educational content on the importance of caring for your skin accessible to a wider audience. As a brand rooted in dermatology, we’ve continued to prioritize our partnerships with dermatologists as trusted voices, leaning into their roles as the true experts in skin care to ensure accurate and easy-to-understand information is shared across social channels like Instagram and TikTok.

Yamit Sadok, vice president of marketing, TwinLab: Influencers with fewer followers create more relatable, authentic content than overly polished celebrities. These types of influencers include those with 10,000-100,000 followers and those with less than 10,000. Reserverage has received a lot of media impact value from these nano influencers.

Brian King, senior vice president of sales, RoC Skincare: At RoC Skincare, influencers are ingrained in our business. We have many organic fans with online influence who have posted about us—and in many cases, we have evolved those existing genuine connections into sponsored partnerships to benefit both the brand and these creators. We now have a deep roster of influencer partners we regularly work with, from traditional beauty creators and “skin-fluencers”—to socially savvy dermatologists and residents. Skin care is a complex category with a tremendous amount of consumer confusion. We believe explaining a complex technology story with the help of influencers is a great way to explain features, benefits and how to use or combine different ingredients. In this case, influencers act as approachable experts to help answer consumer questions.

Drug Store News polled several industry leaders via a virtual roundtable to dig into several critical issues impacting the beauty industry.
“There is a clear connection between beauty and wellness, which has continued to strengthen among our guests—especially Gen Z—in recent years.”
—Penny Coy, vice president of merchandising, Ulta Beauty


We make useful thing s joyful.

Edgewell, we
to add joy to the everyday by infusing the per fect blend of pa ssion, innovation and individualit y into all of our personal care brands We’re committed making extraordinary products that are not only fun to use, but also better for both our customers and our
Never. S top. Smiling.


Penny Coy, vice president of merchandising, Ulta Beauty: There is a clear connection between beauty and wellness, which has continued to strengthen among our guests—especially Gen Z— in recent years. Our Wellness Shop plays a unique role as an easy-to-shop destination where guests can discover new brands and products for the mind, body and spirit.

In-store, the category is brought to life through a dedicated Wellness Shop offering, making it even easier for guests to discover brands and products across categories.

Gina Daley, assistant vice president, Integrated Health, L’Oréal Dermatological Beauty: We know that skin health can reflect overall health. We’ve seen that knowledge grows among consumers, who are also increasingly looking for simple routines and product recommendations from trusted sources like dermatologists. Our mission has always been to provide therapeutic skin care for all by offering access to affordable and efficacious products and formulas developed with dermatologists. This remains our priority even as skin care trends fluctuate frequently.


David Horwitz, vice president of Pura d’or: Pura d’or is absolutely part of the wellness revolution. We are a clean brand, clinically proven, and a full collection for hair thinning for a variety of reasons like genetics, stress, pregnancy, hormones, etc. We have found that retailers are very supportive of wellness in general. They are receptive to our problem/solution hair care, and are willing to work together to bring the consumer products needed for healthy living.

Annette DeVita-Goldstein, senior vice president, global marketing, Kiss Products: Beauty products, like Kiss fashion nails and false lashes, are all about confidence building, selfexpression and self-care, certainly part of the wellness umbrella, or the desire to simply feel good about yourself. But the definition of wellness is evolving all the time. Understanding the changing and broadening needs of the consumer is critical. Retailers, just like brands, need to adapt and bring forward products, information, promotions, or experiences that are most meaningful to today’s consumers in their pursuit of personal wellness.

Brian King: We believe we have a responsibility to champion not only skin health but also mental well-being. As a result, in 2022, RoC skincare started a new initiative dedicated to providing

education and resources on the scientifically proven power of optimism and its positive impact on mental well-being, stress reduction, skin health and longevity. We have asked our retailer partners to join us in amplifying the message.


Chris Lopez, marketing director, OKAY Pure Naturals: Consumers are extra aware of the ingredients within their beauty products and are using the marketplace to find that one perfect product made just for them. Consumers now have the option to purchase natural and vegan and eco-friendly beauty products, and many of them are now available at affordable prices. This has expanded the growing demand for everyday consumers seeking out natural and pure products. Why buy an expensive synthetic shampoo when you can now easily purchase a natural one that works even better than the synthetic one at a more affordable price?

Vera Oh, co-founder, glowoasis: Consumers are increasingly interested in discovering what’s new in the beauty, health and wellness categories while also being concerned about the impact that their beauty products have on themselves and the environment. This has led to a growing demand for clean and sustainable beauty products. Consumers are equally interested in proof behind product claims and efficacy, creating the need for and the value in ingredient-led and science-based products plus sustainable packaging. The overall trend continues to be beauty products that promote self-care and an overall sense of well-being.

At glowoasis, we pride ourselves on our clean beauty standards and innovative vegan probiotic skin care collection that is also cruelty-free, non-GMO and safe for all. We genuinely

“Consumers are increasingly interested in discovering what’s new in the beauty, health and wellness categories while also being concerned about the impact that their beauty products have on themselves and the environment. This has led to a growing demand for clean and sustainable beauty products.”
—Vera Oh, co-founder, glowoasis

care about skin health which is why we have created skin care that is 100% vegan and natural yet still effective.


Creighton Kiper, vice president of beauty at Walmart: Clean Beauty at Walmart is an online shop that helps our customers find beauty products that are made without ingredients they may not want. We have been working to make our clean beauty standards the best in class. Walmart’s Clean Beauty products are made without any ingredients included on our Made Without List [MWL]. To rigorously develop this list, we reviewed state and federal regulations, consulted suppliers and called on experts such as the Environmental Defense Fund [EDF]. And we listened to customers—who increasingly desire products without certain ingredients as well as better transparency around what goes into them. That’s how we ended up with over 1,200 ingredients on the MWL.

The future of Walmart’s Clean Beauty category starts with conversations with suppliers. In addition to making products without certain ingredients, many of our clean beauty brands are reimagining entire products—exploring more sustainable packaging alternatives, evaluating the carbon emissions associated with production and adopting cruelty-free and ethical standards. If we can make it easier—and affordable— for our customers to make mindful choices about their beauty products while also reducing our environmental footprint, we can truly help our customers live better.

is interesting innovation in the category that solves consumer problems, we see consumers are willing to invest in affordable luxuries, like RoC Fill & Treat Serum.

Annette DeVita-Goldstein: Consumers with very little disposable income are feeling the burden of inflation and adjusting spending to the essentials. However, for other consumers with less financial pressures, they are continuing to spend on beauty. Beauty products bring joy whether it’s a prestige beauty product or mass beauty product. So right now, yes, “feel good” purchasing is still the trend.

Scott Kestenbaum: If history is a predictive indicator of the future, beauty will be just fine. At a macro-level, we are amid a once-in-a-generation sky-high inflation, fast-rising interest rates, a looming global recession, and consumers with less discretionary spending power. However, consumer spending has been remarkably resilient—particularly with beauty. This past year, unit sales and prestige and mass beauty revenue have been growing at double digits across multiple categories. So, while consumers have pulled back on big-ticket items such as houses and cars, they show no signs or desire to cut back on smaller splurges such as beauty.

Jasteena Gill: We’ve seen minimalist skin care continue to be a trend over the last few years in the media and among consumers. This aligns with CeraVe’s core belief in effectively simple skin care solutions. We’re proud to offer products that work at affordable drug store prices so that consumers do not need to choose between taking care of themselves and their skin.

David Horvitz: Our Pura d’or brand hair care products are focused on solving a consumer’s problems, particularly problems of hair thinning and hair loss due to breakage. As such, Pura d’or tends to have an extremely loyal customer base. Once they try Pura d’or shampoos and conditioners and see the results, they tend to remain Pura d’or users. Therefore, we don’t see the fluctuation in our business when the economy turns down as inflation turns up.


Brian King: Despite well-known macroeconomic challenges, we believe mass skin care has held up quite well. The consumer has remained quite resilient despite facing higher prices and more uncertainty. Category growth has picked up in the first part of the year. While there may be some trade down from prestige to mass, we are seeing the consumer still willing to spend on luxury indulgences like facial serums. When there

Creighton Kiper: As we continue to keep customers’ interests in mind, we’re always looking for new ways to innovate and expand our assortment. That’s why we’ve brought back our beauty accelerator program, Walmart Start, for a second year. Walmart Start is designed to help up-and-coming brands scale at mass. The program offers five unique brands access to key resources, including execution, operational and individualized support, specific to launching successfully at Walmart. dsn

“In today’s world, modern beauty brands cannot survive or thrive without an influencer marketing strategy.”
—Scott Kestenbaum, chief growth officer for Maesa

Bushbalm’s Breakthrough

The Canadian brand, selected for the Sparked at Ulta Beauty program, is increasing its visibility

Bushbalm, a skin care line focused on pre- and post-hair bikini line removal, is disrupting the space with its first major retail partnership with Ulta Beauty.

The Canadian brand selected for the Sparked at Ulta Beauty program will have its products positioned within the store’s revamped shaving section, making its intimate skin care and hair removal products accessible to a wider audience.

DSN spoke to David Gaylord, CEO of the brand, about the expansion and the future of Bushbalm.

Drug Store News: How did the partnership with Ulta Beauty come to fruition?

David Gaylord: The Ulta Beauty partnership came together after more than a year of discussions. We met with several teams to pitch our brand and the overall growth in the hair removal category. Our digital growth proved consumers are demanding higher quality ingredients in this category and convinced Ulta Beauty to bring us into 990 stores, as well as the Sparked Program by Ulta Beauty.

DSN: How has the brand grown and continued to innovate the skin care/post-hair removal category within the last year?

DG: In the last year Bushbalm, has grown significantly and launched several new products, most notably the Hydrogel Vajacial Mask. This product is the first of its kind to be sold directly to consumers, as it’s traditionally a professional service. At Bushbalm, we see a future where hair removal and bikini line skin care is much more advanced than shaving creams and razors. We see this category expanding innovation to include masks, chemical exfoliants and even skin tools. What you currently see at a drug store will change drastically in the next two to three years.

DSN: What makes Bushbalm unique compared to other brands on the market?

DG: Bushbalm was founded to bring new innovations to the razor burn, ingrown hair and post-wax irritation market. Many products in this category have alcohol-based formulas, which are very harsh on the skin. With new innovations, the category was ripe for disruption. Our plant-derived formulas give consumers a new outlet to solve some of their most frustrating hair removal related concerns with clean ingredients.

DSN: Does the brand plan to roll out any exclusive items at Ulta Beauty in the future?

DG: Since we launched a select four SKUs in 990 stores with Ulta Beauty, we have a significant amount of growth with our current product assortment. This year we are looking to grow sales significantly with Ulta Beauty, which we can then expand our assortment overall. Since we are exclusive with Ulta Beauty we will work with their team on strategies to introduce new products into the category.

DSN: What new launches does the brand have planned for the next year?

DG: Later this year Bushbalm will be launching several new products, including a limited-edition scent to our signature Ingrown Hair Oil, as well as several new products focused on hair removal irritation. Expect to see at least four product launches before the end of 2023, as we aim to expand the overall category of hair removal and solidify ourselves as the leading experts. dsn

“At Bushbalm, we see a future where hair removal and bikini line skin care is much more advanced than shaving creams and razors. We see this category expanding innovation to include masks, chemical exfoliants and even skin tools.”


BIC joins forces with Eric Andre, Annie Murphy on razor launch

BIC is launching its newest razor innovation with some majorly funny star power.

The brand is debuting the EasyRinse razor with its “All Shave. No Clog,” campaign starring comedian Eric Andre and Emmy Award-winning actress Annie Murphy.

“We know 92%1 of people who shave experience clogged razors, so

Walmart kicks off hunt for new beauty brands

we are thrilled to announce that BIC has solved razor clog once and for all with BIC EasyRinse,” said Katty Pien, VP of Marketing for BIC North America. “We are equally excited to have Eric and Annie as our ambassadors as we introduce our most significant razor innovation in nearly 50 years. They are the perfect pair to add a little levity and a lot of humor to our ‘All Shave. No Clog.’ campaign, and its mission to encourage people everywhere to live a life less clogged, starting with their shave.”

Andre and Murphy’s humorous spots will spotlight the razor’s reverse blade design and patented anti-clog technology through playful back-and-forth banter, the company said.

“Eric and I had a ton of fun pretending to be nude in the shower to spread the word about BIC EasyRinse!” said Annie Murphy. “With spring cleaning right around the corner, I’m ready to go bonkers and unclog my life. I could start with my kitchen, my bedroom, my bathroom, my living room, or my dining room, but starting small is better, so I’ll start (and let’s be honest probably end) with my razor.”

In addition to streaming TV and online video, the campaign will come to life through social media, influencer marketing, PR activations, e-commerce sites and retail displays, and signage.

“I’ve been unclogging and sharing my truth since day one,” noted Eric Andre, “so obviously I was down to use a razor that does the same. I mean, who wouldn’t want to join the unclogging revolution with Annie and me?! It’s about time everybody started living the smooth life.”

BIC EasyRinse for men and women razors are now available for purchase online and at retail stores nationwide.

Back for a second year, Walmart Start is on the hunt for the next disruptive brands in beauty. The company’s accelerator program is designed to help up-andcoming brands succeed and scale at mass, and it’s ready to usher in the next beauty champions of skin care, makeup, hair, nails and more.

Like last year’s program, Walmart Start will choose at least five unique brands to receive access to key resources, including execution and individualized operational support. The accelerator program is specially focused on preparing brands to execute in-store and online launches at Walmart in the next year.

The first Walmart Start class successfully launched the next big names in beauty, including Dossier, The Hair Lab by Strands, Pardon My Fro and PaintLab, all shoppable on Walmart.com.

Applications can be submitted from March 20 through April 28.


Dial enlists actress Melissa Fumero for latest launch

Dial is celebrating its 75th anniversary in a major way.

To launch its new and improved body wash collection, which consists of 15 established and new scents and an upgraded formula, the brand is joining forces with actress Melissa Fumero.

The actor/director will serve as the brand ambassador for the #DialUpYourDay campaign, highlighting how Dial allows consumers to be their best selves, whether making a small change or a big transformation.

“I am excited to partner with Dial on their #DialUpYourDay campaign and new body wash products,” said actor/director Fumero. “What this campaign stands for, taking care of ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally, is something I really believe in. It is important to me to help spread this message of taking care of yourself, even in the smallest ways, and find those special moments where you can Dial Up Your Day.”

The brand’s upgraded body washes will contain its new HydraClean Complex, which includes vitamin E. It is gentle on the skin, removes dirt and impurities and leaves the skin feeling cleansed and hydrated, the company said.

“At Dial, we are committed to evolving our products to meet the needs of today’s consumer. The enhancement

Sephora, TikTok pioneer Incubator Program for brands, content creators

Sephora and TikTok are joining forces to unite the digital and beauty worlds.

Alongside Digitas, the two companies announced the launch of the Sephora x TikTok Incubator Program, which aims to connect content creators with the brands who have participated in the retailer’s Accelerate program.

The overall goal of the initiative is to help participants learn impactful social content strategies through a series of educational training modules, the companies said.

“The future of brand storytelling lies in the hands of multicultural creators, and by championing diverse creators, brands can unlock their full potential on TikTok,” said Soniya Monga, head of U.S. agency partnerships at TikTok. “Our partnership with Sephora and Digitas aims to educate brands on the importance of a DEI-first approach to creator

of our body washes, featuring improved packaging and advanced formulations, help consumers ‘Dial Up’ to be their best selves mentally, and physically,” said Vildan Oenpeker-Cerci, senior vice president of marketing North America. “Now with 100% recycled packaging and HydraClean Complex, our new body washes cleanse deep while being gentle on skin, leaving it feeling healthy and renewed. We are proud to be leading the way in creating a more sustainable future for generations to come while providing the highest quality products. Our goal is to help our consumers feel confident and ready to conquer anything.”

In addition, the body wash formulas are dermatologist tested, pH balanced, and free of parabens, phthalates, silicones and sulfated surfactants, as well as approved cruelty-free under the Leaping Bunny program, the company said.

“We are thrilled to be working with Melissa as our #DialUpYourDay partner! She is someone who identifies with our consumer base and appeals to those who might not always put themselves first,” said Oenpeker-Cerci. “We look forward to working with Melissa and having her continue to spread the word about how she ‘Dial’s Up’ and hopefully encourage others to do the same!”

The new Dial body washes retail for $4.49 and is available at retailers nationwide, including Walmart.

partnerships. Together, we are building a framework that celebrates diversity and intersectionality, ensuring that every brand can accelerate their growth and success on TikTok through inclusive and impactful storytelling.”

Participating brands will hear from such #beautytok creators as Amy Chang, Rocio-Lopez Jimenez and Nyma Tang. In addition, three brands from the 2021 Sephora Accelerate cohort—Topicals, Eadem and Hyper Skin—will participate in the program’s launch.

“Brands that have a savvy understanding of creator led social media and creator relations have a clear advantage in not only conceptualizing beauty content that resonates with their audience, but also in building genuine connections,” said Brent Mitchell, vice president of marketing, social and influencer at Sephora. “At Sephora, we have long been known as a brand builder in the prestige beauty landscape, and we are thrilled to partner with TikTok to share this unique creator-driven perspective with our brands and build a more inclusive beauty community.”

The Sephora Accelerate x TikTok Incubator Program is an added offering that will be extended to 12 Sephora Accelerate brands this year, the companies said.



Cantu Beauty, celebrity stylist Angela Stevens debut Protective Styles lines

Cantu Beauty is working with celebrity stylist and hair expert Angela Stevens on a new hair styling experience.

New from the Stamford, Conn.-based company is the Protective Styles by Angela collection, which consists of products that nourish and protect wigs, braids, weaves and locs, while also promoting healthy hair growth.

“Since I was a child, I have loved the artistry of creating protective styles, adding hair to my braids and playing with extensions started out of necessity to make myself feel confident about my damaged hair,” Stevens said. “The problem in many of our communities is that product knowledge usually isn’t part of the conversation. This line with Cantu is about educating ourselves on not only how to achieve these looks but also discovering the products that nourish our unique hair textures, providing longer wear for the styles we love.”

Products included in the line are a Hair Bath to cleanse and nourish strands; a Conditioning Detangler to remove tangles and add both moisture and shine to hair; Braiding and Twisting Gel to help achieve desired styles; the Set and Refresh Foam and Hair Freshener to deodorize tresses; and Daily Oil Drops to add moisture for a healthy scalp.

“The Cantu Protective Styles by Angela line has been carefully formulated for our community of Black and Brown women who all agree we want our styles to last longer, but also want to nourish our hair and scalp,” said Nikia Bowman, global marketing director at Cantu Beauty. “As someone who likes to rock braids, I know what it’s like to want the versatility and ease that comes with protective styling without having to sacrifice the health of my hair or break the bank to get lengthy wear of the look. With Angela’s expertise at the helm, I couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with her to develop this collection from concept to shelf and deliver products that won’t make you choose between style, care or long-lasting wear—we finally get it all.”

Cantu Beauty’s Protective Styles by Angela collection is available for purchase at CVS Pharmacy, Target and Walgreens. The line will hit local beauty supply stores in the coming months.

Curls launches translate Campaign to Empower Women with Textured Hair

Curls has announced the launch of its 2023 Hair Trend Release TRANSLATE, a compilation of defined hair textures, forms and angles using cornrows, braids and lots of curls to create five elevated hairstyles using the brand’s styling products.

The company said the collection is designed to empower women with textured hair to speak their truth and express themselves through their hair.

“Our hair is a statement of who we are,” said Mahisha Dellinger, Founder of Curls. “It’s a reflection of our heritage, our culture, and our identity. We created a campaign that empowers Black women to embrace their individuality and express themselves confidently through their hair. WE are tastemakers, WE are trendsetters.”

The launch will kick off with a campaign video to introduce TRANSLATE and tell the story of how this portfolio of hairstyles and products was thoughtfully designed with a bold perspective to connect to the Curls consumer and empower them to speak their truth. It further came to life across organic social media with a big reveal on March 27th with the Curls Shopping Network.

The live virtual shopping event featured award-winning celebrity stylist Johnny Wright, who walked through how to recreate the hairstyles featured within TRANSLATE using Curls.

TRANSLATE features five hairstyles that are named to express Curls’ perspective on the spirit and beauty of black women now, 20 years ago at the founding of Curls and forever, the company said. The hairstyles and products are as follows:

EMPOWERED: A striking hairstyle featuring a braided Bantu knot crown supported by a buzz cut on both sides. Long face-framing braids hang elegantly, and cowrie shells and gold bands add the final touch.


• Capsule includes: Blueberry Bliss

Reparative Leave In Conditioner, Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Paste, Ultimate Styling Collection B N Control

Sculpting Gel, Sea Moss Sea Mineral

Infused Curl Slime

CAPTIVATING: An effortless high bun with controlled texture, perfect for a polished, chic look day or night.

• Capsule includes: Aloe & Blueberry

Juice Curl Moisturizer, Sea Moss Mineral

Infused Curl Slime, Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Paste

RESILIENT: A tribute to the rebounding spirit of women, this hairstyle features defined cornrows fanning back towards a halo twist. Thicker braids hang effortlessly down the side of the face, beyond the backdrop of a textured blunt cut.

• Capsule includes: Hair Under There

Bomb Braid In Conditioner, Hair Under There Protect Me Styling Pomade, Hair

Under There Soothing & Cooling Scalp

Potion, Blueberry Bliss Repair and Grow

Sculpting Mousse

CONFIDENT: A combination of smooth textured hair on both sides, with defined cornrows climbing up to the crown of the head, leading to cascading curls and effortless volume.

• Capsule includes: Blueberry Bliss

Blueberry and Coconut Hair Milk, Sea Moss Nourish & Shine Sea Moss Foam, Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly

READY: This style kit includes everything women need to protect their scalp and hair and stay ready, whether they’re wearing side bangs or braids.

• Capsule includes: Hair Under There

Bomb Braid In Conditioner, Hair Under There Soothing & Cooling Scalp Potion, Hair Under There Protect Me Edge Styling


Each hairstyle in the TRANSLATE collection comes with a specially curated kit of Curls products to help women recreate the look at home, including leave-in conditioners, styling gels, and more. Additionally, each kit comes with a free Curls Edge Brush or Texture Turban.

Sequential announces collaboration agreement with J&J

Sequential Skin, which develops next-generation non-invasive skin testing and data-driven solutions for the skin microbiome, entered into a collaboration agreement with Johnson & Johnson.

The collaboration will focus on developing new non-invasive genomicbased skin testing methods to help Sequential add to its growing database of skin samples.


Kiss Colors & Care partners with rapper Bow Wow for 2nd year

Textured hair brand Kiss Colors & Care has announced its partnership with rapper and actor Bow Wow for the second year. He will represent the brand’s men’s hair accessories collection.

After last year’s successful partnership that featured five exclusive men’s grooming products for textured hair, the brand has extended its contract with the rapper and has launched the new Twist King - Dense Twist Styler this year. Twist King-Dense is an extension of the brand’s coveted Twist King Twist Styler. The new hair tool features a dense curved shape specifically designed for shorter hair to define smaller twists, coils, and curls.

“It is an honor to be partnered with Kiss Colors and Care, a company that continues to be a driving force within the hair and personal care industry with innovative products that exceed all expectations. I look forward to another successful year of working to make 2023 even better than the last,” said Bow Wow (whose legal name is Shad Moss).

“Working with Bow Wow has been a privilege for us here at Kiss. He has been a great partner and an integral part of the brand. We are looking forward to another amazing year for our Colors & Care men’s grooming line with Bow Wow as our spokesperson,” said Annette DeVita-Goldstein, senior vice president of global marketing at Kiss Products.

The new Twist King - Dense is available at Walmart. com ($11.97) and KISSColors.com ($13.69), as are the existing KISS Colors & Care X Bow Wow products.


REX Awards 2023: Technology and Automation

This month’s awards feature leaders in the technology and automation industry

The shining stars of the technology and automation industry are the companies that are continually innovating and enabling pharmacists to practice at the top of their licenses. They also are increasing efficiencies so that pharmacists are free to provide a myriad of clinical services. During these highly competitive times, they rise to the occasion to give retailers an opportunity to interact with their customers and help patients to lead healthier lives.

This month, Drug Store News recognizes the luminaries of the technology and automation industry with its Retail Excellence Awards—Technology and Automation. These are companies that are continually striving to do their best for their customers.

resources to help address the barriers of care, whether it be overcoming lifestyle challenges, a need for understanding proper therapy usage or lack of affordability. The company delivers individualized patient medication experiences to empower patients for a successful treatment journey and improve outcomes for patients, retailers, brands and payers.

“Our retail partnerships and product portfolio continue to expand as we accelerate and solve for even more market challenges, bringing forward solutions that drive more success for our partners and as a result, patients,” Rotsart said.

Adheris Health continues to introduce new and innovative solutions to empower patients further to start and stay on therapy.

Adheris Health

Woburn, Mass.-based Adheris Health, a MedAdvisor company, has been a pioneer and leader in direct-to-patient engagement in the United States for more than 30 years.

“There is a huge opportunity to improve the estimated $528.4 billion annual cost from non-optimized medication therapy and the loss of over 275,600 lives,” said Jim Rotsart, general manager of U.S. operations at Adheris Health. “This distressing trend is something we are continually committed to turning around by transforming and individualizing medication management to empower people to live healthier. We do this by supporting the patient at every point-of-care, when and how they need it—at the pharmacy, at home with direct mail or virtually with smart digital solutions.”

Adheris Health provides content, education, support and

“We are laser-focused on launching new, innovative solutions to further bring our vision to life,” Rotsart said, noting that the company’s most recent innovation enables pharmacies to digitally deliver their required regulatory content to patients, including medication guides, product images and drug monographs. Adheris Health plans to expand this solution with additional features to drive additional value for retailers.


Columbus, Ohio-based CoverMyMeds, part of McKesson, is a medication access company committed to helping people get the medicine they need. Created in 2008 to help streamline the traditionally manual prescription prior authorization process, CoverMyMeds has built a robust industry network and technology solutions that help providers and pharmacists better serve their patients.

CoverMyMeds’ solutions help address fundamental barriers to medication access, affordability and adherence. These solutions integrate with pharmacy management systems to help improve


workflows, enabling pharmacists to focus more on patient care. CoverMyMeds also offers solutions that help improve pharmacy operations, including electronic prior authorization, claims adjudication, central fill dispensing and medication affordability solutions that help prevent abandonment.

“CoverMyMeds continues to enhance its retail pharmacy solutions, including services that give our customers additional prescription fulfillment flexibility,” said Melanie Christie, vice president of product management at CoverMyMeds. “For example, CoverMyMeds’ central fill facility enables capacity relief and disaster recovery services that give pharmacies alternate prescription fulfillment options in the event they’re at capacity or unable to fill prescriptions at a particular location.”

CoverMyMeds also offers a paperless automated packing device that bundles prescriptions for distribution from a central fill facility to retail stores to help reduce paperwork and costs.

“Additionally, CoverMyMeds continues to find ways to help automate repetitive, time-consuming processes so retail pharmacists can spend more time delivering patient care,” Christie said. “This includes in-workflow technology that automatically compares various cash discount cards in real-time to benefit both pharmacists and patients.”

professionals, including more than 220,000 prescribers in hospitals, clinics and private practices throughout the U.S. and Canada, connecting with over 70,000 pharmacies and integrating with 50% of electronic health record and health information systems.

Two of DrFirst’s AI-powered innovations were recognized by the Edison Awards: SmartSuite for Pharmacy in 2022 and its newest solution, SmartRenewal, in 2023. SmartRenewal bridges the interoperability gap so clinicians can renew prescriptions safely and quickly with fewer manual clicks and keystrokes.

“We have great respect for the role of pharmacists in patient care and are committed to helping them with innovative and intelligent solutions,” said G. Cameron Deemer, CEO of DrFirst. “SmartSuite for Pharmacy by DrFirst uses our patented AI to help process electronic prescriptions faster and safer, saving manual keystrokes that contribute to clinician burnout and errors. We are honored to receive this recognition by Drug Store News for our innovation that makes a difference for pharmacies, pharmacists and patients.”


“From financial solutions and data analytics to patient engagement solutions and software designed specifically to support clinical services, EnlivenHealth provides the technology pharmacists need to operate at the top of their license and best serve their communities,” said Jason Ausili, head of pharmacy transformation at EnlivenHealth.


Founded in 2000, healthcare IT pioneer DrFirst has empowered providers and patients to achieve better health through intelligent medication management, improving healthcare efficiency and effectiveness by enhancing e-prescribing workflows and medication history, optimizing clinical data usability and helping patients start and stay on therapy.

The Rockville, Md.-based company works with more than 325,000 healthcare

Launched by parent company Omnicell in October 2020, Fort Worth, Texasbased EnlivenHealth provides more than 50,000 pharmacies across the country with software solutions and technology designed to improve the health of both their patients and their businesses.

“With the acquisition of established pharmacy software providers FDS Amplicare and MarkeTouch Media in 2021, EnlivenHealth now offers the most comprehensive suite of pharmacy

software-as-a-service solutions on the market,” Ausili said.

EnlivenHealth’s most recent innovation is Personalized IVR. This interactive voice response solution helps pharmacy staff better utilize their time while enabling patients to get the help they need quickly and efficiently. When a patient calls the pharmacy, the automated phone system identifies them by their phone number, then offers personalized options to refill prescriptions, get medication status updates and check for basic pharmacy information 24 hours a day without interrupting pharmacy staff. “Personalized IVR makes the pharmacy more accessible for patients and it gives pharmacists time back in their day,” Ausili said.


iA, (Innovation Associates), in Indianapolis, is a pharmacy fulfillment company that provides an integrated platform of capabilities to support centralized and community pharmacy solutions.

With more than 30 years of experience in the pharmacy fulfillment business, iA has developed and implemented a suite of automation and software solutions that help deliver quick and sustainable business results. iA’s Pharmacy Fulfillment Platform and people work together to improve customers’ workflow, increase efficiency and optimize fulfillment.

iA continues to tap into its inventive philosophies and develop partnerships that, above all, will drive innovation.

As one of the providers of centralized fulfillment automation, iA’s primary goal


is to work with customers and provide a comprehensive solution by utilizing proprietary hardware and intelligent pharmacy fulfillment software, NEXiA. iA’s software helps give pharmacists oversight across every stage of the fulfillment process to support improved workflows, increased efficiencies, reduced fulfillment burdens and lower fill cost.

From the relationships between pharmacists and patients to the trust built with customers, iA’s strong partnerships are integral to everything they do. iA works with pharmacy providers in the commercial, health systems, government and mail order/e-commerce markets.

health condition, the Navigator Ads dynamically generate provider listings that directly offer click-to-call or other real-time appointment booking options within the ad unit.

InStep Health delivers health education via digital and in-person experiences to those making vital healthcare decisions at critical points in the care journey. Pairing the power of tactile and digital media activations with the Connected Messaging Platform, healthcare marketers access more than 250,000 healthcare providers, working in more than 175,000 offices and programs in 42,000 retail and independent pharmacy locations nationwide.

InStep Health

For over 20 years, Chicago-based InStep Health has offered a platform that connects pharma, OTC and CPG branded messaging with targeted consumers/ patients and healthcare providers in meaningful ways at each critical point in the healthcare experience.

InStep Health’s solutions include inStore media activations like static and digital Media Displays on-shelf in the retail aisle, Professional Education Kits for pharmacists and providers in-office and connected measurement data analysis services through its inSights program.

In 2022, InStep Health announced the launch of a new Patient WiFi solution. The offering features software that enables health and wellness brands to connect their message with targeted patients and visitors in more than 60,000 office locations nationwide while they wait for their doctors’ appointments. It’s the ultimate in pre-visit influence. Previously, the company launched its digital Navigator Ad offering, which combines the reach and frequency of digital display advertising with the utility of an HCP provider directory. Based on the patient’s location and likely


Kennesaw, Ga.-based KNAPP is a global technology company with its North American headquarters in Atlanta.

“For over 40 years, KNAPP has been successfully automating pharmacy operations with our oldest central fill and mail pharmacies still running and expanding over 20 years later. Our unique solutions power some of the biggest names in pharmacy,” said Brian Sullivan, principal of pharmacy solutions at KNAPP North America. “Known as the most durable and reliable systems available, KNAPP has installations in over 1,200 retail pharmacies. We are the only provider of automated grocery and pharmacy BOPIS 24/7 solutions. The largest long term care pharmacies in North America are powered by KNAPP and our specialty pharmacy solutions are changing how medications are fulfilled.”

KNAPP has taken in-store pharmacy automation to the next level with recent installations of its 24/7 terminals. Fully automated dispensing of will-call orders is now available in-store and at the drivethru at any time of day. Unlike locker systems, store personnel can provide these

orders without additional effort.

“Integral telepharmacy capabilities provide patients access to acute medications when they need it. Additionally, the automated put away of stock provides the pharmacy additional time savings and automated DSCSA scanning to stay ahead of upcoming requirements,” Sullivan said.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions

Serving customers across the retail pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, PBM, payer, provider, life sciences and health IT markets, the healthcare business of LexisNexis Risk Solutions better enables organizations to solve a range of challenges, such as patient engagement, identity access management, data de-identification, linking and compliance.

Headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., LexisNexis Risk Solutions addresses these challenges by leveraging consumer, medical claims, provider and social determinants of health data to deliver insights that can improve patient outcomes, support more efficient business operations and create healthier communities, the company said

“LexisNexis VerifyRX is a real-time, compliance-driven prescriber verification solution, designed specifically for retail pharmacy and specialty pharmacies,” said Craig Ford, vice president of sales for pharmacy, healthcare business at LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

As part of the pharmacy workflow, VerifyRX processes millions of transactions a day, verifying complex prescriber


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data, including Drug Enforcement Administration and state data (when available) and daily National Technical Information Service data.

“Today VerifyRX offers VerifyRX Accelerate, an even more flexible tool that allows users to create additional compliance checks that are unique to their own needs,” Ford said. “This solution not only helps mitigate compliance risk, but also identifies potential claims submission errors prior to dispensing the drug. It also helps pharmacy providers increase the percentage of paid prescription claims.”

and inventory counts of any open bottle all without calibration, bar code scanning or interfacing…the inexpensive RM1 is simple, fast and accurate.”


As a diversified healthcare services leader, Irving, Texas-based McKesson is committed to helping strengthen the overall health of pharmacies and elevate their role in people’s lives.


“Recognition of Manrex by Drug Store News with a REX award in the pharmacy technology/automation category, for the second year, is incredibly exciting and gratifying. We believe this nomination reflects our mission of ensuring our products and services are always directed, first and foremost, towards helping independent pharmacists improve their care model efficiency, while offering outstanding medication safety to their customers,” said John Webster, vice president of innovation and product development at Manrex.

Winnipeg, Canada-based Manrex’s focus on matching the pharmacy automation to the size, strategy and capabilities of the individual pharmacy ensures that the solution not only improves their business but helps them maximize their customer relationships.

Manrex’s RM1 vision-based pill counter, which is sold in the United States by Crocus Medical, is “an inexpensive, entry level pill counter that counts pills in seconds, at a very low price, and is a fantastic way for an independent pharmacy to cut down dispensing times,” Webster said. “Perfect for quick dispensing counts, narcotic counts (double counts in seconds)

“We are working to advance reliable product access and fulfillment, and deliver scalable healthcare solutions, which help pharmacists practice at the top of their license,” said Scott Kemme, senior vice president of pharmaceutical technology and innovation at McKesson.

Whether it’s offering upgrades to their inventory management system or using AI to streamline workflow, McKesson provides pharmacies across care settings with innovative, practical solutions to help improve clinical performance and business operations and expand capabilities to meet the evolving needs of today’s pharmacy customers.

McKesson’s clinically driven pharmacy solutions help customers start their business through its EnterpriseRx pharmacy management software, run their business through patient engagement and clinical services and expand business through pharmacy optimization offerings.

Most recently, McKesson introduced Central Fill as a Service that allows pharmacies to use central fill without the investment in equipment, inventory or staffing. McKesson also recently launched Pinpoint Community Solutions, a perpetual inventory management system designed for independent pharmacies.

“Supporting pharmacies and finding new ways to help them improve the care they deliver while reducing costs and improving efficiency continues to be a focus for McKesson,” Kemme said.


Dallas-based OmniSYS is a technology company with 25 years of experience working with pharmacies, payers, providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers. As a trusted advisor, OmniSYS serves 50% of U.S. retail pharmacies. Using its unique insight and pharmacy workflow expertise, OmniSYS develops advanced technology solutions that increase efficiency, enabling pharmacies to deliver clinical services that improve patient health and pharmacy business.

“Pharmacies are becoming the chosen source of first-line care for patients, and we’re proud to offer the technology solutions needed to maximize pharmacies’ capabilities and efficiencies to provide more healthcare services to the communities they serve,” said David Pope, chief pharmacy officer at OmniSYS.

Pope pointed out that pharmacies can expand their services more than ever. However, many struggle to deliver clinical services without the help of technology. “From clinical documentation and patient engagement to medical billing, we offer purpose-built, pharmacy-first solutions that provide the interoperability and simplicity needed to optimize patient care, workflow and profitability,” Pope said.

OmniSYS offers the pharmacy industry’s first electronic cloud-based, billing-enabled EHR, bringing together pharmacy and medical information into an insightful patient record that empowers pharmacists to deliver and document clinical services.

OmniSYS’s cloud-based patient

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engagement solution empowers pharmacies to communicate better with patients. The platform is built on deep clinical intelligence and consumer preferences. It delivers timely, personalized messaging via text, web, mobile and IVR, enhancing the experience, improving adherence and building satisfaction and loyalty.

To help pharmacies bill for clinical services, OmniSYS offers the industry’s leading medical claims billing solution trusted by more than 30,000 pharmacies. With this solution, pharmacies can bill and get paid for immunizations, clinical services, DME and specialty medications.


Twenty-five years ago, the first ScriptPro robots were delivered to customers— robots that are still filling prescriptions today. This level of longevity provides tremendous value to customers and makes the company unique in the industry, not to mention the unparalleled reliability and sound return on investment.

The staying power of ScriptPro’s robotic systems has been a key driver in ScriptPro creating an ever-expanding platform that now includes powerful pharmacy software, clinical programs, financial management tools and beyond. One of ScriptPro’s latest inventions is the Storage and Retrieval System, a fully automated will-call robot. And, with more patient populations seeing the adherence benefits of their medications being offered in daily packs, the company launched a medication pouch packaging solution.

ScriptPro’s integrated solutions meet the needs of the full range of pharmacies of any scale and across all healthcare settings. The platform replaces a collection of applications that are otherwise required to get the job done.

ScriptPro continues to create and provide relevant, powerful tools to help pharmacies continually offer world-class pharmacy services to their patients and communities.


Headquartered in Phoenix, STChealth works with clients throughout the United States and internationally to pursue a shared mission of eradicating vaccine-preventable disease through innovative software and service solutions.

More than 80,000 immunization providers located across all 50 U.S. states leverage STChealth clinical services technology to validate patient immunization status, as well as to capture and report patient immunization and laboratory test data to state and federal entities. Since the outset of the COVID pandemic, more than 1 billion patient records have been reported through STChealth’s national provider network. This massive exchange of data was made possible through partnerships with The White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state public health and community pharmacies across the nation.

“Throughout its history, STChealth has worked alongside public health as a provider of immunization information system technology,” said Mike Popovich, CEO of STChealth. “These public sector relationships allow STChealth to bridge the gap with private sector healthcare providers, including pharmacy, to create longstanding and meaningful partnerships between immunization providers and public health organizations. While many in the healthcare ecosystem recognize the risk that vaccine hesitancy poses to public health, few are taking action like STChealth. Leveraging the billions of data points that run through STChealth systems, ongoing research and development is underway to help immunization providers make better decisions about enabling access, in addition to helping providers determine when and how to communicate with vaccine hesitant patients.”

two decades since first enabling electronic prescribing nationwide in 2001. Surescripts continues bringing greater clarity and efficiency to prescriber/pharmacist communication while increasing patient safety in the 2.34 billion e-prescriptions the network supported in 2022.

“Surescripts is simplifying health intelligence sharing, delivering the right clinical information at the right time,” said Lawrence King, director of product safety and performance at Surescripts, noting that more than two million providers exchanged patient data more than 21 billion times, supporting better informed and less costly care.

Surescripts Real-Time Prescription Benefit gives clinicians actionable information about a patient’s prescription drug benefit at the time of prescribing and at the pharmacy, saving patients an average of $61 on traditional prescriptions and $428 on specialty medications.


Arlington, Va.-based Surescripts has transformed healthcare interoperability in the

“Surescripts technology is empowering pharmacists to do more than fill prescriptions, enabling them to do what they do best: provide comprehensive, accessible care as part of a patient’s care team,” King said. “Advancing healthcare interoperability combined with Surescripts technology is helping to reduce burnout-causing administrative tasks for pharmacists and physicians. Surescripts Specialty Medications Gateway is allowing pharmacists to access key patient information from the EHR so they spend less time calling and faxing providers to obtain missing information. With 20 million specialty prescriptions processed electronically last year, the Surescripts Network Alliance is working to help patients start their medications sooner, and helping their care teams spend less time on administrative tasks.” dsn

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NSAIDs Reign, Naturals Rise

Traditional OTC pain relievers remain popular, but topical and natural solutions are gaining traction

When day-to-day life becomes a pain in the neck, consumers want fast relief. And sore necks— along with aching backs, throbbing heads and other hurting body parts—equate to big business for manufacturers of over-the-counter pain-relief medications and the retail outlets that sell them.

According to a January 2023 report from London-based Brandessence Market Research, the global OTC analgesics market was worth $26.5 billion in 2022. Moreover, the market is expected to realize a compound annual growth rate of 5.5% between 2022 and 2029.

“The increasing geriatric population base, growing prevalence [of] chronic diseases and rising selfmedication trends are creating lucrative opportunities for this industry vertical to amass notable gains,” the market research firm said.

NSAIDs Remain Popular

The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) segment is one of the fast-growing segments in the OTC analgesics space, Brandessence noted.

And ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen are the most common NSAIDs, the Cleveland Clinic reports. Consumers rely on them to treat a number of painful conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, muscle aches, backaches and more.

In late 2020, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), whose U.S. division is in Durham, N.C., interrupted this category with the debut of Advil Dual Action tablets, which feature a combination of ibuprofen (150 mg) and the nonNSAID pain-reliever acetaminophen (250 mg).

“For decades, many consumers have been using ibuprofen and acetaminophen to get the benefits of


both active ingredients when safely treating their headaches, muscle aches, backaches, arthritis and other joint pain,” Franck Riot, head of R&D for GSK Consumer Healthcare, said following FDA approval of the tablets. “Advil, the No. 1 selling OTC pain reliever, will offer U.S. consumers the first-ever alternative option—a single, fixed-dose combination pain reliever.”

Last summer, following the demerger of the GSK Consumer Healthcare business, the consumer-health company Haleon launched. The new company, based in Weybridge, England, acquired the Advil brand (as well as some other GSK brands). And in late 2022, it announced the availability of Advil Dual Action in Canada.

Dublin-based Perrigo Company PLC, meanwhile, recently announced the receipt of final approval for its Abbreviated New Drug Application for the equivalent of the Advil tablets. The company said it expects to launch the product this spring, opening up store-brand product-development opportunities for drug store and other retailers.

“This approval was received on the first day possible following the expiration of the marketing exclusivity for Advil Dual Action tablets,” said Jim Dillard, executive vice president with Perrigo and president of the company’s Consumer Self-Care Americas.

The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory


Source: Brandessence Market Research.

segment is one of the fast-growing segments in the OTC analgesics space.


Dermoplast 3-in-1 Medicated First Aid Cloths

SRP: $12.99

Dermoplast introduced Dermoplast 3-in-1 Medicated First Aid Cloths. The cloths feature a sting-free formula with first-aid benefits to clean wounds, prevent infections and relieve pain while killing 99% of germs. The cloths feature 10% benzocaine and soothing aloe. They are individually wrapped, making it convenient to disinfect and ease the pain of cuts, wounds and burns while on the go. They retail in a 10-ct. box.

Medterra Natural Pain Relief Capsules

SRP: $49.99

Medterra launched Medterra Natural Pain Relief in a capsule format. A natural alternative to traditional pain relievers, the product, sold in 30-ct. bottles, is said to be a clinically proven plant-based pain reliever that alleviates muscle pain, joint stiffness and inflammation without the negative side effects often associated with OTC options. It combines inflammation-reducing turmeric and Levagen+ PEA (palmitoylethanolamide), a more bioavailable form of regular PEA that is clinically proven to reduce minor aches and pains in as little as three days when used consistently.

Icy Hot Pro

SRP: Starting at $13.99

Sanofi Consumer Healthcare introduced Icy Hot Pro, a line of topical products designed for muscles and joints that have been pushed to their limits. The line combines two maximumstrength pain relievers: 16% menthol and 11% camphor. It is available in patch, no-mess (massage applicator), cream and dry spray formats. Of note: Product of the Year USA, the largest consumer-voted awards program centered around product innovation, named Icy Hot Pro the “Topical Pain Relief” category winner in its 2023 Product of the Year Awards.


Not for Everyone

OTC NSAIDs, alone or in combination with OTC non-NSAIDs, are not for everyone, however. Outside of aspirin, all NSAIDs appear to be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular problems, Harvard Health Publishing reported.

In addition, they might exacerbate the situation for people with osteoarthritis. Specifically, such drugs could worsen inflammation in the knee joint over time, reported the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), citing a new study from the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco.

The study included 277 participants with moderate to severe osteoarthritis and sustained NSAID treatment for at least one year between the baseline and four-year follow-up. They were compared to a group of 793 control participants who were not treated with NSAIDs. All participants underwent “3T MRI” of the knee initially, RSNA noted, and again after four years. Images were scored for biomarkers of inflammation.

The results showed no long-term benefit of NSAID use. Moreover, joint inflammation and cartilage quality were worse at baseline for the participants taking NSAIDs than for the control group, RSNA said, and worsened at four-year follow-up.

Internal or external, OTC pain

A Topical Push

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that some consumers are moving away from NSAIDs—and from oral OTC pain relievers in general—and are seeking topical solutions. According to a September 2022 report from India’s Quintana Research and Consulting, growth drivers for topical pain-relief solutions include fewer adverse effects than those of traditional oral medications, rising demand among athletes, an increasing number of elderly people and the prevalence of arthritis.

“Customers have pill fatigue,” said Dason Williams, chief operating officer of Clavél Corp., Abilene, Texas. “They don’t want to take multiple pills that can damage their liver and will conflict with other treatment options they are doing.”

Although external analgesics consistently outperformed the overall OTC and healthand-beauty-care categories for a number of years, they saw some softness in 2022, Jim Lepis, senior director for Florham Park, N.J.-based Hisamitsu America Inc., noted.

“A key factor behind the softness appears to have been the exceptional prior year and some pandemic-related shopping dynamics that did not continue,” he said. “As we’ve turned the page to 2023, the category is once again growing nicely.”

The aging U.S. population bodes well for future growth, too, Lepis added. Moreover, consumers not only are becoming more educated about external analgesics’ benefits, but they also are on the receiving end of more external-analgesic recommendations from the medical community.

“Another trend that might surprise people is that the convenient and no-mess patch form is the largest segment, exceeding both gel form and cream form,” he said. “The roll-on form has become another popular no-mess option that has been a key contributor to recent category growth.”

relievers also are trending toward all-natural formulations, including those using plant-based ingredients.

On the patch front, Hisamitsu America recently introduced the Salonpas Lidocaine FLEX patch. Lepis said the nonaqueous pain-relief patch contours to the body and stays in place during body movements.

External treatments continue to be popular within the first-aid space, too. Data from global market research firm Mintel show that 90% of consumers desire a fast-acting formula with multiple benefits, noted Jim Creagan, president of Cornwall, N.Y.-based CrossingWell Consumer Health (formerly Randob Labs).

Creagan said his company’s Sting-Kill and Chiggerex products include benzocaine for instant pain relief and also provide itch-relief benefits. The company’s Bacitraycin Plus first-aid ointment, meanwhile, not only

relieves pain, but also contains bacitracin to kill germs and aloe to soothe.

Natural Boasts Appeal

Internal or external, OTC pain relievers also are trending toward all-natural formulations, including those using plant-based ingredients. But this trend is still emerging, Erick Dickens, an executive with Phoenix-based Healest Naturals, pointed out. Healest Naturals is a new company that purchased the Level Select topical pain-relief brand, as well as other OTC brands.

“Consumers are increasingly aware of the ingredients used in the products they put in and on their body and are ready for effective choices in OTC pain relief,” he noted.

Healest Naturals’ newly introduced Level Select OTC product lineup—including muscle rub lotion, sports therapy cream, massaging roll-on gel and more—contains natural menthol and camphor. Dickens calls the line “a breakthrough innovation in plant-based wellness” that provides fast pain relief.

“These plant-based ingredients effectively address common forms of discomfort such as muscle soreness, joint pain, backaches and other minor aches and pains,” Dickens said. “Along with menthol and camphor, Level Select OTC products contain other beneficial ingredients like MSM, comfrey, horse chestnut and more.”

Williams agreed that consumers are moving more toward natural “non-drug” items on the topical side. He pointed to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI showing that growth for the “not stated category” outpaced “the drug items with capsaicin, diclofenac, lidocaine and menthol stated on the Drug Facts panel” for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 1, 2023.

For its part, Clavél Corp. recently added a 3.4-oz. bottle with a massager top to its 100% natural Blue Stop Max muscle and joint gel line, which features natural ingredients such as emu oil, coconut oil and aloe vera. Williams said the format is good for air travel, trips to the gym and more.

Consumers, however, might need some convincing when it comes to natural pain-relief formulations— be they internal or external. Product efficacy still trumps all other considerations.

“While many consumers would prefer to buy a product with naturally derived active ingredients, they believe this benefit requires them to compromise efficacy,” Dickens said. dsn

Consumers, however, might need some convincing when it comes to natural pain-relief formulations—be they internal or external. Product efficacy still trumps all other considerations.
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Rethinking the CBD Mix

A wider range of products offers opportunities for retail pharmacies

In recent years, cannabidiol, a compound derived from a cannabis sativa plant (typically hemp), has been showing up in products ranging from skin care creams to sleep aids. According to a 2022 New York-based Market Research Future report, the global CBD market was valued at $9.1 billion in 2021.

But makers of CBD-containing products now find themselves “in a U.S. regulatory limbo” regarding product claims, Bloomberg noted in a Jan. 3 newsletter, and the FDA has issued a number of warnings to CBD brands making unproven claims.

As a result, U.S. sales have slowed, and some brands have opted to drop the ingredient.

As it stands, most drug stores carry only topical CBDcontaining products, said John McDonagh, president and CEO of Conshohocken, Pa.-based NextEvo Naturals.

It’s understandable that drug stores are hesitant to carry edible CBD products, as FDA recently said CBD-containing products are excluded from the dietary supplement definition. In a Jan. 23 statement, the agency also said it concluded, after


careful review, “that a new regulatory pathway for CBD is needed that balances individuals’ desire for access to CBD products with the regulatory oversight needed to manage risks.” FDA also said it is prepared to work with Congress on the matter.

Plenty of Potential

On the plus side, CBD offers a number of growth opportunities for drug stores. Topical skin care applications might be the most significant of them. In fact, a 2022 report from San Francisco-based Grand View Research Inc. forecasts that the global CBD skin care market size will reach $8.6 billion by 2030.

“Since CBD is a potent antioxidant preventing skin aging and wrinkles, it can protect the skin against free radical damage caused by environmental factors such as excessive exposure to sunlight,” the CFAH.org website says.

McDonagh believes skin care could be an emerging CBD space over the next two to three years.

“We’ve just launched our NextEvo Naturals Body Recovery Cream, which is one of the highest levels of CBD topicals available—formulated at a 1% CBD concentration versus others which are only 0.25% or 0.50%,” he noted. “It is further differentiated, as we created a special formula to help the CBD penetrate deeply into the skin and have generated data to support our claims.”

Despite the hesitation on drug stores’ part to offer ingestible CBD products for pain relief, sleep assistance and more, high consumer interest might justify


Martha Stewart CBD Tropical Medley Wellness Gummies

SRP: $34.99/30-ct.

Martha Stewart CBD, a brand of Smith Falls, Ontario-based Canopy Growth, added Tropical Medley CBD Wellness Gummies to its CMD gummies lineup. The line includes three flavors inspired by the lush fruits of tropical destinations: Alphonso Mango, Coconut and Pineapple. Each gummy features 10 mg of CBD isolate. The products are available in 30-ct., 10-ct. and three-ct. packages

Thistle Farms CBD Body-Care Products

SRP: $20 (2.5-oz. body balm)/$35 (bath soak)

Thistle Farms, a Nashville, Tenn.-based nonprofit social enterprise serving women survivors of trafficking, prostitution and addiction, added two CBD body-care products. A new CBD-based high-impact body balm is designed to deliver targeted relief for aching muscles. The balm is scented with the company’s signature Calm essential oil blend and comes in 0.9-oz. and 2.5oz. containers. Also new is an 8-oz. bath soak.

Drug stores will want to take care, however, when adding any CBDcontaining items to the product mix. They should understand the dos and don’ts of product claims.

a change of heart—at least when it comes to the states in which such products are legal. Joseph Dowling, CEO of San Diego-based CV Sciences Inc., said drug stores are underperforming in the CBD category by failing to provide a complete product range that includes edible products.

“Drug store retailer merchandising of CBD products is also a problem,” Dowling added. “CBD products are often kept under lock and key, where retailers are wary to cross-merchandise them with other related and competing products.”

On the edibles front, CV Sciences recently introduced +PlusCBD Reserve Collection softgels formulated with “a full spectrum of cannabinoids” to meet consumer need states, Dowling said.

“Much of our feedback has said that these softgels have become a favorite alternative to Advil or other NSAID pain-relief options,” he explained. “CV Sciences is constantly looking at co-ingredients that support and enhance positive outcomes for consumers.”

Charlotte’s Web also has been very active in the CBD edibles space.


CBDistillery Microdose Synergy+

THC & CBD line

SRP: Unknown

CBDistillery is introducing its Microdose Synergy+ THC & CBD line, which includes tincture and soft gel products. Microdosing, at its base level, is “taking a small enough dose of a potentially intoxicating substance to experience its benefits without the feeling of intoxication,” CBDistillery said. Each serving of Microdose Synergy+ features 1 mg of THC and 30 mg of CBD that “work in harmony to nourish and support your mind and body for optimal health and wellness,” the company said.

One of the latest offerings from the Louisville, Colo.based company is Charlotte’s Web Sport—Daily Edge, the first broad-spectrum hemp-derived tincture to be Certified for Sport by public health and safety organization NSF. To celebrate the launch, Charlotte’s Web entered into a partnership with Major League Baseball, said Michelle Flegel, president of sales.

“Leveraging Charlotte’s Web’s scientific research, Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Certified B Corp principles, Daily Edge underwent strict independent testing to uniquely meet MLB’s scientific benchmarks and no-banned substances policy,” she said.

Retailers Beware

Drug stores will want to take care when adding any CBD-containing items to the product mix. They

CV Sciences +PlusCBD Daily Balance

THC Free line

SRP: $54.99

CV Sciences said its +PlusCBD Daily Balance THC-Free Gummies and Softgels are daily-use supplements that provides the wellness benefits of CBD without THC and other cannabinoids. The brand said the products are ideal for traditional supplement users who are active and on the go, along with everyday heroes like first responders, teachers and military personnel. Each is made with CV Sciences’ 99.9% pure CBD isolate, crafted in concentrations that seek to help consumers overcome intense challenges to their everyday mental and physical well-being.


should understand the dos and don’ts of product claims. For example, brands claiming topical CBD products work on arthritis or muscle pain are at risk for FDA action, McDonagh pointed out.

“It is unlikely that CBD penetrates deep enough through the skin to have any effect since it’s a lipophilic molecule, and most current manufacturers don’t have any evidence to support such claims,” McDonagh said.

Brands—and retailers—also should stay clear of disease claims related to CBD products.

“A trusted CBD manufacturer will provide the right educational tools to support a drug store team on how to communicate the benefits of CBD,” Flegel said.

And to determine which CBD manufacturers can be trusted, drug stores must do their homework. “Buyers can protect themselves by researching reviews

and claims made by brands before stocking their shelves,” Dowling said. “In doing so, buyers also protect their consumers from lowerquality products that make unrealistic claims, setting them up for disappointment and skepticism toward CBD products.” dsn

“Since CBD is a potent antioxidant preventing skin aging and wrinkles, it can protect the skin against free radical damage caused by environmental factors, such as excessive exposure to sunlight.”
Source: CFAH.org

Product Showcase

It’s been a busy year for manufacturers, and attendees are excited to see what innovations and products await at this year’s annual NACDS meeting, held April 22-25 at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla. Check out the latest offerings you can expect to find at the event.

Bausch + Lomb

Space #12, #452

Bausch + Lomb is launching Lumify Eye Illuminations, a new line of specialty eye care products scientifically developed for the sensitive eye area. This new line of products is formulated with clean, nutrient-rich ingredients and is hypoallergenic and non-irritating.

Dr. Reddy’s Space

Allstate Health Solutions, a subdivision of The Allstate Corporation

Space #250

Allstate’s health strategy is to increase market share by offering consumers a broad suite of protection solutions and a competitive value proposition across distribution channels. The company offers voluntary benefits and individual life and health products, including life, accident, critical illness, short-term disability and other health insurance products sold through independent agents, benefits brokers and Allstate exclusive agents.


Space #636

CoverMyMeds’ centralized prescription fulfillment solutions allow pharmacies to benefit from automation without significant upfront investment. “Outsourcing prescription volume enables pharmacies to redeploy resources to other programs, such as expanding clinical services,” said Melanie Christie, vice president of product management at CoverMyMeds.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories announced the launch of lenalidomide capsules in the U.S. market. The capsules are a therapeutic equivalent generic version of REVLIMID (lenalidomide) capsules approved by U. S. Food and Drug Administration. With this volume-limited launch, Dr. Reddy’s is eligible for first-to-market, 180 days of generic drug exclusivity for Lenalidomide Capsules in 2.5 mg and 20 mg strengths.

Take a look at some of the participating companies’ new products and services you can expect to see at this year’s Annual

The Emerson Group Space 1

The brand said it is a trusted and valued partner to retailers, suppliers and the industry. Capabilities include retail commerce, digital commerce, a fully integrated logistics platform with “order to cash” solution and supply chain and fulfillment. Services are supported and powered by insights and data analytics, marketing, brand management, go-tomarket strategy, equity consulting and consumer care and affairs. The brand provides these capabilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Foundation Consumer Healthcare Space #536

Since purchasing Breathe Right in 2020, Foundation Consumer Healthcare has breathed new life into the legacy brand. A fresh iteration of “Everybody Strip”—a creative campaign that takes Breathe Right beyond the bedroom— launched in early 2023, and fresh packaging will hit shelves this spring.


Space #428

EnlivenHealth is highlighting its Personalized IVR, an automated phone solution for pharmacies. It identifies patients by phone number and presents personalized offers like prescription refills and updates to medication status. As a result, pharmacies typically see an increase in revenue due to automated refills and immediate time savings for staff.

Hyland’s Naturals

Space #324

Los Angeles-based Hyland’s Naturals is showcasing its all-in-one sleep + calm + immune health gummies, which are specially formulated for kids using gentle, natural ingredients. Available with melatonin or USDA-certified organic melatonin-free, these vegan gummies give kids restful sleep and are free from artificial flavors and sweeteners.


Copper Fit®, a leading health and wellness brand, continues its development of innovative, well-built compression products designed to provide users with energizing support and relieve muscle and joint aches and pains Adding to the Brand’s already robust Health compression line comes Copper Fit Core Shaper

Copper Fii Core Shhper


But reshaping was not enough Khubani set out to find the right compression material that would reduce belt weight by almost 50% The search led to a new Power Mesh compression fabric that reduces belt weight, maintains compression level, and vastly improves breathability The result is a beautiful comp pression belt that can be comfortably worn under or over clothing

1Source: https://www marketwatch com/press-release/waisttrainer-market-demand-share-key-players-size-growth-analysisand-forecast-2028-2023-02-08

Driving Brhnn ShSes

Celebrity Partners Gwyneth Paltrow and Jerry Rice continue to endorse the Brand while the company is deploying fresh commercials and messaging through aggressive social, digital (both audio and streaming) and linear television



Space #24

This year, Pharmavite will be highlighting an expanded Nature Made mental wellness portfolio to address growing consumer stress and cognition needs. The portfolio features 5-HTP, L-Theanine, Choline and Lutein & Zeaxanthin. Beyond these items, Nature Made’s recent innovation includes new offerings within the established segments of vitamin D, vitamin B12, magnesium and multivitamins, as well as an expansion of the 2022-launched Wellblends line.

Piping Rock Health Products

Space #620

Piping Rock said consumers are increasingly turning to supplements that help optimize their bodies for an active lifestyle, and the essential mineral Magnesium is exploding in the category as a result. The company said its Nature’s Truth Magnesium Glycinate Gummies are predominantly available in capsules and tablets and are made with natural grape flavor. They are also vegan.


Space #514

The company said Culturelle Women’s 4-in-1 Protection allows women to take charge of their unique needs. It’s designed with a blend of probiotics and prebiotics that provide women with complete feminine care—four benefits in one pill: vaginal, urinary, digestive and immune health. The unique feminine prebiotic blend starts working within 24 hours, the company said.

iA (Innovation Associates)

Space #280

The company has announced the launch of NEXiA Enterprise Analytics, its first cloud-based application for NEXiA, iA’s software for pharmacy fulfillment. It adds a new intelligence application to iA’s NEXiA software suite that enables customers to visualize pharmacy operations across multiple fulfillment locations in real-time. Analytics can help customers identify trends more quickly and aid in delivering prescriptions to patients with optimal speed and efficiency, the company said. dsn

REACHES YOUR TARGET MARKET Drug Store News Connect With Your Customers 17,906 Social Followers 35,000 Circulation 211 Avg Webinar Registrants 102,504 Avg Monthly Website Users 77,243 Unique e-newsletter recipients 212,515 Audience Visit www.drugstorenews.com for more information

Putting a Premium on Customer Loyalty

Pharmacies must put a premium on customer loyalty efforts during uncertain economic times

This year is shaping up to be an uncertain time, and consumer behaviors will change one way or the other. While consumer confidence has proven to be quite resilient amid a slew of bad economic news, the latest data demonstrates that consumer spending— the engine of the U.S. economy—is weakening.

That should be a flashing red light for almost every retailer in the U.S., especially drug store chains because the financial pinch created by their prescription drugs is among consumers’ biggest worries. While the public has seemingly become accustomed to skyrocketing drug prices, approximately 80% view them as unreasonable. And, even though most consumers are pretty savvy and don’t usually blame their pharmacy (first), the fact is that more people are seeking out discounts online, are turning to other forms of assistance or are looking at new models that cut out a retail pharmacy entirely.

These trends present both an opportunity and a challenge for drug store leaders, and what they do over the next year or two may very well define their revenue trajectories for the next decade. This is the time to double down on implementing technologies and strategies that build customer loyalty.

While the ways different consumer segments change spending habits vary during downturns, researchers who looked at the 2008 recession noted that pretty much everyone altered their behavior in some way by prioritizing their purchases and assessing options.

When consumers are forced to do that, it means they are likely experimenting with new stores or are going to a higher number of stores to get specific deals on specific products. Herein lies both the opportunity and the challenge. You’re either defending your customer base or have an opportunity to peel off market share from a competitor.

For drug stores, this phenomenon can be even more acute because they have a good that is, for the most part, considered a necessity and is generally accepted to be expensive. With more than 60% of the U.S. having at least one prescription, a majority of American consumers must make a decision on

which pharmacy they use and will increasingly scrutinize the brands they frequent while their wallets are thinner. It’s not like some store categories where a customer may shop less frequently or suspend their activity for a period, but are eager to return to their preferred brand when things lighten.

The modern pharmacy experience is defined by digital transformation. For the past decade, industry leaders were already aggressively spending on digital tools, marketplaces and access points that both improve the consumer experience and help the pharmacy staff better serve customers. However, with the economy facing its toughest test in nearly 15 years, not only will their investments be put to their own test, but the smartest ones will see this period as the time to experiment with even more programs.

That’s especially true for digital experiences and tools: It proves to customers that drug store leaders understand economic realities and empower consumers with more information, choice and marketplace pricing power. If they don’t lean into a more comprehensive digital strategy, it could spell major financial trouble. The drug store industry faces emerging competition from tech-savvy giants that not only understand what consumers want but have the resources to undercut on prices. Coupling that with how fed up consumers are over costs, you see a trend that threatens everyone from independent drug stores to the biggest national chains.

Consumers want the pharmacy experience to be similar to what they get in other industries. Drug stores must show customers they are allies in the fight against high costs—by empowering team members to help them save.

No matter what innovations and investments pharmacy leaders make to improve customer loyalty, it’s the pharmacy’s team members that will always be the best asset. That’s why prioritizing customer loyalty requires drug store leaders to heavily engage their teams. The success of almost every digital tool or new strategy implementation is tied to how well they understand them. dsn

“While the ways different consumer segments change spending habits vary during downturns, researchers who looked at the 2008 recession noted that pretty much everyone altered their behavior in some way by prioritizing their purchases and assessing options.”
winner VOTED #1 BY 40K PEOPLE Protects and moisturizes lips every day, every season, and everywhere you go. Winner in Immediate Relief Category. Survey of 40,000 people by Kantar. mycarmex.com | ©2023 Carma Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved. Talk to your representative at The Emerson Group today!

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