DSN-July 2020

Page 1

Volume 42 No. 7

JULY 2020




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JULY 2020

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Vol. 42 No. 7 DrugStoreNews.com

FEATURES 10 Industry News


26 50 Years of GMDC|Retail Tomorrow


How the industry association works to keep its members ahead of the constantly changing curve

36 Who’s Who in CBD Breaking down the leading companies in the CBD space

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

45 Products to Watch


46 Cover Story: Immunization Nation Why pharmacist-administered immunizations are the country’s public health ace in the hole

COLUMNS 8 Editor’s Note 18 One-on-One

with i-Health’s Brittany Allen

Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews

70 Personal Care

24 Counter Talk

How personal care companies are courting customers by solving their pandemic-related beauty woes

with Bringg’s Mike Weber

62 Counter Talk

with VaxServe’s Ken Paulino



22 One-on-One

with KNAPP’s Brian Sullivan

20 One-on-One


with AmerisourceBergen’s Rich Tremonte


74 Last Word with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel



54 Generics

64 Sexual Wellness

Leading generics companies and how they’re driving value for the healthcare system


The days of the underwhelming condom and lube assortment are over — here’s why

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. 7, July 2020. Copyright © 2020 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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More than Essentials With day-to-day necessities covered, retail can expand its focus again By Seth Mendelson


couldn’t find an appropriate greeting card anywhere, and believe me I looked everywhere. In mid-June, I searched high and low for a few greeting cards for college and high school graduations, as well as one for a birthday party. Frankly, it was easier finding toilet paper in the middle of April than it was finding these cards in the month of June. Retailers said that suppliers were sending fewer cards their way due to the pandemic. Seth Mendelson The same thing happened with cashews. Suddenly, and Editor in Chief/ for reasons unknown, they have pretty much disappeared Associate Publisher from retail stores, at least in my area of the country. In another example, and please do not tell my son, but I overheard him say that there was a slim selection of condoms in his favorite store. And, to me that sums up the business of mass retailing during the COVID-19 pandemic: To some degree, some parts of the mass retail industry have panicked. Yes, the industry did a bang-up job with keeping the public fed and well medicated over the course of this crisis. Yes, stores stayed open and as well stocked as possible, easing consumer fears and concerns. And, yes, in the end, there was enough toilet paper and paper towels for everyone. But, the industry — not necessarily the retailers — lost track of some things. As a whole, we failed to realize that other parts of our lives have gone on, and they did not keep up with the demand. So let’s be clear here. I want the opportunity to purchase greeting cards, cashews, condoms and other items during the few planned trips I — or my son — now make to a mass retail outlet. From my point of view, consumers need to be pushed back to their level of normalcy, and having as many products as possible on store shelves will go a long way to helping them feel comfortable in a retailer’s store. Now, it is time to go back to work. The pandemic is far from over and it is crucial that we abide by all the rules to help get through the next few months safely. But that does not mean that the industry cannot start restocking their shelves with the products their shoppers want, need and desire. dsn

Now, it is time to go back to work. The pandemic is far from over and it is crucial that we abide by all the rules to help get through the next few months safely. But that does not mean that the industry cannot start restocking their shelves with the products their shoppers, want, need and desire.


An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Senior Vice President, Publisher John Kenlon (516) 650-2064, jkenlon@ensembleiq.com Editor in Chief /Associate Publisher Seth Mendelson (212) 756-5160, smendelson@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL Managing Editor David Salazar (212) 756-5114, dsalazar@ensembleiq.com Senior Editor Sandra Levy (845) 893-9573, slevy@ensembleiq.com Desk Editor Maria Manliclic (212) 756-5093, mmanliclic@ensembleiq.com Online Editor Gisselle Gaitan (212) 756-5138, ggaitan@ensembleiq.com SALES & BUSINESS Northeast Manager Alex Tomas (212) 756-5155, atomas@ensembleiq.com Regional Manager Steven Werner (312) 961-7162 swerner@ensembleiq.com Beauty Sales and Marketing Manager Delaney Renker (616)-644-4495 drenker@ensembleiq.com Production Manager Jackie Batson (224) 632-8183, jbatson@ensembleiq.com PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President, Production Derek Estey (877) 687-7321 x 1004, destey@ensembleiq.com Creative Director Colette Magliaro cmagliaro@ensembleiq.com AUDIENCE LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti 914-309-3378 SUBSCRIBER SERVICES/CUSTOMER CARE TOLL-FREE: 1-877-687-7321 FAX: 1-888-520-3608 contact@drugstorenews.com REPRINTS & PERMISSIONS Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com or (877) 652-5295.

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


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Healing Solutions’ Sanitizers Focus on Quality When it comes to the hand sanitizer category, officials at Healing Solutions said they think they are covering all the bases. The Phoenixbased company is offering a premium hand sanitizer in two SKUs: a 2-oz. bottle priced at $2.49 and a 16.9-oz. bottle priced at $6.99. The smaller product is available in a 12-count carton that can be placed at the front end for impulse sales. The hand sanitizer is 75% alcohol and has aloe vera and vitamin E to combat issues with dry hands. “What makes our product unique is the quality we put into it,” said Jason Kern, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Healing Solutions. “There are a lot of hand sanitizers flooding the marketplace right now, and quality is becoming a much larger issue with many retailers because they are putting these items into their stores and don’t know where they come from. We are manufacturing and distributing our products right. We are here for the long term.” Every batch of Healing Solution product is tested three times during the production process to ensure top quality, company officials said. Product availability also is a major issue for retailers as consumer demand increases for sanitizers, Kern said. Healing Solutions is producing 10 million units a week and has millions of units available at its Phoenix warehouse for any retailer looking to partner with its team.


Urban Therapy Wins DSN/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award Urban Therapy won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its Twisted Sista hair products at ECRM’s Hair Care & Multicultural Hair virtual session in June. The product was selected from dozens of entries submitted by participating suppliers. Buyers were able to evaluate each entry and cast their votes based on product packaging and product innovation in a newly launched section of the ECRM Connect platform. Moving forward, each Health & Beauty Care virtual session will include a Drug Store News-branded Buyers’ Choice Award section. “We’re thrilled to continue the Buyers’ Choice Award with Drug Store News virtually as we have done in person for years,” said Craig Chmielowicz, senior vice president of health and beauty care at ECRM. “Textured-hair solutions are very much in demand, and Urban Therapy’s Twisted Sista line has the combination of innovation and great packaging that truly stands out. Congratulations to the Urban Therapy team.” The manufacturer tapped into the textured hair revolution with a salon-inspired hair care range from London aimed at delivering professional salon-performance results from the comfort of the consumer’s home — all at an affordable price. The company is Black owned, managed and operated, with 66% of its team made up of women. The Urban Therapy Twisted Sista collection is infused with such ingredients as coconut, avocado and almond oils to maintain hair’s moisture, curl definition, frizz control and shine. “The virtual ECRM program was terrific,” said Randy Zeno, CEO of Urban Therapy. “Given the current environment, the ECRM team did an awesome job of making the pivot to a virtual format. Their hands-on approach in turn made it easy for us to pivot, as well. It was a great way for us to connect, efficiently meet decision makers in the industry, gain category insights, and still achieve superior customer alignment with current and new potential partners.”

Arm & Hammer Unveils Talc-Free Foot Powder Arm & Hammer has added a new way for consumers to keep their feet feeling fresh. The brand is launching its Talc-Free Odor Control Foot Powder, which combines its proprietary Fresh Guard technology with its baking soda. The powder, which contains odor-neutralizing ingredients to provide foot odor protection, looks to absorb moisture and keep feet feeling soft for all-day freshness, the company said. Packaged in an easy-to-carry bottle with a precision dispenser, Arm & Hammer’s Talc-Free Odor Control Foot Powder currently retails for $6.99 at Target and on Amazon.com.


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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

To order now, please contact: Kevin Lasecki (480) 487-4650 | Kevin.L@HealingSolutions.com * Source: Internal product testing; competitive product labels and website information

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Owen Mumford Underscores Safety with Unifine SafeControl Owen Mumford’s Unifine safety pen needles are getting an upgrade. The Marietta, Ga.-based company has launched Unifine SafeControl, which is designed to protect against accidental needlestick injuries and provide certainty in delivering the full medication dose. Unifine SafeControl features a push tab that offers one-handed control of the safety mechanism after injection. It also provides visual and audible confirmation and dual protection, the company said. “Healthcare professionals and patients across the country trust Unifine pen needles, and we are thrilled to introduce an innovative safety pen needle unlike anything currently available today,” said Jim Lanza, vice president of sales at Owen Mumford. A study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection found that injection pen use is correlated with higher rates of needlestick injuries among healthcare professionals who give injections. “We’ve had conversations with hundreds of healthcare professionals using first generation safety pen needles to understand common injection processes and product improvement opportunities,” said Travis Shaw, executive vice president at Owen Mumford. “This feedback we incorporated into our latest innovation. Overwhelmingly, they reported that Unifine SafeControl was safe, easy to use, and provided user control. All users felt confident the correct dose was delivered to the patient. We’re proud to be able to help improve healthcare professionals’ ability to better treat their patients.” Unifine SafeControl is available in two sizes of 30-gauge needle — 5 mm and 8 mm.

Clean n’ Natural Soaps Show Users How to Wash Clean n’ Natural is introducing How to Wash, a brand of hand soaps focused on providing a distinct solution to the challenges presented by COVID-19. Company officials said that this hand soap collection is the first of its kind to focus on being informative, as well as providing a purpose. Each product label features an easy to understand step-by-step guide, adopted from the World Health Organization, showing users proper protocol for handwashing. With illustrations and words, the packaging provides washing instructions to minimize the spread of germs and maximize user health. “We know the importance of proper handwashing and good hygiene, said Melinda Rubin, founder and president of the company. “Before the current crisis, many of the U.S population did not know how to properly wash their hands. We


wanted to make a difference, so we created a product that serves as both a public service announcement to educate consumers on proper washing protocol and a way to clean skin with high quality cleansing products — thus How to Wash was born.” Developed using naturally derived ingredients and essential oils, and sold in recyclable packaging, these formulations are clean and mild enough for the repeated use required for good hygiene. Infused with coconutderived cleansers, vitamin E and antioxidant-rich moisturizers, these products protect and also hydrate hands. How to Wash is free from sulfates, SLS, parabens, DEA/TEA, triclosan, SLES, added dyes and formaldehydedonating preservatives. The cruelty-free soaps — in ocean air, lavender fields, fresh lemon and fragrance free varieties — come in 12 fl.-oz. bottles with a suggested retail price of $5.99.


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The path to purchase has become inďŹ nite. We map the journey and give you back control.

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New CBD Line Aims to B Great Officials at New York-based B Great said they are offering a curated line of CBD products that offer “best in class for quality, taste, transparency and trust.” In fact, according to company CEO Barbara Goodstein, the 13-SKU product line will stand out for its predictability and trustworthiness with consumers. “We put a lot of effort in making sure our products cut through the noise in the CBD category,” Goodstein said. “Consumers don’t want ordinary. They want great, and with all the steps we take, consumers can trace the ingredients in these products from start to finish. We know consumers have a lot of choices when it comes to CBD, but those choices blend together in a sea of question marks about how the products are made and whether or not they are effective.” Goodstein said that B Great’s products are all non-GMO, made in the United States at FDAregistered facilities, third-party tested, and made from full-spectrum whole hemp. Products in the

line include a relief and recovery cream, lip defense moisturizer, hemp balm, gummies, antioxidant, shave serum, and tincture hemp oil. Price points range from $13.99 to $62.99. “Our specially formulated drinkable shots are not only effective but great tasting as well,” Goodstein said. “Our chewable gummies provide easy stress relief, while the hemp relief and recovery cream is designed to take ache relief to the next level.”

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The new “Care and Concern” line offers the perfect sentiment for this difficult time. Let the special people in your life know how much you care about them by sending the “biggest socially-distanced hug” their way.

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Post-COVID Commerce: The Retail Reset By Leon Nicholas, vice president of retail insights and solutions, WestRock


he COVID-19 pandemic has been a watershed moment, leaving no community untouched and unleashing societal changes that will redefine our way of life. Commerce — both shoppers and shopping alike — will never be the same. Some retailers, especially those that enable trip optimization, will experience renewed shopper loyalty; some attitudes, such as the focus on hygiene and sanitation, are new table stakes; and e-commerce adoption, especially leveraging stores for fulfillment, will continue to accelerate past previous forecasts. Even as new and accelerated trends have made the future less certain, the deep recession that has accompanied the COVID-19 crisis promises to alter consumer behavior even further. Though it is difficult to anticipate how long and severe the downturn will be and whether further COVID-19 outbreaks will ensue, the contours of post-COVID commerce dynamics have emerged in ways we can plan against. These dynamics include reinforcing integrity, emphasizing efficiency and driving new terms of shopper engagement. Let’s consider each in turn.

Reinforcing Integrity Marketing and merchandising for the foreseeable future must reflect the broad notion of integrity, reflecting and reinforcing “trust equity” that shoppers feel toward manufacturers and retailers. This equity has developed over the past few months as select brands and retailers earned a reputation for “being there” to meet the needs of shoppers during the pandemic — loyalty toward them is likely to continue. How will that loyalty continue to be earned? First, on a practical but essential level, retailers will need to demonstrate strict and visible adherence to hygiene standards in stores. Similarly, brands associated in any way with health and hygiene — from vitamins to household cleaning — will benefit disproportionately, requiring more shelf and promotional focus.



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Shoppers’ bias for integrity will also express itself in their commitment to brands and ingredients that convey quality. Particularly in a recession, where value-for-spend is a priority, this will mean a preference for national brands (likely on promotion) and private labels. The former is associated with quality and reliability, and the latter represents a value proposition that is increasingly scoring well on quality attributes. In either case, trusted ingredients (think bleach versus essential oils) will be favored. Messaging tone will matter. Shoppers will respond favorably to messages that are authentic, reinforcing candor and straightforward value and values. This should not exclude humor; however, the tone should not be frivolous in light of the circumstances we have all undergone. Practical fun that reinforces community, family, and self-affirmation is likely to be more resonant.

Emphasizing Efficiency The second post-COVID dynamic centers on efficiency, and this principle applies to both shoppers and retailers. For shoppers, they will seek an enhanced “return on time,” expressed as a preference for “needs” categories over “wants,” for functional over discretionary goods. Expect greater shopper scrutiny to reduce nonessential purchases and greater retailer creativity to help shoppers define more products as “needs.” Shoppers have also become more resilient over the past several months, feeling more confident in do-it-yourself behavior across a number of categories, including cooking, health care and home improvement. Merchandising that affirms this sense of shopper self-efficacy will convert more shoppers. Importantly, shopper efficiency will occur through optimizing the trip itself — fewer trips to bigger/ multipurpose stores with bigger baskets. In a reversal of recent trends toward multiple, smaller basket trips, today’s shopper is more likely to consolidate. This will require stores to focus on solution-selling that enables the shopper to get the most out of her trip investment in a single location, likely driving multi-category promotions focusing on meal, health and cleaning solutions. Online bundling and other subscription-based solutions that “package” purchasing for occasions will also benefit from the drive for shopper efficiency. Retailers will emphasize efficiency just as much as shoppers. Expect a surge in automation over the coming year, deployed from the backend (delivery unloading) to the center store (inventory tracking, hygiene) to the front end (self-checkout). Efficient inventory deployment will also be at the top of the agenda, as just-intime supply chains give way to more widely distributed inventory. Importantly, this may mean fewer SKUs (with more holding power in retail ready packaging (RRPs) on shelves. The question of which products have earned shelf space will become more urgent as both shopper and retailer efficiency converge with the acceleration of click-and-collect, ship-from-store and subscription services. Until this point, all primary packaging had been designed to be shelf-ready, and all secondary packaging designed to ship to stores for shelf merchandising. These new commerce platforms will effectively turn stores into fulfillment centers,

Though it is difficult to anticipate how long and severe the downturn will be and whether further COVID-19 outbreaks will ensue, the contours of post-COVID commerce dynamics have emerged in ways we can plan against. These dynamics include reinforcing integrity, emphasizing efficiency and driving new terms of shopper engagement. with packaging appropriate to the point of fulfillment — curbside, lockers and shoppers’ front doorsteps. This transformation of the store to a fulfillment “node” will constitute the biggest change in brick-and-mortar since the arrival of the hypermarket.

Driving Engagement The final dynamic considers how the shopper prefers to engage retailers and manufacturers. The acceleration of e-commerce will lead to more rapid investments that leverage the platform beyond the “online shelf.” E-commerce packaging is also poised to extend beyond the brown box to serve as a marketing medium on both the outside and inside of the package; indeed, “connected packages” will act as portals, scanned by shoppers for a more customized engagement on mobile devices. Mobile devices will be critical in stores as well, mediating between shoppers and products on shelves and displays in a more “touch-free” environment that will simultaneously be more engaging. Speaking of stores, the merchandising “bar” has risen over the past several months. Expect a division between functional merchandising that meets greater demand for necessities and engaging merchandising that reinforces differentiation. That former will emphasize saving the shopper time and money for when she “does” shopping; the latter will provide engagement for when she “goes” shopping. Both will have to work harder as e-commerce growth continues apace. The post-COVID retail environment will require determination and agility to navigate. The winners will find that managing messaging tone, driving efficiency and adjusting to new ways of engagement will pay dividends. This period will likely reinforce a truism: Smart shoppers will matter more than smart stores and packages. Those smart shoppers are all members of the post-COVID generation, and they await our innovation. dsn Leon Nicholas is vice president of retail insights and solutions at Atlanta-based WestRock.


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Keeping the Supply Chain Strong How KNAPP’s systems can help pharmacies


rian Sullivan, senior systems sales manager of healthcare solutions at KNAPP, tells Drug Store News that his company can help retailers through its automated fulfillment systems. Drug Store News: Tell us about KNAPP. Brian Sullivan: KNAPP is an Austrian-based company that is a global leader in automated fulfillment systems. We have been serving the healthcare industry since the 1960s. Our reach extends across the breadth of the healthcare supply chain from the manufacturers and wholesalers to the centralized and retail operations of our pharmacy customers. We serve our U.S. and Canadian customers from our North American headquarters near Atlanta. DSN: How can retailers better manage their supply chain? BS: We are involved in a number of initiatives that our retail customers are either operating now or have in the development stages: • Centralized pharmacy operations: Whether for central filling customer orders for stores, mail, long-term care or specialty, this trend continues to grow. KNAPP has been in this space for over 15 years and provides one of the most automated solutions available for our retail customers. When it makes sense, these systems offset the margin erosion of DIR and GER fees by reducing the in-store costs and staffing requirements for prescription fulfillment, consolidating inventory and improving their accuracy through automated prescription fulfillment; • DSCSCA: KNAPP has been working with our manufacturer and wholesaler customers since 2013 to meet the requirements of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act automatically with our vision technologies. Retailers are just starting to engage in this process to meet their obligations by the 2023 deadline. KNAPP is


Brian Sullivan, senior systems sales manager of healthcare solutions, KNAPP

using our learnings to help them automate these processes; and Micro-fulfillment centers: We have seen a significant move towards microfulfillment centers on both the grocery and the pharmacy sides of our customers’ businesses. This was initially being adapted to optimize costs structures and better serve customers in the digital market. This has accelerated since COVID to provide greater opportunities for digital ordering of prescriptions and OTC meds with reduced touches for cost and safety. KNAPP’s Apostore retail pharmacy systems use digital ordering married to 24/7 automated dispensing systems to help meet these needs.

DSN: What are the challenges to retailers? How can you help? BS: They are many. Some, I have alluded to already, are addressed in the regulatory fees and the upcoming compliance requirements that the pharmacies face. One specific challenge that

we see is the ongoing technician shortage. This existing challenge ballooned with the surge of prescription orders at the beginning of COVID. The shortage and compensation pressures that our retail customers are seeing has accelerated their need to automate their processes. KNAPP is assisting their efforts in multiple ways. Our centralized pharmacy systems significantly reduce the technician staffing requirements and associated costs for the retail pharmacies. Maintenance medications are already supplied to the retail store as complete orders, so the fewer technicians are required and are able to spend more time interfacing with patients. Additionally, KNAPP’s Apostore automated storage and retrieval systems minimize the time and steps required of the technicians to fill prescription and OTC orders. Additionally, because all medication is dispensed first to expire, first out, the cost of expired medications is reduced. DSN: What have the effects of COVID-19 been and how are you reacting? BS: We have been lucky. Because KNAPP is part of the healthcare supply chain, we were able to keep moving and accelerate most of the projects that we have been working on. Our customers have been extraordinarily challenged by the spikes in orders and are determined not to get caught in this situation again going forward. Automation projects have increased their size and scope to assure greater redundancy and coverage for disaster recovery. Centralized pharmacies that might have targeted 60,000 prescriptions per day have increased to 80,000 or 90,000 prescriptions daily. Our smaller micro-pharmacy projects have increased from 20 to 25 locations. The move towards touchless, digital ordering, as well as off-hours shopping has many of our customers accelerating implementation of the hub and spoke microfulfillment centers with automated dispensing in our Apostore systems. dsn


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KNAPP Healthcare Solutions Digital Orders. Touchless Delivery. In today’s competitive environment KNAPP leads the industry; from manufacturing and wholesale distribution to our mail order, central fill, LTC, specialty and retail pharmacy systems it’s important to have an innovative partner with a history of success. Leveraging our expertise in micro-fulfillment centers, pharmacy and the latest regulatory compliance, KNAPP can deliver fully automated dispensing of medications for your patients with 24-7 access, hub and spoke distribution, digital integration and a touchless experience.

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Enabling Vaccinations VaxServe provides education and tech resources for pharmacies offering vaccines to patients


vaccines in protecting public health. To this end, VaxServe provides pharmacies with consumer focused educational resources about the impact of vaccine preventable diseases, including potential complications in older adults and other select groups, as well as clinical information about vaccine safety and efficacy. With these resources, pharmacies are able to help facilitate consumer understanding about the role of vaccines in protecting public health.

s a specialty vaccines distributor with expertise in providing health data and technology solutions to the healthcare industry, Vaxserve helps retail pharmacies manage their immunization efforts. Drug Store News spoke to Ken Paulino, head of Vaxserve at Sanofi Pasteur, about the company’s capabilities. Drug Store News: Tell us about VaxServe and what the company does. Ken Paulino: Through a comprehensive and customer-centric approach, VaxServe works with retail pharmacies and other large, organized customers to help them successfully manage the clinical, financial and operational aspects of their community immunization programs. This year marks two decades of VaxServe’s partnership with pharmacies across the country, working together toward the shared goal of improving public health through vaccination. DSN: What vaccines does your portfolio include, and what new vaccines are available? KP: Sanofi Pasteur manufactures a robust portfolio of innovative vaccines to help prevent the following diseases: cholera, dengue, diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type B invasive disease, influenza (seasonal and pandemic), Japanese encephalitis, meningococcal disease, pertussis, polio, rabies, tetanus, typhoid fever, and yellow fever. VaxServe distributes Sanofi Pasteur vaccines, as well as vaccine products to help prevent hepatitis A; hepatitis B; human papillomavirus; measles, mumps and rubella; pneumococcal disease; rotavirus; shingles; and varicella. In November 2019, Sanofi announced the approval of Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine. This vaccine will be available in fall 2020, in time for the 2020-21 flu season.


Ken Paulino, head of VaxServe, Sanofi Pasteur

DSN: What resources are available to educate retailers about vaccines? KP: VaxServe offers multiple resources to keep retail pharmacists informed of the latest clinical information about vaccine products. Some examples are partnerships with professional organizations, publications and journal ads, and custom training and marketing tools to help pharmacists confidently engage in consumer discussions about vaccine safety and efficacy. VaxServe also offers point-of-service educational material specifically geared toward customers to help them make educated decisions about immunization for themselves and their families. DSN: What can retailers do to educate consumers about the importance of vaccines? KP: VaxServe has long supported retail pharmacy efforts to educate consumers about vaccine preventable disease and the importance of vaccination in protecting individual and public health. Retail pharmacies, typically with multiple locations across geographies, are well positioned to engage and educate large numbers of consumers about the role of

DSN: How will you help retailers get consumers to return to pharmacies to get vaccines, especially with influenza likely to coincide with another COVID-19 outbreak this fall? KP: As COVID-19 continues to spread, Sanofi is doing its part, which includes not only developing vaccines and treatments, but also keeping the public informed about the work underway. The company is committed to supporting patients, healthcare workers and healthcare authorities as we face this unprecedented health crisis. More information about the company’s response to COVID-19 is available on our website. DSN: What is the state of travel vaccines going forward? KP: Sanofi expects continued reduction in travel vaccines due to travel restrictions all around the world. Uptake of travel and other endemic vaccines were down due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19 in the first quarter of 2020. DSN: How do you perceive VaxServe can help retailers when a COVID-19 vaccine is available? KP: VaxServe has begun and will continue to support retail pharmacies through changes brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic. For example, VaxServe is providing point-of-service educational material to increase consumer understanding of early symptom differentiation. dsn


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Go with Your Gut Retailers can capitalize on probiotics, if they stock the right products


ellness starts from the inside out, said Brittany Allen, Adult Culturelle associate brand manager for i-Health, a division of DSM, and the manufacturer of the Culturelle line of probiotic supplements. In a conversation with Drug Store News, Allen discussed the company and how retailers can best merchandise probiotics. Drug Store News: Tell us about Culturelle. What is it and how does it work? Brittany Allen: Culturelle is a probiotic supplement that offers a range of products from adults to babies that help keep your digestive system running smoothly and supports your immune system today and tomorrow. We want you to feel your best by helping to restore the natural balance in your gut with our daily, scientifically proven probiotics. DSN: What makes this brand unique in the digestive health marketplace? BA: We believe in wellness from the inside out. We develop high-quality, safe probiotics that work. How do we do this? Culturelle products include 100% lactobacillus rhamnosus GG — a unique strain of probiotic that’s naturally sourced and scientifically proven to work in harmony with the human body. I should add that these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. With more than 1,000 scientific studies and more than 200 human clinical trials, lactobacillus rhamnosus GG has been more extensively studied than any other probiotic strain and proven safe and effective with demonstrated digestive and immune benefits for the whole family — that’s the Culturelle difference. DSN: In this environment, what can you offer the mass retail world? BA: In a time where most consumers are more


conscious than ever of the health of them and their families, we share a commitment to high-quality and effective products they can choose from based on their individual needs. Culturelle is highly trusted by the medical professional community and uses the proven probiotic backed by more than 30 years of research to be safe and efficacious.

Brittany Allen, associate brand manager for Adult Culturelle, i-Health

“In a time where most consumers are more conscious than ever of the health of them and their families, we share a commitment to high-quality and effective products they can choose from based on their individual needs. Culturelle uses the proven probiotic backed by more than 30 years of research.”

DSN: What do retailers need to do to maximize sales? BA: At Culturelle, we pride ourselves in understanding the dynamics of the shopper. Research shows shoppers have a lot to consider at shelf and are most often overwhelmed. We believe there are three tactics that could aid in maximizing sales for retailers: 1. Maximizing the shelf set: This will help shoppers navigate the options; 2. Educational production information at shelf: This will help shoppers make informed purchase decisions; and 3. SKU rationalization is where retailers can win: By going with fewer, bigger brands, consumers can more easily shop the aisle. DSN: What are you doing to help educate consumers and to drive sales to retail? BA: At Culturelle, as much as we believe we have the best product in the market for consumers, we continually look for ways to educate consumers before and after their purchase. We continue to enhance our own website, Culturelle.com, with robust content as consumers are in the consideration phase, along with dedicated TV, media and public relations efforts that help build awareness around the role probiotics play within the gut. We educate consumers at point-of-purchase and after as we have a dedicated consumer engagement team available to address any questions as it relates to probiotics and how Culturelle works. dsn


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Getting Smart About Delivery Why tech must power the future of delivery for retail pharmacy By Mike Weber

C Mike Weber, director of enterprise healthcare solutions, Bringg


OVID-19 presents a variety of challenges for the healthcare industry, many of which are no longer limited to strictly clinical settings. One of the most pressing challenges of today exists within the vast world of retail pharmacy. Like grocery stores, it has been essential for pharmacies to stay open during the pandemic. Unfortunately, keeping pharmacies open, while it may serve some consumers well, does not address the issue of servicing consumers who are too vulnerable to venture out into stores safely. There are also some segments of consumers who are simply unwilling to risk going into stores while the virus thrives. Whatever the reason, there is a significant portion of consumers who rely on deliveries to get their medications and other drug store essentials. Industries like grocery and retail have pivoted quickly to adopting top-notch delivery services to consumers. While major drug stores and pharmacies are certainly doing the same, there is still so much room for improvement in delivery services, and some of the smaller retail pharmacies and drug stores may simply not have the resources to power a legitimate delivery service for their customers. Add to this reality the fact that the Amazonoriginated concept of same-day delivery has shifted consumer expectations (to the point where they want everything now) and we are left with a bit of disconnect between what consumers want and what pharmacies can deliver, no pun intended. When medications run low, the sense of urgency in getting them refilled is arguably much stronger than the need to replenish low inventory household items. The consequences of running out of medications can even be dangerous for some people. The pandemic situation we all now face sheds even more light on these challenges, especially as people forgo in-person pharmacy pickup and begin to rely heavily on pharmacy delivery services. Further, with Amazon’s entrance into the pharmacy industry, not only does a legitimate delivery service meet the needs of many consumers during the pandemic, but it can mean the difference between

thriving and surviving as a business. Technology may be drug stores’ saving grace in helping them thrive. It can power pharmaceutical deliveries, meeting consumers’ ever-increasing expectations for the same level of customer experience they receive when they order other products to be delivered to their homes. Innovation will be pivotal in making improvements to the retail pharmacy delivery cycle, ensuring consumers everywhere have their needs met and receive their medications when and where they want them delivered. Cutting-edge delivery orchestration and management technology can eradicate some of the more pressing issues in the pharmacy delivery cycle, giving pharmacies more control and end-to-end visibility into their delivery operations, as well as improving the customer experience by increasing delivery speed and agility with real-time visibility and notifications. From a pharmacy perspective, technology can improve delivery capacity and efficiency at scale, ensuring every aspect of the delivery process is seamless and void of complications. The local drug store chain can leverage modern technology to quickly implement delivery solutions to extend reach to an entire network of millions of delivery drivers. Suddenly, with the aid of advanced machinelearning and automation technologies, lack of internal resources for delivery services are no longer a roadblock between a business and its customers. Technology has the power to democratize delivery services for pharmacies, while enabling them to keep control of their own data, essentially adding cutting edge digital capabilities to pharmacies’ existing assets and yielding actionable insights to help pharmacies make more informed decisions when it comes to their delivery cycles, such as optimizing dispatch and routing. In turn, more streamlined delivery operations help improve the customer experience, expediting deliveries while providing excellent service and realtime transparency into delivery progress. Elevating delivery in retail pharmacy ultimately helps improve health outcomes and overall satisfaction something every pharmacy should be concerned with. dsn


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Eyes on the Future Fifty years in, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow continues to help the industry adapt By David Salazar


fficials at GMDC|Retail Tomorrow want the world to know that they are hard at work reinventing the association, making sure that the next 50 years will bring as much innovation and partnership between retailers, distributors and suppliers as the first half of the century did. Colorado Springs, Colo.-based GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is turning 50 this year and, as the organization hits middle age, it is in the midst of a complete redesign,


including the launch of its Retail Tomorrow initiative that quickly has become a key component of its offering, as well as the rebranding of its annual Health, Beauty and Wellness show as the Selfcare Summit. Yet executives at the association are quick to note that their ability to keep current on industry trends — and serve as a resource to its retailer and supplier members — goes back to its founding in 1970, when food wholesalers came together to create an association focused on bringing more general merchandise and

HBW products into their stores. “I’ve always taken a great deal of pride in the fact that not only was GMDC born out of disruption, it has continually served as a disruptor for its own industry throughout its history,” said Michael Winterbottom, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s vice president of information technology and chief technology officer, who has been at the organization since 1998. “Six food wholesalers came together to collaboratively form GMDC as a response to the significant disruption in their own industry


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INDUSTRY AWARDS PROGRAM Drug Store News is proud to recognize, celebrate and honor women making outstanding contributions to their companies and the industry. More than 140 women were honored November 2019 at the inaugural Top Women in Health, Wellness and Beauty event and gala. Winners were awarded in the categories of Career Achievement, Business Excellence, Commitment to Care and Rising Stars.

Who will be honored in 2020? Visit www.dsntopwomen for updates on timing for nomination opening in the spring and details on the gala event in the fall of 2020. Follow us on

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50 YEARS OF GMDC caused by the introduction of nonfoods into the food channel.” Since then, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has been striving to keep abreast of the ongoing changes in retail — and trying to help its members come out ahead during particularly disruptive eras. “If you think about the history of the organization — coming together to enable grocery wholesale to serve their retail customers with a broader range of products — over the years, it has taken a more expansive view around insights, education, and how we provide guidance to our members on where a growth opportunity can be found,” said Patrick Spear, president and CEO of GMDC|Retail Tomorrow, who joined the organization in 2014 having spent almost 20 years with various CPG suppliers as a member. As Spear tells it, the past 20 years has seen GMDC|Retail Tomorrow working to be as nimble as possible as retail changed. “In the mid-2000s, the objective was that we take a more expansive view globally. At the time, retail was becoming more global in nature, and I think at that time the leadership of the organization was really looking to say, ‘How do we connect our members to suppliers, products, ideas and innovation from outside the United States?’” Thus, in 2007, the erstwhile General Merchandise Distributors Council became the Global Market Development Center, reflecting the organization’s global focus and interest in being a resource for its members’ development. A critical component of growing that focus into a forward-looking organization in the past several years has been due to emphasis that GMDC|Retail Tomorrow places on hearing what its members’ needs are in order to direct its efforts. “As we evolved, it was integral that we hear the voice of the member,” said Tom Duffy, vice president of member development. “How we continue to communicate where we’re going, gaining alignment with our members and having that feedback loop so we can always create value for them has always been really important.” Duffy said that in this, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is very good at community management and creating a community. As evidenced by its rebrand more than a decade ago, creating


this community has gone hand in hand with constantly evaluating the value it is delivering to its members. In the past several years, this has meant two things — changing its annual HBW conference and rebranding it as the Selfcare Summit, and launching Retail Tomorrow. Retail Tomorrow organizes City Immersions in major cities in the United States and Canada that have a penchant for innovation. The twoday immersions feature store tours and visits to cutting-edge companies, as well as events in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to attendees, á la “Shark Tank.” The beginnings of Retail Tomorrow, just like the origins of GMDC in the 1970s, were rooted in bringing retailers together around a shared goal — pre-empting and preparing for disruption. “I came in with a belief that we need to find ways to better connect the industry, retailers, suppliers, etc., to what’s coming next,” Spear said. “And that’s how Retail Tomorrow was born — a relatively simple idea. It is a GMDC initiative that connects the industry to a broader ecosystem. It could be the disruptive technologies, it could be disruptive products and it could be disruptive services that will inform the shopping experience of the future.” Ultimately, Retail Tomorrow offers “a platform to enable discovery of innovation to find the things that will create a better shopping experience, to enable retailers to think differently about products, services or technologies,” Spear said.

GMDC|Retail Tomorrow offers an assortment of insights-focused resources for members, including data portals for Nielsen and IRI data. The key component of Retail Tomorrow, according to Duffy, has been “bringing those insights to life.” The interactive element of Retail Tomorrow’s City Immersions also brought back learnings and features to GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s two annual conferences, among them the entrepreneur pitches, added to conferences as “Mic Drop,” which Duffy said “has become a core component of the discovery that retailers and wholesalers find exceptionally stimulating and exciting, and efficient for them to use.” Adding new features to existing meetings was part of a larger overhaul of its HBW event, which it relaunched as Selfcare Summit last year. Spear said that its creation was driven by the macro trends associated with the larger healthcare ecosystem after the Affordable Care Act, in which insurance deductibles increased and consumers have turned to at-home methods of protecting their health and remedying certain conditions.


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50 YEARS OF GMDC “All of our health-and-wellness categories — and for that matter, many of our merchandise categories — fit directly into this notion of selfcare,” Spear said. “In 2019, when we launched the Selfcare Summit, we did so with a goal to reimagine how our industry thinks about the role they play with consumer health care.” The Selfcare Summit is designed to help GMDC|Retail Tomorrow members capitalize on the strengths of the industry. “I really look at our retailers as ideally situated to help with self-care needs of consumers, and that’s something I think presents a tremendous opportunity moving forward,” Spear said. “It’s something that hasn’t been easily replicated holistically with the pure-play e-commerce players.” Duffy, whose team managed to make the Selfcare Summit overhaul happen in just 10 months, said that it reflects a subtle but important change in the focus of the event — and the association by extension. “We were historically focused only on the retail part of the business,” he said. “But what we did strategically is to say to ourselves, ‘Everybody’s focused on the consumer, so why aren’t we?’ It’s a subtle change, but our focus is going to the consumer because that’s what our members are focused on.” As part of this, the Selfcare Summit included learning tracks that offered an educational component to the show. Duffy said that this was an area in which the association asked members what they wanted to learn about in order to better tailor the programming. This year’s conference, slated for Oct. 1-5 in Atlanta (the organization’s General Merchandise Conference is co-located in Atlanta from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4), will double down on providing attendees the resources they need to succeed, Spear said. “This year, we’re going to be very focused around how we continue to provide content that is incremental to the industry around insights that will help drive their growth, drive better retail experience, drive greater consumer loyalty and satisfaction,” he said. In order to help identify opportunities within self-care for members, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow teamed up with Hamacher Resource Group, based in Waukesha, Wis., to create the Selfcare Roadmap, a digital tool that offers access to more than 230


infographics and insights on shoppers and self-care categories, showing geographic breakdowns of consumers affected and highlighting categories they co-buy with the condition they’re shopping for and more. “This was really foundational to us, reimagining our conference to help our members understand beyond just health.” As it moves forward in a world changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow and its leadership have been focused on getting its members through the crisis, showcasing the organization’s adaptability throughout. At the onset of states issuing shelter-in-place measures, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow leadership reached out to retail and wholesale members to see if there was a need for an opportunity to share challenges and best practices with their peers. After wide interest, the Resilient Retail Roundtable was created, bringing members together for biweekly conversations about common themes. “The intent is to create a conversation that enables our members, enables our owners to learn, to get better insights, to find better solutions in real time,” Spear said. “And that’s been a really powerful platform for us here over the last three months, and something we expect to continue.” One of the key insights that emerged from these meetings has been the fact that the pandemic has forced what Spear called a “soft reset,” giving retailers “an opportunity to take

stock of how we are executing and how we can execute better. I think, for both brands and retailers, there is a tremendous opportunity,” he said. “And something we’ve explored with the Resilient Retail Roundtable is how to use this to reset around trust.” Spear also said that increased trust in retail can lead to increased shopper loyalty, provided retailers can deliver on customer needs. To that end, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is wasting no time in working to create virtual experiences via Retail Tomorrow. Retail Tomorrow will launch a four-part series on July 15 that will seek to recreate the experiential element of City Immersions in a method that goes beyond a webinar. What all of these efforts indicate is that even as it celebrates 50 years and helps members navigate a pandemic, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow already is thinking about the next 50 years. More to the point, it already is thinking about programming that will support the industry to stay ahead of the curve in the years to come. “If you think about the notion that things have changed now with an eye on the future and how we inspire the customer and make their day, that’s where the opportunity is going to be,” Spear said. “I see plenty of opportunities for us to continue to connect the industry, to drive innovation, to drive loyalty, to drive greater shopping experiences for the customer.” dsn


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50 and Counting GMDC’s new chair highlights the organization’s strengths

A Patti Fishman, corporate vice president of health and beauty care/general merchandise, United Natural Foods

s part of celebrating GMDC’s 50th anniversary, Drug Store News spoke with Patti Fishman, corporate vice president of HBC/general merchandise at Providence, R.I.-based United Natural Foods, or UNFI. She also is the current chair of the Colorado Springs. Colo.-based GMDC|Retail Tomorrow. Here are her comments about GMDC the role the association has played over the years; and what it is doing today to build the bridge between retailers, distributors and suppliers.

measurement data, but GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is unique in that it is the only organization that focuses on the general merchandise and nonfood categories, and the innovation in this space. Quite simply, it would take more resources and time for my team to accomplish the work GMDC|Retail Tomorrow does than we have available to us. The GMDC|Retail Tomorrow team provides the insights and expertise that members desperately need, but can’t get anywhere else.

Drug Store News: Tell us about your dealings with GMDC|Retail Tomorrow over the years and how the association has helped you in regards to the retailer/distributors-supplier relationship. Patty Fishman: I have participated with GMDC|Retail Tomorrow since 2013, but UNFI has been a member since its inception. GMDC|Retail Tomorrow gives not only me, but my entire team the opportunity to focus on the relationship with our strategic suppliers and meet in person, or virtually these days, through the annual conferences and events. These are critical occasions, which allow us to discover updates on products, services and technologies, and bring together people of like minds throughout the industry where we can work together on common goals.

“While we are operating in unique and interesting times, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has repeatedly demonstrated the capacity to evolve and meet the member’s needs. This is accomplished through educational insights, conferences with new programs and, of course, the Retail Tomorrow platform.”

DSN: What are the best aspects of the association for retailers and distributors? PF: While there are several great aspects of GMDC|Retail Tomorrow, such as category insights, trends and connectivity, the Retail Tomorrow Immersions stand out to me. This initiative uncovers emerging and exciting brands and technologies in the retail industry, and how consumers are reacting to those solutions. This unique perspective affords us industry insights, growth opportunities and trends, which allow us the opportunity to decide how to best incorporate these products into our individual businesses. DSN: How do you think the association and its events benefit the suppliers? PF: There are several reputable suppliers of retail


DSN: This is the 50th anniversary. What does the future hold for GMDC|Retail Tomorrow? PF: While we are operating in unique and interesting times, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has repeatedly demonstrated the capacity to evolve and meet the member’s needs. This is accomplished through educational insights; conferences with new programs, such as Mic-Drop; and, of course, the Retail Tomorrow platform. There is so much opportunity in the GM and HBC categories and GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is constantly focused on innovation and creating value for its members. As consumer behavior continues to change, we will look to GMDC|Retail Tomorrow to lead and help guide us through the many growth opportunities that continue to emerge. dsn


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The Best Is Yet to Come GMDC|Retail Tomorrow celebrates 50 years of innovation

T By Patrick Spear, president and CEO, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow


he retail industry has experienced its fair share of innovation over the past 50 years, and disruption has accelerated in recent years as retailers prioritize evolving consumer needs. GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has been at the forefront of that innovation as a trusted leader and adviser to some of the world’s largest retailers, equipping them with resources, data and consumer-focused insights that lead to sustainable and profitable growth in the face of industry disruption and the evolving consumer. As GMDC|Retail Tomorrow celebrates its 50th anniversary, we reflect on the past and look forward to innovating for the future.

Honoring the Past

Founded in 1970 by Fran Willmes of Spartan Stores and purchasing executives from five general merchandise wholesale companies, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has evolved into the industry authority in the general merchandise and health, beauty and wellness arenas. Out of the growing demand for nonfood items in grocery stores came connection and innovation. In 1971, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow hosted its inaugural GMDC Marketing Conference to foster industry collaboration and nonfoods product discovery. Since its inception, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has created a leading conference lineup,


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including the current GM Conference and Selfcare Summit, formerly HBW Conference, events. In its early years, the association established a strong presence with its conferences and employed a traditional booth format like many other organizations. Seizing the opportunity to create a more effective solution for conferencing and networking, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow established a tabletop format, employing brief, prescheduled “touchpoint” meetings. The association assimilated the required resources, identified ways to implement them, and ultimately introduced this approach to the marketplace. While competing events now use a similar format, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow pioneered this speed networking approach, disrupting the traditional booth format that was ubiquitous during the time the association came into existence. Through the introduction and refinement of the tabletop-based speed networking appointment format, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has been recognized for introducing the conference format nearly 30 years prior to the appearance of the “speed dating” model to which the tabletop meetings are frequently compared. GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has demonstrated business agility alongside changing consumer demands and the fast-evolving retail landscape. In 1987, the association admitted direct-buying supermarket chains to its membership, and by 1992, the organization launched its Educational Foundation (later rebranded to the Education Leadership Council), designed to provide and publish proprietary insights, and expanded membership to include service merchandisers, non-direct-buying supermarket chains and club stores. Since the inclusion within its membership of all mass-market wholesale and retail channels in 1999, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has grown to represent more than 125,000 retail outlets worldwide responsible for $500 billion in nonfood sales. Amid the e-commerce boom, the association launched its industry innovation initiative, Retail Tomorrow in 2017. Dedicated to enhancing a seamless shopper experience in retail, this initiative inspired a new

brand — GMDC|Retail Tomorrow — and an enhanced focus for the association.

Innovating for the Future

Today, the digital age has disrupted the status quo and empowered consumers, providing personalized shopping options. Now more than ever, it’s imperative for brands and stores to work together to create an experience that consumers can’t get anywhere else. As the retail landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, brands must maintain that experience for their customer and stay one step ahead. In times of economic or business disruption, such as the coronavirus pandemic that has upended the status quo for retailers everywhere, it’s critical to adapt quickly, maintain partnerships, look forward to the future, and adopt technologies that enhance the shopper experience. Following the global pandemic, many retailers have faced unprecedented hurdles, yet are now looking to innovative and valuable solutions to incorporate into business operations. It is critical that the retail industry comes together to support one another and meet their associates, vendors and customers where they need it most. During this time and in the coming years, the priority for retailers must be keeping the health and safety of its constituents and customers top of mind. Many have made or will make adjustments to business models, marketing plans, upcoming events and more as they adapt to a new working environment. Technology and the digital marketplace in particular will usher the industry into a new, yet promising reality. With organizations leaning on video conferencing solutions in lieu of in-person meetings, and retailers leveraging online solutions to reach customers, technology will play a prominent role in retail. In light of this new landscape, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow encourages its members to utilize its member directory as a means of reaching out to new partners and to further their businesses beyond this challenging time via its GMDC*Connect year-round video conferencing service. Discovering uncommon approaches to creating and nurturing

partnerships will be the key to helping propel the industry forward. Further adapting to the new normal and ensuring member needs are met, we have co-located our 2020 GM Conference and Selfcare Summit events in the fall to help guide member retailers and suppliers through the new business landscape. The co-located events are a prelude to bringing the industry together again in a conference setting where organizations can leverage and benefit from the strength of all nonfood executives across retail and supply organizations. With many of the ripple effects of COVID-19 still unknown, the aligned 2020 GM Conference and Selfcare Summit events will provide industry resources for navigating the lasting impacts of this still-unfolding situation. While it is important that companies work quickly to respond to moments of business disruption with strategic reactionary solutions, it is equally important to provide proactive solutions and offer resources for stakeholders. GMDC|Retail Tomorrow offers various ways to keep businesses connected, protected and diversified with hundreds of insights, including actionable data and proprietary research provided through our interactive Selfcare Roadmap. With the industry experiencing a fundamental shift in how consumers engage with the healthcare system and the self-care-focused products they are seeking to buy, our studies and tools can be relied upon as resources for businesses and consumers alike.

Looking Ahead

As we celebrate our 50th anniversary and look forward to the next 50 years, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow remains at the forefront of helping retail stakeholders act on current and future-facing consumer expectations. While no one can predict where the next 50 years will take the retail industry, the manner in which the industry has rapidly responded to current circumstances portends a future that holds much promise. With collaboration, innovation, and the introduction of new solutions and technologies, retailers will be poised to emerge from this time more resilient than ever. dsn


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WHO’S WHO IN CBD DSN profiles major players in the growing category By Nora Caley


t’s not only about the hand sanitizer. Businesses have had to adapt during the COVID-19 crisis, and for some hemp and CBD companies that means developing such new products as hand sanitizer. Manufacturers also came up with other new products, mostly related to pain, sleep and stress relief. These companies also were working with retailers to make sure consumers, who now are used to online shopping and curbside pickup, could learn about CBD products even though they are not spending time browsing in stores. The CBD category is still capturing consumers’ attention. According to New Frontier Data, an analytics company specializing in the cannabis industry, 86% of Americans said they know of CBD and 18% of Americans said they have tried products in the category. Also, 40% of CBD consumers have reported using CBD at least once a week, and 29% of Americans have reported being likely to purchase CBD in the next six months. More research comes from a 2019 report,


“The CBD Consumer Experience” by High Yield Insights, indicating that 40% of U.S. adults surveyed said they are willing to explore CBD, with 28% saying they would consider trying topical products, and 28% saying they wanted to try beauty and skin products. These consumers face an abundance of choices as the CBD market is becoming crowded. The major players are working to differentiate themselves. Meanwhile, there have been a few acquisitions, and some manufacturers are predicting more consolidation. Here’s a roundup of what some of the major players in the CBD space are doing.

Alkaline Water When Alkaline Water launched its directto-consumer website in June, officials at the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company said the e-commerce site would complement its 70,000-store retail presence. The producer of premium bottled alkaline water, flavorinfused waters and CBD-infused products said it developed the site using in-house

expertise from its e-commerce platform, A88CBD.com, which offers hemp-derived CBD topical and ingestible products. The A88CBD lineup includes lab-tested fullspectrum hemp salves, balms, lotions, essential oils and bath salts, along with broadspectrum hemp beverage shots, powder packs, oil tinctures, capsules and gummies.

Arise Bioscience Arise Bioscience makes a variety of capsules, tinctures and topicals under the Original Hemp brand. The company uses third-party batch testing on its products. “What we say is in the bottle is in the bottle every time,” said director of marketing Ivie Richman. The company also works to set itself apart in customer service. Customers can call any time and even request to speak with the same team member they’ve spoken with in the past. The Original Hemp topicals include Natural Body Cream, which is infused with organic coconut oil, argan oil, shea butter, full-spectrum hemp extract, and more than 10 botanicals.


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Cool Relief Roll-On is infused with fullspectrum hemp extract, menthol crystals, capsicum, organic aloe leaf juice, and 20 natural botanicals. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based Arise Bioscience currently is developing a broad spectrum ingestible line; full spectrum vegan gummies with targeted supplement ingredients; and cannabinol, or CBN, sleep products.

cbdMD Topicals are the focus for the newest products from cbdMD. The Lip Balm, which comes in a three-pack of mint hibiscus, blackberry açaí and sweet vanilla scents, contain 50 mg of CBD per .15 oz. The Grapefruit Bergamot Body Balm contains 300 mg of CBD per 0.5 oz. Both balms have broad-spectrum formula in every product batch, and the THC-free products are sourced from USA hemp. The products are third-party and ISO-certified lab tested to ensure purity.


In April, the Charlotte, N.C.-based cbdMD announced that CBD Industries, the wholly owned manufacturing and distribution subsidiary of cbdMD, was added to NSF International’s dietary supplements good manufacturing practices registration. The NSF International’s guidelines were developed in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration’s good manufacturing practices mark on cbdMD marketing materials, which means an NSF International auditor entered the manufacturing facility, reviewed relevant documents and processes, and deemed the facility compliant with good manufacturing practice regulations for production.

Canopy Growth Canopy Growth is a diversified cannabis, hemp and cannabis device company based in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada. The company’s U.S. CBD brand, First & Free, announced


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a new line of CBD creams: Everyday Cream with CBD, Motion Cream with CBD + Arnica, and Revitalize Cream with CBD + Capsaicin. The topical creams contain CBD isolate that has been derived from 100% USA-grown hemp. Each 1.76-oz. tube contains 2,500 mg of CBD, which the company said is the highest strength hemp-derived CBD topical cream on the U.S. market.

Charlotte’s Web It was a busy spring for Charlotte’s Web, which calls itself America’s largest vertically integrated hemp-derived CBD company. In June, the Boulder, Colo.-based company completed its acquisition of Abacus Health Products, which markets CBD Medic and Harmony Hemp to the consumer market, and CBD Clinic for professional practitioners. Also, Charlotte’s Web said its products are in an additional 1,100 new drug stores and 700 pet stores, and Abacus added more than 5,000 retail doors with the signing of a new retail partner. Charlotte’s Web said that both companies distribute to more than 21,000 retail locations, but there would be limited shelf overlap due to “adjacent but complementary positions across the ingestible and topical CBD product categories.”

CV Sciences The two divisions of CV Sciences are pharmaceuticals and consumer products. On the pharmaceutical side, the San Diego-based


company is working to develop a CBD-based smoking cessation product. The consumer side will see some new products in the third quarter this year. CEO Joe Dowling said the category is still growing, and he is optimistic about the rest of this year. “I believe the second half will be better than the first half,” he said. “There is a lot of opportunity even absent FDA action. We are heading down numerous paths that are independent of FDA action.” The FDA has not provided clarity on the regulatory front, and that is not the only factor creating challenges for the CBD industry. The other factor is the hugely competitive environment. The current estimate, Dowling said, is there are potentially 3,000-plus brands of CBD. “I think there will be some consolidation through acquisitions and some normal contraction of companies that just won’t make it,” he said. “There is just not enough room for 3,000 brands. It’s confusing to consumers and confusing to retailers.”

The St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Eagle Labs adapted by increasing inventory levels on packaging and raw materials to ensure supply during pandemic-related supply chain disruptions. The company added labor and shifts for CBD brand partners. Eagle Labs registered as an OTC manufacturer with the FDA, which enabled it to make a wider array of topical skin care products to meet demand. “Lastly, Eagle Labs also invested in developing additional formulas for immune-boosting products to capitalize on the consumer demand for this segment,” Law said. “Eagle Labs has an R&D lab and is constantly investing in new product development.” The company recently added some high-end beauty products, including facial serums and antiaging formulas. Also new are therapeutic CBD roll-ons and a twist-up balm for targeted application. The balm combines Eagle Labs’ skin care formula with plant-based oils like avocado and peppermint.

Eagle Labs


Eagle Labs specializes in skin care products and supplements. Chief commercial officer Michael Law said the biggest impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic had on the CBD category was that some retailers were closed and people were shopping from home. “Many successful CBD brands took advantage of this opportunity to increase their spending, while consumers were self-quarantined and spending more time online,” Law said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of U.S. adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Elixinol wants to help, and its latest product is Good Night CBD Capsules. The full-spectrum hemp extract supplement is paired with a low dose of melatonin. Each capsule contains 15 mg of full-spectrum CBD and 2 mg of melatonin, blended with MCT coconut oil. Melatonin, a hormone produced in the


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body, helps regulate sleep and wake cycles and promotes tranquil sleep. Tom Siciliano, CEO for the Americas at Elixinol, said the company took a sciencebased approach to the amount of melatonin. “There is a lot of data suggesting that taking more than 5 mg of melatonin for the average person will likely result in grogginess and could even have the opposite effect and cause sleeplessness,” he said. “Our capsules have 2 mg of melatonin, so people can try one capsule and dial in their desired serving size, without wasting an entire day of feeling foggy.”

Forest Remedies Earlier this year, Neptune Wellness Solutions launched Forest Remedies, a line of hemp extracts. The 11-SKU line includes six ingestible oils, two balms, one soft gel bottle, a massage oil and a pet soother. Forest Remedies products contain Neptune’s hemp extracts, which are produced with a proprietary cold ethanol extraction process and tested for purity at third-party laboratories. Neptune, which is based near Montreal, Quebec, Canada, sources its hemp from U.S. farmers. The line is priced lower than competitive items. “We wanted to make sure people could afford our products,” said Neptune CEO Michael Cammarata. He also said that the future will see a wider variety of products as mass retailers and large manufacturers get into the CBD realm through cleaning products because CBD has antifungal properties, as well as personal care products. “They’re going to drive a huge amount of growth in the market.”

HempFusion Pain is the primary reason for people to shop for CBD, said Jason Mitchell, co-founder and co-CEO of HempFusion. That presents a challenge. “You’re not allowed to make claims about CBD when it comes to pain,” he said. “You have to formulate these products correctly.” HempFusion launched a line of FDAlisted OTC topical products. The OTC topicals contain active ingredients that target specific consumer needs. For example, the Pain Relief Cream, Pain Relief Balm, Pain Relief Gel, Sports Pain Relief Cream, and Sports


Pain Relief Balm contain menthol from peppermint oil for a cooling effect on pain. HempFusion also makes creams for common skin issues and wound care, with an Acne Relief Cream, Eczema Relief Cream and an Antibiotic Wound Ointment. The products’ labels list full-spectrum hemp extract CBD under other ingredients. Safety and transparency are crucial and HempFusion works to be a good partner for retailers. “Retailers have an appetite for products that contain CBD, but they have no tolerance for risk,” Mitchell said. “We have removed every element of risk because these are registered with the FDA, which allows them to have a product that is formulated correctly, marketed correctly and legal.” The company’s products are available in approximately 4,000 retailers across 47 states.

Herb Tech Pharmaceuticals When retailers were closed during the COVID19 pandemic, Herb Tech Pharmaceuticals used the time to focus on product innovation. The effort resulted in the company’s second delivery technology platform. This novel technology, called POM, advances the capability of transmucosal and sublingual delivery, and will be launched this fall. “Our company’s philosophy and culture have always been rooted in advanced formulation innovation, creating products far beyond the ‘me too’ tinctures and menthol body lotions that have flooded the market,” said senior vice president Laura Stephens. “We think that consumers and retailers will be excited by the six new POMengineered products built on need state.” Herb Tech Pharmaceuticals makes topical lotions Be Active, Be Calm, Be Healthy, Be Sleepy, Be Empowered and Be Intimate. The lotions contain ingredients that are

organically grown, Made in the USA, third-party tested, non-GMO, and gluten-free. The company is based in Beverly, Mass.

Joy Organics Family-owned Joy Organics offers CBD tinctures, capsules and gummies, as well as salve, creams, bath bombs and other products. The Fort Collins, Colo.-based company is launching USDA-Certified Organic fullspectrum tinctures. “USDA Certified Organic is a very credible symbol that is recognized by the public,” said Todd Smith, who oversees all the sales channels for Joy Organics. Retailers are adapting to consumers’ changed behavior in the COVID-19 era. First, Smith said, there are fewer shoppers in stores. “Secondly, those who are going into stores are on a mission with a shopping list,” he said. “They are not walking down the aisles and looking at things.” Smith also said that some retailers that deliver groceries and other items are not delivering CBD products. As a result, retailers will need to be very selective about with whom they choose to do business. “It is going to be very interesting in the next nine months to see what happens in the CBD space,” Smith said.


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Joyful Bath Joyful Bath makes hemp bath bombs in such varieties as Beach Days Coconut Lime, Lei’d Back Plumeria, Good Vibes Green Tea, and others. The woman-owned company, founded in 2008, offers natural and organic body care products that are vegan and cruelty-free. The products contain hemp extract, menthol, coconut oil, ginger root, oats, green tea, coconut milk, mustard seed and other naturally effective healing ingredients.

Korent Korent, a brand of Pyxus International, makes Grape CBD Oil Drops and Vanilla Mint CBD Oil Drops, such CBD topicals as Warming CBD Roll-On and Cooling CBD Roll-On, and other products. Morrisville, N.C.-based Pyxus International is a global agricultural company that offers products in the e-liquids, industrial hemp, legal cannabis and leaf tobacco industries.

Lazarus Naturals Making CBD products affordable can help not just a manufacturer but the entire CBD industry. “In the past 18 months, we’ve seen a rush of new products with questionable

ingredients or exorbitant pricing,” said Bill Germano, vice president of sales at Lazarus Naturals. “That could create a less than positive first experience, or even a decision to not try CBD because of the high price. Either way, the consumer and retailer are on the losing end.” Lazarus Naturals, which has a production facility in Portland, Ore., and a farm in eastern Oregon, offers full-spectrum, THCfree lotions, balms, tinctures and other products at prices that make the products accessible. The value-priced position helps the company adapt in the COVID-19 era. “Our brand has been well established with a sizable CBD user base,” Germano said. “Plus, our hemp supply has been stable as we grow 100% of our own needs.” The company recently announced it was raising CBD potency and reducing market prices on products. To help retailers, Lazarus Naturals used its e-commerce capabilities to create a drop-ship fulfillment model for retailers that have or are preparing to launch e-commerce marketplaces.

targeted descriptors on packaging. Instead of simply noting that a lotion has 250 mg of CBD, now products are labeled as foot cream or anti-wrinkle cream. “We are dealing with a new environment,” Patterson said. “That takes creativity and that takes some vision, and stepping out of what has been the norm in standard retail practice.”


In June, Perrigo, which manufactures a host of private-label over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, announced that it is entering the CBD market through a strategic investment in and long-term supply agreement with Kazmira. Watkins, Colo.-based Kazmira is a supplier of hemp-based THCfree CBD products. Perrigo said the partnership will consist of two phases. In the first phase, the two companies will collaborate to scale up Kazmira’s facilities and laboratories, in accordance with good manufacturing practices to produce THC-free CBD from industrial hemp. In the second phase, Perrigo will launch THC-free hemp-based CBD products in global markets, while leveraging its supply agreement with Kazmira for the U.S. store market. The $50 million investment from Perrigo represents an approximate 20% equity stake in Kazmira, with $15 million paid upon close of the transaction and the balance paid within 18 months. Perrigo is based in Dublin, Ireland and its North American operations are based in Allegan, Mich. dsn

MarketHub helps retailers manage the hemp-based health category. Lately the company has been helping retailers come up with new ways to promote the CBD category to consumers who are spending less time in stores during the COVID-19 crisis. “That’s the biggest piece that is coming out of this right now,” said CEO Blake Patterson. “People want to get out of the store. Making consumers aware that the category even exists is a daunting task, but it’s vital to the success of the category.” Some retailers have been placing higherpriced CBD products behind the counter. “That’s not a best practice for new categories,” Patterson said. “We want to try to bring the category forward in a way that protects all sides. This business is about sales, not just doors.” Self-care is a big trend right now, so retailers have an opportunity to reach people who do not want to go to a doctor’s office and are looking for immune support or pain relief. Manufacturers are doing their part by taking a more consumerfocused approach, and by using more

Neo Alternatives Health-and-wellness company Neo Alternatives launched Root 66, a brand designed to deliver best-in-class hemp oil extract at a reasonable price. The initial lineup of Root 66 products includes four tinctures formulated for targeted healthand-wellness benefits: Holistic, Sleep, Pain Relief and Focus. Root 66 ethically sources its hemp from organic farms in Oregon and California. Each tincture is organic, vegan, gluten-free, pesticide-free and non-GMO. They also are third-party tested for efficacy and quality standards.



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nowing how consumers in a certain category are shopping is crucial to merchandising in a way that successfully will 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 incontinence shopper. dsn Incontinence


5% First Aid 17% Patient Skin Care




Wipes, washes, and cleansers across patient skin care and incontinence account for 31% of total health-and-wellness sales.

Key insight: Eight of the top 10 SKUs in first aid are gloves. Four of those SKUs are vinyl material.






Average Basket


Key insight: Items in the incontinence basket, on average, are priced 60% higher than items in the average HBW basket.

CONDITION INSIGHTS INTENT TO PURCHASE INCONTINENCE AIDS ACROSS ALL CONDITIONS 33% Digestive health 12% Pain relief 10% Upper respiratory 9% Arthritis 7% Post-op 6% Skin care 5% Anxiety 4% Oral care 4% Sleep 3% Wound care 3% Asthma 3% Diabetes Key insight: Shoppers intending to purchase incontinence products are primarily addressing digestive health, pain relief and upper respiratory needs.




New and Noteworthy Hamacher Resource Group’s picks for the top new products from June



Tylenol Extra Strength Pain + Fever Dissolve Powder Packets



Lotrimin Daily Prevention Antifungal Deodorant Powder Spray


Jergens Ultra Healing+ Body Balm

et it not be said that in the midst of a pandemic, the CPG industry wasn’t innovating. In June, manufacturers introduced 223 new products, including 47 OTC items, 77 wellness products and 99 beauty launches. As always, Hamacher Resource Group’s new product team sorted through all of them and identified five that have big potential based on their innovativeness. From new delivery methods for legacy brands to a new category for a first aid leader, here are HRG’s Products to Watch from June.

Alka-Seltzer Heartburn Relief Cool Action Gum

The legacy heartburn relief brand is looking to entice consumers with a new delivery method. Alka-Seltzer Heartburn Relief Cool Action Gum offers heartburn relief that starts in seconds, while leaving the mouth feeling fresh with its cool mint flavor. The gum is sold in 16-count packages.


Betadine Antiseptic Sore Throat Gargle

Avrio Health’s Betadine brand is well-known in the first aid category, and the company is looking to parlay that name recognition into success in the cold and allergy space. Betadine Antiseptic Sore Throat Gargle brings its antiseptic power to an 8-oz. product meant to treat and relieve a sore throat in seconds.

Having recently launched a dissolving powder product for children, Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol brand is trying out the delivery method on an adult dosage strength. The Tylenol powder packets contain powder that can dissolve without water, offering on-the-go convenience. The berry-flavored powder, sold in 12-count boxes of packets, is ideal for patients who cannot swallow pills.

Bayer’s foot care brand Lotrimin is bringing a new combination product to market. Lotrimin Daily Prevention Antifungal Deodorant Powder Spray brings together an antifungal and deodorant to instantly cool dry feet and fight odor throughout the day. The company is touting the product’s clinically proven ability to prevent most athlete’s foot. Kao’s Jergens brand is innovating around form and formula. The Jergens Ultra Healing+ Body Balm is formulated with vitamins E, C and B5, as well as a plant protein complex to deliver healing moisturization and combat the effects of very dry skin. dsn


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IMMUNIZATION PHARMACIST VACCINATIONS COULD BE THE NATION’S BEST RESOURCE FOR COMBATING PREVENTABLE DISEASE harmacists’ ability to prevent disease by vaccinating patients is one of the biggest health boons for many communities. Take Derrell Massey and Heather Ferrarese as two examples. In 2018, when a hepatitis A outbreak occurred in his town, Massey, owner of Section Pharmacy, in Section, Ala., administered 1,000 vaccines in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Public Health. His pharmacy is one of three pharmacies participating in Alabama’s free vaccines program for children. Last year, Ferrarese, owner of Bartle’s Pharmacy in Oxford, N.Y., immunized 2,500 adults in her small, rural town. When New York State authorized pharmacists to administer the influenza vaccine to children 2 years old and older in 2019, she eagerly stepped up to give the vaccine. Massey and Ferrerase are just two examples of how the nation’s pharmacists are a critical part of keeping communities safe from preventable disease. The National Community Pharmacists Association’s 2019 Digest noted that 78% of independent pharmacies are immunizing, an increase from 73% in 2018, according to John Beckner, NCPA’s senior director of strategic initiatives. To date, more than 360,000 pharmacists have been trained to administer vaccines across the lifespan. This represents an increase from 340,000 in 2018. Thirty percent of influenza vaccines administered to adults each year are done by pharmacists, according to Mitchel Rothholz, the American Pharmacists Association’s chief strategy officer. Retail pharmacy chains are not sitting on the sidelines when it comes enabling more pharmacists to be vaccinators.



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COVER STORY Walgreens is a case in point. The chain, which started its immunization program in the mid-2000s, has administered more than 60 million vaccines since 2010, including influenza, pneumococcal, meningitis, measles, typhoid, polio and travel-related vaccines. “Walgreens has expanded its vaccination program so that all of its certified pharmacists can now administer all CDC-recommended vaccines in our stores nationwide,” said Tasha Polster, Walgreens vice president of pharmacy quality, compliance and patient safety. Additionally, in 2015, Walgreens introduced an immunization outreach program, which has resulted in pharmacists leading nearly 150,000 clinics in the community outside of its stores. Since 2013, Walgreens has partnered with the United Nations Foundation for “Get a Shot. Give a Shot,” which provides lifesaving vaccines to children in need. “Last year, we eclipsed 50 million vaccines donated to children in other countries,” Polster said. With an upcoming flu season expected this fall, and adult and pediatric vaccinations that have been put on hold during the pandemic, as well as the expectation for a COVID-19 vaccine to be available by early 2021, pharmacists are in the perfect position to expand their role as immunizers.


Confronting Skeptical Patients Despite the role vaccines play in preventing disease, some consumers still are leery about receiving vaccines for a variety of reasons, including misinformation from anti-vaccine groups, who blame vaccines for causing certain diseases, such as autism. In fact, while most Americans expect a vaccine against COVID19 to be available by some point in 2021, only half said they will get vaccinated and many are unsure, according to a poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research from May 14-18. If a vaccine against the coronavirus becomes available to the public, 49% said they plan to get vaccinated and 20% said they will not. Another 31% said they were not sure. Among the 20% of Americans who said they will not get the vaccine, concern about side effects is overwhelmingly the top reason for avoiding the vaccine, according to the survey. A 2019 survey conducted for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, “Attitudes about Influenza and Pneumococcal Disease Prevention,” found a similar number — 52% of respondents said they


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COVER STORY planned to get vaccinated against the flu that season. “Some people still don’t have the confidence that the flu vaccine really works, and then you have people who are convinced that vaccines cause autism,” NCPA’s Beckner said. “The science behind it doesn’t bear that out, and pharmacists are in a really good position to try to dispel those myths.” Kelly Fine, executive director of the Arizona Pharmacy Association, which trains pharmacy students and pharmacists on immunizations, said that while vaccine hesitancy has increased over the last few years, research over the last 50 years has shown that vaccines are safe and an effective strategy in helping to prevent and minimize the impact of infectious diseases in our communities. Ferrarese said that even though an article linking vaccines to autism was retracted by the author, many consumers still believe the information circulating on social media, and they are afraid to get vaccines or to have their children immunized. APhA’s Rothholz advises pharmacists to provide consumers with science-based vaccine facts to allay their fears. “What evidence-based medicine shows is what immunization providers and policymakers should keep the focus on. They should keep emotions out of it,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s an individual’s and a parent’s decision, but we can provide the information and then take appropriate action. Their discussions need to be evidence based. Just be fact oriented, focused, and provide the best case for why a patient should benefit from getting immunized.” Beyond dispelling vaccine myths, Beckner said that pharmacists can take the initiative to inform consumers that they are trained to do immunizations. They also can increase awareness that pharmacies are a good resource for vaccines by displaying their immunization certificates at the pharmacy and prominently posting a list of all of the vaccines that they offer. “When people come in for their prescriptions, it’s right there in front of them, so they realize, I also can get my immunizations here,” Beckner said. Utilizing text messages, stapling vaccine information on prescription bags, putting up shelf reminders, and signage can help make consumers knowledgeable and confident about getting vaccines. “These are all the things that pharmacy has available to communicate with that many other healthcare providers don’t,” Rothholz said. Initiating conversations with patients about vaccinations early on in the patient-pharmacist relationship and being bold and confident about recommendations also are paramount to increasing customers’ comfort level. “Instead of passively saying, ‘Do you want your flu shot?’ ‘Do you want the pneumococcal vaccine?’ take a more active approach and instead say, ‘Today we are going to give you your flu shot,’ or ‘I noticed you are due for your pneumococcal vaccine,’” Fine said. “This demonstrates to the patient that you are confident in your recommendation.” Massey’s approach illustrates Fine’s point. He uses a computer software program to remind consumers that they are due for a certain vaccine. He also partakes in the state’s ImmPrint database system to


document which vaccines he has given to patients. “It’s pretty powerful when you are sitting down with someone and you can say, “I see you are on COPD medication, but I don’t see that you had the pneumonia vaccine,” Massey said.

Be Candid About Possible Side Effects Alongside informing customers that they are due for certain vaccines, it’s crucial to have inform patients about possible common side effects of certain vaccines so they know what to expect. “Consumers need to understand how immunity works, and that they are receiving a non-live attenuated vaccine. You cannot get flu from the flu vaccine. By exposing your body to little bits and pieces of the vaccine, you mount immunity,” Ferrarese said. “You can run a little fever or have some aches and pain, or your arm can be sore and tender and you can have a red mark at the injection site. It means that your body is mounting the proper immune response to that vaccine and offering you protection down the road.” Pharmacists can recommend that patients ice the injection site or take Tylenol to relieve pain, and they also can reassure them that the reaction will only last a day or two, Ferrarese said. Fine concurred that pharmacists should address patients’ concerns about vaccines without being dismissive. “Being upfront


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COVER STORY and opening up that dialogue is important. There are probably a lot of people we are missing who can be convinced to get the recommended vaccines if pharmacists take the time to address their questions and educate them on the seriousness of the diseases they are at risk for,” she said. Pharmacists also can allay consumers’ misconceptions about vaccine ingredients. “Vaccines do not contain toxins,” Fine said. Some vaccines may contain trace amounts of chemicals from their production process, however, if any of these trace chemicals is in a vaccine, it is at a lower level than found naturally in the body or the environment, she said. For example, aluminum is added to some vaccines to boost the immune response. During the first six months of life, a breastfed infant will consume more aluminum through their diet than they will acquire via a recommended vaccination, Fine said. In addition, some vaccines contain thimerosal, which is a preservative that helps maintain the sterility of vaccines and helps prevent bacterial contamination. Fine said that thimerosal, or ethylmercury, often is confused with methylmercury, which is found in tuna and does not accumulate in the body. Aside from addressing consumers’ worries about vaccine ingredients, pharmacists also can help consumers confront their fears about having a needle placed in their arm. Fine suggests making the setting comfortable, and explaining to patients that the needles used today are very sharp and fine, making injections less painful than they used to be. Pharmacists also can desensitize the injection site by tapping or rubbing the muscles to reduce pain, she advised.

The Pharmacy Staff Is Key Rallying the entire pharmacy staff to engage with patients can play a big role in encouraging patients to get vaccinated. Beckner suggested that pharmacy technicians can jump-start the discussion. “Technicians are usually the first point of contact, and they can say: ‘Mrs. Jones, you can get your flu vaccine here and, at the same time, we can immunize you against pneumonia;’ or ‘You can get your shingles vaccine if you are a certain age;’ and ‘Yes, we also offer hepatitis A and hepatitis B;’ or, if you’re a grandparent, ‘We offer the pertussis vaccine.’ There are lots of opportunities to showcase the pharmacy as a destination for vaccinations,” Beckner said. Rothholz also underscored the contribution that the pharmacy team can make. “Immunizations are a team sport. It’s not just the pharmacist who engages in the activity, it’s the whole staff within the pharmacy,” he said. “Everyone who comes into contact with the customer, the front clerks, techs, student pharmacists, pharmacists, store management and marketing can all help deliver that immunization message.” Massey uses community events as an educational opportunity. For instance, when he attends such local events as ball games, he speaks with parents. “We talk about so and so who is sick, and if they’ve been vaccinated that they rebound pretty quickly, so all you need is to be vaccinated,” he said.


Training and Educational Resources There is a plethora of training and resources for vaccinations that pharmacists can use to help inform patients about vaccines and increase the public’s confidence in getting vaccines. GlaxoSmithKline is among the drug manufacturers that are taking steps to educate pharmacists. Leonard Friedland, vice president and director of scientific affairs and public health at GSK Vaccines, said the company has a dedicated team of retail medical science liaisons who work to educate pharmacists about its full vaccines portfolio. The company also creates and disseminates resources for pharmacists to use within the pharmacy and with their patients. “Even during the pandemic, we are in regular, virtual contact with our pharmacy and retail partners to ensure that they have information they need to educate consumers about vaccines,” Friedland said. GSK also has collaborated with APhA on a resource center on immunizations on APhA’s website that helps pharmacists have discussions with patients. Retailers like Walgreens also do their part to keep pharmacists updated on vaccines. Each year, all of Walgreens’ pharmacists receive extensive training and assessments to ensure they can properly educate customers about immunizations and administer them. Walgreens also offers information at Walgreens.com/ Immunizations for patients to gain an understanding of what vaccines they may want to consider, depending on their age or upcoming travel. Additional educational resources include the Immunization Action Coalition and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which updates guidelines every year and provides information about new vaccines.


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COVER STORY For instance, the CDC recently announced two new vaccines licensed for use during the 2020-21 flu season. The first is a quadrivalent high-dose vaccine licensed for use in adults 65 years old and older. This vaccine will replace the previously licensed trivalent highdose vaccine. The second new vaccine that will be available is a quadrivalent adjuvanted vaccine licensed for use in adults 65 years old and older. This vaccine is similar to the previously licensed trivalent vaccine containing MF59 adjuvant, but it has one additional influenza B component.

The COVID-19 Environment As the public awaits the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, pharmacists also can increase patients’ comfort level by helping them realize the importance of catching up on the vaccines they and their family members have fallen behind on. They also can remind consumers of the importance of getting the flu vaccine this fall, especially since it is likely to coincide with a second wave of COVID-19. Rothholz said that it is important to encourage patients, especially in this COVID environment, that getting immunizations is one of the best ways the public can protect themselves from vaccine preventable diseases and to reduce the potential when they do get symptoms of the disease they are fighting. “By getting vaccinated, you are giving yourself extra protection from diseases that are preventable,” he said. Friedland echoed Rothholz’s sentiments. “It will be important, as restrictions ease, for pharmacists and other providers to educate and encourage people to receive immunizations they may have missed during the shutdown. Pharmacists can convey to consumers the importance of influenza vaccination this fall,” Friedland said. “Influenza is a respiratory illness, as is COVID-19, and decreasing respiratory illness this fall in people of all ages — in particular older adults and people with underlying medical conditions — will be very important to reduce the burden on the health system.” Rothholz said that pharmacists also should advise seniors about getting a pneumococcal vaccine. “A person with the flu or COVID is at risk of developing pneumonia. We want to make sure they are protected,” he said.

The Future of Pharmacists as Vaccinators Experts agreed that COVID-19 has created a heightened awareness of vaccines among consumers, and they see an increased role ahead for pharmacists as vaccinators. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, pharmacies accounted for 23% of vaccines distributed during a three-month window, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Looking forward to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, NACDS cited a CDC study that found retail pharmacies help to vaccinate 80% of the population seven weeks sooner during a pandemic than otherwise would be possible. Beckner said there is an opportunity for pharmacists to leverage the heightened sense of awareness and interest in vaccinations to promote other vaccines. “There are going to be people who think that with the regular flu shot there will be some protection afforded for COVID,”

he said. “The demand for the COVID vaccine is going to be unprecedented, and you are going to need all hands on deck to deliver as many vaccines as possible.” The Arizona Pharmacy Association’s Fine said that it’s a good time to inform consumers that pharmacists follow CDC guidelines and protocols throughout the year. “The immunization rates have gone down significantly during this pandemic because people aren’t going in for their routine visits,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot of catch up that needs to happen. If we educate our patients on what procedures your pharmacy is taking to maintain a safe environment for patients, that will help people feel more comfortable when they are coming in to get those services,” she said. Consumers need to understand that pharmacists are one of the top trained medical front-line professionals, and evidence of this is the way they have been ready, willing and able to handle the pandemic crisis with their participation in COVID-19 testing, Ferrarese said. “We’re ready to give a vaccine when there is a COVID-19 vaccine available,” she said. “Pharmacists are very up to date on what the newest guidance is, whether it’s from the WHO, CDC or state board of pharmacy.” Walgreens’ Polster agreed that pharmacists are ready to vaccinate against COVID-19 when a vaccine is available. “During the H1N1 pandemic, pharmacists and pharmacies played a critical role in being able to quickly implement convenient immunization services to the communities that they serve. Today, about onethird of patients receive their flu shots at a pharmacy, and we expect that number to increase when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available,” she said. “As we move through this constantly changing environment, we believe that making immunizations available at convenient locations like a neighborhood Walgreens pharmacy allows us to further our mission to protect our communities from vaccinepreventable illnesses and improve patient health outcomes.” Rothholz pointed out that the public needs to be aware that any interaction with healthcare providers, including pharmacists is going to be different. “They should not be surprised when they see a physician, nurse and pharmacists wearing masks and gloves when they are getting services from these individuals. That’s the new norm that the public is going to have to get used to during this time period,” he said. While it depends on the level of COVID-19 cases in each community, Rothholz foresees that vaccinations potentially can be done in the pharmacy with social distancing, or by appointment when there are fewer people present. Vaccinations also may be administered outside of the pharmacy at a curbside table and chair set up, or outside event. “It will vary depending on what’s available in terms of facilities and resources, and human resources,” he said. In late June, Walgreens resumed its immunization services with CDC-recommended safety measures in place for its staff and patients to vaccinate patients ahead of the coming flu season. Beckner is optimistic that pharmacists have proven that they have the expertise to allay patients’ uneasiness about vaccines as they expand their role as vaccinators. “People are looking for a credible source of information, and pharmacists are in an ideal position to be that because of that trust factor,” he said. dsn


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Generics Giants Spotlighting leading generics firms helping to keep drug costs down By Sandra Levy


enerics continue to ensure huge cost savings for the U.S. healthcare system. The latest report from IQVIA and the Association for Accessible Medicines, “The Case for Competition: 2019 Generic Drug & Biosimilars Access & Savings in the U.S. Report,” found that in 2018, generic


prescription medicines saved the U.S. healthcare system $293 billion — and $2 trillion in the past 10 years. What’s more, in 2018, nine out of every 10 prescriptions in the United States were dispensed using generic medicines. This month, Drug Store News is highlighting the cream of the crop of the generics

industry that are committed to making these cost savings possible, particularly at a time when the healthcare industry has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The following generics companies are shining examples of companies committed to keeping costs at bay for prescription medications, while keeping patients healthy.


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Founded: 2015 Headquarters: Bridgewater, N.J. Number of employees: 13,000 globally Number of generics: 72 in the United States, representing more than 250 SKUs under the Alembic label Key sales/marketing contact: Eric Purcell, Eric.Purcell@alembicusa.com Alembic Pharmaceuticals is a U.S. subsidiary of the oldest pharmaceutical company in India, which has been around since 1907 and currently employs more than 13,000 people globally. Alembic is a vertically integrated organization with expertise spanning research and development, manufacturing and marketing of finished dosage formulations, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and intermediates. In 2019, Alembic invested approximately 14% of sales into R&D, with more than 90% focused on abbreviated new drug applications for the U.S. market. It currently operates two research facilities in India and one in the United States, and has a team of more than 500 scientists. Alembic currently boasts 109 drug master files, 110 approved ANDAs, 12 tentative approvals and one NDA/505(b)(2), as well as 189 ANDAs filed in total, with plans to file 100 more ANDAs in the next three years. It supplies products for five Food and Drug Administration-approved facilities in India, which include one solid oral finished dose facility, a dermatology facility and three API facilities. These facilities have supplied product to the U.S. market for over 10 years and include such products as aripiprazole, febuxostat, leflunomide, olmesartan, pregabalin, valsartan, and theophylline extended release. “Alembic has experienced tremendous growth in the United States market over the last several years and is poised for continued success as new projects come to market,”


said Eric Purcell, Alembic vice president of sales and marketing. “It’s exciting to be part of a dynamic organization focused on growth and servicing our customers.” 2019 marked the launch of key dermatology and ophthalmic products for Alembic in the United States. The company intends to launch another 10-plus products before the end of this year, and will launch eight to 10 products each year over the next three years.


Founded: 2002 Headquarters: Bridgewater, N.J. Number of employees: More than 5,000 Number of generics: 250 Key sales/marketing contact: sales@amneal.com For almost two decades, Amneal has been shoring up its extensive portfolio. The company has approximately 250 marketed generic products and is expanding its portfolio to include complex dosage forms in a broad range of therapeutic areas. Amneal’s specialty division, which largely focuses on branded products, also is pushing forward to become a key biosimilar player in the U.S. market, with three biosimilars currently in the pipeline. “We have focused our generics pipeline on complex and differentiated dosage forms, and are growing our specialty division, including a robust biosimilars program,” said Chirag Patel, co-CEO. “We also are diversifying our distribution to the federal healthcare market through our independently operated AvKARE subsidiary.” Amneal is poised for the future by continuing to focus development on more complex, harder-to-make generics. “These generics provide more value to the healthcare system and also will provide more lower cost generic alternatives for patients,” said Chintu Patel, co-CEO.

Amring Pharmaceuticals

Founded: 2015 Headquarters: Berwyn, Pa. Number of employees: 21 Number of generics: 12 Key sales/marketing contact: Thomas Sammler, thomas.sammler@amringpharma.com Amring was founded in collaboration with a trusted, privately held, global pharmaceutical company with a 65-year-plus history of quality, value and success. While building on this legacy, the company has worked to distinguish itself as a multinational resource for reliable generic medications and as a sustainable global business in its own right. As a private company focused on supplying specialized and unique products in targeted markets, Amring’s value proposition is to leverage every opportunity to meet specific customer demands with value-added generic medicines, according to executives. Amring has achieved annual double-digit revenue growth since launching in 2015, relocating in 2019 to new headquarters with capacity to support further expansion. The company said it is looking forward to additional launches in the second half of 2020. As a small privately held company, Amring prides itself in being able to nimbly react to the market and new opportunities, particularly on managing to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring it is able to provide generics throughout. Amring strategically has positioned itself to make and market affordable products that add value and has had particular success with its desmopressin acetate and tranexamic acid. Its expanded generic portfolio also includes arsenic trioxide, succinylcholine chloride and mesalamine suppositories. The company’s leadership team brings noteworthy experience in generic pharmaceuticals and related industries. Its broad capabilities also can fill the gaps in


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pharmaceutical development, manufacturing, marketing and distribution. Building on a notable heritage of accomplishment in the pharmaceutical industry, Amring is poised to continue its growth by bringing more significant, high quality generic pharmaceutical products to the marketplace.

Ascend Labs

Founded: 2000 Headquarters: Parsippany, N.J. Number of employees: 30 Number of generics: 60 molecules, 200 SKUs Key sales/marketing contact: Schuyler VanWinkle, svanwinkle@ascendlaboratories.com Ascend Labs began operating in 2000 as a product development subsidiary of The PharmaNetwork. In 2008, the company launched the Ascend label into the marketplace originally with three molecules. Currently a U.S.-based subsidiary of Alkem Labs of India, Ascend is headquartered in Parsippany, N.J., with regional offices in Connecticut and Florida. Armed with 30 employees — excluding its manufacturing components, which are located in St. Louis and Azusa, Calif. — Ascend markets 60 molecules, accounting for almost 200 SKUs. With the strong backing of its parent company, Alkem Labs, it has a robust pipeline of over 50 molecules developed and awaiting approval by the FDA and 100 more under various stages of development. The company’s marketing and sales efforts are integrated under the leadership of executive vice president John Dillaway, with a strong team that consists of Schuyler VanWinkle, Kevin Anderson, Kylan Fowles and Lynette Piers. “Together the group coordinates customer contact, marketing themes and participation in varied industry events. The company has established itself as a strong supplier and provider of quality and responsive customer


service,” Dillaway said. “Through a commitment to a strong inventory position, Ascend wants to be known as the go-to vendor that customers can rely on and have confidence in. Ascend plays to that theme in its journal ads and employees continually reinforce the point. Ascend also has made a point of not rationalizing its product line and not discontinuing products.” Dillaway also said that if the company launches an item, it makes every effort to stay in that item so customers can be confident if they commit to Ascend that “Ascend is also committing to them.” To support this, Ascend has doubled the manufacturing capacity at its Damon, India facility. Additionally, it is constructing a new manufacturing campus in Indore, India, which Dillaway said, “will double, then double again its overall capacity.”

Aurobindo Pharma USA

Founded: 1986 Headquarters: Windsor, N.J. Number of employees: 20,000 globally, with 1,425 in the United States Number of generics: 400 Key sales/marketing contact: Carol Godfrey, cgodfrey@aurobindousa.com Originating in India in 1986, Aurobindo has gone from having one FDA-approved approved in 2004 to having nearly 400 FDA generic drug approvals today. Paul McMahon, vice president of commercial operations, said that Aurobindo’s mission is to add value through superior customer service in the distribution of a broad line of generic pharmaceuticals, leveraging vertical integration and efficient, controlled, costeffective processes. “Our vision is to harness the ingenuity and dedication of our nearly 20,000 strong global employee workforce to remain one of the top generic pharmaceutical suppliers in the United

States, and have a reputation for superior customer service, value and responsiveness to the needs of the market and our customers,” he said. McMahon credited the company, which is upwards of 90% vertically integrated across its product line, for being able to keep its product and supply chain intact during the COVID-19 crisis. “We worked harder with our global teams to make sure we took all measures to keep product flowing as seamlessly as possible in terms of production and logistics, so that our customers could continue to rely on our outstanding production and delivery services even during what has been a very challenging time,” he said. “As the world is beginning to open up, we strive to come out of this even stronger than we were before, and having garnered a stronger relationship with our customers for how we were able to step up and deliver and keep their service levels high throughout the pandemic.” Aurobindo plans to launch new products in the coming months and to invest in its infrastructure in terms of plant and capacity expansions, as well as building new facilities. “We remain focused on strengthening our existing businesses and developing a differentiated and specialty driven product portfolio,” McMahon said.


Founded: 1935 Headquarters: Warren, N.J. Number of employees: 25,000-plus globally, with 700 at Cipla USA Number of generics: 80 Key sales/marketing contact: Jake Austin, jake.austin@cipla.com Cipla is a global pharmaceutical company focused on agile and sustainable growth, complex generics, and deepening its portfolio in India, South Africa, North America, and key regulated and emerging markets. The most significant milestone in Cipla’s 85-year legacy of care was the launch of the


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You serve patients. We serve you a consistent supply of generic products. † The Desmopressin cetate



Pack Size


Brand eference

Desmopressin Acetate Tablets

0.1 mg

100 Count

0.2 mg

100 Count


Desmopressin Acetate Nasal Spray

10 mcg per 0.1 mL

5 mL Bottle


† Authorized Generic to DDAVP®

Mesalamine Suppositories

1000 mg

30 Count


AB to Canasa®

Tranexamic Acid Tablets

650 mg

30 Count


Authorized Generic to Lysteda®

69918-101-01 † Authorized Generic to DDAVP®

You Serve Patients. We Serve You. Interested in learning more about Amring? Visit our website at amringusa.com RX Only Amring Pharmaceuticals Inc. / 1205 Westlakes Dr., Suite 275, Berwyn, PA 19312 / 844.304.4828 / www.amringusa.com © 2020 Amring Pharmaceuticals Inc. 0620204127

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company’s revolutionary triple antiretroviral therapy in HIV/AIDS at less than $1 a day in Africa in 2001. The company’s various strengths lie in the respiratory, antiretroviral, urology, cardiology, anti-infective and central nervous system segments. With 46 manufacturing sites around the world, Cipla produces more than 50 dosage forms and more than 1,500 products. The company recently named a new CEO of Cipla North America, Arunesh Verma, who previously held roles at Sandoz and Torrent Pharmaceuticals. Other company news includes the launch of Albuterol Sulfate HFA Inhaler, which was approved by the FDA in April. The product is used for the treatment of acute episodes of bronchospasm or prevention of asthmatic symptoms. Albuterol is the first generic metered dose inhaler of Proventil HFA Inhalation Aerosol approved by the FDA, and it is Cipla’s first device-based inhalation product in the market. “As leaders in the respiratory space, we have built a deep understanding of the human respiratory system and created a repository of drugs for a wide range of lung ailments,” Verma said. “In addition to working towards combating the growing respiratory burden globally, we are also working on several innovations in the lung delivery space. It also is our ongoing endeavor to play a deeper role in the lives of patients by working on innovative offerings across the care continuum, and driving a shift from an illness to wellness mindset.”

Dr. Reddy’s

Founded: 1984 Headquarters: Princeton, N.J. Number of employees: 21,966 Number of generics: More than 119 Key sales/marketing contact: Lori McCreary, lmccreary@drreddys.com


Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories is an integrated pharmaceutical company that operates in three areas — pharmaceutical services and active ingredients, global generics, and proprietary products. The company focuses on the following therapeutic areas: gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, diabetology, oncology, pain management and dermatology. Dr. Reddy’s operates in markets across the globe, including the United States, India, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. North America makes up 39% of revenue, emerging markets comprise 19% and India is 5% of revenue. Dr. Reddy’s saw a 12% growth in revenues in fiscal year 2019, attributing it to its pipeline of complex formulations the company said allows it to introduce several value-added products each year. Currently, Dr. Reddy’s has 110 generic filings awaiting approval from the FDA. Vanessa Brill, vice president of legal and compliance for Dr. Reddy’s operations in the Americas, said that despite the challenges of the current health crisis, Dr. Reddy’s continues to focus on the opportunities they have, as a company and as an industry, to have a positive impact on people’s lives in managing through this tragic epidemic. “Dr. Reddy’s makes medicines and their core purpose is that patients continue to have access to affordable medicines, whether those medicines are for the treatment of COVID19 or other conditions,” Brill said. “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the generic drug industry, as well as other industries, faced many challenges. Dr. Reddy’s has worked and

continues to work through these challenges as the situation evolves.”

Edenbridge Pharmaceuticals

Founded: 2008 Headquarters: Parsippany, N.J. Number of employees: 38 Number of generics: 24 Key sales/marketing contact: Victor Borelli, vborelli@edenbridgepharma.com Victor Borelli, Edenbridge Pharmaceuticals’ senior vice president of sales and marketing, described Edenbridge as a well funded and industry savvy specialty pharmaceutical company focused on identifying, developing and marketing prescription pharmaceutical products. The company’s goal is to create a broad portfolio of limited source branded and generic pharmaceutical products that will provide high quality, affordable and accessible alternatives. “Our approach is to work with best-in-class and like-minded industry partners to deliver our products to physicians and patients everywhere,” he said. Founded in 2008, the company launched its first product in February 2010. “We currently sell our commercial products through every major channel of the U.S.


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prescription pharmaceutical supply chain. Seven of our products have launched with Edenbridge as the first alternative supplier,” Borelli said, noting that the company added a facility in 2018 to support growth and expand its research and development capabilities. The company, he said, is poised for aggressive growth with a robust product development pipeline through in-house research and development efforts that include ANDAs and 505(b)(2)s focused on complex and limited competition items. “Additionally, we are actively involved in strategic partnerships to further expand our pipeline,” Borelli said. “Our belief has always been focused on the patient’s needs and wellness. This commitment has ensured the stability of our supply chain to support the unprecedented demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are dedicated to maintaining deep customer relationships and continuing to develop and market high-quality products.”


Founded: 1978 Headquarters: Berkeley Heights, N.J. Number of employees: Roughly 2,000 Number of generics: More than 700 plus Key sales/marketing contact: Kristy Ronco, kronco@hikma.com Hikma offers both oral solid and injectable pharmaceuticals across a range of therapeutic categories, including respiratory, oncology, pain management, antiinfectives and many others. Hikma’s injectables business manufactures and sells specialized generic injectable products and is one of the top three manufacturers by volume of generic injectables in the country. In fact, one in every six generic injectable medicines used in U.S. hospitals is a Hikma product. The company’s generics business manufactures and sells oral and nasal medications, with an increasingly differentiated portfolio and pipeline. Another group within Hikma’s


generics business develops, manufactures and markets branded generics and innovative inlicensed products. Since first entering the United States in 1991, Hikma has continued to expand its footprint across the nation, now employing more than 2,000 people in state-of-the-art manufacturing, research and development, distribution, and customer service sites in Columbus and Bedford, Ohio, as well as in Cherry Hill, Eatontown and Berkeley Heights, N.J. “Our mission is to put better health within reach every day, by making high quality, affordable medicines available to the doctors, hospitals and patients that need them, said Siggi Olafson, Hikma’s CEO. “Every day, our medicines are used by approximately 13 million people. With locations in over 50 countries, 29 manufacturing plants and seven R&D centers, the impact we have on people’s lives is important, positive and far-reaching.” Additionally, Hikma is known for its investments in research and development, as well as its broad portfolio of medicines in key areas, including anti-infectives, cardiovascular, central nervous system, diabetes, oncology, pain management and respiratory. Over the past several years, the company has launched more than 20 products into U.S. shortage situations to help hospitals and doctors provide their patents with the medicines they need.

Upsher-Smith Labs

Founded: 1919 Headquarters: Maple Grove, Minn. Number of employees: 584 Number of generics: 45 Key sales/marketing contact: Scott Hussey, scott.hussey@upsher-smith.com From its origin a century ago, Upsher-Smith has been known for delivering high quality medications to patients. Its first breakout product was a form of digitalis refined to a singularly high level of consistency. “This first product established

Upsher-Smith’s reputation for quality, consistency and reliability, a reputation that endures to this day,” said Upsher-Smith vice president of partner relations Mike McBride. Since being acquired by the Japanese generics company Sawai Pharmaceutical in 2017, Upsher-Smith has focused much of its energy on expanding its generic portfolio. UpsherSmith kicked off 2020 with the launch of three generic products: fluvoxamine maleate tablets, haloperidol tablets, and clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets. In June, Upsher-Smith released ethacrynic acid tablets. The company said it expects to receive approval for additional ANDAs in the second half of the year. It currently markets 45 generic products and four branded products. In July 2019, Upsher-Smith expanded its migraine portfolio with the acquisition of two FDA-approved acute migraine medications — Zembrace SymTouch (sumatriptan) injection 3 mg and Tosymra (sumatriptan) nasal spray 10 mg. “These products fit perfectly into the company’s existing portfolio and brought new dosage forms with their intranasal and injectable delivery systems, allowing the company to drive faster growth in a space with an established group of prescribers,” McBride said. In recent years, the U.S. generic market experienced dramatic price deflation, and like all generics companies, Upsher-Smith has faced significant pricing pressure, but it is well positioned for future growth, McBride said. “The company continues to increase efficiencies and align expenses with expected revenues, with the goal of investing in future endeavors. Going forward, Upsher-Smith plans to aggressively pursue acquisitions of generic and targeted brand opportunities that leverage its commercial team’s capabilities. The company is investing in infrastructure to expand capabilities, strengthen overall competitiveness and enhance sustainable practices,” he said. Last fall, Upsher-Smith broke ground on a modern, efficient, high quality manufacturing facility that will be added onto its Maple Grove headquarter’s building. “The creation of this new facility will be the foundation of Upsher-Smith’s manufacturing for decades to come,” McBride said. dsn


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Money Moves Transparent and predictable reimbursement is critical for the future of pharmacy By Rich Tremonte

T Rich Tremonte, executive vice president of community and specialty pharmacy, AmerisourceBergen

oday, pharmacies are under increased reimbursement and financial pressures, fighting to stay afloat. Over the last decade, 16% of independent rural pharmacies have closed and at least 2.4 million rural residents across the country do not have adequate pharmacy access. While there are many issues making it difficult for pharmacies to remain viable, reimbursement pressures and the lack of clarity associated with direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR, fees are huge contributing factors. Predictability and transparency are needed at the pharmacy counter for both pharmacy owners and patients. The last few months have given way to positive strides, including the U.S. Supreme Court announcing its decision to rule on states’ authority to regulate PBMs this year and the Senate Finance Committee updating the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act to include pharmacy DIR reform. Policy changes take time and DIR fees still pose a challenge. There are actions pharmacists can take to further protect their businesses and patients. First, pharmacists can spearhead the fight for policies that support transparency at the point of sale. They can join advocacy organizations like the National Community Pharmacy Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores that allow them to bring their stories to Capitol Hill. NCPA’s annual Congressional Pharmacy Fly-In and NACDS’ annual RxIMPACT Day, though they took a virtual bent this year, historically have provided pharmacists an opportunity to meet with legislators. Second, joining a pharmacy network or pharmacy services administrative organization, or PSAO, can help reduce unnecessary costs by providing back office functions that are costly for pharmacies to replicate. PSAOs also provide valuable reconciliation services to ensure appropriate payment is made to each pharmacy and help cut through the complexity to make it easier to understand managed care contracts. PSAOs create a high-performing network at scale to ensure independent community pharmacy remains a high-quality option for patients. Exactly 17,000 of the 22,000 independent pharmacies in the

United States are represented by a PSAO, but these independents only represent 12% to 13% of the total retail prescription market share. It’s important that independents have partners like PSAOs so they can have a seat at the table. Pharmacy networks and PSAOs also are advocates for pharmacists when it comes to policy and regulatory rulings. For instance, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services failed to address DIR fee reform through its Medicare Part D Final Rule for 2020. In response, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, AmerisourceBergen’s family of independent pharmacies, worked with six advocacy groups to craft and lobby for legislation addressing DIR fee reform, and these efforts continue today as Good Neighbor Pharmacy and many pharmacy organizations continue to encourage Congress and the administration to reform pharmacy DIR fees. As pharmacies are struggling, so are patients, particularly around costs. Patients deserve clarity on the cost of their medications, and such efforts as itemized receipts that explain how out-of-pocket costs are calculated would help patients understand who is paying for what and how the system works. Pharmacists are frustrated for patients and advocating on their behalf to reach price clarity. In addition to having honest conversations with legislators, pharmacists can include inserts in pharmacy order bags that educate their patients on these challenges and share information on how patients can advocate. Authentic patient stories are incredibly impactful when educating lawmakers. These tactics will bring awareness and strengthen the unique bond between pharmacists and patients. As pharmacies work hard to maintain their position as go-to healthcare destinations, policymakers need to embrace fair reimbursement and transparency for the benefit of pharmacies and patients. We will only begin to truly see fair, transparent and predictable reimbursement and lower drug costs for patients if pharmacists continue to bring advocacy efforts to state legislatures and Capitol Hill, join networks that aggregate stakeholders, and educate patients on the severity of these challenges. dsn


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Beyond the Taboo Sex toys, flavored lubricants and — of course — condoms light up the sexual wellness category By Seth Mendelson


exual education in the retail aisles? Yes, that is what it is coming down to as more retailers expand their sexual wellness category to include such high-margin products as lubricants and sex toys, in addition to mainstream items like condoms. Yet even with demand increasing and awareness skyrocketing, the new sexual wellness category is not a slam dunk for retailers and suppliers. More than most categories, consumers are using the Internet to make purchases and others still use mail order, though at a lower rate. Still, mass retail has an excellent shot at growing this category over the short and long


terms. Most officials said that in order for the category to be most successful at retail, the industry must do all it can to make consumers more aware that these items are for sale in their store and explain to them what might be the best item for their needs. In other words, retailers and their suppliers must teach consumers about the evolving sexual wellness category and what works best for them, especially as industry data shows that nearly 80% of female consumers shop the feminine hygiene/sexual wellness aisle on each visit to a drug store or healthcare section of a supermarket. “Honestly, I had no idea how complex this category was becoming until one of our

store managers mentioned the complexities of it a few months ago,” said an HBC buyer at a leading supermarket chain in the Northeast. “I now understand how important it is to give consumers as much information as possible at the point of purchase through signage and on package data.” The bottom line is that this is not the sexual wellness category of just five or 10 years ago. Gone are the days of a section basically limited to a few SKUs of condoms, normally placed behind the pharmacy or tobacco category that may have eliminated most pilferage, but also killed impulse sales. Retailers have long told stories about embarrassed teenage boys awkwardly


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asking for condoms only to run out of the store without completing the purchase, or grown men afraid to ask for a product. Today, the category is moving to the forefront at many chains, though often still within the view of the pharmacist to guard against the ever-lurking concern of pilferage. Condom manufacturers — including major players like Trojan and LifeStyles, as well as other niche players like Okamoto — are stressing product size and pleasure right on the packaging. “During the height of the pandemic, a lot of retailers were out of stock in the condom category,” said Carol Carozza, marketing manager at Okamoto, which is pushing its Wink line of condoms. “Even as retailers did a great job on the essentials, there were some bumps in the road in other categories. Now we see it all coming back to normal levels and, with more store traffic, retailers are putting more products back on their shelves.” Other suppliers, including companies like Satisyfer, Clio and Trigg Laboratories, are fighting battles on a number of fronts to build sales of sex toys and lubricants. They are pushing to get retailers to see the opportunity they have with sex toys and lubricants, and put a greater assortment on store shelves to get consumers to realize they can buy these items at


mass retail, as well as get consumers to experiment with new items. “The sexual wellness category is booming,” said Jerome Bensimon, vice president of sales at Satisfyer. “In the last 90 days, it was one of the top performing retail categories. If retailers want to drive foot traffic, sexual wellness is the answer as more and more women are focused on a holistic approach to self-care. And, certainly, when it comes to quality and prices, we have proven success there. Now, we are working to build relationships with the food/drug/ mass audience, so they have the opportunity to invite more consumers to their stores with our brand and grow sales with us.” Bensimon said with the current environment, the category is seeing strong success online, but most importantly in food, drug and mass essential stores. “We launched our new segment at Rite Aid last month, and it’s had phenomenal success,” he said. “Truly, this is an underserved category for women, and women have more buying power then ever. The tipping point for sexual wellness is now, and now’s the time for FDM to get on board.” Lubricants, in particular, have gained a lot of attention from retailers and consumers. With an aging population base and more awareness of the advantages of lubricants, many industry

officials noted that sales of these products are booming at retail, as well as online. “The sexual wellness category has been expanding in retail. As society is changing, sexual health and wellness products are becoming more mainstream,” said Michael Trigg, founder and CEO of Trigg Laboratories. “Consumers also love something new, fresh and fun. Added features like taste are a significant change with growing sales. We’ve also seen an increase in the more ingredientconscious consumer. People, especially women, are paying more attention to the ingredients in lube and thinking about how they will affect their bodies. Cruelty-free and organic products are also on the rise. Therefore, we focus on providing high-quality ingredients in all our products.” Working with retailers to better understand the category and its growing number of products is vital to the success of the industry and something that merchants really need to focus on. “Retailers need to grow the range of the product mix,” said Jamie Leventhal, president and CEO of Clio. “We’re finding that retailers with five or more SKUs are performing better across the entire range than retailers with two or three SKUs. We now have several major


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retailers with assortments at or larger than five SKUs.” Suppliers are eager to get products on to retail shelves. Clio, for example, has been pushing its plusOne brand since its launch about two years ago. “The company has been promoting the brand in a way that eliminates the earlier taboo’s surrounding the category, making the range emotionally accessible for curious consumers,” Leventhal said. “We also package the products in retail friendly, yet infinitely descriptive, peekaboo boxes with tasteful designs, descriptions and imagery. The plusOne products are positioned at retail to be wellness pleasure products, not simple pleasure products, further cementing the range uniquely in the marketplace. “The range is also priced significantly lower than peers in the space — making the range financially accessible to the largest group of potential consumers — supplying fabulous performance and quality, plus key retail price points that bring both high-volume, incremental business to retailers,” he said. The line is backed by traditional marketing and advertising, as well as digital, social media and online influencers, Leventhal said. The company also is working with retailers on ideal assortments, off-shelf features, FSI promotion and coupons. Satisfyer emerged on the domestic market in 2017 with a blast, Bensimon said. “For anyone familiar with the sexual wellness category, Satisfyer is synonymous with innovation and premium quality at outstanding prices,” he said. “Beyond our constant efforts to innovate the category, our product range is inclusive and diverse, and represents the global nature of our brand. In 2018, it was the first brand to ever be advertised in a mainstream magazine. As we continue to grow, we look to bring new consumers to the category with a segment specifically developed for food/drug/mass.” “The line is affordable, approachable and, while we do include products with our air pulse technology, we have items that are even more health focused, such as Kegel trainers and menstrual cups, he said. “The packaging is sophisticated and colorful, and has a flap covering the window box for an exciting reveal to see inside.”


Changing culture has had a role in the category’s growth, Bensimon said. “While the subject of sexual pleasure has been a taboo for women for so long, we are continuing to change the lexicon and educate on the benefits of sexual wellness for all,” he said. “It’s important to note that our products are reasonably priced, but also have a playful design to make it more approachable and acceptable to anyone with reservations.” At Trigg, the emphasis is on the unusual lubricants that may increase impulse purchases by consumers. Trigg said that the company is offering the Frosted Cupcake and Sultry Strawberry-flavored lubricants selling at mass retail. “Our Sultry Strawberryflavored lubricant is presently the top selling flavored oil in the United States, according to Nielsen data,” he said. “We are seeing lubricant use expanding into more demographics. With more sexual education, consumers are more comfortable acknowledging that they want to use lube and voicing that desire.” Trigg said that consumers may still be hesitant when asking for lubricants or seeking them out. Retailers need to have clear signage and any available information up and accessible. Some retailers and pharmacies also have found success in adding our products to their

women’s hygiene section, he said. Trigg recently introduced the Wet Gold Hybrid Luxury Water Silicone Blend Lubricant, which has been received well. It already has been picked up by one major pharmacy chain and will begin appearing on shelves this fall. “As always, we are working to retool current formulas to continue delivering an exceptional experience for our consumers,” Trigg said. “We are also working on some new products that we are very excited about and plan to announce later this year.” Okamoto’s Carozza emphasized that consumers want condoms that speak to their specific needs, especially based on age. “The Generation Z consumer wants brands that they can identify with,” she said. “They want honest in the product they use and they want to know what those products work and, in our case, fit.” Okamoto’s Wink brand has 12 SKUs in three counts: three, 10 and 24. The line includes the Closer, Slider, large and studded brands. “We educate the consumer on the front of the package so they know the difference between our products and others, and what our product does,” Carozza said. “Our job is to show the consumer how condoms fit and how comfortable they can be.” dsn


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Getting Personal The personal care category looks to help consumers with their pandemic-related needs By Seth Mendelson


t’s the $64,000 question in the personal care category. Will consumers, who have spent so much time during the quarantine taking care of their own personal care needs, return to old patterns or keep doing the same thing? Retail industry officials said they hope that the reopening of the economy across the country will encourage shoppers to pay a lot more attention to their personal care needs and, while many expect a return to old habits, they also hope that they start buying more products at mass outlets. Retailers and brand experts predict shuffling of space and an emphasis on such categories as products to solve mask-induced breakouts; more at-home grooming; and natural, but effective, hair and skin care. Before the pandemic, most people washed their hands, but with the threat of contracting the virus, the hygiene practice was ramped up to a whole new level. Washing hands multiple times per day, coupled with the use of hand sanitizers, is not expected to subside. That means more sales of those products, but also moisturizers as their skin dries out. Curan Mehra, CEO and founder of Gelo, a new refillable soap dispenser with biodegradable refill pods in four scents — sea mist mineral and freesia; cucumber, melon and jasmine flower; clean dye free; and lemon basil and geranium — has seen firsthand the rise in hand washing. His brand was launched just as


fear of contracting the virus hit a fever pitch. In the first 15 days on the market, Gelo sold more than 1 million pods. Products from the New York-based company are sold online, as well as at such major chains as Meijer, Hannaford, H-E-B and soon Rite Aid. By the end of the year, the company said it expects to be available in several thousand doors. Gelo hits upon several trends accelerated by the pandemic — hand soaps, a move to natural and environmentally friendly products, and new technology. “It was an interesting

time to be launching a hand soap,” Mehra said, adding that with some key brands out of stock, there was the opportunity to showcase Gelo and attract new consumers. “It was a market reset. We gave people the chance to have the benefits of a great product and do well by the planet.” The starter kits retail for $7 and the pods are $1.25 per bottle. During the first weeks, he said more than 30 months of plastic were saved through the brand. Executives at L’Oreal-owned CeraVe also witnessed a shift from skin care being about


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anti-wrinkle to a renewed focus on moisturization. Thomas Allison, global vice president of L’Oréal dermatological beauty brands and one of the founders of CeraVe, said that the brand has been focused on moisturization since its beginning. Sales of Jergens and Curel also shot up, according to Karen Frank, president of Kao mass business for Americas and European region headquartered in Cincinnati. “With all that hand washing, people needed to moisturize,” she said. Consumer focus on hand and body care enticed Joey Shamah, co-founder of E.l.f. who now heads up New York-based AS Beauty, to launch a new line in the fall under the Julep banner called Protection Collection. The range includes hand sanitizing wipes, sanitizing spray, hand sanitizer individual wipes, gel hand sanitizer, hand sanitizing lotion and restorative hand salve. Price points range from $3 to $8. “Beauty and wellness now go hand in hand. As a skin care and makeup line, we felt it was essential in the current climate to add antibacterial and protection items to our offering. It’s become just as much a part of all our daily routine as moisturizer and lip balm,” Shamah said. “As people return to their offices and start to travel again, we anticipate that the diligence to extra cleaning habits will continue. While the development of these products was prompted by the current climate, we believe they’ll quickly become best sellers and part of our core line. They are aligned with overall brand direction, serving the skin care and beauty needs of the busy woman who needs her basics covered.” Private-label hand and body care got a shot in the arm when consumers could not find their traditional brand after the rush to stockpile. Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Pharmacy recently rolled out more than 80 products under the Live Better by CVS Health logo. The packaging is at least 80% recyclable. “We are committed to creating quality, innovative and industry-leading products that empower our customers to make self-care a part of their everyday health,” said Brenda Lord, vice president of store brands at CVS Health. “Holistic wellness is a personal journey. With the unveiling of so many new Live


One-on-One with Karen Frank


n May 2019, Kao USA named Karen Frank president of mass business for the Americas and European region — the first woman to hold that title at the Japan-based beauty powerhouse. With less than a year in her role when the world changed, Frank kicked into gear to make sure Kao’s brands were ready for the new market dynamics. She discusses with Drug Store News the challenges and opportunities for the company during COVID-19 and beyond.

Drug Store News: What decisions did you make to pivot, especially since demand for some of your categories probably skyrocketed? Karen Frank: The first thing that took off was Jergens Hand Wash, which was interesting because it isn’t a category we focus on. We saw sales double, triple, even more. Right behind that, our hand and body lotions, Jergens and Curel, started to take off as people were drying out their hands and bodies from cleansing and needed nourishing. The other business we saw change was John Frieda. With salons closing, everyone wanted to get our box color and our John Frieda Colour Care. It was interesting because a couple of these other businesses weren’t priorities for us. We had to make sure we could meet the demand. We had to pivot and turn to where we were getting our supply chain from. We don’t expect all these changes to go away. You are going to see a lot of companies tending toward more hygiene and wellness. Another pivot we had to make was to online. Amazon went crazy. E-commerce performed for how we projected it would in five years. Channel shifting is going on and will be permanent. At first, e-commerce, which includes click and collect and deliveries, was viewed as safer, but now more convenient. DSN: Do you think as consumers couldn’t go to salons or specialty beauty stores who tried mass brands will stick with them? KF: One of the hardest things to do is get a consumer to try your products. Take John Frieda as an example — it often gets compared to salon quality. If they can’t get to a salon and tried John Frieda, they’ll see the value and quality, and we have that value and quality across our brands. DSN: What types of products are in your pipeline? KF: Second half, we have a ton of products coming, including innovations in Biore Skincare — one will include cannabis sativa oil. In Jergens we’ve had great trends, in Ultra Healing we have decided to extend it with innovation. And we have a lot around our direct-to-consumer Wakati hair care for kinks, curls and coils. We are continuing to innovate. DSN: Can you talk about being the first woman in your role? KF: When I first started with the company in 2009, it was still men on the leadership team, so this has been a big move. They have been working on diversifying our senior leadership. We have a woman who heads up R&D and human resources. They also named the first black man, Jesse Grissom, to president of operations Americas. It is a very diverse team I am proud of. I feel we have one of the most diverse teams in America.


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vegan and 16-free, referring to the number of less-than-desirable ingredients that have been removed from formulas. With the attention to nails at home, overall nail care is sprouting, according to Neal Wallach, co-founder of Anise Cosmetics in Collerville, Tenn., which has seen robust growth of its nail care items, including top and base coats and a Keratin 3-Day Growth product.

Natural but Effective

Better product offerings, customers have access to high-quality ingredients that reflect the latest wellness trends at a good value.” The lineup includes emerging ingredients like elderberry, ashwagandha, turmeric, kelp, maca, ginseng and charcoal — many of which some consumers feel have protective health qualities. Consumers are reading ingredient labels more closely than ever, and these ingredients resonate with many, experts said.

The “Maskne” Problem Mask-induced acne, or “maskne,” is a real thing caused by constantly wearing a protective mask. Masks resulted in an uptick in acne for all ages, with Google searches for “maskne” soaring 811% from March to June. Wearing masks also has resulted in a spike in sales of lip care, derm-quality skin care and eye makeup. Many retailers are creating sanitation stations and merchandising all protective products, along with skin care and acne treatments.

Nail Care Even with nail salons opening, there are

consumers who still are afraid to go or have mastered at-home manicures. Bruce Kowalsky, managing partner at IBG and Red Carpet Manicure in Hauppauge, N.Y., predicts many consumers will continue to care for nails on their own. He saw a big spike in his nail care portfolio, which included Red Carpet, Defy & Inspire and a new launch called Nailtopia. Artificial nail products continue on a torrid growth rate, including both Kiss and imPress nails. Artificial nails already were a strong point in nail care, but over the past few months, Kiss’ sales consistently soared in the triple-digit range, according to data from the Port Washington, N.Y.-based company. Dashing Diva, based in New York, also is experiencing a boost in sales with its Gloss Ultra Shine Gel Strips, which are wrinkle-free nail strips that are chip resistant and wear up to 14 days. The brand just rolled out a Sun Gloss collection. While artificial nails have been a driving force in the category, New York-based and Coty-owned Sally Hansen’s recent launch is giving a much needed boost to lacquer sales, too. Called Pure, it is 100%

The pandemic raised consumer demand for natural products, but specifically those that do not sacrifice performance. According to data from Kline Group, the global natural personal care market expanded 9% in 2019. During quarantine, U.S. interest in natural products grew even stronger. Still, consumers remain confused about what really constitutes natural. To reduce the bewilderment, Cincinnatibased Procter & Gamble has embarked on a Responsible Beauty campaign that helps people navigate purchasing choices. One goal is to ensure shoppers know how to make choices that do not sacrifice safety or performance, and that they do not need to decide between science and nature. The company has formed a Responsible Beauty Advisory Council to assist as it builds the program. A few examples of Responsible Beauty in action include Olay refillable pods and Waterl<ess, a new waterfree hair care line requiring zero water to use.

Transparency in the Boardroom COVID-19 was not the only major issue the world dealt with over the past few months. Following the high-profile death of George Floyd, race relations moved to the front burner. Sharon Chuter, founder of Los Angeles-based Uoma Beauty, has called for beauty companies to “Pull Up for Change,” and reveal the number of Black employees. Looking inward, many beauty giants are making a pledge to actively hire more Black employees. Retailers also took action with Walmart, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens, vowing to stop the practice of locking up beauty products for Black shoppers. Additionally, retailers plan to add more space to brands that serve America’s more diverse shopper profile. Sephora, in fact, took a “15% pledge” to devote 15% of shelf space to Black-owned brands. dsn


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New Imperatives for Catering to Shopper Health Needs Retailers have an opportunity to support new shopper habits formed during the pandemic 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.



he lockdowns may be ending, but concerns remain. There is growing evidence that a significant portion of consumers are embracing healthier strategies — from nutrition to fitness — in response to the pandemic. This is a notable shift and an important opportunity for retailers to address these needs. A new report from the International Food Information Council, “2020 Food & Health Survey,” found the pandemic has led more than 20% of consumers to eat healthier than usual. Recent research, “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends: The Impact of COVID-19,” from FMI — The Food Industry Association, found 36% of consumers said they feel they now eat healthier compared with before COVID-19 became a national concern. Younger consumers in particular are placing emphasis on maintaining a healthy body while staying at home. Which products and categories are being favored? One such segment is natural products. An IRI and Spins report, “COVID-19 and Navigating the Path Ahead: Supporting the Natural Products Consumer,” found natural products displayed strong momentum during the pandemic. “More consumers are turning to natural remedies to enhance immune systems and reduce additional stress and anxiety,” the report said. To be clear, some consumers have gone the other way during the pandemic, with less healthy eating habits and reduced fitness. However, much of the data tends to indicate that health is winning out overall. At this stage, retailers are likely wondering if new consumer habits will last. I put this question to Jane Dummer, a registered dietitian and food and retail industry consultant. “For at least the next year, there will be heightened consumer awareness and concern,” she said. “People will be looking at how to maintain health. Hopefully, people will look at nutrient-dense foods, portion sizes, fitness, sleep, hydration with water, and stress management, and talk to their health professionals about certain supplements like vitamin D.” I like that Dummer didn’t attempt to project beyond the next year, which recognizes all the

variables ahead, including development of a successful COVID-19 vaccine. Retailers are certainly wondering how they can support enhanced consumer health goals. Krystal Register, the new director of health and well-being at FMI, said that food retailers have the opportunity to innovate in efforts “to help consumers looking for support with overall health.” A lot of retailers are leveraging their dietitians to help engage with consumers, said Register, who was the longtime Wegmans Food Markets’ retail dietitian. “Shoppers are taking advantage of online touchpoints with enhanced health messaging and well-being tips, along with other helpful distinctive online features,” she said. Register cited such features as list-building tools, recipe links, nutrition trackers, planning grids, and labeling and ingredient information. This input from nutrition experts is spot on and indicates to me that retailers have a special role to play. My take is that retailers don’t need to get into the weeds on exactly which products may advance health and immunity. Rather, they have the opportunity to provide choices, services and education to help consumers navigate their overall nutrition and lifestyle strategies. Signs that retailers are stepping up include: • Kroger’s healthcare division, Kroger Health, rolled out a free telenutrition service to support new shopper eating routines during the pandemic. The program, led by Kroger dietitians, includes management of food-related health concerns. It is part of the company’s “Food as Medicine” platform; and • Walgreens has moved to address growing concerns about mental health challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The retailer’s health outcomes pharmacists have completed the first phase of training in mental health first aid administered by the National Council for Behavioral Health. These types of services will interest consumers who are giving more weight to well-being strategies. Retail solutions may result in a double win by supporting consumer health goals and advancing shopper loyalty. dsn


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