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Volume 42 No. 6

JUNE 2020

Drug Store News



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Vol. 42 No. 6 DrugStoreNews.com



10 Industry News

66 Digestive Health

18 COVID-19 Shopper Insights

The category is no longer just about remedying digestive issues, but building gut health

Exclusive insights on how the coronavirus pandemic has influenced consumer behavior


36 CBD News

72 Hair Care

40 Products to Watch

One of the only beauty categories to get a boost during the pandemic eyes the future

41 Selfcare Roadmap Insights Asthma health shopper insight powered by GMDC | Retail Tomorrow’s and HRG’s Selfcare Roadmap Insights tool

77 Spotlight On: Brightening

42 Focus On: Quest Products 44 Cover Story: Getting Back to Business As states start to reopen amid a downturn in COVID-19 cases, how can retailers reassure shoppers and keep them safe?



50 Made in America Highlighting companies that manufacture their products in the United States

COLUMNS 8 Editor’s Note

34 One-on-One with ECRM’s Greg Farrar

64 Counter Talk with APhA’s Michael Hogue

65 Counter Talk with Plaza Pharmacy and Wellness Center’s Jerry Meece

24 Counter Talk with CHPA’s Scott Melville

26 Counter Talk

78 Last Word with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

with Revieve’s Dean DeBiase

27 One-on-One with Dr. Reddy’s Foram Vaishnav

28 Counter Talk


PHARMACY 58 Rising in the Ranks

with Outlier AI’s Jerry Stephens

30 One-on-One with Elsevier’s Trygve Anderson

How retailers are building their pharmacists a path for advancement and ongoing professional development

SOCIAL Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews

Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews

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. 42 No. 6, June 2020. Copyright © 2020 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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: S Innovative Self-Care Solutions Helping Consumers Take Charge of Their Health.

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Starting Over As America reopens, retailers need to reassure consumers that safety is a priority By Seth Mendelson


ow what do we do? By the time you read this, most of the country will be open again. That means that consumers are going to be returning to stores, some practicing the new normal and some going back to their old habits. Retailers must be ready for both cases — as well as anything in between. And, if the last three months have taught us anything, it is just how important mass retail is Seth Mendelson to the overall economy and the consumers’ psyche. While Editor in Chief/ mass retail has come through the pandemic smelling like Associate Publisher a rose, it is just as important now for the industry to not let its collective and individual guard down as shoppers start walking through the doors again. As we discuss in our cover story on reopening this month, to a large degree, retail is starting over with its shoppers, and that means making sure that all precautions are taken to ensure the health of the consumer and your employees. For the foreseeable future, consumers and workers are going to be keen to see that barriers are in place, wipes are available and social distancing is being maintained at their favorite stores. They are going to expect the right answers from retailers, particularly those with pharmacies and pharmacists. Do the right thing and you have an excellent chance of holding on to your shopper base and having things, eventually, return to normal. Mess up, even in the smallest way, and you may lose your customers forever to the chain down the street that is doing everything right. But there is more to do. As retail reopens, this is an excellent opportunity for merchants to become aggressive with their promotional efforts. The consumer is sick of being stuck inside, but they will still need to be pushed back to stores and they will also need to be directed to where to shop, especially during the early weeks of reopening. It is up to the retail community to create the demand and the excitement needed to nudge the shopper along. It is a whole new world out there for the shopper, the merchant and even the manufacturers. Together, I am extremely confident that the next few months will be good ones for the industry, that is as long as we all take the right steps to keep consumers and employees safe, calm and happy. dsn

As retail reopens, this is an excellent opportunity for merchants to become aggressive with their promotional efforts. The consumer is sick of being stuck inside, but they will still need to be pushed back to stores and directed where to shop.


An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631

Senior Vice President, Publisher John Kenlon (516) 650-2064, jkenlon@ensembleiq.com

Editor in Chief /Associate Publisher Seth Mendelson (212) 756-5160, smendelson@ensembleiq.com

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


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Moving forward with you

As the battle against COVID-19 continues, Amneal wants to thank the pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and front-line workers.

to bring patients the medicines they need

Your heroic work ensures patients have uninterrupted access to vital medicines. To help support you, Amneal continues to work 24/7 to manufacture quality and affordable medicines for those who need them the most.

amneal.com Copyright Š 2020 Amneal Pharmaceuticals. All Rights Reserved. AMN-DSN 06.20

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Survey: Pharmacies Think COVID-19 Changes Here to Stay Pharmacists are getting ready for pharmacies to operate differently long-term. In fact, 61% of community pharmacists said they expect increased point-of-care testing for various illnesses, including COVID-19, while 61% anticipate higher demand for online products, according to a survey released by the National Community Pharmacists Association. According to the survey, nearly three-quarters of respondents said they did not offer point-of-care testing before the pandemic struck. Sixty-one percent said they believe that consumer demand for online products will remain high even after the crisis abates. “Pharmacies have adapted to the crisis in ways that may outlast the disease,” said Brian Caswell, NCPA president and owner of Wolkar Drug in Baxter Springs, Kan. The survey also found that 56% of pharmacists anticipate the pandemic will lead to the increased scope of practice. This means they’ll be performing more healthcare services in addition to dispensing medicine. Fifty-two percent said they believe more neighborhood pharmacies will be doing immunizations. And more than half said they believe consumers will prioritize local businesses over corporate brands. Many of the operational changes that pharmacies have adopted in response to COVID-19 also will be lasting, the survey found. More than 82% said they expect to continue expanded home delivery and curbside service. “Our pharmacy, like most local pharmacies, offered same-day delivery before the pandemic. We doubled our delivery service and started curbside service to keep our patients and employees safe,” Caswell said. “Most local pharmacists think those are services that consumers will value after the national emergency fades.” Nearly 60% of respondents said they believe they’ll keep the plexiglass barriers that they installed to protect patients and employees. Roughly 40% said they expect that their own pharmacies will expand their online marketing and communications. More than 60% said pharmacy staff will continue wearing masks, gloves and other protective equipment. Almost 40% said they believe telehealth will expand. “Pharmacists are rethinking their businesses just like other companies are doing,” Caswell said. “Some of these changes will be profound. Pharmacists are front-line healthcare providers, essential to the country’s healthcare infrastructure. Patient care has always been the top priority. Now, we’re finding new ways to deliver the same services, and we’re seeing opportunities to deliver new services. The commitment to our patients won’t change, but some of the ways we do business will.”


King C. Gillette Beard Care Builds on Shave Brand’s Legacy King C. Gillette, a new product line from Gillette, is looking to change the way men perfect their facial hair styles and at-home grooming regimens. Named after the brand’s founder, King Camp Gillette, the line of products was inspired by more than 115 years of innovation and grooming experience, the Boston-based company said. “We’re excited to announce the launch of the King C. Gillette range, the first complete lineup of products and tools designed for men with facial hair. Our founder, King C. Gillette, revolutionized the male grooming experience more than a century ago, and so it is fitting that this new brand bears his name,” said Gary Coombe, CEO of Gillette. “All men have their own grooming styles and rituals, which is personal to them, and so we’ve put all our years of shaving experience together with the very best razor, hair and skin care technologies to create this full range of tools, accessories and care products to meet all the grooming needs of all men. It’s the one-stop shop for grooming that men have been looking for.” The line includes such facial hair care essentials as beard wash and oil, as well as a double-edged safety razor. At launch, the range will be categorized into three sections — Shave and Edge, Trim, and Care. Shave and Edge products will feature a double-edged safety razor and blade refills, shave and edging razor and blade refills, and transparent shave gel. The Trim selection includes the King C. Gillette beard trimmer. The Care line will have a daily beard and face wash, as well as a soft beard balm and beard oil, which have been formulated with such plant-based ingredients as argan oil, avocado oil, coconut water, aloe vera, white tea extract and cocoa butter. King C. Gillette also features the brand’s signature scent, which contains notes of cardamom, ginger, lavender and bourbon oil, as well as base notes of patchouli and sandalwood. King C. Gillette can be found at Walgreens locations nationwide in prices that range from $5.99 to $29.99.


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Friska Debuts with Focus on Gut Health A new health-and-wellness brand is looking to go big on gut health. Friska has launched with 10 dietary supplements, each of which is anchored by the brand’s own blend of digestive enzymes and a clinically proven probiotic. Founded by former Target merchandising executive John Peine, Friska is focused on highlighting the importance of digestive enzymes, which break down food, eliminate toxins and build muscle, as well as facilitate the conversion of carbs into energy, among other functions. “Friska was inspired by my personal desire to help others improve their health,” Peine said. “After experiencing my own health scare, I began researching enzymes and probiotic spores as a way to improve gut health. Having spent over a decade in the retail industry, I knew that the solution had to be easy and the product has to work.” The company also worked with gastroenterologist Gregory Bernstein to help develop the products. “Now, more than ever, we are increasingly aware of the essential role of a healthy gut,” Bernstein said. “Digestive health is key not only in feeling good, but also to help prevent the development of various infections by boosting your body’s natural immunity. Additionally, a healthy gut helps prevent and manage a variety of medical conditions, ranging from diabetes to depression and so much more.” The full line of products includes: • Immunity Boost, meant to help break down food and support the body’s immune system; • Mood Boost, designed to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats, while boosting mood, memory and sleep; • Energy Boost, meant to help break down and digest carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It also contains Purcaf organic caffeine from organic green coffee beans to promote good gut bacteria and digestive movement, while stimulating memory and concentration; • Nightly Reboot, which is meant to facilitate food breakdown and promote healthy digestion, alongside melatonin and chamomile to encourage rest and relaxation; • Dairy Ease, designed to help break down hard-to-digest sugars and proteins found in dairy; • Carb Ease, meant to help break down complex carbohydrates; • Keto Boost, meant to help break down and process food, while boosting the body’s natural immune function. It also contains such anti-inflammatories as aloe vera and amla extract to help soothe symptoms associated with a ketogenic diet like heartburn and constipation; • Gluten Ease, designed to help break down hard-to-digest proteins and carbs in glutencontaining foods. It contains marshmallow root, ginger root and fennel seed powder to help with gluten sensitivity symptoms; • Women’s Daily, which features cranberry extract, biotin and vitamin D; and • Men’s Daily, which includes lactase to help break down the sugar found in dairy products, as well as vitamins B6 and B12. The brand’s products, which retail for $29.99, have launched at CVS Pharmacy and Whole Foods, as well as on the CVS website and on Amazon.



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Jack Daniel’s Launches Spirit-Based Can Cocktails There’s a new way to enjoy Jack Daniel’s. Just in time for the warmer weather, the Lynchburg, Tenn.-based company is rolling out a canned cocktail series featuring its signature whiskey. The line consists of three varieties — Jack and Seltzer; Jack and Cola, and Jack; Honey and Lemonade — each of which is made with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. “We are always listening to our friends, and these new canned cocktails will be a convenient and refreshing way for them to enjoy our Tennessee Whiskey with a selection of wonderful flavors,” said Lisa Hunter, Jack Daniel’s flavors brand director. “Each drink is perfectly balanced to highlight the flavors of our charcoal-mellowed whiskey in a drinkable and convenient format. This is real Jack and it’s ready to go.” Available in select markets, Jack Daniel’s Can Cocktails come in a pack of four 12-oz. cans that retail for $12.99, and single cans retail for $3.99.



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Skittles Pride Packs Celebrate the LGBTQ+ Community in June Skittles’ signature rainbow will be missing from its packaging this month — but for a good cause. The candy brand is taking on a #OneRainbow matters initiative to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community during June, which is Pride Month. Limited-edition Skittles Pride Packs will feature a colorless design and colorless candies inside. Although the Skittles will be colorless, the packs will still contain the brand’s signature five flavors — strawberry, orange, grape, lemon and green apple. In addition, Skittles is partnering with GLAAD. For each pack purchased during the month of June, $1 per pack will be donated to GLAAD, the company said. “This Pride Month, Skittles is removing its rainbow, but replacing it with much-needed conversations about the LGBTQ+ community and a visible stand of solidarity,” said GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “The funding that GLAAD receives from the Skittles Pride Packs will support our news and campaigns program, which tells culturechanging stories of LGBTQ+ people and issues across the media year-round. This year, when many LGBTQ+ people will be unable to gather at large Pride events, it’s so important that brands, notables and other allies find authentic and creative ways to show that they stand with our community.” Consumers can find the limited-edition packs in a share size that will retail for $1.79 and in medium stand-up pouches for $2.59 at CVS Pharmacy and select Walmart stores. “While Pride Month certainly looks different this year, Skittles is passionate about showing its support for the LGBTQ+ community,” Hank Izzo, vice president of marketing at Mars Wrigley U.S., said. “We believe that giving up our rainbow means so much more than just removing the colors from our Skittles packs, and we’re excited to do our part in making a difference for the LGBTQ+ community through our partnership with GLAAD, not only in June, but all year long.”


Benesprays’ Supplements Aim for Quick Absorption Benesprays is offering itSprays, three versions of what company officials said is a fast-acting oral care supplemental solution that are more effective than other brands on the market. The Largo, Fla.-based company offers the Boost It for immune support, Charge It for sustained energy and mental focus, and Dream It for better sleep and anxiety relief. The products have a suggested retail price of $19.99 each. According to company founder Kimberly Stiele, the products are nine times more effective than other brands because they are not digested, but sprayed under the tongue for direct delivery into the blood stream. She also said that they are gluten-free, vegan friendly, sugar-free and non-GMO. “There is no junk in our products,” Stiele said, noting that about 40% of consumers are unable or uncomfortable using pills. “We offer consumers a convenient, portable solution to their needs that are also more effective than anything else on the market. And by eliminating fillers and binders, we are able to give them a product that does what it says it is going to do.”

Lupin Receives FDA Blessing for Generic Vivlodex Patients with osteoarthritis pain will soon have a new generic drug. The Food and Drug Administration has given Lupin the green light for meloxicam capsules in dosage strengths of 5 mg and 10 mg. The product, which is the generic of Zyla Life Sciences’ Vivlodex capsules 5 mg and 10 mg, will be manufactured at Lupin’s Aurangabad facility in India. Lupin said that it expects to launch the product shortly. Meloxicam had a market value of approximately $14 million, according to IQVIA data from March.


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Decisions, Decisions How COVID-19 has impacted the shopper’s in-store journey and shopping preference By Seth Mendelson


o the surprise of very few, nearly half of consumers surveyed by the Path to Purchase Institute in late April said that they have changed the way they obtain their prescription medications as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the online survey of 1,001 primary household shoppers across the country, conducted by EnsembleIQ from April 27 to 29, about 41% of shoppers said they are doing such things as limiting their visits to the in-store pharmacy and opting for home delivery. EnsembleIQ is the Chicago-based parent company of Drug Store News and a number of our business-to-business brands. This story is a sample of the data available in the full report, which can be found at DrugStoreNews.com/PandemicResearch. Those factors are having a severe impact on overall drug store traffic and, according to many industry officials, are playing a leading role in a decline in non-pharmacy sales at drug stores across the country during the pandemic. In fact, a number of drug store operators said

that after an initial jump in sales in late March, during the early days of the pandemic, non-pharmacy sales declined dramatically during April and into May. The survey also found that grocery stores and mass retailers were the most popular places for consumers to shop during the pandemic. About 71% said they shopped grocery stores and 60% said they shopped at mass retailers. Interestingly, online retailing surpassed both drug stores and dollar stores as a choice for some consumers. About 44% of shoppers surveyed said they shopped through online retailers, while just 41% said they used drug stores and 40% used dollar stores. That’s the bad news for the traditional drug store industry from the study. The good news is that the survey found that nearly 46% of respondents said they will return to the preferred store post-pandemic, though 34% said they will continue at their new store. The ability to consult with a pharmacist, as well as visiting in-store clinics for a vaccine, wellness visit or treatment, also played big roles in why consumers


Dairy (milk, eggs)


Salty snacks (chips, nuts, pretzels, popcorn)


Paper products (toilet paper, paper towel) Personal care products (shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste)

65% 62%

Personal and household sanitizing products


Vitamins/supplements Prescription medication


Over-the-counter medication Disposable masks Disposable gloves


37% 29% 29%

In addition to food and cleaning supplies, items at the top of shoppers’ lists in the past month included personal care, vitamins, safety gear and medication (both prescription and over-the-counter).


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Prior to COVID-19, half of consumers indicated having OTC medication on hand to be taken regularly by themselves or someone in their household, and 29% cited keeping it on hand for occasional use. As a result of the pandemic, roughly 1-in-5 have stocked up on OTC medication and the same amount will continue to do so after the pandemic.

56% 22% 19% 15%

always keep certain OTC medication on hand will continue to stock up on OTC medication after the pandemic have stocked up on OTC medication as a result of the pandemic are buying additional types of OTC medication that differ from what they typically keep on hand

Cleaning supplies, children’s healthcare, first aid and food/ drink top the list of items shoppers said they are buying MORE of during the pandemic.


Grocery store (Kroger, Publix, Safeway, etc.)


Mass/supercenter (Target, Walmart, etc.) Online retailer that primarily sells online (Amazon, Jet, Wayfair, etc.)

44% 41%

Drug store (Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, etc.)


Dollar store (Dollar General, Dollar Tree, etc.) Wholesale club (Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, etc.) Convenience store (7-Eleven, Circle K, QuikTrip, etc.)

30% 29%


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DECISION IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 Prior to the pandemic, 60% of those with prescription needs picked up prescriptions in-store at the pharmacy. While many continue to visit stores to fill prescriptions, 41% have changed their method of filling prescriptions, resulting in a decrease to in-store visits.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic‌

of shoppers have changed how they get their prescriptions.


continued to visit their favorite drug store. The study also found a number of other changes in consumer shopping behavior. Shoppers paid a great deal more attention to several key categories, including basic foods, snacks and, of course, such paper products as toilet paper and towels. Yet vitamins, supplements, prescription medications, OTC products, and disposable masks and gloves also were high on their shopping list. The survey also found that consumers are still spending a lot of money on the overall OTC segment. More than two-thirds of those surveyed said they purchased a pain relief or pain management product in the last month, while nearly half bought an allergy medication product — nearly on par with what they have done in previous years during the spring season. Interestingly, about 44% purchased cold/flu products, a bit higher than would be expected in previous years but not surprising during the COVID-19 pandemic. While finding OTC products on shelves was not difficult for most consumers, nearly 30% of respondents said they had trouble finding the specific items they wanted. Of those who could not find the product they wanted, nearly 40% went to another store to search for the specific brand, while another 26% said they would replace it with a similar product, and another 10% would forgo the purchase entirely. The survey found that about two-thirds of consumers said they or someone in their household takes prescription medications regularly. Of these shoppers, about 60% said they still pick up the prescriptions at the pharmacy, with about half of these consumers

26% 25% 25% 16% 16%

order online for home delivery mail-order delivery pick up at pharmacy drive -thru pick up in-store at pharmacy someone else picks it up in the store for me








pick up in-store at the pharmacy

pick up at pharmacy drive-thru

order online for home delivery

receive mail-order delivery

have someone else picks it up in the store for them


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DECISION IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 using a pharmacy drive thru. Another 22% said they order online for home delivery, 21% utilize mail order delivery, and 13% ask someone else to pick the script up for them. Not surprisingly, consumers were eager to purchase more cleaning supplies, children’s healthcare, first aid, food and drink, and, of course, paper products during the pandemic, and many noted that they will continue to purchase these products even after the crisis subsides. Finally, consumers were paying very close attention to how the staff at a retail store was dealing with the pandemic. More than 70% of respondents said they expect employees to wear face masks, sanitize carts between use, and keep the checkout sanitized in between customers. In these regards, drug stores fared the best among retail outlets in terms of consumer expectations with safety and health issues. dsn


Cleaning supplies


Paper products






Disposable masks


Disposable gloves


Personal care products

OTC ITEMS PURCHASED IN LAST MONTH As might be expected, pain relief and management top the list of OTC items purchased in the last month, followed by allergy medication and cough-cold and flu.


Pain relief and management


Allergy medication


Cough-cold and flu


Feminine care products


Antacids/digestive health


Sleep aids


First aid Ear, nose and throat care


Eye care

20% 17%

Children’s health care Health monitoring devices Foot care


16% 14%

Homeopathic remedies


Smoking cessation



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Safety expectations ranked Ranked No. 1

Ranked in Top Two

34% 29% 26% 8% 3% Drug Mass/ Warehouse Dollar

54% 55% 62% 22% 7% Drug Mass/ Warehouse Dollar

More than half of shoppers indicate that they typically use in-store pharmacy services at a drug store or other store with a pharmacy, however there are concerns about future use of in-store services, particularly to follow stay-at-home orders and minimize exposure. Many respondents indicated that they will opt for home delivery or drive-thru, further reducing in store visits.




Grocery store





Grocery store




Consult with a pharmacist Receive a vaccine (such as flu, MMR, Tdap vaccines) Visit in-store clinic for a well visit (physical or other health screening) Visit in-store clinic for treatment of an ailment or illness

24% 20% 16%



11% 13%









45% 28%

Shop in-store at drug store


Shop in=store at mass/ supercenter

Typically purchased OTC here before pandemic

Purchasing OTC medication here as a result of the pandemic (did not previously)





Continuing to purchase OTC medication here during pandemic (previously purchased here)

Do not purchase OTC medication here

Shop in-store at grocery store

Shop in-store at warehouse club

Shop an onlineonly retailer


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The Evolution of Personal Health Care How CHPA is keeping up with a changing industry By Scott Melville

S Scott Melville, president and CEO, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association

ince 1881, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association has represented responsible manufacturers of personal healthcare products. With a long heritage in OTC drugs, CHPA has evolved over the years, including expanding into dietary supplements in 1999. In 2020, CHPA will continue its evolution by adding consumer medical devices to its scope. This evolution will position CHPA as the only trade association representing companies that view self-care broadly, and that seek to provide consumers with a growing mix of personal healthcare options irrespective of regulatory distinctions. Whether helping regulators interpret cutting-edge science, partnering with lawmakers to craft sensible self-care policy, or educating consumers to safely choose and use personal healthcare products, CHPA is driven by a single goal: helping people pursue happier, healthier lives through responsible self-care. That’s why CHPA is continuing to evolve as we begin a new decade. We’re not only updating our scope of work, but we are also introducing a new brand identity, a new logo and new tagline — CHPA: “Taking healthcare personally.” How CHPA is Evolving More than ever, today’s healthcare consumers are relying on a combination of OTC medicines, dietary supplements and consumer medical devices to get well and stay well. They don’t care about the regulatory distinctions. They just want safe, accessible and affordable products they can trust. CHPA is therefore evolving to meet their needs and those of our member companies, who view self-care more broadly than they have historically. We’re strengthening CHPA’s capabilities in each of these evolving self-care categories by dedicating staff, offering programming and putting structures in place to ensure CHPA is viewed as the leading voice of personal health care in America. We’re developing an agenda that will protect and promote self-care in the world’s largest market, and we’re going to be very aggressive about moving it forward.


Why “now more than ever?” Today’s consumers are empowered — and incented — to seek solutions that keep them well, while also saving time and money. They are motivated by a healthcare system that places more costs on them, so they’re proactively taking ownership of their health. This is how health care is evolving in America, and CHPA is uniquely positioned to represent companies that want to help shape that future. CHPA’s New Branding CHPA’s new logo, a modern, vibrant and sharp wordmark, illustrates the association’s futureoriented outlook, as well as the energy and enthusiasm in the self-care industry. Additionally, CHPA’s new tagline communicates the growing importance of integrated self-care and the industry’s commitment to empowering consumers with safe and effective self-care options that they can trust. How the Regulatory and Legislative Environment Affects Personal Health Care CHPA’s rebranding coincides with recent major legislative victories that will further promote responsible self-care. Included in the recent CARES Act was a crucial modernization of the OTC monograph system, the regulatory framework that oversees most OTC medicines. This new law will enhance safety and lead to a new generation of OTC innovation. This new law also includes a provision to help millions of healthcare consumers save money in the near term by reinstating their ability to purchase OTC medicines with tax-preferred savings accounts, including Flexible Spending Arrangements and Health Savings Accounts. The measure also extends FSA/HSA eligibility for the first time to menstrual care products. These changes were made retroactive to Jan. 1 to provide immediate financial relief to selfcare consumers. CHPA also is working hard to shape the future of dietary supplements and consumer medical devices by seeking to enhance their quality and safety in both categories, while reducing compliance costs and promoting innovation. dsn


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Meet in the Middle How middle retail can reboot in the pandemic age By Dean DeBiase


o survive, they must address pandemic behaviors like trip consolidation and digital personalization. Knowing which shifts are temporary and which are more long-term will be dictated by fatigued consumers emerging from lockdown — and the retailers who can nimbly lead the way.

Dean DeBiase, chairman, Revieve

Trip Consolidation Influenced by distancing fears and limited “essential” locations, consumers abandoned casual shopping for consolidated trips, stocking up on food and other essentials at Target and Walmart. With shoppers now able to return Amazon goods at Kohl’s and get Kroger pickup at Walgreens, the old customer journey is dead. How do you get the customer to deconsolidate and return to casual shopping? Middle retailers can make shopping about the consumer, not just the products being sold. Shoppers can find low prices anywhere, so offering them more of what they want is better. Some are looking to build emotional connections, while others will want a feeling of safety. This means going beyond the utility-like feel being offered by mass market brands and offering a more local experience, or adding to the product mix to meet the post-pandemic hybrid shopping behaviors and newly discovered brands. Depending on location, some will be attracted to programs that fit their new habits like touchless checkouts, call-ahead or curbside pickup. Investing in a more attractive mix of offers or exceptional services can win customers back, and tee up opportunities for front-line employees to rebuild relationships from the ground up. Digital Acceleration Online shopping has jumped 49% since the beginning of March and has rippled across multiple customer segments, including baby boomers. With print fading in the touchless store plan, there is a need to develop more elegant digital touchpoints with customers. When compared with smaller retailers, the middle can use their larger size to scale experiences,


while also coming up with unique encounters that consumers often don’t get — like personalized loyalty — from the largest mass market providers. It’s also critical for brick-and-mortar retailers occupying the middle ground to target consumers agnostically flowing through in-store or online shopping experiences, understanding that online does not mean always on their website. Making it a convenient and unique encounter online is important, but also linking it back to the local community is a powerful benefit to leverage, and one that is core to middle retail. Personalization Experiences With the acceleration of online, demand for more personalized shopping has also increased. In health and beauty, there is a drive toward personalization that is being aided by digital diagnostic tools. According to the Revieve Health and Beauty Index, personalized skin care diagnostics and recommendation usage is up over 200% globally in 2020. These engagement tools will continue to create new service channels in store and online, from educational tools and product recommendations to sampling and purchasing. However, in-store technology will see a significant shift, with retailers investing in the bring-your-own-device trend across all departments and functions to satisfy the nextgen digital consumer. Leverage Your Strengths Mid-market retail should use its size and speed to its advantage and carve out unique spaces in the market that will be emerging from the crisis. Consumers who have lost their jobs or are looking to save money will not be spending as much on luxury products, leading to an opportunity for middle retailers to offer products that are a step up from value products. For middle retailers to thrive, they must pick specific segments and offer a more personalized product mix, alongside supporting offers. There is a lot on the to-do list; start with a customer reentry strategy that addresses trip consolidation, digital acceleration and personalization experiences. dsn


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6/5/20 9:28 PM


Overseeing Safety How Dr. Reddy’s pharmacovigilance efforts ensure safe products


oram Vaishnav is director of the North American pharmacovigilance and risk management team at Dr. Reddy’s. She is responsible for the oversight of collection, monitoring, assessment and reporting of adverse events, as well as risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS, programs for North America generics business. She discussed Dr. Reddy’s current efforts with Drug Store News. Drug Store News: Can you explain the term “pharmacovigilance” and what it entails? Foram Vaishnav: Per the World Health Organization, pharmacovigilance is defined as “the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects or any other drug-related problem.” Pharmacovigilance, or in lay terms “Drug Safety,” activities involve monitoring approved drugs and investigational medicinal products under clinical trials to: • Identify adverse effects that were previously unknown; • Recognize changes in the frequency or severity of known adverse effects; • Assess a drug’s risk/benefit to determine if action is required to improve safety; and • Ensure the accuracy of information communicated to healthcare professionals and patients, as well as to ensure up-to-date information is captured and readily available via prescribing information. The development of a safety profile and its continuous monitoring is the core purpose of pharmacovigilance. Essentially every drug has therapeutic benefits to cure certain diseases and inherently may cause side effects, which occur during administration or use of the drug. This benefit to risk ratio of a drug constitutes the safety profile. The serious side effects reported during

safety and therapeutic benefits of a drug. The aim of pharmacovigilance monitoring during the clinical trials is to demonstrate that the therapeutic benefits outweigh the risk — severe side effects — and, if proven, the respective data is submitted to a regulatory agency (i.e., the FDA) to gain approval to commercialize the drug. It is primarily due to the work of pharmacovigilance activities that the drugs in the market that we consume are documented to be mostly safe and those that are found harmful are recalled from the market.

Foram Vaishnav, director of the North American pharmacovigilance and risk management team, Dr. Reddy’s

clinical trials of drugs help establish a baseline safety profile, which helps regulatory agencies to approve or deny marketing authorization. However, due to limited patient exposure in clinical trials, not all rare or severe side effects may have been documented from clinical trials in the prescribing information. Exposure to wider patient population may also demonstrate certain drug-drug interactions, severity of known side effects and dangers of drug misuse/abuse. These instances warrant ongoing monitoring of drug safety even after drug approval and updating the safety profile. DSN: Why is pharmacovigilance such an important piece of the entire prescription drug regulatory process? FV: Pharmacovigilance activities start with clinical trials to provide information on the

DSN: When it comes to keeping track of side effects, does it have an impact if a drug is marketed to a smaller or larger patient population? FV: The patient population size is not relevant. As long as the drug is marketed in that country, the marketing authorization holder has to have systems in place to collect, monitor and report adverse reactions. Generic manufacturers like Dr. Reddy’s are required to conduct clinical trials to demonstrate bioequivalence to brandname products. Per the FDA requirements, in order to receive FDA approval, generic drugs must: • Contain the same active ingredient; • Be the same strength; • Be the same dosage form (tablet, capsule, etc.); and • Have the same route of administration (oral, topical, injectable, etc.) as the brand-name drug. Drug Store News: How long does it usually take to develop a safety profile on a drug? FV: The development of a safety profile is an ongoing safety surveillance for drugs, and it can sometimes take years of patient exposure data to identify rare and potentially hazardous side effects. The safety profile can also be updated as part of continuous monitoring. dsn


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6/9/20 12:17 PM


Managing Categories Smarter How technology can drive a new age of category management By Jerry Stephens

W Jerry Stephens, head of global consumer, Outlier AI

hen it comes to category management, an important part of understanding which brands are popular with consumers at any given time is the ability to gather and analyze data — not always an easy feat given all the barriers to effective data aggregation and analysis. The good news is that advanced analytics, automation and AI are providing a new way to collect, analyze and leverage data, proving that there’s so much more retailers can do with modern technology. In addition, deploying technology that’s more collaborative, internally and externally, can improve the effectiveness of a category management approach and the efficacy of the output. The key is knowing what technology to use, and how to apply it. Why an Integrated Approach? Even today, data silos are common within retail and CPG organizations because category management plans were developed within functional categories and not linked to other areas of the business. Yet today, advanced analysis tools can drive integration across disparate data sets and maximize the value of data, offering insights that are holistic and actionable. The new approach to category management will rely on automation, AI and machine learning to uncover otherwise unseen relationships. This can fuel dynamic and robust insights, enabling smarter and faster decision-making. For example, we can now use AI to drive deeper into customer purchase data across both in-store and online channels. By combining this data with insights from retailers, CPG companies and market research, category management teams can develop more compelling consumer-centric plans. Also, the potential to integrate structured and unstructured data provides insights into relationships never identified before, such as gaps in strategy or trends that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.


A Collaborative Environment Fosters Growth With ever-changing customer expectations, the dependency between retailers and CPG suppliers is more crucial than ever. Operational speed, agility and personalization are now shared expectations. And both need ready access to shared insights in order to optimize the customer journey, improve loyalty and increase conversions. Insights must be gleaned throughout the entire journey, from predicting customer behavior, all the way through examining the consumer experience post-purchase. And, true collaboration — which can be a competitive advantage — can only be achieved when the whole picture comes together. To support this, retailers and CPG companies are adopting automated business analysis, or ABA, systems, which use a combination of automation, AI and machine learning. An ABA solution offers daily guidance on unexpected changes in data and behaviors. It pulls from hundreds of data sources and provides recommendations on how to optimize category management programs, marketing, inventory, staffing, pricing, support and more based on unexpected data or behavior changes. ABA also enables root cause analysis so teams can address the underlying cause of change, not the symptoms. For example, a large drop in conversations of a product category may not be an indicator of changing customer preference. It may simply be tied to the end of a marketing promotion, or it could indicate an out of stock. By understanding details, teams can determine true performance metrics. When developing complex category management plans, retailers and CPG suppliers should remember to place the consumer at the center of the program. Yet now, with the ability to leverage richer, more integrated data and insights, uncovered through the application of such technologies as ABA, they can ensure a 360-degree view of behavior and create an environment where leaders are making smarter, more informed decisions for category management. dsn


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Delivering Accurate Data How Elsevier equips pharmacies with up-to-date and accurate data to help them succeed


lsevier is helping its customers make informed decisions through a variety of resources. DSN spoke to Trygve Anderson, Elsevier vice president of commercial pharmacy, to discuss how the company can help retail pharmacies. Drug Store News: Tell us about Elsevier and what your company does. Trygve Anderson: Elsevier is a global analytics business leading the way in advancing science, technology and health. We help our customers make better decisions, deliver better care, and combine content with technology, supported by operational efficiency, to turn information into actionable knowledge. Our objective is to help customers advance science and improve health care by providing world-class content, analytics and decision tools that enable them to make critical decisions, enhance productivity and improve outcomes. Our drug information products include: • Clinical Pharmacology powered by ClinicalKey, a source for current, accurate, clinically relevant drug information; • Gold Standard Drug Database, which enablesS intelligent drug data decisions; • Gold Standard Drug Database (Pricing), an integrated data deliverable to support and address business intelligence needs; • ProspectoRx, which offers real-time pricing analysis and query builder to facilitate ad hoc pricing analysis; and • Predictive Acquisition Cost, which provides a data science-based acquisition cost to augment business analytics capabilities. DSN: How do you interact with retailers and help them with sales and profits? TA: We empower retail pharmacy and other stakeholders by delivering the fastest and most accurate drug information content in the industry to support medication and drug data decision-making. Our solutions help improve operational, IT and financial performance.


on the resource center before they have been published in the journals. To learn more, listen to our podcast, Drug Information of the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, at: elsevier.com/di-podcast-dsn.

Trygve Anderson, vice president of commercial pharmacy, Elsevier

DSN: How is Covid-19 impacting your team and how is the company reacting? TA: Elsevier understands that everyone in the healthcare industry is addressing the COVID-19 situation both professionally and personally, and our hearts and thoughts go out to everyone affected by the virus and those working on the front line. Our dedicated staff is proving itself resilient and innovative in keeping information on the pandemic current, accurate and available. We continue to look for additional ways we can support clinicians during this extraordinarily difficult time. Elsevier created and launched the Novel Coronavirus Information Center. This site, which is a public repository of relevant Elsevier and non-Elsevier content for clinicians and other stakeholders, has been made available in an open-access format. The site includes more than 20,000 articles and many prominent journal articles available

DSN: Can you tell us more about the importance of drug data evaluation? How does that help retailers? TA: Retail pharmacies depend on drug data to maximize efficiency, while ensuring a seamless data transmission to optimize speed and accuracy simultaneously,and to strengthen decisionmaking capabilities. While it’s common to assume all drug databases are alike, evaluating the impact of your drug data can yield significant business value. In order for retail pharmacy and other stakeholders to maximize the utility of their drug data, they need to challenge the assumption that their current data is as accurate and as timely as it should be. Stakeholders are utilizing benchmarking practices, such as adding a second database to establish an objective baseline state. By analyzing data at the point of reception, retailers are in a much better position to evaluate accuracy — allowing them to assess the downstream impacts on IT and business operations. From there, management can deliver significant business value by adjusting operations accordingly. Our customers understand the importance of anchoring operations around the most current data in the market and leveraging adaptive technology to avoid the burden of manual updates, delays in receiving data, and accuracy issues. Through True Daily Updates, Elsevier delivers drug information when it is needed. Every day, including weekends and holidays, Elsevier updates its drug information — clinical and patient safety data, drug pricing, and images — encompassing all content. True Daily Updates reflect the work we do, every day of the year, to supply the most current and accurate drug information available. dsn


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Yield business value by evaluating your drug data.

Maximize the utility of your drug data In order to maximize the utility of your drug data you need to challenge the assumption that your current data is as accurate and timely as it should be. Utilizing benchmarking techniques to establish a baseline state provides the opportunity to assess downstream impacts on IT and business operations — delivering signiďŹ cant business value by adjusting operations accordingly.

Elsevier – The Drug Price Leader elsevier.com/drug-information

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6/5/20 10:00 PM


In the Xlear With upper respiratory health more important than ever, Xlear thinks it can help


hat do chewing gum and ear infections have in common? You might think nothing, but 20 years ago, Xlear’s founder, Alonso Jones, looked at studies showing lower rates of ear infections among children using xylitol chewing gum and saw potential, especially given xylitol’s ability to reduce bacterial adhesion of common pathogens that cause upper respiratory infections. Now, company president Nathan Jones, Alonso’s son, told Drug Store News Xlear and education are vital to helping consumers get through the coronavirus pandemic and maintain upper respiratory health. Drug Store News: How can your products help during this crisis? Nathan Jones: This COVID-19 crisis is a respiratory crisis. Almost by definition that means that the problems are in the airway. Multiple papers have been published [that] point out that 90% of the viral load of this virus resides in the upper airway. If that is true then it is of extreme importance to make sure that we are doing everything we can to hydrate our upper airway, to do what we can to help it naturally and efficiently clean the air that we are breathing. Our mucus is a very important part of our natural defenses. It traps viruses, bacteria, allergens, and washes them away. If we use antihistamines, decongestants and steroids to dry up the mucus without anything to help keep that mucosal layer intact, then we are hobbling our defenses. Our mucus will become dry and cracked, and it exposes all the underlying tissue to the bacteria and viruses that we are breathing in. Traditional nasal sprays are all designed to dry out the airway. Xlear with xylitol is unique in that our goal is to thin out the mucus so that the body can more efficiently clean it away after it has trapped the pathogens.


have a dry airway. While there is a lot of talk about the importance of dry mouth products that can hydrate the mouth, it is just as important or more important that they also talk about hydrating the airway.

Nathan Jones, president, Xlear

“Traditional nasal sprays are all designed to dry out the airway. Xlear with xylitol is unique in that our goal is to thin out the mucus so that the body can more efficiently clean it away after it has trapped pathogens.” DSN: What do you recommend retailers do to educate consumers about these products? NJ: Retailers should be pointing out to their customers that the purpose of the nose is to clean the air. If they are ever uncomfortable because of dryness, then they should be using something to moisturize their airway. If a person is taking drugs that cause dry mouth, chances are very high that they will also

DSN: What is Xlear doing to help educate both retailers and consumers? NJ: Our company philosophy is to do what we can to reduce the amount of drugs that are used and, at the same time, to provide solutions that are more effective and cheaper. Health care shouldn’t be expensive. So, what we have been doing for the past 20 years is getting out there trying to get physicians onboard with why xylitol is a much better option than saline. Using a hydrating ingredient at the same time as a decongestant or antihistamine, while it might sound counterproductive, is the best option for the customer. Any chronic airway issues that the customer might be having would be benefited with a xylitol nasal spray also. DSN: Tell us about some of your new products. NJ: Our new products that are now on the market and the ones that we are hoping to get out during the next 18 months are OTC nasal sprays that combine the use of decongestants, antihistamines and steroids with the xylitol. Many people have specific drugs that work best for them. We want to provide those needed drugs and provide them with the added benefits of xylitol. We want people that are using oxymetazoline and are happy with the results they get with it to start using the Xlear brand, which will not only give them the benefits of the oxymetazoline, but also the hydrating and cleaning effect of the xylitol. The Xlear 12 Hour product is our first combination of an OTC and xylitol, and we are looking at getting a few more options out within the next 18 months. dsn


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Keeping Companies Connected ECRM’s virtual sessions keep retailers and suppliers in touch


he COVID-19 pandemic has upset many business models, none more so than ECRM, which has run successful face-to-face meetings between retailers and suppliers for decades. Now, the Cleveland-based company is changing its methods to keep the industry in touch with each other. Drug Store News sat down with ECRM CEO Greg Farrar to discuss the steps the company is taking during these trying times. Drug Store News: With so many events postponed or cancelled, it must be extremely difficult for ECRM at this point. What is the company doing to ensure that retailers and suppliers stay in touch during this pandemic? Greg Farrar: Helping retailers and suppliers not only stay in touch, but purposefully interact and conduct commerce, is the core business of ECRM. We see ourselves as a business process solutions provider — a consultative partner to our retailer and supplier clients. This higher level of engagement allowed us to quickly adapt to changes in the marketplace brought on by this pandemic. It was this customer-centric approach that propelled us to expand our offering to include a state-of-the-art digital component, satisfying the needs of the buyers and suppliers as trade events, travel and face-to-face meetings could no longer occur. We quickly enhanced our category programs to include Efficient Supplier Introductions and, most recently, Virtual Sessions — all in an effort to continue serving our clients’ needs. DSN: Tell us more about these digital programs and how they work. GF: Efficient Supplier Introductions are category-specific, one-to-many virtual meetings in which suppliers can make a 10-minute presentation to a panel of up to 25 buyers. These launched in early April and, within a twoweek span, we had more than 1,000 buyers


experience that includes all the functionality you would expect from a virtual meeting platform. Plus, additional features specific to our clients’ needs, combined with our high-touch client success team that works closely with our buyers and suppliers to curate a schedule of relevant appointments by matching buyer needs and objectives with suppliers’ products and capabilities. DSN: So how do clients get best prepared for these sessions? GF: The key is working as closely as possible with their dedicated client success manager. They are the front lines in ensuring that everyone is fully prepared beforehand and are on hand for anything they may need during the meetings, and ensure an optimal experience for our buyers and sellers that will help drive growth. Greg Farrar, CEO, ECRM

“We see ourselves as a business process solutions provider — a consultative partner to our retailer and supplier clients.” register across the 80 events, with enormously enthusiastic feedback from all involved. Based on client feedback, it was clear that buyers and suppliers also wanted the opportunity to meet one-on-one as they do at our in-person sessions, so we expanded our technology to accommodate virtual face-to-face meetings. Our clients should expect a very similar experience, with the most notable change being the venue, which will now be on a custom virtual platform instead of in a hotel. We took great pride in creating a very robust user

DSN: How can ECRM help them make sure that they are ready to go? GF: Practice makes perfect. Our client success team works directly with each buyer and supplier participant to review the technology in advance of the sessions, including test runs of the platform on their computers. They also provide resources and guidance around delivering successful virtual presentations. DSN: When the crisis subsides, what will be your plans in terms of rolling out your traditional programs? GF: The pandemic has without a doubt brought virtual meetings into the mainstream, and the expectations around them means that the demand for virtual is not going to disappear once the pandemic does. Moving forward, they will remain an integral part of our offerings. By extending our services to include virtual meetings, along with the in-person meetings and RangeMe, we’re now able to serve our customers whenever, wherever and however will best fulfill their needs. dsn


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Programs Where Discovery and Buying Takes Place Access the right people at the right time to move business forward

Contact Rachel May�ield to learn how you can take advantage of virtual and in-person opportunities at rmay�ield@ecrm.marketgate.com

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6/5/20 10:00 PM


Columbia Basin Hemp Adds CBD Isolate Line Quincy, Wash.-based Columbia Basin Hemp has begun producing a pure and premium 99%-plus CBD isolate through its central Washington facility. The vertically integrated company processes and extracts the isolate near its farms in the Columbia Valley near the Cascade Mountains. The company is offering the CBD isolate to individuals, wholesalers and retailers in sizes that include 10 g, 25 g, 50 g, 100 g, 250 g, 500 g and 1 kg. “Through our advanced extraction and quality control process, our CBD isolate is rigorously inspected and checked on a regular basis,” the company said. “We include testing documents and certificates of analysis with all shipments.” Columbia Basin Hemp said the CBD isolate product is tested to ensure that it contains less than 0.3% THC to meet federal regulations. The company also said its facility can be used to provide hemp tolling services into various CBD products for other farmers or producers.

Wild By Nature Makes its Debut New clean CBD brand Wild By Nature is unveiling its debut collection of CBD products. The botanical-inspired brand, based in Orange County, Calif., offers a selection of CBD tinctures, as well as portable single CBD shots that are aimed at the convenience market. “We identified the CBD market as an opportunity to create a trusted brand, empowering consumers to feel free to explore quality CBD products that are thoughtfully produced and taste great,” said Jeremy Creighton, Wild By Nature’s co-founder and chief marketing officer. “Brands have the innate ability to help people discover the new and transform lives. This higher sense of responsibility is something that seemed to be missing within the CBD category and is something Wild is seeking to provide.” The products, which include single shots, 10-ml tincture bottles and 30-ml tincture bottles — all of which are formulated to a strength of 100 mg per ml — are available in six flavor ranges: • Serene in lavender, rose and hibiscus; • Inspire in wild lime and lemon; • Fresh in apple and mint; • Escape in mango and pineapple; • Chill in mint, menthol and spearmint; and • Balance in passion fruit and lime. The company said that its supply chain closely manages and controls the full lifecycle of the product, from seed to finished product. It conducts multistage testing and adheres to good manufacturing practices, manufacturing in an ISO-standard facility.



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Charlotte’s Web Provides Pet Adoption Kits During Pandemic

CarryOn Splashes into the CBD Market A new brand is coming to market with two varieties of sparkling CBD water and a focus on mental health. Denver-based CarryOn is debuting with its Elevate and Descend CBD-infused sparkling water. Grapefruit-flavored Elevate, designed to help keep consumers calm but sharp, contains 10 mg of CBD and choline to aid with focus. Blueberry-flavored Descend, meant to provide relaxation without impairment, includes L-theanine and 20 mg of CBD isolate. Both varieties, which contain 10 calories per 11.5-fl.-oz. can and vitamins C and E, are free of added sugar. “We believe mental well-being should be as second nature as physical fitness, and so we set out to create a CBD beverage that provides real functional benefits like focus and relaxation. We understood there was a gap in the market for a trustworthy CBD beverage that tastes good, and also helps calm the mind without unwanted side effects. So, we set out to solve that gap with the CarryOn brand,” said Josh Wiesman, co-developer of CarryOn brand. “No one should ever be made to feel bad or ostracized for prioritizing their mental wellness. Our brand is dedicated to support in a meaningful way.” The company is working with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation’s Angel Relief Fund, having donated funds to support hospitality workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The donation will support restaurant and food and beverage workers who have lost employment during the pandemic. CarryOn was developed by Ocean Spray Cranberries’ Lighthouse Incubator, which launched last year to help accelerate health- and wellness-focused innovation. The company has launched as a pilot test in Colorado. Currently, the products are sold at Applejack Wine and Spirits in Colorado. Individual cans carry a suggested retail price of $4.99.


Hemp extract company Charlotte’s Web is rewarding people who adopt a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic. With animal shelters reporting record high pet adoption rates, the company said it is providing adopters an $89 value “Welcome to the Family” gift box that includes such products with full-spectrum CBD as its chews, full-spectrum hemp extract drops, and canine hemp-infused balm. The company said that like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system that can play a role in helping their bodies maintain general balance and well-being. “We’re kind of a dog crazy and loving work culture here at Charlotte’s Web. It was natural for us to want to find a way to show our gratitude to those caring individuals who adopt or foster shelter dogs,” said Deanie Elsner, Charlotte’s Web CEO and president. “We launched our line of pet-friendly products last year and have seen through sales growth how much consumers care for their pets with a variety of health needs.” Charlotte’s Web’s full-spectrum pet line includes extract drops in 7- and 17-mg strengths with a pump dispenser. They retail for $29.99 and $59.99, respectively. The company’s chews come in three varieties — calming, senior and hip and joint — each of which is sold in 30-count bottles with a suggested retail price of $34.99. The hemp-infused balm, which is meant to be massaged into pets’ skin and paws, retails for $24.99. The giveaway kicks off with a donation to Last Chance Rescue, an organization focused on relocating animals from “kill” facilities to “no-kill” facilities and foster families until they are adopted. New owners can claim the “Welcome to the Family” pet adoption box on the Charlotte’s Web website.


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Phone: 888-824-3256 | www.cbprices.com www.hempbombs.com | www.naturesscript.com

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New and Noteworthy Five products that stood out in May



Dr. Scholl’s Hot & Cold Massage Ball



Stressballs De-Stress + Snooze Gummy

ven in the midst of a pandemic, 160 new products hit shelves in May, which meant that Hamacher Resource Group’s new product team was poring over the offerings to identify ones that stood out. From the 22 OTC products, 74 wellness products and 64 beauty products, the company highlighted five that have big potential for their manufacturers and the retailers that stock them. They were:

Centrum Fresh & Fruity 50+ Multivitamin Chewable Tablets

Pfizer is giving its Centrum Silver Hard Chew a makeover with new Centrum Fresh & Fruity 50+ Multivitamin Chewable Tablets. The mixed berry-flavored tablets, which also have a new formula and are sold in 60-count bottles, are flavored with natural flavors and sweetened with natural sweeteners. They also are non-GMO and gluten free.


Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment Pump



Galderma’s popular Differin Adapalene Gel is getting a new delivery system. The new pump system offers an easy delivery method for the leave-on topical treatment of 0.1% adapalene gel. Galderma said it expects the product to help drive growth in the acne space.

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The latest product from Dr. Scholl’s is designed to massage the plantar fascia area of the foot to increase circulation and improve pain recovery. The Dr. Scholl’s Hot & Cold Massage Ball features firm massage notes and is made of a conductive heating and cooling material for a lasting hot/cold feeling to help soothe sore and tired feet.

Procter & Gamble is bringing a new product to the stress management supplement space with its Stressballs De-Stress + Snooze gummies. The product is formulated with ashwagandha — which is known for its potential to help with stress — as well as melatonin, chamomile, lavender and valerian root. The product is designed to offer a natural solution for stress relief and sleep.

5 Voltaren Arthritis Pain

GSK Consumer Healthcare’s recent Rx-to-OTC switch marks the first nonprescription NSAID gel for arthritis pain to be sold over the counter. Using the full prescription strength of diclofenac, the product is designed to offer temporary relief for pain in the hand, elbow, foot, ankle, knee or wrist. dsn

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nowing how consumers in a certain category are shopping is crucial to merchandising in a way that will successfully drive bigger baskets and higher sales. Recognizing this, GMDC | Retail Tomorrow and Hamacher Resource Group created the Selfcare Roadmap, a tool that can identify opportunities and reveal how forward-looking practices can remake the shopping experience, while inspiring new merchandising and service models that


make an impact throughout the store. The tool, which only is available to GMDC | Retail Tomorrow members, demonstrates how to optimize shoppers’ health, beauty, personal care and wellness experiences, as well as how to drive new avenues for profitability by offering more than 140 insights and infographics that can be sorted by category of self-care occasion. This month, the companies have shared insights with Drug Store News about the asthma shopper. dsn




DOLLAR SALES OF BEAUTY ITEMS IN MARKET BASKET Fragrances <1% Multicultural Beauty Care <1%

Sun Care 6% Cosmetics 7%

Hair Accessories 1%

Deodorants 11%

Skin Care 37%

Shaving & Grooming 18%

Hair Care 20%

Key insight: The average beauty skin care SKU unit price is $5.83 compared to the average therapeutic skin unit price of $11.69. However, unit sales of beauty skin care products are double in volume.







Greeting Cards


Confections Gifts & Novelties


Household Products


Misc. General Merchandise All Other Categories


categories IN BASKET

Key insight: According to statistics cited by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, one school-aged child out of every 12 has asthma.


9% 32%

Key insight: Three of the top 10 confections items are boxed candy. Two of the top three household items are disinfecting sprays.


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A Growing Presence Quest Products is positioning itself as a leader in self-care through its big — and growing — brand portfolio BY SETH MENDELSON


fficials at Quest Products want to make it harder for consumers to go to the doctor — and easier to buy self-care products at their favorite retailer. They said shoppers can utilize the privately held Pleasant Prairie, Wis.-based company’s burgeoning number of products across eight different brands to avoid the hassle, not to mention, the expense of a doctor’s visit. Those products include Clinere Earwax Cleaners and ear care kits, OraCoat XyliMelts for dry mouth, Alocane Emergency Burn Gel and SunBurnt after-sun lotions. “We are very much a manufacturer of self-care products,” said Mark McGreevy, senior vice president of business development at Quest. “We believe the future of health care is self-care. We offer the consumer a wide range of products that will solve a need where they


would otherwise might have to go to a doctor for treatment.” “The result is a savings for the shopper, in both time and money and, of course, more sales for our retail partners. We think it is a win-win for everyone involved.” Quest is not alone in this thinking. Over the last few years, retailers from CVS Pharmacy to Walmart and even independent players have been setting up their own healthcare departments and services to offer consumers less-expensive alternatives to visits to the doctor’s office or even a hospital. The goal, many said, is to get more shoppers into the store looking for these high-margin services. Suppliers also are looking to cash in, with many seeking the right merchandise assortment that will solve a need for consumers and help retailers stand apart as leaders in the self-care movement.


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Quest is certainly at the forefront. The company produces about 40 SKUs across its entire portfolio, which also includes the brands Clinere, OraCoat, Alocane and SunBurnt, as well as AlcoHawks, CopperFixx and ProVent. The privately-held company has about 50 employees split between its headquarters and distribution center in Pleasant Prairie and a manufacturing facility in Seattle. “I think retailers should just look at our track record,” McGreevy said. “We are growing at a double-digit rate and we have brands that are extremely unique and protected by patents. And, the demand is there. We offer incremental products that will help them drive sales in these categories.” That is backed up by what McGreevy calls “cost-effective advertising,” where consumers can be engaged through digital and social campaigns, as well as sampling through medical sites that will help

drive consumers to retailers for purchases. For example, he said that Quest employees attend between eight and 10 dental trade shows a year to educate dentists about its dry mouth products. Educating the entire community is vital to the sustained growth of this category. “We are trying to educate consumers, retailers and even the medical community about what we offer and what that means to them,” he said. “We have a great team of people here who understand the challenges of the self-care category and how it should be merchandised at retail stores. We want to work with retailers to show them that this is a partnership with a mutually-advantageous opportunity for sales and growth for all parties.” What today is an emerging player in the over-the-counter selfcare market started in a very different way. Founded in 2001 by Don Ryan, who remains Quest’s founding owner and partner, the company initially was created to help inventors of health-oriented products bring their items to market at mass retailers. “The goal was to find unique products and help the inventor of these products with marketing, distribution and sales to get them to market,” said McGreevy, who joined Quest eight years ago after a long 20-plus year career at Reckitt Benckiser and Durex Consumer Products. “Most of the people we worked with were entrepreneurs who did not understand the consumer or the retailers they had to work with. We had the relationships with retailers and we know how to properly reach the consumer.” With that experience, over time Quest was able to build a portfolio of more than 300 different lines that needed the company’s help to expand its reach. “Eventually, we bought some products from these entrepreneurs and, at the same time, started to organically build our own brands,” McGreevy said. That all changed nearly three years ago when Quest teamed up with the Promus Equity Group, a Chicago-based private equity company. First, with the financial support of its partner, Quest leadership decided to forego its longtime distribution business model and immediately embarked on a strategy to build its own brands under the “Quest umbrella of products.” Then, the company started to look for acquisitions that would enhance the existing product line. OraCoat and SunBurnt were quickly acquired in 2019, and McGreevy said that further acquisitions, possibly including one “large one that I can’t talk about yet” in a month or two, are definitely in the company’s plans. “We have big plans here,” he said. “We want to communicate to the world that we are most definitely not a small company. We are a big player in the self-care category, and we plan to move at a steady pace of organic growth and about two acquisitions a year, as well as supporting our existing lines. “We think that with the current trends and the consumer’s desire for more self-care products and our strategy to grow our business, we can double or even triple our business in the next three to five years. It is a very exciting time to be part of this growing company.” dsn


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That’s probably the biggest challenge that food and drug retailers face as the country emerges from lockdown amid the COVID19 pandemic. Will there be a second wave of infections that forces the reimposition of stay-at-home orders? If so, when might that occur and how widespread might it be? Will there be a


vaccine or an effective treatment this year, or maybe next year? Retailers need to consider not only how their customers and employees might react to each of these scenarios, but they also need to form concrete plans for the immediate future as consumers begin venturing out of their homes more frequently. That leads to more questions and more questions after that. For example, will consumers’ elevated online shopping levels

persist as the lockdowns ease? And as they do begin to venture into stores more often, will they change their shopping preferences based on in-store safety measures, or perhaps based on economic pressures? “There remains a central issue around trust and safety, both for customers coming back into the stores and for the associates serving them,” said Neil Stern, senior partner at consulting firm McMillan Doolittle. “This is compounded by uneven and inconsistent


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* 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. † IRI panel data L52 weeks ending 3/22/20. ‡ Compared to original PreserVision AREDS 2 soft gel. ®/TM are trademarks of Bausch & Lomb Incorporated or its affiliates. © 2020 Bausch & Lomb Incorporated or its affiliates. PN09573 MTB.0162.USA.20

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COVER STORY messaging on a local and national level on what safety means.” Retailers will likely, at a minimum, need to demonstrate to their customers that they have implemented the basic precautions that have come to be expected, such as masks for all employees and rules inside the store to maintain social distancing. These could include one-way aisles, for example, and occupancy limits, both of which were widely deployed during the peak of the crisis this spring. “If there are gaps [in your safety precautions], you are going to devalue your brand,” said John Orr, senior vice president of retail at Ceridian, a human resources technology provider, in a recent webinar presented by consulting firm IHL Group. He said consumers will expect to see visual evidence that safety protocols are in place and are being carried out. “Before, cleaning and maintenance was a ‘no-no’ during peak business hours. You did it during off hours because you didn’t want people to see it,” Orr said. “Now, consumers are going to have to see more tangibles while they are there. For customers, visibility provides them with assurance, and that starts at the entrance and continues to the exit.” Stern agreed that high visibility around safety precautions will be important going forward. “The best approach is to have very clear and visible standards, both on the website and social media and within the stores,” he said. “What are the rules and policies around masks, social distancing, aisle flows, sanitation standards, etc.?” Such visible barriers as masks for staff and plastic dividers at checkouts and other service areas will be important, but retailers will also need to demonstrate more than ever that they are on top of sanitation practices. “The challenge is finding the balance between safety and ‘sales suppression,’ where retailers go overboard on compliance,” Stern said. At Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health, the retailer has several

TELEHEALTH GAINS ACCEPTANCE Telemedicine is one of the technologies to emerge during the pandemic, and many industry officials said it could have implications for pharmacies as consumers become more comfortable with it, according to some observers. “We moved forward five years in two months on this,” said Jim Whitman, senior vice president of member programs and service at NACDS, in a recent webinar presented by Coresight Research. “It is hugely important in that it is another way of getting directly to customers. What better way than having a [patient] be able to talk to a professional about their illness or their therapy or their medication?” 46

Steve Perlowski, vice president of industry affairs at NACDS, said that it will be important for retailers to provide the platform that customers use for their telemedicine consultations, so that the retailer remains a vital element of the process and has the opportunity to provide the prescriptions or other products and services that the patient requires. Perlowski predicted that businesses increasingly will require their employees to use telemedicine because of the efficiencies it brings to health care. “I think the employer community will embrace telehealth in a way they haven’t in the past,” he said. Key to the acceptance of telehealth, he said, will be gaining consumers’ trust about

the use of their information. Telehealth only works if enough information is shared, he said. Meanwhile, retailers using telehealth with their patients will have to navigate regulatory challenges around privacy, which can vary by state. It also will be important for retailers to make the technology as easy as possible for both patients and medical professionals to use, said Mark Nelson, vice president of business development at Independent Rx Consulting. “I think you’re seeing a change in the mindset of people, who say, ‘Hey, this isn’t as scary or as hard as I thought,’” Nelson said. — Mark Hamstra


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THE SHADOW OF ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY One of the biggest mysteries of the COVID-19 pandemic is how severe the economic impact will be, and how long it will take to recover. While some predict a “V-shaped” recovery in which the economy returns to pre-COVID-19 levels quickly, much like after a severe storm, others predict a slower comeback, more like the steady, years-long comeback that followed the Great Recession of 2008 to 2009. The pending economic downturn will be the “back-end whammy on business,” said Neil Stern, senior partner at consulting firm McMillan Doolittle. “As things start to ‘normalize,’ we will also be facing a significant recessionary period. The same trends in the last recession — higher usage of private brands, trading down to value-driven retail [such as Aldi, Walmart, Dollar Stores, etc.] will likely reemerge.” Stern also said that mainstream retailers will be better prepared for the downturn by ensuring that they have the right opening price points and are emphasizing value, noting that food and drug retailers will benefit from ongoing reduced restaurant spending. In a recent webinar presented by consulting firm IHL Group, Greg Buzek, founder and president of the host company, described a “transfer of wealth” that has occurred during the pandemic. In addition to the shift in consumer spending away from restaurants and malls to food and drug retailers, spending also has shifted away from smaller retailers toward such larger, big-box stores as Walmart and Target that have been able to remain open throughout the lockdowns. Buzek estimated that nearly 300,000 retail and hospitality locations would close in 2020 due to the pandemic, more than two-thirds of which will be single-store operations. The closure of thousands of restaurants, combined with high unemployment and more frugal behavior on the part of consumers, will translate into more traffic for food and drug retailers, convenience stores and mass merchants. A second wave of the coronavirus infections also seriously could impact the economy, although Buzek said governments and businesses will be better prepared if that happens. Part of the reason the initial wave of the pandemic caused so much economic devastation was that so little was known about exactly how it spread, how contagious it was and how deadly it could be. Businesses have emergency preparedness plans for natural disasters, he said, but the COVID-19 pandemic spread so quickly and on such a large scale that it was impossible to prepare for it. “No one had a contingency for the entire world economy and supply chain to just shut down,” Buzek said. “Companies are preparing for that now and will have plans in place when the next pandemic or the second wave comes.” — Mark Hamstra

48 48

shopper safety measures in place, including hourly protocols for cleaning hard surfaces and more frequent cleaning of commonly handled items. All employees also have been provided with protective masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for personal use. The company also has placed disinfecting wipe stations at the front of the store for customers and implemented store signage encouraging social distancing and reminding shoppers that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend anyone with symptoms or diagnosis of COVID-19 remain in quarantine. Floor markers also have been placed and protective panels have been installed at checkout and the pharmacy counter. CVS also is encouraging all customers to wear a mask or a cloth face covering, and has store signage reminding them if their state or city requires one. If customers choose not to wear a mask, the retailer said its priority is to help them complete their purchases as quickly as possible. Employees are encouraged to provide customers with information about other options for their future needs, including home delivery for prescriptions and drive-thru window service. The retailer has waived charges for home delivery of prescription medications through the end of June and is encouraging drive-thru use where available, so customers can get what they need without stepping foot in the store. “Customers and patients who walk into a CVS Pharmacy want to feel confident and safe, and we are continually working to make our commitment to their safety highly visible throughout their visit and in our communications to them,” said Ryan Rumbarger, senior vice president of store operations, told Drug Store News. Meanwhile, retail employees in both stores and distribution centers


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will be seeking assurances that their workplaces will remain safe for themselves and their families. They may require access to expanded sick leave and job protections should they need to stay home. That may require a rethinking of worker benefits for both the short and the long-term. “I think every CEO will tell you there’s a lot more emphasis on the employees’ well-being because if they are well, then our customers will be well,” said Jim Whitman, senior vice president of member programs and service at NACDS, in a recent webinar presented by Coresight Research. “Stores are integral parts of their communities, and employees are integral parts of their communities. It just makes good business sense.” Retailers also will have to train workers around the new safety protocols, and keep workers up to date on the ever-changing guidelines for best practices when it comes to protecting their health and the health of their customers. In addition, the roles of many workers may evolve based on the degree to which consumers continue to adopt e-commerce, delivery and in-store pickup. Besides changes at the store and warehouse level, food and drug retailers also will need to consider whether ongoing changes in their operations might require restructuring at the corporate level.

Operational Changes

Delivery and pickup have increasingly become important to consumers during the pandemic as many shoppers, especially those who are older or are vulnerable because of existing medical conditions, have been seeking to avoid going into stores. “We are closely watching how this pandemic is changing how consumers interact with us,” CVS’ Rumbarger said. “Many are trying to fulfill their needs without leaving home and, as a result, have tried our prescription delivery service for the first time. When they choose to leave home and go to the store, many are using the drive-thru or limiting their risk through one-stop shopping.” The retailer said it expects some consumer behaviors to stick or evolve after the pandemic is over. “We will continue to be nimble and

flexible and make data-based decisions,” the spokesperson said. For example, the retailer is prioritizing work that makes it even easier for customers and patients to get what they need for their families, safely obtain medications, and access MinuteClinic services either in its stores or via a telehealth visit. “We will continue to adapt our services and digital tools based on customer usage patterns and feedback.” Last year, CVS Pharmacy launched CarePass, a paid membership program designed to optimize its omnichannel offerings. CarePass members receive free prescription delivery, have access to a 24/7 Pharmacist Helpline and get 20% off CVS Health brands every day. In addition, members receive a $10 promo reward each month. “As we’re seeing an increase in demand for the delivery of prescriptions and health and beauty products, CVS is committed to giving our consumers more choices in how quickly they can access the essentials they need when it is not convenient for them to visit one of our stores,” Rumbarger said. Front-of-store items are available for same-day home delivery through CVS Pharmacy’s relationships with Instacart and Shipt. The retailer also is providing free one- to two-day delivery of prescriptions and select essential products through June 30. Same-day prescription delivery also is available for a fee. CVS also is testing both drone and driverless prescription delivery in a few select markets. As consumers embrace drive-thru, pickup and delivery for prescriptions, it creates an opportunity for retailers that are providing this service to encourage additional purchases of other products, said Owen BonDurant, president of Independent Rx Consulting. “Do you need to create a notification that says, ‘Your meds are ready and, by the way, here’s four things that you have typically bought in the past. Would you like to add that to the delivery order?’ Those kinds of things need to be thought through.” BonDurant suggested that pharmacy operators take the time to study the functionality of their mobile apps and other technologies, and learn how to use them to full advantage for their current needs. Other innovations that could gain traction include medication synchronization, which allows patients to pick up all of their prescriptions at the same time, once a month. This could allow pharmacists to schedule prescription pickups to reduce congestion in the pharmacy area. BonDurant said. “That way you can spread it out, and people will feel safer about shopping,” he said. Pharmacists also have an opportunity to be a trusted source of information for their customers during these troubled times, Nelson said. “It’s been very difficult to figure out what’s real and what’s not throughout this process,” he said. “The pharmacy is a trusted source, so they have the ability to help educate the population.” With consumers visiting their local drug stores much more frequently than they go to the doctor in many cases, Nelson said retailers have the ability to provide their customers and the community overall with timely, accurate information. “My advice would be to make sure pharmacists have the right information,” he said. “And that they’re relaying that to their customers so they can make the right choices.” dsn


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Made at Home DSN shines a light on companies manufacturing in the United States By David Salazar


here still is something to be said about the home-field advantage. For suppliers manufacturing in the United States, many of them touted similar advantages to domestic production — shorter lead times, less pricey shipping, and the ability to be nimbler than their counterparts whose products are produced entirely overseas and that have to deal not only with the time it takes to get stateside, but the red tape and complications that come with importing. The companies that DSN is highlighting this month are a testament to the fact that American manufacturing hasn’t completely disappeared. Indeed, they show that across CPG categories and even pharmaceuticals, there still is opportunity for a company to produce its inventory in-country — and potentially thrive as a result. Particularly at a time when global supply chains have been


disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the following 21 companies are great examples of suppliers aiming to be reliable partners to retailers looking to highlight more American-made products on their shelves. Acella Pharmaceuticals Especially during an ongoing trade war with China and potential safety issues with products coming from overseas, Acella Pharmaceuticals works entirely with American producers of active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished-dose pharmaceuticals. The Alpharetta, Ga.based company has been shipping commercially since 2008. It does most of its manufacturing through Sovereign Pharma, its wholly owned contract development and manufacturing organization, and works with U.S-based contract manufacturers otherwise.


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Bavis Drive-Thru There’s a lot more to a pharmacy drive-thru than you might think. Which is why Bavis Drive-Thru, based in Cincinnati, has carved out its niche with its made-in-America drive-thru products. Among its offerings are remote-lane solutions and transaction drawers, as well as its specialized BEAM audio that reduces environmental noise and boosts human speech. Company officials said that its U.S. manufacturing allows for some products to ship within 24 hours via FedEx overnight, and its larger products can be installed by qualified on-site technicians.

Bravus Brewing Bravus Brewing stands behind the ingredients in its beer and believes manufacturing in the United States is the only way to truly do that. The company’s lineup of six beers — an IPA, an oatmeal stout, an amber ale, a white ale, a raspberry gose and a Mexican-style cerveza — feature fresh ingredients, so making sure the product can reach retailers in a timely manner is central to their quality. Looking forward, the company suggests investing in upgrading supply chain technology to improve efficiencies, lower costs and improve reaction time through better data. Brunswick Pharma Private-label manufacturer Brunswick Pharma offers OTC products for retailers to use within their storebrand portfolio. The Edison, N.J.-based company’s selection includes equivalents to well-known traditional OTCs, as well as equivalents to various homeopathic brands. The company said that its wholesale customers see more profit from the store-brand items due to the ability to offer them at lower prices than the national brand. Brunswick Pharma’s facilities are FDA registered and compliant with good manufacturing practices.


Clavél Clavél’s flagship brand, Blue Stop massage gel, is focused on helping relieve body aches with its blend of natural menthol, MSM, glucosamine and organic aloe vera, as well as emu and coconut oils, to nourish the skin. For the Abilene, Texasbased company, which has been operating for 20 years, the made-in-America achievement means more direct communication with its buyers and replenishment managers. As for the future, the company said plastic bottles and pumps being manufactured in the United States would be a boon. DayClear OTC cough-cold and allergy relief that you can see through — that’s the simple proposition behind DayClear’s line of products, which include allergy relief, sinus relief and cough-cold and flu relief products, as well as nighttime cold and flu product NiteClear. For 18 years, DayClear has been manufacturing in Fort Worth, Texas, producing its dye-, sugar-, alcoholand gluten-free products that it said is able to offer better pricing on by dint of manufacturing them in the United States. Global Healing Global Healing is a family-owned supplement company that has been based in Houston since 1998. The company, which added a manufacturing facility in Arizona six years ago, focuses on sourcing certified organic raw materials for its various cleanses and supplements, with a particular preference in American-grown organic materials. In terms of improving the supply chain, Global Healing said that an increase in the number of U.S.-based organic raw material growers could strengthen the system. It’s All Good With a selection of personal care and health items that range from natural deodorant to antioxidant glow serum and essential oils, Salt Lake City-based It’s All Good has been manufacturing products out of New Mexico since it launched three years ago. The company is focused on transparency and uses only 100% natural ingredients in its products. Like several other suppliers manufacturing domestically, the company said it would like to source its external components in the United States.


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L. Frances Caramel Working with local farmers is the key to quality at L. Frances Caramel. The Appleton, Wis.based company has been making its original caramels with Wisconsin Grade AA butter for 13 years. Doing so also maximizes freshness. The company said that often its products ship to retailers the day they are made, which enables a mass-market product that boasts candystore quality. Maya Cosmetics Chicago-based Maya Cosmetics has been operating since 1978. The company specializes in breathable, vegan and halal nail polishes, driven by a mission to offer a way for all women to express themselves. Its products also are free of nine potentially harmful chemicals — ahead of the industry-standard 5-free label. By doing a lot of overseas exporting, Maya said that American-made products are seen as high quality and are trusted more. Maya also said that moving forward, a supply chain that includes more domestically made ingredients and components would be ideal. Ndal Manufacturing Ndal’s flagship ManukaGuard brand is designed to use manuka honey from New Zealand to help remedy a variety of ailments, from gut health to immune support and nose and throat health. Among the latest products of the 11-year-old company’s 17 SKUs is the Nasal Spray Allercleanse that uses manuka honey to clear the sinuses. Ndal, headquartered in Monterrey, Calif., uses Sheffield Pharma to manufacture the product in New London, Conn. Company officials stressed that once consumers try their nasal spray items, they will come back to buy other items in their assortment. It is all about repeat business, they claimed. NuAngel With sustainability making big inroads among consumers, NuAngel is looking to bring a sustainable focus to baby care products in both the branded and private-label markets. The women-owned business’ selection includes changing pads, as well as sustainable facial rounds and cleansing cloths that are good for sensitive skin. The Athens, Ala.-based company uses U.S.-grown cotton and U.S.-based production, which it said helps ensure quality and flexibility in packaging and shipping based on retailer needs.


Pacific Shaving With a full suite of shaving and grooming essentials, Pacific Shaving’s American-made products are looking to bring quality options to the category with American manufacturing backing them up. The company, run by husband-and-wife duo Stan Ades and CC Sofronas, is focused on premium products that use safe, natural and plantderived ingredients. Pacific Shaving said that its California manufacturing makes lead times shorter and improves quality control, while enabling more sustainable supply chain practices. Pantheryx Boulder, Colo.-based Pantheryx is focused on using bovine colostrum to address various health conditions. Its flagship product, DiaResQ, is a drug-free diarrhearelief product manufactured at the company’s facility in Phoenix. Officials at the company said they work with American farmers to provide a high-quality product. One of the advantages the company said stems from its U.S.-based production is the faster shipment times once products are finished. Pleasant Street Designs Pleasant Street’s home décor signs are designed to let retailers offer consumers a way to express themselves, while also bringing in a good margin. The 25-year-old company, which manufactures out of Massachusetts, includes among its offerings its three-quarter inch tall signs in 1,000 styles, all of which carry a suggested retail price of less than $10 and offer retail margins of 60 points and up. Pleasant Street also offers custom branding and pre-ticketing to accompany its products, which it said are able to quickly respond to trends. Its latest round of Skinnies celebrates healthcare heroes, with messaging focused on healthcare response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Raw Sugar Living With its wide distribution to various regional and national chains — including Target, Meijer, H-E-B, Wegmans and Harmon — Raw Sugar Living’s priority is being close to its retail partners. The company, with its headquarters in Florida and production facilities in Los Angeles, said that the U.S.-based production allows it to offer its products at lower price points and provide faster restocks


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with quicker shipping time. Raw Sugar Living also said that by formulating its products in-country, it’s able to ensure quality and deliver on its mission of offering plant-derived, naturally sourced, PETA-certified products that are free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates and dyes. Session Savers Sunscreen Designed to be ultra-portable, Session Savers Sunscreen is a broad-spectrum, waterresistant sunscreen sold in packs of 10 1.3ml pouches. Each package includes a chain that fits through a hole at the top of the Session Savers pouch to make sure it’s always handy. The company produces its sunscreen in Texas and the ball-chain that accompanies the pouches in New York. Domestic production, coupled with the small size of the product leads to lower transportation costs, according to the company.

Sinol USA Since getting its start in 2005, Sinol USA has been manufacturing out of the East Coast with its current manufacturing being done in Connecticut and Florida. The Newtown, Conn.-based company offers nasal sprays meant to help relieve allergy and sinus symptoms, as well as headache and cold and flu symptoms. Sinol’s all-natural products are formulated to be nondrowsy and offer drug-free symptom relief. The company said manufacturing in its two locations offers its clients faster delivery times and lower shipping costs, as well as fewer out-of-stocks. Suncayr Buffalo, N.Y., may not be known as a particularly sunny destination, but it is where Suncayr is innovating in the sun care category. The 3-yearold company manufactures Spot My UV, a UV-sensitive sticker that applies clear when putting on sunscreen and turns purple when the user should reapply sunscreen. The company said that its single


product line and its American manufacturing means less paperwork when Suncayr up as a new vendor, and also is a mark that the company said should reassure retailers as to product quality. Tango Labs Tango Labs’ Splizz Essentials brand of hand sanitizer is very new to the market — it began manufacturing in California near the start of the COVID19 pandemic. The company’s products are made in a manufacturing practices facility that has been vetted by the FDA, and officials said that its American-based offering means a U.S. source for supply of a hot item. The company said it plans to invest in its own mold to produce caps in the United States, rather than import them, making its products 100% made in America. Uniweb For more than 20 years, Uniweb has been manufacturing the components for its modular spaces — including pharmacy counters, work stations, front-store systems and even exam rooms within pharmacies — in Corona, Calif. The company prides itself on the versatility of its offerings, as well as the tax advantages the quickinstalling rooms lend when compared with standard construction. Zotos Professional Zotos Professional manufactures the Bioterra, Age Beautiful and All About Curls brands, among others, from its Geneva, N.Y., facility, which was incorporated in 1929. The company, which was acquired by Henkel in 2017, will be linked into the parent company’s supply chain in 2021, increasing its access to vendors and driving efficiencies, officials said. In addition to its manufacturing supporting the local economy and reducing shipping costs while offering nimbler production with shorter lead times, Zotos Professional also will be focused on Henkel’s sustainability goals. dsn


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Climbing the Ladder How pharmacists can seize opportunities for advancement By Sandra Levy


any pharmacy school students look forward to the day that they can trade their textbooks for a position in pharmacy that will be lucrative, personally fulfilling, and one in which they can hang their white coat for many years. In many cases, these positions turn into roles of increasing seniority, particularly at retail chains inclined to promote its pharmacy executives from within the organization. What does it take for pharmacists today to transition from dreams to securing a seniorlevel job? Pharmacy executives who have climbed the corporate ladder at major retail pharmacy chains — and who have helped usher some of their colleagues to high-level positions — agree that myriad factors influence


pharmacists’ ascent in retail pharmacy. The corporate culture, the availability of mentoring and leadership training, specific personality traits, and expertise in a multitude of areas all come into play. Top brass in retail pharmacy also are quick to point out that aspiring leaders need to have a keen understanding of how the rapid changes in today’s healthcare environment are impacting the practice of pharmacy. Billy Chow, vice president of pharmacy at Seattle-based Bartell Drugs, said that many pharmacists pigeonhole themselves to focus solely on dispensing medications, without thinking about what health care looks like today and where it will be in the future. “A lot of people who graduated from pharmacy school used to think their job was just to put pills in a bottle or work in a

hospital setting,” Chow said. “They never really thought about the outcomes, quality metrics or quality of care, and to perceive themselves as a partner in the whole continuum for patient care in an outpatient setting.” Lemrey “Al” Carter, who joined the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy as executive director and secretary in May and who previously was Walgreens divisional vice president of pharmacy operations and professional affairs, mirrored Chow’s thoughts about the importance of leaders understanding the transformation in health care. Pointing out that today’s environment for chain and independent pharmacists has changed over the last five years, Carter cited the example of Walgreens’ efforts to create pharmacies of the future, which entails transforming its pharmacies and pharmacists’


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Left to right: Albertsons’ Dan Salemi, AmrisourceBergen’s Jennifer Zilka and Bartell Drugs’ Billy Chow

focus from dispensing medications to delivering essential healthcare services to patients. “If you look at the way that the healthcare structure is positioned, our pharmacists are in the heart and center of most of these patient populations,” Carter said. “They have to be willing to excel, be ready to advance, be passionate and dedicated, and they really have to be an advocate for the advancement of pharmacy and what pharmacists can do.”

The Right Stuff In addition to understanding how pharmacy practice is changing, future leaders must have flexibility and the ability to assume a wide range of responsibilities, Carter said. Indeed, his ascent through the ranks at Walgreens also exemplifies the importance of assuming multiple roles and responsibilities. Carter worked at Walgreens during his four years of pharmacy school. He was selected to participate in a 12-week corporate internship program. When he went home to Mississippi to work as a pharmacist, Hurricane Katrina hit. Despite relocating to Dallas as a result of the hurricane, he remained open to returning to Mississippi. “Because I was flexible, Walgreens asked me to come back to be pharmacy manager at the only pharmacy in Long Beach, Miss., that survived Hurricane Katrina,” Carter said. After serving in this role for one year,


Carter moved to Chicago, where he developed a pharmacy campus recruiting program. After one year, he took on a senior healthcare recruiter role. Soon after, he moved into pharmacy regulatory affairs and also has overseen pharmacy operations, compliance and market access. With Hy-Vee’s Kristin Williams, the West Des Moines, Iowa-based retailer’s senior vice president and chief health officer, her rise opens a window on the rewards for pharmacists who are flexible. Williams began her career with Hy-Vee in 1993 at their Council Bluffs Drugstore as a part-time checker/stocker and later served as a pharmacy intern and as a staff pharmacist. After a two-year stint at Kroger and Safeway in Colorado, she returned to Hy-Vee. When a position close to home wasn’t available, she drove an hour to another location. Williams became a pharmacy manager and then a supervisor, covering Nebraska, South Dakota and half of Iowa for six years. Williams also served as director of pharmacy education and training, and created the pharmacy’s centralfill operation. Two years later, she became vice president of health and wellness, and in 2016, she was promoted to chief health officer. Williams said that constantly striving to improve and being proactive about potential opportunities are critical skills for pharmacists who want to grow their responsibilities.

“You have to say yes before you say no. Sometimes you get a little too comfortable and you don’t want to leap. You need to continue to push yourself,” Williams said. “The biggest piece of the puzzle is you have to be a self-starter. You have to be the one to take the first step, even if that step is scary, and you have to keep moving forward. You are going to go down the wrong direction sometimes, and you’re going to have to redirect, and it’s how quickly you can overcome a misstep.” Dan Salemi, Albertsons’ group vice president of pharmacy services, concurred with Williams on the need for pharmacists to take the initiative to advance their own career goals. “Pharmacists need great communication skills, the ability to solve problems, and a solid foundation in operational knowledge to advance,” Salemi said. “Most of our pharmacy associates advance because they ask to learn and do more. They speak up and let their managers know they are interested in career advancement. They also are open to all opportunities, including relocating to any of our locations in the 34 states we operate in.” Salemi knows a thing or two about advancing. His 40-year pharmacy career has been characterized by assuming numerous responsibilities, including managed care contracting, pharmacy systems, pharmacy procurement, specialty pharmacy and pharmacy compliance for the more than


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Left to right: Health Mart’s Nancy Lyons and NABP’s Lemrey “Al” Carter

1,700 Albertsons community pharmacies. This is due in part, he said, to Albertsons’ corporate pharmacy culture, which seeks to expose employees to different areas of pharmacy management. “The most successful people in our business have had multiple roles and responsibilities,” he said.

Institutional Resources Professional development at many chains no longer is something that employees need to tackle on their own. Several offer formal leadership training programs that can help people build skills that can help reach their goals. Jennifer Zilka, AmerisourceBergen’s group vice president of Good Neighbor Pharmacy, said that AmerisourceBergen offers courses that pharmacists on a corporate leadership track can attend in person. Zilka, who helped build out Good Neighbor Pharmacy’s business coaching program, said that the courses enable future leaders to gain experience pitching a business plan to an executive team. Beyond AmerisourceBergen headquarters, the company also has created employee development courses for its Good Neighbor franchisee pharmacists. “It seems selfish, but there needs to be a willingness and an appetite to invest in yourself,” Zilka said. “It’s crucial to take that time and to think about your future and what things you want to be doing, and learning from others


who have been successful. It’s an amazing opportunity to move forward and reprioritize. It’s important that you’re stepping out of your day to day in order to grow your role.” Hy-Vee’s Williams said that showing a desire to continually learn and grow can aid in advancement. “The constant curiosity to learn more is one of the traits you need. Otherwise, you’ll get stagnant and get left behind,” she said. Hy-Vee offers Dale Carnegie leadership training for its franchisee pharmacists, and encourages corporate and store pharmacists to become active with the Iowan Pharmacy Association and the Midwest Pharmacy Expo, which provides the opportunity for pharmacists to interact and be lifelong learners. At Albertsons, the company’s development programs begin with a week-long live classroom training for new hires to gain confidence. This program also offers additional training opportunities focused on operations and management skills, which introduce in-depth and advanced topics related to running an efficient and profitable pharmacy, Salemi said. Albertsons University is the company’s premier leadership training program. It selects up-and-coming leaders from all parts of its company to work together on a group project that improves some aspect of the company’s business. They participate in various classroom exercises to progress

leadership skills and present their developed proposal to Albertsons’ chief leadership. “One of the biggest strengths of the program is the networking that happens within these groups,” Salemi said. Additionally, Albertsons has several sources and training programs, depending on pharmacist-specific goals and career paths. For example, the company recently launched pain management training and mental health training. Walgreens offers programs that provide pharmacists with special assignments that allow leaders to create products and solutions for different challenges and learn from leaders at the company. “They work collaboratively with a group of individuals that may be pharmacists or not,” Carter said. “To work in collaboration with others outside of your career healthcare space is key.”

Building Skills Aside from taking advantage of opportunities to learn and develop skills, being adept at the business aspects of pharmacy is instrumental in rising through the ranks. Chow said that Bartell Drugs helps pharmacists gain business acumen. “We walk pharmacists through what a P&L looks like, what their expense lines look like, and explain why procurement is so important,” Chow said. “You’re getting taken to task on reimbursement rates, so you need to know what you can do to offset that.” AmerisourceBergen is employing its business coaches to help Good Neighbor Pharmacy owners gain business skills. “The business side of owning a pharmacy isn’t something pharmacists necessarily walk out of school with a good understanding of,” Zilka said. Pharmacists also need to possess certain personality traits that can propel their career and help them face obstacles. “Not everything is going to pay off. You may say, ‘Ah, that wasn’t the best move in my career.’ You have to continue to believe that persistence and perseverance are going to pay off,” Chow said. He also cautioned, “With greater responsibility comes some trade-offs. A lot of people talk about balance, but it’s really about harmony. Everyone says, ‘When I leave my


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office, I should leave everything at the office and then go home.’ I don’t know that that always is fully achievable. You really have to know that at a certain time, you have to commit extra time at work and accept that those are the terms of engagement.” Nancy Lyons, McKesson’s vice president and Health Mart’s chief pharmacy officer, pointed out that being humble and asking for assistance are beneficial in attaining senior level roles. In her 28-year pharmacy career, Lyons’ roles have included overseeing clinical programs for a chain, working in specialty pharmacy, a stint at Roche Diabetes, and development of continuing education for Drug Store News. Her initial position at McKesson was in operational development, and she assumed her current role after two years at the company. Knowing when to seek out others as a resource was critical to her growth, she said. “I’m never the smartest person in the room, but I work hard to find the people and resources needed for a successful project,” Lyons said. “It’s not efficient or sometimes even possible to try to know everything or be able to do everything needed to bring the projects through. Being comfortable knowing your limits and asking for that help with confidence is key.” There also is a consensus among current pharmacy leaders that being passionate about what you are involved in is crucial for success. “Our pharmacy managers go out and figure out how they can make a difference in the community,” Hy-Vee’s Williams said. “The biggest skill you have to have now in any job or industry is passion to do it because if you don’t have that passion, it shines through in your performance. Your heart has to be into it.” Lyons agreed. “If a pharmacist can find their passion and get to the top of the game in that area, the opportunity to turn that into a career is a lot greater,” she said.

Mentorship Matters Pharmacy industry leaders also contend that finding a mentor at any stage of one’s career is helpful in navigating the way to the top. New leaders at Walgreens usually have a peer mentor throughout their career, and the company will encourage team members to

seek out members outside their teams. When Carter was a pharmacy intern, he met someone at the support center “to lean on. Through the years, he has mentored me in many ways and helped me navigate the corporate culture and pharmacy to be successful and be the leader I am today,” he said. Williams reflected on the impact of her mentor, when she began working at a Hy-Vee’s Drug Town when she was 15 years old: “Two awesome pharmacists showed me what patient interaction and community involvement was all about.” Having mentors also aided Lyons’ career. “I have worked with a handful of some of the most inspiring pharmacists and mentors in the profession, many of whom I still am in contact with today. I owe each of them so much for the time they took to include me on a project, or to point out something that I could have done better, or to give me an opportunity to go try something,” she said, noting that she is mentoring a young female pharmacist who she believes has great leadership potential. AmerisourceBergen has developed its women in pharmacy initiative to help women excel on their career path in pharmacy ownership. “We partner female owners in our network with other women pharmacists who aspire to own their own store. This helps up-andcomers see the challenges and opportunities in owning a community pharmacy,” Zilka said. “Our female owners help new owners get established with such things as the loan process and ensure they have all the advantages needed to be successful. That mentor is someone they can bounce ideas off of and talk to about work-life balance.” Albertsons offers formal and informal mentorship programs, such as the Pharmacist Opportunity Program that prepares hightalent pharmacists identified by their division pharmacy managers for future pharmacy manager positions. Managers selected for this program meet quarterly to focus on topics, which may include profit and loss statement review, inventory management, or coaching. Albertsons also offers Virtual Coaching, a training for pharmacy managers to increase their knowledge base by pairing them with an experienced pharmacy manager who serves

as an ongoing resource and mentor. This program spans a six-month time period with monthly sessions that offer an introduction to the role of the pharmacy manager, operations essentials, inventory and personnel management, physical inventory, patient care services, and customer service. Many of Albertsons’ corporate associates also have informal mentoring relationships, and some associates may have more than one mentor. “The responsibilities vary for each role. Some pharmacists might find they are more involved in financial planning or negotiations, while others start assuming compliance or project management responsibilities,” Salemi said. “Regardless of what the responsibilities are, we entrust mentors and established associates to help guide the pharmacists as they rise in the ranks. When they succeed, we succeed.”

Plenty of Options When it comes to the types of leadership opportunities available in retail pharmacy, there are many traditional roles available, as well as some exciting new areas pharmacists can pursue. Hy-Vee’s leadership positions include traditional and newly created roles. For example, there is a pharmacist overseeing specialty pharmacy operations in 22 locations, a pharmacist leading its retail pharmacy operations in 264 locations, a pharmacist leading central fill, pharmacy supervisors that lead training and education, and a pharmacist who oversees getting clinics in its stores. At Bartell Drugs, the company’s senior manager for technology and systems, who started as a pharmacy manager, was named call center manager, and recently was promoted to senior manager of pharmacy systems and the call center. Another pharmacist was recently promoted to director of procurement and third-party payers. Chow insisted that in the future, pharmacist leaders will need the ability to create strategies for pharmacy’s success. “That forces you to be more creative in how you develop or devise strategies for your business plan and for your organization,” he said. “Your success is going to be dependent on how well you can adapt to this new environment.” dsn


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A Profession Responds During Crisis APhA assists pharmacists navigate the challenges of a pandemic By Michael Hogue

P Michael Hogue, president, the American Pharmacists Association, and dean, Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy

harmacists are responding to the COVID19 outbreak with extraordinary courage in the face of difficulties. Managing drug shortages, concern about possible personal and staff exposures to the virus, and meeting the needs of patients who have a sense of heightened concern fueled by fear are just some of the challenges pharmacists across the country are handling. To assist pharmacists in navigating these challenges, the American Pharmacists Association launched “The Pharmacists’ Guide to Coronavirus” at pharmacist.com. The resource includes latebreaking news, letters and statements from APhA, as well as comprehensive resources on what to tell your patients related to COVID-19. The site, which is updated regularly, serves as a repository of the most reliable information available from WHO, the CDC and other sources.

Throughout the pandemic, pharmacists have clearly demonstrated their role and value in the U.S. healthcare system. Legislators and consumers alike are taking notice. It is becoming clear through this crisis that pharmacy’s brightest days are still ahead. Drug shortages of certain products, such as albuterol inhalers, insulin and various oral products are being reported consistently in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. Consumers, fearful of longterm drug shortages, are demanding excessive quantities of medicines in an effort to stockpile at home for personal use. There also has been increasing scrutiny by the government and others around the realization that at least three-quarters of active pharmaceutical ingredients are sourced from foreign nations, primarily China. Thus, Congress is considering action to bring drug manufacturing back into the United States in light of the current situation. Pharmacists have reported significant physician self-prescribing of large quantities of hydroxychloroquine for their families and colleagues. On March 25, APhA, the American Society of Health-System


Pharmacists and the American Medical Association issued a joint statement strongly opposing this practice that is further exacerbating the drug’s shortage. Pharmacies also are doing their part to promote social distancing, including increasing delivery services, parking lot pickup, and promoting use of drive-thrus as opposed to in-store activities. Pharmacists are reassuring patients that they are only a phone call away for consultation and advice about medicines or other health concerns. There is growing interest in influenza and pneumococcal vaccines given recent social media reports about risk of secondary infection with COVID-19. Immunizing pharmacists do need to don and doff personal protective equipment, or PPE, during each encounter, including gloves and masks. The CDC has provided extensive guidance on these procedures. Pharmacists also are faced with separating fact from fiction in a world where information is circulating rapidly on social media and cable news. Day-today information about the possible efficacy of drugs in the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 has led to many unsubstantiated claims and sham promotions. Helping consumers separate fact from fiction requires substantial time. Since March 26, APhA has been offering one-hour open forums every Thursday between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. EST to discuss the latest news and information that pharmacists need to manage during the ongoing situation. APhA’s website also features a series of 15- to 20-minute continuing education modules, “15 on COVID-19,” for pharmacists to get the facts about COVID-19. The national pharmacy associations are working more closely together than ever to achieve legislative and regulatory relief to pharmacies from PBM audits,” to suspension of prior authorizations and DIR fees through this crisis. There is a significant push with Congress for legislation to provide patients access to pharmacist services through Medicare and Medicaid, as well. Throughout the pandemic, pharmacists have clearly demonstrated their role and value in the U.S. healthcare system. Legislators and consumers alike are taking notice. It is becoming clear through this crisis that pharmacy’s brightest days are still ahead. dsn


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Pharmacy in the Time of COVID-19 How the pandemic has tested preparedness and highlighted strengths By Jerry Meece

A Jerry Meece, director of clinical services, Plaza Pharmacy and Wellness Center

n old proverb states, “May you live in interesting times.” Well, here we are. At the end of January of this new year, I was unfamiliar with the phrases “shelter in place,” “social distancing” or “flattening the curve” in terms of disease control, nor for that matter even paid much attention to a disease called COVID-19. Two months later, we closed our front doors to the public and, for the first time in our 40-year history, operated entirely out of the drive-thru window and delivery service. As I write this now, having adapted to the “new normal,” I am humbled and amazed at how well the pharmacy and this community were able to cope with a situation so foreign to all of us. I believe a lot of our success was based on how we approached what has been our biggest challenge in the history of this pharmacy.

Inside the Pharmacy The first rule at hand was to keep our pharmacy and community families as safe as possible as we manned the drive-thru window, restocked shelves and delivered medications throughout the community. Handwashing, alcohol gel and counter cleaning protocols were strictly followed with employees who could call each other out to follow these new habits as needed, and we continually wiped down any customer-used devices, such as pens, clipboards and counter areas that touched any articles from the outside. We also kept multiple disinfectant spray bottles at the ready to wipe down outside delivery containers from wholesalers, as well as Amazon, FedEx and UPS. The pharmacy created our own form of social distancing that allowed for as much space apart as practical, understanding that perfect would not stand in the way of good. Meanwhile, we went over the top in the frequency of cleaning commonly touched objects in the store, going beyond the prescription counters to bathroom and conference room faucets and tables, copiers, swinging doors, door handles, etc. In addition to requiring techs and pharmacists to wear latex gloves and masks when interacting

with customers, we also are encouraging all staff members to remain home if they are feeling sick.

Outside the Pharmacy The power of social media at times like this cannot be overstated. I was overwhelmed at how effective a “Letter to Our Valued Customers” on our webpage the weekend before closing our doors could be. It allowed us to preemptively diminish the concerns from customers, while explaining the new procedures put in place. Instructions for dropping off and picking up prescriptions, as well as receiving deliveries were explained. This saved an immense amount of time in the week that followed. It also gave us a chance to remind our customers that we still carried a large supply of over-the-counter items (that they may have been purchasing elsewhere) that were available with our delivery service, as well. We also made sure to address the mental toll that this pandemic could take on our staff. The daily strain of dealing with people who struggle with childcare, loss of jobs and retirement savings combined with the inability to get even the most basic supplies, such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer, could not be overlooked. Our team made a commitment that our pharmacy would be the go-to source for COVID-19 for our customers. That our pharmacists would keep up with pandemic updates on a daily basis and help our customers avoid the infodemic of false statements and myths that already were developing. We would rely on sites from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization for our information. After all the preparation and planning, opening week went remarkably well. Monday was our busiest day in some time, and though the lines became longer than normal, the day came off with only the normal amount of busy day hiccups. I know that in this war on the coronavirus, we are now only at the end of the beginning. But I also know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we will get through it and come out even stronger on the other side. Not only just our pharmacy, but those that we serve in our community, as well. dsn


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Going with Your Gut Digestive health grows as products explore gut health’s connection to the rest of the body By Nora Caley


t’s all in your head, or maybe in your gut — or maybe both. Today’s digestive health aisle not only offers heartburn products, but everything from immune support to headache relief. And, as more research points to a connection between the gut microbiome and overall health, many manufacturers are focusing on products with probiotics, “friendly” bacteria that provide health benefits. The change in tactics is giving retailers an opportunity to drive additional sales in probiotics as a daily maintenance product as consumers shop for more than a solution for an upset stomach. According to Mintel, U.S. retail sales in the digestive health market were estimated to reach more than $5.1 billion in 2019, and many industry observers predict that


new innovations will spur further sales gains in coming years. Much of that innovation is around probiotics. Products with probiotic claims are everywhere, according to Bob Richardson, director of customer and industry development at Clorox. The Oakland, Calif.-based company acquired digestive health brand Renew Life in 2016, following it up with the purchase of health-and-wellness company Nutranext and its Rainbow Light and Natural Vitality brands in 2018. “We are cautiously optimistic growth will start to return to the category,” he said. That growth will be led by Generation Z and millennials, Richardson said. These are consumers who seek personalized health solutions and who spend time online looking up information about specific probiotic strains and how many billion colony-forming units,

or CFUs, they need. There also is still a place for the well-established products for heartburn and acid indigestion, as those are being sought by baby boomers who find themselves enduring these digestive issues more as they age. Others agreed that the excitement surrounding probiotics is boosting the digestive products category. “The growing evidence for probiotics and digestive health has become the catalyst for increased consumer interest,” said Kim Plaza, technical advisor at Doral, Fla.-based ADM Protexin. “Social media has exploded, with many people sharing their positive experiences of using commercial probiotic supplements for digestive health issues, as well as many conditions throughout the body.” That includes a wide variety of conditions. Studies have indicated positive results for specific bacteria species and digestive issues, such


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as irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, or IBS-D, and also for Parkinson’s Disease symptoms. Recent trials explored the microbiome-gut-brain axis, Plaza said, so now there is a focus on the application of probiotics for anxiety, depression and cognitive health. In the gut-brain range, last year Protexin launched Bio-Kult Migréa, which contains 14 multi-strains of probiotic bacteria that indicated promising results in a trial assessing their effect on chronic and episodic migraine.

Finding Other Benefits Immune support is on consumers’ minds right now, and they are looking at probiotics. Research posted on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website and on other sites indicate that the digestive area houses 70% of the cells that make up the immune system. “The news is really all about

this emerging connection between probiotics and other aspects of health,” said David Kraus, senior brand manager for the adult line of Culturelle Probiotics at i-Health, a division of DSM in Cromwell, Conn. As more consumers learn about probiotics helping restore the healthy balance of good bacteria, they are making probiotics part of their daily health routines. “People are thinking a lot right now about ‘How can I boost my immune system?’” Kraus said. “Probiotics are potentially the new multivitamin.” Probiotics are getting attention as consumers become more educated about overall health. “One of the bigger trends, especially in probiotics, is the understanding of the total care approach, not only probiotics but prebiotics, which are food for the good bacteria,” said Jason Mitchell, founder and CEO of Probulin, based in Topeka, Kan. He added

that there is a new focus on postbiotics, which are metabolites, or components that result from probiotic activity in the gut. Probulin makes Total Care Probiotic, Daily Care Probiotic, My Little Bugs Total Care Probiotic for Kids, and other products. Probulin’s MAKTrek 3-D Probiotic Delivery System features a brown seaweed extract to provide a secondary barrier and protects the beneficial probiotic bacteria against damage from digestive fluids, such as stomach acid. “We call it the seaweed submarine,” he said. The brand posts short videos about the delivery system on its website. There also is information on the number of CFU a probiotic product should have, which Probulin noted is 10 to 20 billion. “It’s not necessarily true that more is better,” Mitchell said. Education is crucial as consumers have only general awareness about probiotics’

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benefits. “Consumers should know that by improving their digestion through their lifestyle choices and supplementation, they can also benefit in other areas like supporting their immune system and boosting their general wellness,” said Kimberly Vigliante, senior vice president of wholesale sales and marketing at Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based Piping Rock, which makes the Nature’s Truth brand. Vigliante said retailers can help demystify the segment by offering a variety of probiotic items that are clear in their benefits. Retailers also can merchandise probiotics not just in the digestive health section, but also in women’s health, immune support and at endcaps. “It instantly shifts the consumer mindset toward including these items into their immune season routine, which will ultimately drive incremental sales in the category,” Vigliante said. While many companies are delving into probiotics, one space that some manufacturers are looking into is digestive enzymes, which help break down food. “A lot of manufacturers are looking at digestive health as a good size growth opportunity,” said Chuck Tacl, vice president of sales at Miami Lakes, Fla.-based Mason Vitamins. “The digestive enzyme market is still fairly untapped and set to grow pretty dramatically in the next three to five years.” He said Mason Vitamins plans to launch several products, including digestive enzymes. Looking to get into the digestive enzyme market is Friska, a new company founded by John Peine, a longtime Target merchandising executive who worked with a gastroenterologist to develop the line of 10 products that


combine digestive enzymes, probiotics and benefits-focused botanicals to target such needs as complex carb digestion, immune support and sleep. “Friska was inspired by my personal desire to help others improve their health,” Peine said. “After experiencing my own health scare, I began researching enzymes and probiotic spores as a way to improve gut health.” As with many other products in the supplement category, manufacturers are very aware that they cannot make certain claims about probiotics. “It’s important to note that probiotics do not cure or prevent disease, however, research has shown that some strains support digestive and immune health,” said Kim Shafer, CEO of Daily Body Restore in Wixom, Mich.

Battling Heartburn While probiotics are gaining attention, products that offer relief from indigestion still are essential. Heartburn is an especially common type of indigestion. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. “While it’s a common issue for older people, it’s now become a growing problem for younger adults,” said MaryEllen Tefft, vice president of sales for food, drug and mass at Boiron USA, based in Newtown Square, Pa. Boiron’s homeopathic medicines contain plant-based and natural active ingredients, which are attractive to shoppers looking for natural alternatives in digestive products. Consumers also are looking for safe products,

as the Food and Drug Administration in April had manufacturers withdraw all prescription and OTC ranitidine drugs from the market, part of an ongoing investigation of a contaminant known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine. Retailers can capitalize on current trends by offering both traditional and natural products as shoppers expect to find natural items in mainstream retailers. “If these consumers cannot find these products in their local retail outlet, there is a risk of losing them to other retailers or e-commerce,” Tefft said. Stores need to make sure they allocate the right amount of shelf space and merchandise the category in a way that makes sense to shop, according to Joseph Juliano, vice president of marketing at Prestige Consumer Healthcare in Tarrytown, N.Y. Prestige offers a wide range of digestive brands, including Tagamet, Fleet laxative, Dramamine, and antigas brands Phazyme and Beano. “This includes better educational information for the category since we know there is still a fair amount of confusion as to which OTC remedies treat which symptoms,” he said. Juliano also said that the digestive health category is driven by two different trends. One is the aging population and the increase in obesity, leading to digestive challenges and lifestylerelated diseases. The other is consumer adoption of a more preventive approach to digestive health. “We believe these two very different trends are driving the more significant growth we are seeing in the digestive health category and expect both will continue to fuel growth moving forward,” Juliano said. dsn


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Hair to Stay Hair care gets a boost during COVID-19, but will it last? By Seth Mendelson


ill consumers stay the course now that things appear to be returning to a new normal across much of the country? Over the past three months, mass market retailers saw a spike in most segments of hair care as salons, beauty supply stores and specialty beauty retailers were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now marketers and merchants hope the habits consumers adopted during their time sheltering at home will stick and the category


will continue to produce robust volume. A pipeline of new products from multinational brands and niche marketers also is in the works to maintain the sales bounce. Not surprisingly, hair color sales rocketed, but data also supports acceleration of sales of at-home grooming tools, shampoo/ conditioner combo packs and relaxer/perm kits. Many of these purchases were out of necessity as consumers couldn’t seek professional services. Spate, which uses data science and publicly

available consumer data to identify shifts in consumer behavior, also noted acceleration of interest in hair dyes, scalp treatments, root touch-ups, hair masks, hair loss products, hair extension items and hair tools during the tracked period from February 19 to April 19. Trendalytics, which scours Google data, also noted hair clipper searches skyrocketed 642%, while “holographic� hair search rose 555%. As salons start reopening across the country, all eyes are on the impact on hair care sales at retail. The experts at Spate are laser-focused


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on what will stick and help create the new beauty basket. Hair color could remain DIY, according to Spate’s Olivier Zimmer, because it can save money. Mary Dillon, Ulta Beauty’s CEO, said in the retailer’s recent quarterly earnings call that consumers are booking salon services “several weeks out.” Yet in the same call, she said COVID-19 changed the way beauty consumers shop, noting a shift to wellness and such categories as hair color, hair care and removal. Dillon also said the crisis “accelerated” some trends, such as the reduction in the use of makeup, but that hair, skin and wellness remained strong. Esi Eggleston Bracey, executive vice president and COO of North American beauty and personal care at Unilever, said her company


introduced social support for advice on its brands, including Dove, Shea Moisture and Suave as people sheltered at home, especially with advice for caring for textured and curly hair. “I’m confident DIY habits will persist post-quarantine for convenience, affordability, and for people who have discovered new skills,” she said in an email. Psyche Terry, the founder of hair care brand Urban Hydration, shared similar thoughts. “I think more people will be doing their hair at home now that they realize that they are powerful and creative enough to achieve the results they are looking for,” she said. “I think customers are, however, more price conscious than ever before in their hair care items. Customers in hair care are looking for even more value than before.”

Terry also said that Urban Hydration responded by creating a value-conscious collection of hair care that is exactly like it’s salon-inspired care at JCPenney InStyle Salons. “It is formulated exactly the same and achieves the same great results, and now is more economically affordable for OTC customers that shop at drug and valueconscious stores,” she said. To date, two types of consumer behaviors in the markets where salons are open have emerged. Some are first in line, while others are still skittish with safety concerns. Deborah Weinswig of Coresight Research said people put seeing friends ahead of salon visits and shopping. She said her company’s research shows only one in three want to get a haircut in the first month of opening. With DIY hair coloring on the rise (custom color e-commerce site Madison Reed reported a 750% increase in sales), retailers have seen brisk sales of traditional products like Clairol’s Nice ‘n Easy and L’Oréal Paris’ Preference, but also root touch-ups like Color Wow and vibrant hues like pink from Splat. Influencers dubbed the bold colors “quarantine hair.” Hoping to keep relationships solidified, professional stylists offered clients their custom


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colors to do at home. The future is up for grabs, according to Mintel Research, which suggests people feel more comfortable washing and cutting hair, but might want to return to professionals for color. Yet mass-market retailers, who welcomed the uptick in hair color after several years of declines or flat sales, hope to at least get some converts. According to Mintel, consumers are washing their hair as often if not more since they have more time than they did before they were forced to stay home. However, IRI data suggested they might be looking for better value as combo pack sales jumped almost 10% in mass doors for the three months ended April 19. Mintel also singled out a jump in dry shampoo volume. The closure of beauty supply stores altered some of the habits in the multicultural market. Consumers are shifting to mass stores for needs they previously may have secured at a beauty supply store or a salon. “We’re seeing a bump. There are fewer options,” said Michael Jeffreys, national sales manager at J. Strickland & Co., based in Olive Branch, Miss. Another interesting movement he’s witnessed is demand for proven products, such as its Sulfur8 brand, which he said is posting strong double-digit gains. Jeffreys said his company has recently seen consumers experiencing more ingredientcaused hair issues, including psoriasis, seborrhea and dandruff. He attributed the


big gains in Sulfur8 for its track record in resolving those issues. Sulfur8 is sold in such chains as Walmart, Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy and Rite Aid. “We are the leaders in medicated in multicultural,” he said. Bruce Kramer, senior vice president at Wahl Clipper, based in Sterling, Ill., said that consumers are starting to feel more confident doing their own hair grooming. His company helped by offering a Haircuts 101 tutorial. Household penetration of Wahl’s products zoomed from 48% to 60%. “I believe this category growth will abate to some degree, but still level off at a rate higher than before we entered this time,” he said. Beyond feeling more adept, he added, consumers want to save money. Hair growth formulas, industry observers said, also seem to be on the rise, again perhaps since people have time to apply the products. Thick Head is one brand showing growth even without a major marketing push, according to the company. Hair care brands are not backing off of launches to keep the momentum going. The Mane Choice, which was recently added to the MAV Beauty Brands’ growing portfolio, just introduced a collection called POW, which stands for Products Obsessively Working. One of the cornerstones of the range is a deep treatment mask. The Mane Choice also added Ulta Beauty to its distribution list. Strength was a big theme even before

COVID-19 hit and has gained steam throughout. Carol’s Daughter, the L’Oréal-owned brand, was on top of the trend with its new Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Collection. Adding volume also is top of mind. New from Kao’s John Freida is the Volume Lift Collection that adds fullness to finer hair, with lightweight formulas that won’t hold it down. Urban Hydration has a Honey Hair Care collection in the works for 2021, which includes repairing shampoo, deep conditioner, daily moisturizer and detangling spray. Wet Brush launched The WetBrush BreakFree Collection at a time right for consumers who are willing to experiment with styling while at home. While people might not need to dress below the waist for a Zoom meeting, they do want their tresses to look professional. The collection includes new shapes and a proprietary complex that infuses strand-boosting keratin and biotin back into hair, according to the company. Newly minted ambassador Justine Marian helps promote the range. Conair is trying to make it easy for consumers to find the right tools for DIY hair care at home. Under the banner of its Home Essentials Collection, the appliance giant pulls together its array of The Knot — an all-in-one dryer brush, a bonnet hair dryer, a 20-piece men’s hair cutting kit, and women’s wet/dry shavers, among other items. dsn


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For skin that may be lacking when it comes to getting a glow, Drug Store News has highlighted several products that do just that. From toners and elixirs to oils, there’s something here at various price points that will give skin that extra boost.

For lackluster skin that needs a million dollar treatment — sans the price — the solution is simply Miss Spa Skin Care Rich Face Illuminating Creme Mask. Containing pure gold and power peptides to leave skin with a glowing finish, the mask also helps renew skin cells and slow down the depletion of collagen to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It retails for $14.99 and can be found on Miss-Spa.com and Ulta.com.

For a lightweight oil that quickly absorbs into the skin and also brightens, Physicians Formula Organic Wear Bright Booster Oil Elixir is the answer. Formulated with a blend of such natural ingredients as Mongongo oil and rhodiola rosea extract, which promotes energy-boosted skin, the elixir also works to nourish while also keeping skin soft and hydrated without using any harsh chemicals. It retails for $15.99 and can be found at drug stores and mass merchandisers nationwide, as well as on PhysiciansFormula.com.

Get a dose of collagen and skin brightening with the Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C+ Tri-Peptide Protecting & Serum. Featuring a high Brightening Serum concentration of vitamin C and tripeptides, this serum aims to brighten and diminish the look of dark spots, while also giving skin a visibly firmer appearance. It currently retails for $24.99 at Target.com

Say goodbye to hyperpigmentation and hello to a weekend glow with the Versed Weekend Glow Solution. Featuring AHAs Daily Brightening Solution to renew skin, azelaic acid to exfoliate, kojic acid to tone, vitamin C to brighten, and bearberry extract to help fade spots, this toner helps get rid of lingering post-breakout spots. It also is safe for daily use after cleansing, according to the company. It retails for $17.99 on VersedSkin.com.


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Food and Drug Retailers Lead the Way Back Retailers have honed their skills in crisis operations and must retain these capabilities for the future By David Orgel

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


ost people know the nursery rhyme about Humpty Dumpty, who had a big fall off a wall. No one could figure out how to put Humpty back together again. Everyone’s now struggling to put the pieces back together as the U.S. economy opens up from the pandemic. Those pieces won’t come together in exactly the same way as before, which is fine, as long as we avoid a Humpty Dumpty outcome. Food and drug retailers are doing their part, and then some, to lead the way back. Retailers were instrumental in getting the country through the coronavirus crisis. They stayed open when almost everything else shut down. Now, they are helping to point the way back for society, with strategies that include expanded virus testing, gradual phase ins to normal operations, support for shuttered local businesses, and moves to share the best practices they’ve learned. In fact, these retailers have picked up a new skill set during the pandemic in being ahead of the game at every stage of a protracted crisis. This is a capability they should hold onto in the future because it’s impossible to know what’s ahead. Here are some of the most notable ways food and drug retailers have been out front in leading the way back. Phasing in Regular Operations Many retailers began gradually expanding hours and reopening some departments shuttered during the crisis, while maintaining smart safety measures. In one example, Walgreens returned to regular operating hours for most stores in early May, but held back in some cases in the busiest locations. Expanding Tests Drug store chains, including CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens, expanded free coronavirus testing services, while Health Mart pharmacies offered free COVID-19 test collection in certain rural areas. There was no mistaking the point that retailers aimed to make a difference in helping


society open up. “We all want life to return to normal, and one way to help is more COVID-19 testing, even in rural areas,” said Nancy Lyons, chief pharmacist at Health Mart. Supporting Local Businesses Food and drug retail executives have understood the importance of boosting local businesses shuttered by the pandemic. Supermarkets began selling local restaurant meals in their stores to provide a lifeline to the hard hit foodservice sector. Retailers found other ways to shore up local businesses, as well. The Giant Company, part of Ahold Delhaize, took an innovative approach by awarding some 110 emergency grants totaling $500,000 to small businesses in Pennsylvania’s food supply chain. Boosting Capabilities Retailers experienced a surge in online shopping during the pandemic, and many weren’t fully prepared for the extra stress on capabilities. Some retailers already are moving to expand services and capacity. Walmart, for example, sped up a rollout of its Express Delivery, a service that delivers products to homes in less than two hours. “COVID-19 has prompted us to launch Express Delivery even faster so that we’re here for our customers today and in the future,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer. Sharing What They’ve Learned The highly competitive retail business doesn’t usually share its secrets. But in the midst of a pandemic, retailers shared information for the greater good. A standout example was Kroger, which unveiled “A Blueprint for Businesses,” a strikingly comprehensive document that shares best practices so that other businesses can reopen and operate safely. Kudos to food and drug retailers for staying one step ahead throughout this crisis, and helping to support everyone else. They will need to remain agile in the face of all the uncertainties that lie ahead. dsn


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• 2 oz. squeeze top bottle - perfect for impulse purchase • Infused with aloe vera and vitamin E to keep hands feeling soft • Tear-top PDQ / inner-pack designed for turn-key checklane or in-line merchandising • Order without limits - 30mm units ready to ship, with on-going production topping 10mm units weekly

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For the tireless, the selfless, the brave

You mean the world Whether you are working on the front lines or are the last line of defense in the fight against COVID-19, you are making a world of difference for so many. Thank you.

bd.com/PharmacyPartner BD and the BD Logo are trademarks of Becton, Dickinson and Company. Š 2020 BD. All rights reserved.

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