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Volume 43 No. 7

JULY 2021

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PERFORMANCE AND PRECISION Leading The Field In Authorized Generics Prasco is leading the field in Authorized Generics with a high performance crew dedicated to flawless execution. Our industry leading 98% service level is keeping us ahead of the competition. Our team of industry veterans and experts are always ready to find solutions to complex challenges along the way. Prasco is setting the pace for future success.


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Better medication management equals better adherence. I b g


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he Compliance Team’s Patient-Centered Pharmacy Home™ (PCPH) program is designed specifically to promote better patient medication management and care planning as well as improve positive outcomes.


TelePharmacy, as well as certification for Testing and Immunization. Meeting the highest standards of patient care has never been this simple. Accreditation. Simplified.

Patients visit their pharmacists much more frequently than they do their providers, making pharmacists critical to effective and safe patient care. PCPH allows the pharmacist to work at the top of their license and be part of the patient’s care team in a value-based care model. The Compliance Team also offers programs for CMS-Approved DMEPOS, CMS-Approved HIT Accreditation, Infusion/Specialty Drug, Compounding, In-Store Clinic, LTC, and

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Vol. 43 No. 7 DrugStoreNews.com

FEATURES 10 Industry News 18 Products to Watch





28 CBD Trends Merger mania makes its way to the CBD category as suppliers offer targeted products

34 CBD News 38 Cover Story: Holding on to Pharmacy’s Pandemic-Era Gains With pharmacy’s capabilities as healthcare providers clear, the industry looks to make some changes permanent

COLUMNS 8 Editor’s Note 20 Counter Talk with McKesson’s Peter Koo

22 Counter Talk with Euclid Medical’s Scott Miglin

24 One-on-One with Kadenwood’s Doug Weekes

26 One-on-One with Sharps Compliance’s Kathryn Kane-Neilson

66 Last Word

INSIDE BEAUTY 46 Sun Care’s Time to Shine With summer in full swing and people returning to more normal activities, sun care sales are poised for growth

with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

SOCIAL Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews

PHARMACY 52 Generics Companies Roll with the Punches

Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews

Generics companies launch new products and enter new areas as diversification grows as an imperative

HEALTH 62 Women’s Health Companies look to address women’s health by starting with the toll the pandemic has taken on women

64 Trends in Diabetes Care Needle makers and monitoring companies look to remove literal and metaphorical pain points for diabetes patients

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. 43 No. 7, July 2021. Copyright © 2021 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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Think About the Future Everyone agrees that pharmacies will have to change and adapt for the foreseeable future, but what will that change look like? By Nigel F. Maynard


here are many things that can kill a business, but one of the most potent is complacency. Business insiders call it the Silent Killer. Blockbuster comes to mind, but there are others — Polaroid, Sears, Toys“R”Us, Kodak. Sometimes, complacency doesn’t kill a business, but it puts the company on the back foot or on the path to irrelevance. Most consumers may or may not be familiar with Honeywell, but there’s a chance they interacted with the brand’s round thermostats. Introduced in 1953, the T-86 was Nigel F. Maynard Editor-in-Chief | gloriously simple. It was designed to function like the dial of Editorial Director a radio (which was popular in the ’50s) and allowed users to turn a round aperture to adjust the temperature in the home. The unit was Honeywell’s first round thermostat, replacing a bulky, rectangular model. My first two apartments, and my first condo and first house had a T-86. In fact, the unit was used in more households around the world than any other model. The T-86 was so popular that Honeywell probably thought it could sit back and relax, but the company failed to see the growing influence of the smartphone and the burgeoning smart home market. Consequently, when the first smart thermostat hit the market in 2007, it did not come from Honeywell or another legacy manufacturer. The unit came from an unlikely start-up, Ecobee. Honeywell is still in business, and they now make smart thermostats (as well as many other products), but they have been playing catch-up since 2007. The conversation is dominated by players such as Nest, Ecobee and others. Hopefully this will not happen to pharmacies in our industry. As it is, things are (relatively) good. Market research firm IBISWorld says the value of the U.S. pharmacy and drug store industry is expected to reach $319.3 billion in 2021 and should see growth of 3.3%. Drug stores in our industry stepped up to fill the need for testing in the early days of COVID-19 and played a vital role in the vaccination effort. But there is very little time to grow complacent, especially with gathering forces, such as rising drug prices, consumer expectations, disruptive innovation, declining store visits and pharmacy start-ups — like the recent announcement that Highmark and five not-for-profit, mission-driven Blue Cross Blue Shield plans are funding a new company, Evio, to tackle affordability, outcomes and experience with medications. And then there’s Amazon, which, depending on your outlook, is either a threat or merely a paper tiger. Companies led by innovative and creative CEOs will find ways to adapt, solve the issues and thrive. They have had to adjust and adapt for years, and they surely will have to continue that strategy for the foreseeable future. Companies may even have to start thinking outside of the box. As we have written in these pages, dramatic change is part of the pharmacy business and that change is likely to speed up. So what’s your big idea? dsn


An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Senior Vice President, Publisher John Kenlon (516) 650-2064, jkenlon@ensembleiq.com Editor-in-Chief | Editorial Director Nigel F. Maynard nigelmaynard@ensembleiq.com 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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CoverGirl Reduces Plastic in Pressed Powder Packaging

Hallmark Delivers Handwritten Messages on Greeting Cards Hallmark’s latest innovation is making it easier to send handwritten cards. The St. Louisbased greeting card company rolled out Sign & Send, allowing consumers to use their mobile device to order a card with their handwritten messages printed inside and send it directly to a recipient. “We are thrilled to introduce this new technology that will help people put more care into the world,” Lindsey Roy, Hallmark’s chief marketing officer, said. “Today, people use their phones for everything from connecting with friends to shopping. Sign & Send offers the digital ease and convenience people have come to expect, while giving them a way to create genuine and meaningful connections that can only be done with a Hallmark card.” Users access the service from Hallmark.com, where they can select their card and add their own handwritten message by writing it on a sheet of paper and snapping a photo that can be uploaded onto the website. After the mailing address is entered, Hallmark will stamp the card and send it to the recipient at no extra cost, the company said. “This is a personalized and seamless way for consumers to shop, choose, purchase and send greeting cards,” Roy said. “This new offering brings together the digital and physical by offering the exact same Hallmark cards that you find in stores at the same price, but signed and sent directly from a phone.” The rollout was accompanied by a promotion letting consumers send their first Sign & Send card for free.


CoverGirl is continuing its efforts toward sustainable packaging by using 35% less plastic in each of its Clean Pressed Powder compacts. The beauty brand is altering the packaging of its Clean Pressed Powder collection, including Clean Pressed Powder, Clean Matte Pressed Powder, Clean Sensitive Pressed Powder and Clean Fresh Pressed Powder. “CoverGirl continues to make good-for-you makeup and skin care, prioritizing the health of our consumers and the planet,” said Stefano Curti, chief brands officer at Coty. “I am delighted that this initiative means eliminating some plastic by ensuring our Clean Pressed Powders now have 35% less plastic per compact — a tangible example of Coty’s commitment to more sustainable packaging through our Beauty That Lasts initiative,” he said. “As a brand, CoverGirl continues to identify areas where we can reduce our environmental impact, continuing to lead the way as the original clean brand, which our consumers are proud to stand behind.”


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Mars Wrigley Previews Holiday Treats from M&M’s, Dove Even as temperatures hit record highs, Mars Wrigley is previewing what will be coming down the chimney this holiday season from its M&M’s and Dove brands. The M&M’s brand will release limitededition White Chocolate Pretzel Snowballs, which combine a white chocolate shell with a pretzel-filled center. The limited-edition Dove Milk Chocolate Toffee Almond Crunch Promises feature almond toffee covered in milk chocolate. “Our fans celebrate our innovative seasonal flavors every year,” said Tanya Berman, seasonal marketing at Mars Wrigley. “This year, we wanted to deliver even more smiles to consumers ahead of the holiday season with an early announcement of our festive new flavor combinations — white chocolate and pretzel in M&M’S White Chocolate Pretzel Snowballs and almonds and toffee in Dove Milk Chocolate Toffee Almond Crunch.” Both the M&M and Dove new flavors will be available in September.


Canus, Del Sol Impress at ECRM’s Natural Beauty Program Canus won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its Creamy Body Lotion with Real Shea Butter at ECRM’s Skin Care, Bath, Cosmetics and Natural Beauty program in early June. Del Sol was a finalist for its Color Changing Nail Polish. The products were 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 innovation via the Drug Store News-branded Buyers’ Choice Awards section of the ECRM Connect platform. “Many of the buyers we spoke with during the session say that consumers are more educated on ingredients than ever before and increasingly conscious of what they put on their bodies,” said Craig Chmielowicz, ECRM senior vice president of health and beauty care. “Both Buyers’ Choice Award winners have addressed this fact by creating innovative products with a focus on cleaner and free-from formulations.” Nature by Canus is a personal care product brand that distributes and sells fresh goat milk and plant extract-based skin care products developed to preserve healthy skin naturally. The brand’s Creamy Body Lotion with Real Shea Butter is 91% naturally derived and formulated to leave a flowery fragrance on the skin. It provides nourishing and softening benefits from fresh goat’s milk. The company said its ingredients are all sourced from responsible producers and that its products are free of EDTA, phosphates, parabens, dyes and colorants. Finalist Del Sol’s products include clothing, accessories and nail polish that change color in the sun, returning to their original color without sunlight. The brand’s products come with lifetime guarantees and are designed to encourage sun safety via their Sol Smart indicator that lets wearers know when the UV index is too high. Del Sol's selection of color-changing nail polish ranges from glitter and matte to classic and shimmer polishes that change color in the sun, effectively providing two colors in one application. Offered in more than 30 shades and never tested on animals, the polishes are free of toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and camphor.


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IQVIA Report: U.S. Health System P&G Debuts Nerve Pain-Focused Recovering from Pandemic Supplement Line The U.S. health system demonstrated resilience and flexibility during 2020, recovering toward its pre-pandemic levels of activity and progressing into 2021, even as the backlog of missed or delayed activity remains substantial. This finding comes from a new report by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. The institute’s “The Use of Medicines in the U.S.” report also found that medicine supply was largely maintained and spending on medicines increased by less than 1% on a net price basis. Key areas of focus of the report include: Health Services Utilization Index during COVID-19 • During the first quarter of 2021, the use of key health services — as measured by the IQVIA Health Services Utilization Index — was at 82% of pre-COVID-19 levels, up from a low of 42% at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020. Medicine Use • A total of 6.3 billion prescriptions were dispensed in 2020 with growth slowing to 1.7% after adjusting for the increased use of 90-day prescriptions for chronic therapies. Medicine Spending and Growth Drivers • U.S. medicine spending increased 0.8% on a net price basis to $359 billion, which reflects an increasing gap between list or invoice prices and manufacturer net revenues. Patient Out-of-Pocket Costs and Affordability • Out-of-pocket costs in aggregate for all patients, including retail prescriptions and non-retail medicines, increased $1 billion in 2020 to a record $77 billion; • Patients without insurance paid $25 billion for prescriptions, of which 97% were generics; and • Total out-of-pocket costs for cash-pay patients have increased by 46% in the past five years, even as the outof-pocket average for those with insurance dropped to $9.81 in 2020, down from $10.33 in 2015. Outlook to 2025 • Total net spending on medicine is expected to reach $380 to $400 billion in 2025, up from $359 billion in 2020, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 0% to 3%; and • Brands will continue to launch at record levels, with an estimated 50 to 55 new active substances expected to contribute roughly $133 billion in spending growth through 2025. To view the full report, visit: iqvia.com/insights/the-iqviainstitute/reports/ the-use-of-medicines-in-the-us.


Procter & Gamble is bringing formulas inspired by its popular international nerve pain brand stateside. The company is introducing Nervive, a line of daily supplements meant to address nerve care and pain relief. Nervive’s supplements line includes Nerve Health for fortifying foundational nerve health and Nerve Relief and Nerve Relief PM for occasional nerve aches, weakness and discomfort due to aging. The line of products is inspired by P&G’s non-U.S. brand Neurobion, which is the world’s top-selling nerve care brand, based on Nicholas Hall data. “Our nerves are critical to our everyday lives, impacting everything we do. Many Americans experience occasional nerve discomfort as they age, impacting their lives,” said Jeff Cullinane, P&G senior brand franchise director of North America personal healthcare. “That’s why we felt it was important to launch Nervive in the U.S., to give people with nerve discomfort somewhere to turn and make a meaningful difference in their daily lives.” The company said that aging leads to natural structural changes in the nervous system, including slowed signaling through the nerves and loss of myelin — both factors that can contribute to nerve discomfort as people age. “The signaling between these nerves helps us with simple actions like wiggling our fingers and toes or holding a cup of coffee, basically driving our ability to interact with the world around us,” said Arvind Venkataraman, senior scientist at P&G. “Nervive was specially formulated by understanding the biology of nerves and choosing ingredients that work to support their fundamental needs and functions, helping with nerve aches, weakness and discomfort in extremities like fingers and toes.” Nervive has launched online and at retailers nationwide.


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Bragg Unveils Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules One of the best-known names in apple cider vinegar is introducing a new product meant to deliver the ingredient in capsule form. Bragg Live Food Products has launched Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar supplements, offering 750 mg of acetic acid — the equivalent of 1 tbsp. of liquid apple cider vinegar — per three capsules. “Launching a supplement was a natural step for us towards our mission to help individuals live their healthiest lives,” said Bragg CEO Linda Boardman. “Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries because of its proven health benefits, but consumers will only gain the full range of those health benefits with the right dose of acetic acid.” Bragg said benefits from the acetic acid dose include helping control appetite and manage weight gain, as well as maintenance of healthy blood glucose and cholesterol levels. The product also includes vitamin D and zinc. The capsules are sold in 90-count bottles for a suggested retail price of $19.99. “With so much confusion in the ACV supplement space, compounded by the fact that manufacturers don’t list acetic acid content on their labels, we’ve made it our mission to ensure that consumers obtain a truly efficacious dose of 750 mg of acetic acid per serving, all in a convenient format that fits seamlessly into one’s daily routine,” Boardman said. Alongside the capsule launch, Bragg is establishing a scientific advisory board that includes Jeffrey Blumberg, physician Dr. Edwin McDonald and registered dietitian McKel Kooienga, who are experts in micronutrients and their effect on health and wellness. Bragg said it would work with them to help educate consumers about the science behind apple cider vinegar’s purported benefits.


Sera Labs, Nicole Kidman Launch Seratopical Revolution Sera Labs is launching a plant-based antiaging beauty line developed in partnership with brand ambassador and strategic partner Nicole Kidman. Seratopical Revolution consists of 11 products that aim to keep skin feeling more youthful and hydrated. “I really wanted to create something that was meaningful to me and that I knew people would genuinely enjoy,” Kidman said. “These products are personal to me from the scent to the texture. I am so excited to share them with the world and hope everyone loves them as much as we do.” Featuring a P3P complex, the line’s ingredients work to go into deeper layers of the skin via a tripeptide delivery system, the company said. The CBD-free line’s formulations also include hyaluronic acid, coriander, jojoba and cranberry seed oils, which help soothe and protect the delicate areas around the eyes. “It’s been an incredible ride creating this line with Nicole,” said Nancy Duitch, Sera Labs CEO and Cure Pharmaceutical chief strategic officer. “Our proprietary formulators have developed a high-tech delivery system, which allows the ingredients to go deep into the skin. Our loyal customers will benefit from scientifically backed ingredients that are designed to enhance hydration and rejuvenate collagen. Revolution offers a full-body line packed with natural plant extracts and peptide blends.”


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New and Noteworthy HRG’s five picks from June 2021



Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle + Pro Retinol Night Cream



Aleve Headache Pain


Zyrtec Soothing Face Wipes

he beginning of summer brought with it plenty of new products from suppliers. As always, HRG’s new product team was ready to pore over the 189 new products that were launched in June, comprising 32 health items, 79 wellness products and 78 beauty debuts. These five products stood out on the shelf based on innovation and potential.

Mommy’s Bliss Organic Gripe Water Gel

Designed to offer a milder taste for the newborn palate, Mom Enterprises’ gripe water gel is meant to help alleviate stomach discomfort, gas and colic in babies as young as two weeks old. It is made with the same key ingredients as the brand’s standard gripe water and formulated with organic ginger and fennel. The gel also is free of added sugar, alcohol, artificial flavors, artificial colors and the top eight allergens, according to the company.


Bausch + Lomb Biotrue Hydration Boost Drops



Between digital screens and dry summer weather in certain climates, irritated, dry eyes are a constant nuisance. The latest from Bausch + Lomb is designed to offer a pH-balanced, preservative-free lubricant eye drop that can moisturize dry eyes. The Bausch + Lomb Biotrue Hydration Boost Drops also contain antioxidants to help protect from free radicals and electrolytes found in the eye.

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Beiersdorf’s Eucerin brand is adding to its line of skin care products with a new night cream designed to tackle signs of aging. Made with vitamin E and macadamia nut oil to soften fine lines and moisturize skin, Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle + Pro Retinol Night Cream combines coenzyme Q10 and a retinol to help reduce the look of fine lines while the user sleeps. The product, designed to be safe for sensitive skin, is free of fragrance, alcohol and parabens. Bayer’s well-known pain-relief brand Aleve expanded into a new targeted product specifically designed to relieve headache pain. Aleve Headache Pain contains naproxen sodium targeted to offer long-lasting relief from headaches.

Joining Johnson & Johnson’s lineup of Zyrtec products are face wipes designed as an additional tool to help consumers battle seasonal allergies. The non-medicated Zyrtec Soothing Face Wipes contain a triple-micellar technology designed to clear pollen, dust and dirt particles from the face while also refreshing skin. Sold in a 25-count pack to be used on the go, the wipes can be used anywhere without the need to rinse afterward, the company said. dsn

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Industry Gut Check: Are We Being Strategic? Two considerations for building a brighter retail pharmacy future By Peter Koo


s the demand for COVID-19 testing and vaccines subsides and our pharmacy teams celebrate all they have accomplished, it’s vital we assess all aspects of retail pharmacy. Whether it’s enhanced clinical offerings, how we stock our shelves or the patient experience — it’s time we evaluate and strategically move forward with two new beliefs top of mind:

1. Patient expectations are now patient demands Peter Koo, vice president and general manager of pharmacy solutions, McKesson

The good news? The pandemic only solidified pharmacies as a health destination for patients. Whether it’s point-of-care testing or a mental health appointment, patients can visit the retail pharmacy on the corner. So, the top question for every pharmacy operator today should be, “How do we keep the most engaged consumer engaged?” It’s a new challenge. Patients are demanding digital access to their care providers, two-day shipping and intuitive tools to navigate costs. We need to be ahead of these new demands to keep the momentum across our industry.

Let’s find the right players to deploy the right solutions that are in line with our industry’s strategic growth. Our industry will be at the center of solving America’s complex health issues, so let’s do it together. Following the pandemic, patients now know that they can get care when they want it, where they want it and how they want it. According to a recent Vizient report, patients have high expectations when it comes to healthcare services and their communication. The study showed, video visits, text, email or telephone visits with an existing provider are the most preferred method. Additionally, access to the latest over-thecounter products when the customer wants it is critical. Pharmacies must be able to solve patient demands quickly.

2. Power of partnerships — new, old and emerging As we assess the traditional pharmacy model — seen


by many as ripe for disruption — it’s critical we have flexible partnerships, and we work across the industry to shape our future. Whether it’s leveraging your partnership with your pharmaceutical distributor or piloting innovative solutions with a new partner, now is the time to draw closer to trusted and tested partners. Health Mart Atlas — McKesson’s pharmacy services administration organization — recently supported an innovative new pilot program that saw a pharmacy member partner with a local payer. Shrivers Pharmacy, a Health Mart Atlas member, joined a pilot program with Molina Healthcare of Ohio to help patients with their medications. Pharmacists administered tests to patients who were regularly filling antidepressants or antianxiety medications. Based on the results, the pharmacist made interventions to help patients maximize their therapy and improve their well-being. Seventy-three percent of patients reported improved or stable scores in the pilot. We’ll continue to see these types of partnerships — between pharmacies and payers — to test and validate the value pharmacists provide. And then there’s the emerging market. From the expected entrants — Teladoc and GoodRx — to the unexpected, such as UberEats, all eyes are on this space. With more than 20 virtual pharmacy and direct-to-consumer prescription start-ups in 2021 grabbing the market’s attention, retail pharmacies must evaluate all partnerships moving forward and have the right conversations that create value, not just for the pharmacies but for suppliers, partners and, most importantly, patients. Let’s find the right players to deploy the right solutions that are in line with our industry’s strategic growth. No one company solved COVID-19, and no one company will solve diabetes. Our industry will be at the center of solving America’s complex health issues, so let’s do it together. As we lead our pharmacy operations teams through these two realities, now is the time to be intentional. Let’s take the gut check. We need to look at all aspects of pharmacy operations and be surgical in the way we all approach growth in 2021 and beyond. dsn


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INTO REALITY Founded in 1970, Uniweb’s expertise is the design and manufacturing of quality fixtures that go beyond the retail pharmacy doors. Whether it is new construction, relocation or a renovation, Uniweb offers a complete line of fixture solutions and dedicated designers to guide you through the process.

Our TEAM For over 50 years, Uniweb’s philosophy is that retailers will make better use of their existing space by re-imagining their approach and employing Uniweb, a more profitable, high-density fixture line. Uniweb RX systems hold up to 50% more product storage in the same footprint over conventional stick-built systems, generating more profit to the bottom line! Uniweb manufactures a complete line of modular rooms, wall storage panels, retail displays, RX fixtures and counters, locking units and adjustable height workstations. Uniweb products provide unlimited flexibility, and unmatched strength, utility and appearance, at an affordable price.


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While other fixture companies struggle with lengthy lead times (up to 5-6 months!), Uniweb has maintained a 10 day build-time for standard equipment and 4-6 week production for custom RX equipment and modular rooms! Uniweb delivers significantly shorter lead times, adaptable designs, and long-lasting products! Uniweb has maintained a lower surcharge, passing those savings on to our customers!


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In the Bag Using marketing to overcome patient resistance to adherence pouch packaging services By Scott Miglin

N Scott Miglin, board-certified ambulatory care pharmacist and service representative, Euclid Medical Products

early 50% of patients do not take their medications correctly, which can lead to barriers in patient health. Adherence pouch packaging can help. As a retail pharmacy, you must differentiate yourself from big chains or local competition to retain your current patients, obtain new ones and maximize your market share. Adherence pouch packaging machines not only benefit the health of your patients by helping them take medication correctly, but it can also help you gain large returns. How can you get the word out about this new service? Older generations tend to be less inclined to try new methods, and this can be a major pain point for retail pharmacies looking to add more patients to their pouch packaging services. To entice current and potential patients to try pouch packaging, it’s important to communicate the many benefits these services offer.

Adherence Benefits More than 50% of older patients take more than five medications a day, which can lead to timeconsuming pill sorting. Pouch packaging systems help patients take their medication as prescribed in a convenient detachable pouch that holds all of their medications and features information about the day and time to take each pill. Some key benefits to communicate include: • Eliminates task of sorting medication: Patients can eliminate the time-consuming task of pill sorting on Sunday nights. The machine does all the sorting so patients can take their medication correctly and efficiently; • Simplifies vitamin and supplement combinations: Not only can you package patients’ prescribed daily medications, but you can also include vitamins and supplements in each pouch; • Reduces amount of trips to the pharmacy: Prescriptions can be synchronized so patients can pick up their packaged medications at one time, once a month with only one predictable payment each month; and • Makes travel easy: Detachable pouches make traveling with medication easier than ever.


Patients can tear off the number of pouches for the days they will be gone and can take their medication as they normally do.

Set Goals Establishing goals along the way is the first step to nailing down your intentions to define your pharmacy’s success. Each goal depends on the size of your retail pharmacy, the time commitment you can set aside for marketing and your patient demographic. Some general examples include setting goals for the number of new patients you would like to gain per week or number of prescription refills. If you are conducting social media marketing, you can also set goals for posts per week, impressions and more. To continue momentum, it’s important to evaluate your progress and adjust your goals as needed.

Marketing Tactics for Results Retail pharmacies have the ability to increase patient outcomes and gain higher ROI by promoting their services through marketing. Strategies can include in-store tactics, phone calls, online content and more. However, it’s important to understand which tactics will target your patients’ demographics the best. For instance, before you jump into a complicated social media campaign, it’s vital to keep in mind that nearly 46% of Americans over 65 are on Facebook as opposed to other social media platforms. This can be a great place to start if you’re looking to do social media marketing with an older demographic. There are also opportunities to market in store. Use word of mouth by including patient referral programs, utilizing your pharmacists, and connecting with local doctors’ offices to inform them of your new services and more. Try placing flyers, signage and coupons in your pharmacy surrounding your new adherence services. This can lead to organic conversations between staff and patients about how you can provide the best patient experience. Making an investment on adherence packaging can be daunting, but having a marketing plan in place will offer significant benefits to your retail pharmacy and patients. Enhanced marketing is your ticket to success. dsn


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Growing CBD at Retail Kadenwood’s co-founder discusses how to drive consumer adoption of the category


of CBD and other plant-based wellness products. Since brands are limited in what they can communicate directly to consumers, industry publications and product studies done by third parties remain some of the best sources of consumer education materials. Kadenwood’s commitment to producing products with high levels of efficacy results in higher-than-average product repeat purchase rates and generates word-of-mouth advertising that helps consumers educate each other based on their product experience.

adenwood has been on a roll lately. The Newport Beach, Calif.based CBD company made a name with its Level Select brand and its vertically integrated approach. It recently acquired Social CBD and closed a $50 million funding round. Drug Store News spoke to CEO and co-founder Erick Dickens about pressing issues in CBD and how Kadenwood approaches retail. Drug Store News: How has the market for CBD products changed in the past year? Has the pandemic had an impact on consumer interest in the category? Erick Dickinson: Like many other consumer product categories, we saw a shift away from retail to direct-to-consumer. We believe success at retail is necessary for this industry to scale and are seeing signs of recovery as pandemic-related restrictions lift. Consumer disappointment with poor quality products, high retail prices and a lack of advertising has impacted consumer interest more than the pandemic. Kadenwood has positioned its portfolio of consumer brands to overcome these hurdles to accelerate category growth as the economy reopens. DSN: In a saturated market, what can suppliers and retailers do to stand out from the crowd? ED: Brands need to advertise, and they can’t get by on digital marketing alone. This industry needs brands to step up and build national brands with broad reach consumer advertising. Kadenwood has committed $20 million to advertising its portfolio of brands over the next year, including national and regional TV and radio, to drive consumer pull. Retailers need to support brands that invest in advertising with feature, display and promotion in store. These tools for success aren’t new; they just haven’t been applied to the CBD industry with scale and consistency.


Erick Dickens , CEO and co-founder, Kadenwood

DSN: When it comes to regulatory compliance, what actions or initiatives should suppliers take in advance of federal legislation to protect themselves and their customers? ED: Suppliers need to continue efforts to strengthen product quality, supply chain integrity and produce clinical studies for products to substantiate consumer claims. Kadenwood is one of the few fully vertically integrated companies in the industry and owns the ingredient supply chain from genetics to finished isolate and distillate. This vertical integration provides Kadenwood’s consumer brands a strategic cost-ofgoods advantage over other brands in the industry, but more importantly provides the company the ability to control the quality of input materials in their products, as well as the ability to scale quickly when the FDA provides further regulatory guidance. DSN: How important is consumer education in this category? How do you provide accessible, reliable and accurate information for your customers? ED: Consumers are curious about the benefits

DSN: Tell us a little bit about your company. How do you compete in this category and what differentiates your approach? ED: Most brands in the industry depend on third parties to supply their ingredients and take a “one size fits all” approach to branding. Kadenwood’s leadership, a cadre of CPG professionals with decades of proven success across multiple categories at some of the nation’s largest brands, recognized the flaws in this approach and built a company capable of leading the next phase of growth. Kadenwood created the industry’s only conglomerate, combining complete vertical integration with a portfolio of consumer brands designed to reach distinct consumer segments. Kadenwood also assembled a war chest of media assets to ensure the portfolio of brands had the proper advertising support to spur consumer trial and build brand loyalty. DSN: Can you give an example of one of your products or lines that has done well and how that exemplifies your company’s approach to the market? ED: Kadenwood’s Level Select CBD line of sports creams showcases the company’s approach to building a successful brand in this industry. Kadenwood’s medical advisory board, led by the 17th U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, provided the science needed to formulate products that delivered real consumer benefits. dsn


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Staying Sharp How Sharps Compliance helps companies dispose of regulated medical waste


to ensure programs are managed in strict compliance with applicable regulations.

ith the number of vaccinations being administered by pharmacies, they tend to create a lot of medical waste, whose disposal comes with strict regulations. Sharps Compliance looks to partner with organizations generating medical waste to assist with disposal, training and other services that make handling and disposing of medical waste straightforward for its clients. Drug Store News spoke with Kathryn Kane-Neilson, clinical specialist in regulatory compliance at Sharps Compliance, about the company’s capabilities and offerings. Drug Store News: Tell us a bit about Sharps Compliance and the services it offers. Kathryn Kane-Neilson: Sharps is a full-service national provider of comprehensive regulated waste management services, including medical, pharmaceutical and hazardous wastes. We also offer online tracking with proof of treatment, OSHA training, waste minimization support, easy program management options and a team of dedicated experts challenged daily to exceed customers’ expectations. DSN: How can healthcare waste compliance and disposal services benefit retailers with pharmacies? KKN: As generators of regulated medical waste, retail pharmacies are subject to the same regulations concerning regulated medical waste as any other regulated medical waste generator. When retail pharmacies are aware of their regulatory duties concerning regulated medical waste at both the state and federal levels, they decrease the likelihood of attracting unwanted attention from those regulatory bodies. Nearly all of the requirements for compliant regulated medical waste management are designed to improve environmental health within the setting generating the waste and, therefore, reduce potential associated


Kathryn Kane-Neilson, clinical specialist in regulatory compliance, Sharps Compliance

exposure risks to staff and customers. This point is particularly relevant with one of the main types of regulated medical waste, sharps waste. Staff trained on safe sharps disposal and facilities that contract for a sufficient supply of sharps containers will be better poised to cope with fluctuations in immunization waste generation and prevent accidental needlestick injuries. The unprecedented volumes of other forms of regulated medical waste resulting from COVID-19 testing have also increased the onus of responsibility for compliant management of these potentially infectious wastes on healthcare providers like retail pharmacies. DSN: What are some of the benefits of partnering with your company? KKN: By partnering with the leading sharps mailback solutions provider for pharmacies administering immunization programs, our customers benefit from a costeffective, as-needed option that allows for scale as demand increases. Additionally, our Regulatory Compliance Team offers guidance

DSN: How has the pandemic affected pharmacies’ disposal needs? KKN: Because retail pharmacies were designated as strategic providers of COVID19 vaccinations by the White House, management of unprecedented volumes of sharps and PPE presented new challenges. Luckily, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance on COVID-19related infection control, COVID-19 testing and treatment wastes according to the challenges of the nation’s major healthcare industries, including pharmacies. While most of the CDC’s guidance did not differentiate management of COVID19 waste from waste contaminated with other Category B infectious organisms, many states issued stricter requirements for this waste. Namely, waste items not otherwise contaminated to the same level as delineated within OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard were qualified as regulated wastes that could not be placed in municipal trash. Vast amounts of PPE were collected as regulated medical waste as a result, and pharmacies that were not accustomed to acquiring and maintaining larger receptacles for the containment of this regulated medical waste were quickly learning about proper packaging, labeling, etc. DSN: Can you talk a bit about your medication disposal kiosk offering? KKN: The MedSafe medication disposal kiosk provides pharmacy customers with a convenient place to bring their unused or expired medications, including controlled substances, for safe collection and disposal. Drugs are destroyed using incineration to meet the DEA’s non-retrievable standard. With over 6,000 kiosks in the market, MedSafe has removed over 3 million lbs. of medicine from communities. dsn


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CBD Outlook Is Cautiously Optimistic Trends include industry expansion, consolidation and evolving consumer preferences By Nora Caley


ven the CBD category needed some stress relief during the pandemic. While the industry attracted new consumers seeking innovative wellness products, cannabidiol sales growth was hampered by industry consolidation, lack of regulatory clarity and limited consumer education about product benefits. As manufacturers adapt to meet these challenges, retailers must keep up with the latest trends, formats and ingredients to remain competitive. The Food and Drug Administration still has not yet released regulatory guidance related to CBD, but that has not stopped companies from entering the space. According to Brightfield Group’s “2021 U.S. Mid-Year CBD Report,” in 2019 thousands of brands flooded the CBD market. The research firm noted that the category is so fragmented that the top five brands’ combined share totaled just under 10%. The number of brands became unsustainable during the pandemic, and many dropped out of the market. Companies said the shakeout was inevitable but also beneficial. As lower-quality brands disappear, the brands that remain will be the ones that demonstrate quality, expertise, strong testing and marketing support. “This really is good for the industry,” said Eric Martin, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Contract Pharmacal. “It gives consumers confidence that the brands that remain are safe and efficacious.” The Hauppauge, N.Y.-based company makes the Uleva line of hemp-based supplements. The shakeout could help the industry gain favor among consumers and retailers. “We are currently in a massive CBD extinction and consolidation phase,” said Jay Hartenbach, CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based Medterra. “With 1,400-plus CBD brands currently in the space, the industry is extremely competitive, and brands that are looking for quick, short-term gains will not be successful.” While several brands liquidated, others

28 July 2021

were acquired. The past year saw Newport Beach, Calif.-based Kadenwood acquiring CBD materials and formulations company EcoGen Labs, hemp processing and extraction company General Processing, and wellness brand Social CBD. The deals helped Kadenwood expand distribution and gave it a cost-of-goods advantage because it controls its supply chain “That allows us to drop retail price points and bring more consumers to the category,” said Doug Weekes, Kadenwood co-founder and COO. Recent purchases point to another trend, Hartenbach said, which is that the CBD and cannabis industries will become more intertwined. Medterra partnered with Acreage Holdings, a multistate operator of cannabis cultivation and retailing facilities.

Ingredients Are Key

Another way manufacturers are bringing more consumers into the CBD category is by highlighting other ingredients. One of the biggest trends right now, Weekes said, is plant-based solutions. As an extension of consumers’ desire for nonmeat proteins in

their diets, they are also looking for plantbased products for pain, sleep and anxiety, which Weekes noted are the three top segments for CBD products. In response, brands are combining CBD with plant-based ingredients to maximize the wellness benefits. “The market for plant-based wellness products is booming, and we are finding that more consumers are open to adding CBD to their wellness routines,” said Joseph Dowling, CEO of CV Sciences. “CBD continues to be an exciting ingredient that is opening up new possibilities for optimizing wellness.” The San Diego-based company recently launched PlusCBD Calm and Sleep Gummies, which combine CBD with such plant compounds as magnolia and lemon bark, which the company said work synergistically to support the endocannabinoid system and overall health. Synergistic ingredients are another trend as manufacturers find benefits in combining CBD with established supplement ingredients. For example, Michael Law, chief commercial officer at Eagle Labs, said brands are


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combining CBD with melatonin for a sleep solution and L-Theanine with CBD to promote a sense of calm. Also, 2020 saw a big increase in immunity products, and some CBD brands offer products that also contain immunity-related ingredients. Another ingredient innovation is the use of minor cannabinoids cannabigerol, or CBG, and cannabinol, or CBN. Law said CBG is being researched for potential to help in appetite, sleep and immune function, and is thought to help reduce skin inflammation. CBN may have anti-inflammatory properties, may help as an appetite stimulant and may support pain relief. “What’s clear is that the research needs to continue to help support both potential claims and a regulatory path to being able to use them in compliance with the FDA,” he said. “At the moment, consumers are using and trying many different types of CBD and making their own assessment regarding benefits versus expectations.” The St. Petersburg, Fla.-based company manufactures the impirica CBD brand. Manufacturers are looking at the entire plant for wellness solutions. “I see the trend really looking at the hemp plant and all of its capabilities with the minor cannabinoids, not just CBD but CBN, CBG and CBC,” said Ashlee Foy, vice president of sales and marketing at Arise Bioscience. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company’s brands include Original Hemp products, which feature different cannabinoids blended with supplement ingredients, such as

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turmeric, Boswellia and willow bark. Another lesser-known cannabinoid is Delta-8, another part of the cannabis plant. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which authorized the production of hemp, mentioned the psychoactive compound Delta-9, but not Delta-8, so there is legal ambiguity about the substance. “The Farm Bill left it open,” said Carlos Bengoa, president of CB Distributors in Beloit, Wis., which includes Hemp Bombs among its products. “Delta-8 is a different animal.”

Formats and Need States

Ingredients are important in topical products too. Denver-based HempFusion introduced a line of over-the-counter topicals that are druglisted with the FDA. The products are able to be marketed and sold for relief of pain, eczema and acne, as well as wound care. They contain such ingredients as aloe vera, shea butter, hemp-derived omegas and CBD, as well as other skin conditioners. The company recently acquired cannabis body care and topical company Apothecanna and Sagely Enterprises, maker of female-founded CBD wellness brand Sagely Naturals. The current trend, according to HempFusion co-founder and co-CEO Jason Mitchell, is a targeted approach to product development and product promotion. “CBD is no longer a one-size-fits-all supplement,” he said. “Consumers are looking for formulas and formats that best meet their individual needs,

whether that’s a condition-specific formula for stress or sleep support, or a preferred format like gummies, topicals, tinctures or capsules. CBD sellers must meet their customers precisely where they are with the specific, targeted products they want.” Mitchell said the challenge for both manufacturers and retailers is understanding exactly who their customers are. “CBD consumer demographics can vary considerably by geographic region and sales channel,” he said. “In a saturated market like CBD, understanding those demographic nuances is imperative for effectively reaching the right customers.” The focus on need states points to a new way to think about the CBD category. Wellness-seeking shoppers want to know more than just that the product has hemp-derived CBD, according to Jen Palmer, director of education at Boulder, Colo.-based Charlotte’s Web. “Consumers want products that are personalized and easy to understand — products that meet their specific health needs.” Palmer also said that minor cannabinoids and botanicals will play critical roles as more consumers seek products for a specific need state because products with these ingredients and full-spectrum hemp extract provide targeted benefits, including sleep support, recovery from exercise-induced inflammation or a sense of calm. Also playing a critical role will be innovative formats. Gummies continue to be extremely popular, but consumers are also looking for other ways to get their CBD. “One of the biggest CBD trends we’re seeing is that consumers are looking for familiar formats,” said Tara Rozalowsky, vice president of beverages and edibles at Canopy Growth. “In addition to edibles, beverages are fueling growth in the CBD category as consumers seek out familiar, fast-acting product formats that fit seamlessly into their busy day and replace less healthy options.” Last year the Smiths Falls, Ontario-based company launched Quatreau CBD-infused sparkling water in Canada, and is now bringing the beverage to the United States. Canopy Growth also launched the Martha Stewart CBD brand in the U.S. market last


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year, a debut that Rozalowsky said introduced new consumers to CBD. And just as consumers want familiar formats for themselves, they are also seeking to give their pets CBD in a format they will like. The line includes a pet product portfolio, the Martha Stewart CBD for Pet, that features oil drops and soft-baked chews in three flavor combinations and formulas — Wellness, Calm and Mobility. Pets are an attractive segment in the CBD category. “I think a lot of people spend more money on their pets than on themselves,” said Melissa Cromer, vice president of sales and marketing at Asterra Labs in Nashville, N.C. The company is developing beef- and peanut butter-flavored products for dogs, and also expanding its quickdissolving tablet lineup for consumers who prefer sublingual items. As the CBD category matures and manufacturers succeed in navigating the various consumer trends, retailers are hoping to make their own name in the business. Cromer said that at one of the first post-pandemic trade shows, Asterra Labs fielded many requests from retailers for private label CBD products. “Stores are wanting their own brand with their own look,” she said. “They want to diversify their portfolio.”


In the meantime, retailers need to boost their educational efforts around CBD. The

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products do not sell themselves just by being on the shelf, Cromer said. To help retailers build awareness, Asterra Labs offers brochures with information about the company’s pharmaceutical industry background and its third-party testing. To help drive sales at retail, Charlotte’s Web is expanding its “Searching for Answers” YouTube series and offering lessons in bite-sized content on social channels. This spring, the company launched its online Learning Lab, a complementary educational series of five learning modules for retailers. Retail participants can receive a Charlotte’s Web certificate of completion for each module. “As a company, we will continue to push to be leaders in both CBD product innovation and education,” Palmer said. In addition, the CW family of brands, which consists of Charlotte’s Web, CBD Medic, CBD Clinic and Harmony Hemp, regularly engages with healthcare practitioners to provide education webinars and in-depth articles on such topics as the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoid research, and CBD safety and drug interactions. Education is a critical element of driving sales at retail. Brightfield data shows that 18% of consumers who do not use CBD said they do not know enough about CBD products. Educating consumers about the products is especially important now, as the large number of items available can confuse

consumers. “The trend should be trying to keep the message simple,” said Rochel Roland, CEO of Joyful Bath in North Bethesda, Md. “If the CBD trend is to grow mainstream, I think that’s the way it’s got to be. Consistency is the way to build trust. It’s not always about the latest and greatest.” Data is crucial, as it helps retailers understand who their customers are and enables them to strategically tailor products and promotions. “That’s why it behooves retailers to work with a manufacturer that can provide them with reliable consumer data and insights,” said HempFusion’s Mitchell. Also, retailers should decrease the risk of having legal issues by carrying quality CBD brands that meet all regulatory standards. Retailers need to reconsider how they merchandise CBD products, Kadenwood’s Weekes said. For example, consumers looking for pain relief products will go to the aisle that displays patches, sprays and analgesics. The CBD products that offer support for pain should be merchandised there, not in an all-encompassing CBD section or endcap. When the FDA eventually develops regulatory guidance for CBD, there will likely be even more players in the category, said Contract Pharmacal’s Martin. Stores should prepare for that development. “Retailers need to continue to drive awareness of CBD, as well as cannabinoids CBG and CBN,” he said. “They are seen as experts.” dsn


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CV Sciences Launches Two Gummies CV Sciences launched PlusCBD Calm and Sleep, two gummies that support healthy stress responses and sleep cycles. The gummies contain no artificial flavoring or sweeteners. Each PlusCBD Calm gummy contains 10 mg of CBD derived from sustainable hemp and two neurologically active amino acids: 5-HTP and L-Theanine. Studies have shown that 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a direct precursor for synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which may facilitate calm feelings and a positive mood. L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that has been extensively researched for stress management. The company said the synergy between L-Theanine and 5-HTP, together with PlusCBD, promotes a balanced brain chemistry, which may help consumers manage occasional anxiety that can result from life’s stressors. PlusCBD Sleep gummies also contain 10 mg of CBD, in

addition to such active ingredients as melatonin, magnolia bark and lemon balm, which work together to support a healthy circadian rhythm. Preclinical studies have shown that compounds found in magnolia bark extract may soothe nerves through the modulation of certain neurotransmitters, including GABA, and also work with the endocannabinoid system to support relaxation. Lemon balm also contains active compounds that support the GABA neurotransmitter system, which studies have linked to promoting restful sleep. The San Diego-based company noted that its latest offerings are third-party tested and formulated by trusted experts to ensure each product contains meaningful amounts of active ingredients that are scientifically researched. The new gummies are available from the Plus CBD website and will be at retailers later this year.

Medterra and Acreage Announce Joint Venture Acreage Holdings, a vertically integrated, multistate operator of cannabis licenses and assets in the United States, announced that its subsidiary, Universal Hemp, reached an agreement with Medterra CBD. The partnership allows Acreage Holdings to tap into Medterra’s innovation pipeline, high-quality CBD and significant e-commerce platform for immediate nationwide distribution. Medterra subsidiary Five Farms CBD will develop a full-spectrum CBD collection under The Botanist, an Acreage Holdings brand. The companies said the partnership marks the first time in the cannabis industry that a CBD and a publicly traded cannabis brand have collaborated. J.P. Larsen, co-founder of Medterra and president of Five Farms, said this is “the future of CBD and cannabis companies.” Acreage will license The Botanist brand to Five Farms, which will manufacture, market and sell The Botanist branded CBD products through Medterra’s e-commerce platform. The Botanist branded CBD is expected to be available in the second half of 2021. 34


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Valens Enters U.S. CBD Market with Green Roads Acquisition

Canopy Growth Rolls Out Sparkling CBD Beverage Brand Canopy Growth, which makes Martha Stewart CBD brand gummies, softgels and oil drops, has entered the U.S. CBD beverage category with the launch of Quatreau, a premium ready-to-drink CBD-infused sparkling water. The Smiths Falls, Ontario-based company is launching the beverages in the United States, following the successful 2020 rollout of the sparkling waters in Canada, where Quatreau is now the top-selling ready-to-drink CBD beverage. Quatreau sparkling water contains 20 mg of premium U.S. grown hemp-based CBD. With an MSRP of $3.99 per 12-oz. can, Quatreau is a functional zero-sugar drink that delivers a natural, low calorie beverage alternative at an accessible price point, the company said. Quatreau CBD-infused Sparkling Water is available in four flavors: Cucumber + Mint, Passionfruit + Guava, Ginger + Lime and Blueberry + Acai. The company noted that the launch of the Quatreau brand in America coincides with an astrological event known as the Age of Aquarius, which refers to the zodiac’s water bearer. To support the launch, Quatreau partnered with celebrity astrologist Susan Miller of Astrology Zone on a digital and social campaign.


Canadian cannabis company Valens is entering the U.S. CBD market with the acquisition of CBD product maker Green Roads and its manufacturing subsidiary. The Kelowna, British Columbia-based company is putting up $40 million in cash and stock upfront for Green Roads, with an additional $20 million milestone payment available once the business achieves certain financial milestones. With the acquisition, Valens gains an established manufacturing and distribution platform, as well as Green Roads’ leadership team, which has deep knowledge of the cannabis CPG market in the United States. Green Roads currently is one of the largest CBD brands in the U.S. by market share. The company said the acquisition also would help strengthen its position in Canada, bringing Green Roads products to the country and unlocking new revenue. “The combination of Valens and Green Roads makes for an unbeatable team, diversified distribution network, and unparalleled product development and manufacturing platform, which we expect will provide us the footprint to become one of the biggest players in the global cannabis health-and-wellness market,” said Tyler Robson, CEO, co-founder and chair of Valens. In addition to gaining ground in two countries, Valens said buying Green Roads grows its global exposure, with the companies offering their products in 11 countries collectively. The company is engaged in late-stage discussions about entering Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. Valens said it is expecting to invest some $10 million into Green Roads to capitalize on anticipated growth in the U.S. CBD market and develop Green Roads’ leading e-commerce platform. It also hopes to expand its retail distribution, sales and marketing resources.


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Through their mobilization to administer testing and vaccinations, retail pharmacies have been on the

front lines of the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the industry is rallying to translate the vital role it is playing during the crisis into a more expansive one in the nation’s healthcare system going forward. “Pharmacies have really shown what they can do, and have really delivered during the pandemic,” said Douglas Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association, citing the fact that more than 80 million vaccines — about a quarter of the total of vaccines given nationally — have been administered in pharmacies. Now the NCPA, along with others in the industry, is seeking to make permanent some of the additional authorizations around vaccinations and testing that were granted on an emergency basis during the pandemic. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services authorized pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests, and to leverage pharmacy technicians for COVID-19 testing, without state or local restrictions. In addition, HHS is also expanding the ability for pharmacy teams to provide immunizations to children more comprehensively. Steve Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, recently argued in a Senate Finance Committee hearing that these new capabilities and others, along with the payment mechanisms to



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support them, should be made permanent. “Doing so would help Americans continue reaping the benefits of care services at pharmacies they know and trust into the future,” he said at the hearing. Dr. Sara Roszak, senior vice president of health and wellness strategy and policy at NACDS, said the industry is working at both the national and state levels to open the door to more comprehensive care services going forward. “I think there’s a good opportunity to work at the federal level and see what we can make permanent, since we’ve made so many strides at that level,” she said. “But at the same time, we continue to do outreach and pursue efforts at the state level. We’re pursuing both angles.” Retailers, meanwhile, have been reporting that they are seeing increased use of their healthcare services as a result of their ongoing COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs. In its recent first-quarter earnings call with analysts, CVS Health said it appears to be gaining customers because of those efforts. “We are successfully driving health services engagement among customers who are new to CVS Health through COVID testing and vaccines,” said Karen Lynch, president and CEO. For example, about 9% of customers who are new to CVS Health through its COVID testing have filled a new prescription at a CVS Pharmacy, she said.

Healthcare Destinations

A key outcome of the expanded testing and vaccine administration during the past year-plus is that drug stores continue to burnish their reputations as destinations for a wide variety of health services. Pharmacists in particular have proven themselves to be trusted providers of factual information about the COVID-19 virus, its symptoms and treatment, testing for it and the vaccines, said NCPA’s Hoey. In addition, administering COVID-19 tests and vaccines has opened the door for

patients to discuss other medical issues with their pharmacists, he explained. “Pharmacies have been working to redefine themselves as healthcare destinations for decades, and slowly but surely that is happening,” he said. “The role of pharmacies has been changing in the minds of consumers.” The fact that a quarter of the people who have received vaccinations have chosen to do so in their local pharmacies proves that consumers trust their local drug store to provide important medical services, Hoey said. “Already quite a few patients were getting their flu shot in pharmacies. We think that this cements pharmacies as not just for once-a-year flu vaccination each fall, but as destinations throughout the year for vaccinations,” he said. “And we think from there, other, mostly preventative healthcare services will stem off of that change in the consumer’s perception of pharmacies,” he said. “We think it’s been invaluable.” Roszak of NACDS agreed that the past year has elevated the consumer perception of pharmacies as a vital cog in the nation’s healthcare apparatus. “Even before the pandemic, study upon study showed the potential for pharmacies to improve routine vaccinations, chronic disease care, health outcomes for the underserved and all those issues,” she said. “During the pandemic, they didn’t go away. They were essentially amplified. So, it just gave pharmacy the opportunity to even further demonstrate what has already been proven through evidence-based studies.” The widespread accessibility and convenience of pharmacies, with locations within 5 miles of 90% of Americans, have been key factors in terms of shining a light on the value that pharmacies provide in their individual communities, she said. “At a time when Americans really needed a care destination to be at their fingertips, … pharmacies were really there for the public,” Roszak said. She also credited pharmacies with helping reach minority communities with accessible vaccine sites, aiding in the nation’s efforts to reach the entire population.

Growing Consumer Interest in Health Services James Beem, managing director of global healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power, which conducts extensive

“Pharmacies have been working to redefine themselves as healthcare destinations for decades, and slowly but surely that is happening. The role of pharmacies has been changing in the minds of consumers.” — DOUG HOEY, CEO, NATIONAL COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS ASSOCIATION



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consumer-satisfaction research across multiple industries, including pharmacy, said consumers appear to be interested in obtaining more health-and-wellness services from their local pharmacies. J.D. Power’s research revealed that about 48% of retail pharmacy customers were using health-and-wellness services as of last year, up from 43% in 2019. In addition, 20% of customers spoke to a pharmacist during their visit to a retail pharmacy, up from 16% in both 2018 and 2019. Perhaps most significantly, the research found that when customers use two or more health and wellness services at a retail pharmacy, their overall satisfaction and brand advocacy increases, and average spending doubles. “We believe that trend is going to continue,” Beem said. “There’s an obvious satisfaction difference between a pharmacy customer that uses a health and wellness service compared with those that do not use health and wellness services.” In addition, the number of people using health and wellness services from their local pharmacies increased about 6% from 2018 to 2020, he said. That bodes well for sales of other retail products that consumers can purchase from drug stores for which they are often paying out of pocket. “I think we are going to see a lot more retail space being built out that addresses the clinical side of health care,” Beem said. He agreed that vaccine administration has been a potential launching pad for local pharmacies to provide additional healthcare services. “Consumers already automatically thought about a Walgreens or a MinuteClinic or a Walmart for their vaccinations, but the interesting thing we see is that consumers are looking for pharmacies to go ‘further up the fee schedule,’” Beem said, citing patients seeking diabetes care or even counseling around mental health issues. “The vaccinations were just an affirmation that pharmacies are a destination for health care; the question is, what is the limit?” Beem said. He said it appears that both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are increasingly steering patients to their in-store primary care clinics, which customers appreciate, as indicated by their satisfaction scores. One of the challenges retail pharmacies face as they seek to evolve into more well-rounded healthcare destinations is simply the constraints of the physical space in which they operate, he said. In many urban locations, retail pharmacies simply don’t have the room to offer the suite of clinical services that drug stores in suburban locations have been building in their stores. Retailers seeking to add room for more on-site clinical care may need to choose between space for retail merchandise and space for medical treatment and consulting.

Stronger Ties with Communities

Sandra Canally, founder and CEO of The Compliance Team, which offers certifications for pharmacies in vaccine


Growing Digital Connectivity Creates Opportunities Drug retailers have significantly enhanced their digital connectivity with their customers during the past year, in part through the databases they were able to build up through COVID testing and vaccinations. “There is a great opportunity to cultivate strong customer relationships, now that these new customers are known,” said Clay Heinz, group vice president of healthcare growth and strategy at TTEC, a customer experience technology and services company. For example, pharmacies can reach out with information related to the customers’ health interests; or send reminders of upcoming prescription refills; and notify customers about generic drug availability, flu shots and more in digital channels, he said. “Showing customers that you have removed friction across the customer experience helps build brand trust and loyalty that lasts well beyond the pandemic.” Heinz said he believes drug stores could benefit from more effectively developing their online strategies and building upon the “trusted advisor” model that had long been successful for retailers providing in-person pharmacy services, dating back to the soda-fountain days. “By leveraging pharmacy data, and buying patterns across the online and retail experiences, personalized offers should develop as if the consumer was sitting at the counter and enjoying a chocolate Coke,” he said. One example of this type of opportunity is the development of “communities of interest,” which can be centered around different health conditions and can foster a curated social interaction with local consumers who have the same condition, he said. “How powerful would it be if your drug store facilitated a social network for pregnant mothers with relevant content and a chance to speak with each other about their experiences?” Heinz said. “The drug store is in a unique position as it is agnostic to the payer and provider experience, and can help the consumer navigate a complicated ecosystem. The drug store can monetize this social group with in-person seminars, relevant products and a clinic that supports the routine aspects of the care plan.” James Beem, managing director of global healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power, which conducts consumer satisfaction research across multiple industries, including pharmacy, said it appears that drug stores already have enjoyed strong success with their expanded digital connectivity. “That seems to be paying dividends for pharmacies that engage around text reminders, follow-up appointments and other digital interactions,” he said. The percent of pharmacy customers who reported receiving a digital reminder about their prescription rose to 73% in 2020 compared with 62% in 2018, he said. “Bravo to the retail pharmacies because they are far ahead of their peers in that space today,” Beem said. “They tend to have greater mindshare with their customers than other areas of health care.” — M.H.


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administration and other areas, said she believes retail pharmacies have strengthened their relationships with their communities, as well as with individual patients during the past year. “The return to normal couldn’t happen without the vaccination of a large percentage of the population, and certainly no one in the healthcare sector is more responsible for that than the pharmacies,” Canally said. The fact that retail pharmacies conducted point-of-care COVID-19 testing during the pandemic lays the groundwork for additional services in the future, she said. “They’ve already put policies and procedures and processes in place for point-of-care as it relates to COVID, so they’ve readied themselves if they choose to expand pointof-care testing,” Canally said. Beyond testing, retail pharmacies also have the opportunity to expand into offering more value-based care, such as

“Even before the pandemic, study upon study showed the potential for pharmacies to improve routine vaccinations, chronic disease care, health outcomes for the underserved and all those issues. During the pandemic, they didn’t go away. They were essentially amplified.” — SARAH ROSZAK, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS STRATEGY, NACDS medication therapy management, she said, noting that the key to success in building these services for patients is the coordination of care with other healthcare providers. “The more coordination you have with a prescriber and the more you show the doctor that you can better manage a patient with diabetes, for example, then that communication and coordination is going to evolve into an increase in prescriptions, which equates to more business,” Canally said. “You need to bring that extra value not only to the patient, but also to the prescriber. I think that’s key.” While time constraints may be holding pharmacists back from expanding their value-based care offerings, Canally suggested that operators start slowly with a small group of patients who could benefit from such care and build from there. “I think that in the future we will see more dependency on the pharmacist and the pharmacy as the place to go for health care,” she said. “We will still need physicians, of course, but I believe that the pharmacist has created and will sustain a much more active role in health care.”


Retailers can also benefit from having the quality of their services validated by a third-party accreditor, such as The Compliance Team, Canally said. The company has added certification for pharmacies that do point-of-care testing and COVID testing, as well as immunizations, which expanded to include pediatric immunizations as many retail pharmacies were unaccustomed to vaccinating children, she explained. NCPA’s Hoey said that thanks to the expansion of COVID testing during the pandemic, more pharmacists also have become interested in point-of-care testing. NCPA offers a training program in point-of-care testing, he said, and has seen a “huge increase” in pharmacists taking the program. He also noted that employers likely have taken more notice of the value that pharmacies provide, which could open up opportunities for pharmacies to offer additional services for workers, such as blood pressure screenings, through contracts with employers. “Brick-and-mortar pharmacists are well positioned to be able to provide that service, and save millions of dollars and hundreds, if not thousands, of lives,” Hoey said. He cited the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network, or CPESN, as being well positioned to capitalize on this opportunity. CPESN, which was one of the independent pharmacy networks authorized to administer COVID vaccines, organizes networks of independent pharmacies to negotiate for the provision of such services as these. Hoey said he is hopeful that pharmacists will gain ongoing authority to order and administer vaccines, as well as the payment mechanisms to support those and other services that pharmacies have proven well suited to provide. “This should be a stark reminder for payers and legislators that if there’s not fair payment for the dispensing of the product, these pharmacies won’t be around for the next pandemic or for the next public health emergency,” he said. “You’ve got to pay the pharmacies fairly on the dispensing side, as well as engage them for their preventative services.” Clay Heinz, group vice president of healthcare growth and strategy at TTEC, a customer experience technology and services company, agreed that the concept of using retail pharmacies as an efficient venue for simple healthcare solutions. “The real question will be how the big chains develop strategy that builds on this momentum,” Heinz said, citing the opportunity for retailers to leverage their digital connections with customers. He said he believes that drug stores will evolve to resemble urgent care facilities more closely. “There is a big push in the provider ecosystem to meet the patients where they want, and this isn’t necessarily a big hospital with a marble foyer,” Heinz said. “The answer is providing simple health care in a wide variety of settings that meet the needs of different consumers. The drug store industry will leverage the ‘convenience’ strategy and massive real estate footprint for a more effective and efficient delivery of primary care.” dsn


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Sun Care’s Bright Future As consumers get out of the house and take skin health seriously, the category is poised for growth


asks are off; sunscreen is on. As vaccination rates increase, Americans are ready to hit the pool, beach, backyard and hiking trails. With more than a year’s worth of pent-up travel in full swing, sun care sales are heating up after a down year. Category sales dropped 8.9% for the 52-week period ended Dec. 27, 2020 in multi-unit outlets, according to IRI. Similar sales trends kicked off 2021. The only bright spot in 2020 and early 2021 was self-tanners as consumers faked getting a glow. The picture is much different this summer. All indications are that retailers need to stock up as they plan for the next few years. Some suggest the category receive more real estate in stores to reflect the surge in demand, including greater off-shelf presentations. Mordor Intelligence predicts sun care will produce yearly gains exceeding 3% through 2026. The India-based research firm calls sun care one of the fastest-growing segments within personal care. Their researchers reported that sun protection will benefit from concern over skin cancer, as well as aging linked to exposure to UV rays. Layering on top of that, demand will stay strong for self-tanners along with after-sun products. One of the fastest growing aftersun products is Quest Products’ Sunburnt Daily After-Sun Lotion. The Pleasant Prairie, Wis.-based company purchased Sunburnt in 2019 and has successfully expanded distribution to major retailers, such as Target, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Publix and Kroger. Mirroring trends in many categories


emerging from the pandemic, shoppers are looking for cleaner formulas, multitasking products and ingredients that are safer for the environment. In the case of sun care, the concern is over marine life. Mineral sunscreens, once the domain of higher-end lines, has gained mass acceptance, and the segment is doing well, according to such retailers as Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS and Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens. Consumers are on the prowl for mineral-based lines that don’t leave their mark. Google searches for sunscreens experience the biggest leaps across skin care, and the hunt for “sunscreens that don’t leave a white cast” skyrocketed almost 610%.

Other subsectors with promise are derm and sport formulas, which all add more dollars to transactions thanks to slightly higher price tags. And while sun protection is a serious concern to prevent skin cancer and aging, shoppers are on the hunt for fun products like Wilton, Conn.-based Beiersdorf’s Coppertone’s Glow SPF 30 and Coppertone Glow SPF 50, which both feature a touch of shimmer. With consumers out and about more, they continue a pre-pandemic movement to SPF 50 or higher, retailers said. After losing shelf space to emerging brands over the past five years, heritage companies either snapped up those niche


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CVS Pharmacy Goes Deeper into Sun Care

players or stepped up their own product innovation to maintain a lead in the global industry, which is valued at more than $13 billion, according to Fortune Business Insights in Norfolk, Va. Beiersdorf, for example, has put marketing muscle and product innovation behind Coppertone, which it acquired in 2019. In addition to its new Glow items, Coppertone’s latest debuts include Sport Mineral SPF 50 Spray, a sport sunscreen with 100% naturally sourced zinc oxide in a new spray format, along with Sport Mineral SPF 50 Face and Sport Mineral SPF 50 Lotion. S.C. Johnson in Racine, Wis., bought Sun Bum in 2019 and has built the brand into a mass-market staple. In addition to its growing sun care range, Sun Bum branched into skin care with SPF. The line consists of eight products — Daily Cleanser, Daily Moisturizer SPF 30, Daily Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30, Restoring Face Mask, Face Mist SPF 30, Hydrating Serum, Eye Cream and Night Cream — which range from $13.99 to $21.99,and incorporate such ingredients as nutrient-dense banana,vitaminrich brown algae, hydrating green coconut water and ginseng. Fort Worth, Texas-based Galderma Laboratories’ cult favorite Cetaphil brand introduced a Sheer Mineral Sunscreen line that a CVS Pharmacy source said is a prime example of heritage lines rooted in skin health, transferring that expertise to sun care. Each product in the range is formulated with antioxidant vitamin E to defend against surface free radicals and environmental stressors. The line features four 100% mineral sunscreens with microbiome gentle formulas and vitamin E to provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, the company said. Designed for sensitive skin, the line also is reef-safe and includes an SPF 30 and SPF 50 lotion, SPF 50 liquid face sunscreen and SPF 50 stick sunscreen. In addition to rolling out this new collection, Cetaphil launched a digital campaign to educate the public about sun safety to help prevent skin cancer.


By listening to consumers, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Pharmacy has been able to refine its assortments in several categories from cosmetics to snacks. Sun care is the latest example of an ongoing process to not only better appeal to existing shoppers but attract new customers as well. “We are constantly innovating to serve our customers’ needs by elevating our beauty offerings, bringing in brands that are not only new and ‘on trend,’ but also those with greater skin health benefits,” a CVS spokesperson said, adding that is especially the case in demand for “better-for-you” products.” Overall sun protection products are performing well for the chain, particularly those with SPF 50 or higher. Derm brands like La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen are gaining traction, as well as mineral sunscreens. Sunless tanning is on the rise and CVS Pharmacy reacted by adding such brands as Bondi Sands and Tanologist among others. Cleaner formulas are important and align with CVS Health’s overall health-driven initiatives. The CVS spokesperson cited the August 2020 completion of its commitment to eliminate oxybenzone and octinoxate from nearly 60 store-brand sunscreen products under SPF 50, marking another achievement in advancing efforts to remove chemicals of concern. The source said the commitment was made in 2019 — ahead of Hawaii’s and Florida’s regulatory scheduled requirements to eliminate these ingredients, which were put in place to minimize impact on marine ecosystems — and was completed six months before the goal. Additionally, in September 2020, as part of its commitment to deliver innovative health solutions, CVS Health announced a new partnership with SkinSAFE — a comprehensive and searchable skin product ingredient database developed with the Mayo Clinic — to make it easier for CVS Pharmacy customers to find products free from the most common allergy-causing ingredients. CVS Health and SkinSAFE recently revealed the SPF winners of its inaugural Shoppers Choice Awards, which is another vehicle to find gentle options by showcasing the most popular and highest safety rated sunscreens. Those singled out included CeraVe Ultra Light, CoTZ Baby, Olay Regenerist Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 and Banana Boat Sensitive Mineral Faces SPF 50. Several CVS Pharmacy brands made the list, as well. CVS Pharmacy is going full throttle with the sun protection category. “As COVID restrictions lift and travel continues to increase, we expect the consumer demand for sun protection products will continue to grow,” the source told DSN.


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Sun Bum and Cetaphil sun care joined CeraVe as models reflecting a trend the Mordor report confirmed — the fusion of sun and skin care. More skin care products are infused with SPF, while sun care serves up moisturizing and other benefits once associated with the skin care aisle. “Therefore, most sun care products available on the market are more likely to be infused with a combination of compounds having antiaging properties and intensive moisturizing solutions among others,” according to the Mordor research. Natural formulas are elbowing their way onto mass shelves. Alba Botanica, sold at such retailers as Walmart, Target and Kohl’s, has added new items featuring its signature “better-for-you” ingredients. Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen with Green Tea SPF 50 also incorporates aloe vera and fruit extracts to help protect against sunburns, skin cancer and premature aging. It is a biodegradable formula that is reef friendly and gluten-free. Also new from Alba Botanica is a Hawaiian Sunscreen Coconut Spray SPF 50. Rounding out the innovations from the Lake Success, N.Y.-based Hain Celestial-owned brand are a Fast Fix Sun Sticks SPF 30, an on-the-go sunscreen stick and Alba Botanica Soothing Sunscreen Pure Lavender Lotion SPF 45. With consumers digging deeper into the safety of ingredients, C’est Moi Beauty’s Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 has been included on the Environmental Working Group’s list of approved clean, reef-safe sunscreens. It is not only the third year for that stock keeping unit to earn the distinction, but this year all the brand’s SPF made the grade. C’est Moi, based in Santa Monica, Calif., is sold at Target and CVS and online at Amazon and its own site. Bondi Sands, whose self-tanning foam typically ranks in the top 50 beauty sellers on Amazon, is broadening distribution in mass doors while also breaking into SPF formulas. The Australia-based brand released a collection of fragrance-free SPF in March with four body products and one face item. Each item, also free of parabens and sulfates, is reef-safe, cruelty-free and dermatologist tested. The brand also revealed Pure, a 100% recyclable line of self-tanning products made entirely from recycled materials.



Sun Safety, Partnerships in Focus

The sun care industry is also putting purpose and education at its core. Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, N.J., works with Walgreens and the Melanoma Research Foundation to spotlight the importance of healthy sun habits. A component of the partnership is education of the more than 3,000 Walgreens Beauty Consultants to boost their understanding of the importance of protection from the sun’s rays. In stores, shoppers can view educational information via QR codes on Neutrogena sunscreen products that include cancer prevention information and resources to help consumers perform selfchecks on their skin. “The continued rise of skin cancer is alarming, especially when you think that it is among the most preventable cancers,” Kerry Sullivan, general manager at Neutrogena, said. “We’re dedicated to the eradication of preventable skin cancer and have long advocated for greater education and promotion of sun safe behaviors because we know it is imperative to total skin health and well-being.” Through this campaign, both companies said they look to raise funds for the Melanoma Research Foundation to help

broaden its research, increase access to free educational materials to Black and Hispanic communities and drive its prevention efforts with communities of color. Funds will be raised through the purchase of specially marked and limited-edition Neutrogena sunscreens, which will be available exclusively at Walgreens. During Earth Month, Bondi Sands partnered with Take 3 for the Sea to support efforts in education communities about the impact of plastic pollution. L’Oréal-owned La Roche-Posay and OutCare Health announced an exclusive partnership to create a training program to improve LGBTQ+ and cultural competency in provider practices and patient interactions. The OutCare training program educates dermatologists on how to communicate with LGBTQ+ patients and care for them with increased sensitivity and cultural competence. Currently, OutCare has an extensive network of LGBTQ+ public viewership, initiatives, resources and culturally competent providers. By joining forces with La RochePosay, OutCare will be able to train medical staff at dermatology and oncology practices across the country and increase the number of OutList providers ready to deliver experienced, culturally competent care to the growing LGBTQ+ population. dsn


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Rolling with the Punches As they continue to navigate pandemic headwinds, generics firms look to broaden their portfolios and vertically integrate to keep competitive By Sandra Levy


here are product supply issues. There are more competitors. There are escalating costs. And then there’s the COVID-19 pandemic, which handed generics companies a particularly rough year. Amid this head-spinning new landscape, generics companies are delving into new areas, including biosimilars and specialty medications. They are expanding their research and manufacturing facilities, forming partnerships, and putting other measures in place to ensure that they meet their customers’ expectations. To be sure, customers’ demands for a consistent supply of products is one of the biggest thorns in the side of the generics industry. And while the pandemic is mainly to blame for disrupting the supply chain, it also has accelerated a wave of innovative solutions from generics companies.

Growing to Meet Demand One of the most striking ways that these companies are meeting their customers’ demands for product supply is by making significant investments to expand their manufacturing capabilities. Parsippany, N.J.-based Ascend Labs is a case in point. John Dillaway, Ascend Labs executive vice president, said the company, which has two sizable manufacturing campuses in India dedicated solely for the U.S. market, is building an even larger third campus that will increase its manufacturing capacity. “The first block of the new campus is up and awaiting approval by the Food and Drug Administration, which has been slowed by COVID. The second block is well along in construction,” Dillaway said. “As the FDA catches up on inspections, this new facility will more than double our current capacity.” Maple Grove, Minn.-based Upsher-Smith


Ascend Labs’ headquarters in Piscataway, N.J. The company has been investing to expand its manufacturing capabilities, building a third facility to supplement its existing ones — which include a plant in India solely focused on manufacturing for the U.S. market. also is expanding its manufacturing capabilities. “We’re doubling down on our U.S.-based manufacturing,” said Mike McBride, UpsherSmith vice president of partner relations. “We’re in the midst of completing a new addition to our Maple Grove headquarters, which will consolidate our three facilities into one campus and better position us to be more efficient and cost-effective in our manufacturing.”

Getting Creative About Supply Beyond expansion of their facilities, generics firms also have developed new strategies for production and distribution, as evidenced by Princeton, N.J.-based Dr. Reddy’s. Milan Kalawadia, Dr. Reddy’s senior vice president and head of U.S. marketing, said the lockdown that was imposed in India and other countries last March led to major

disruptions in the supply chain and logistics for the pharma industry. “These lockdowns, plus restrictions on people’s movement, adversely impacted plant operations throughout the country,” Kalawadia said. “Added to these constraints were restraints on face-to-face meetings with doctors, which is critical to domestic marketing. All of these factors challenged the usual manner of doing business for many India-based pharma companies.” Kalawadia noted that when air transportation was shut down at one point during the pandemic, a rerouting of supply chains and distribution was required. “The closures meant coming up with novel strategies for COVID-instigated production and distribution vulnerabilities,” he said. In some Indian states, lockdowns and


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curfews threatened to curtail staff traveling to and from Dr. Reddy’s multiple manufacturing facilities. “Our supply chain team jumped in and figured out solutions on all fronts,” Kalawadia said. He noted that Dr. Reddy’s consulted with local governments to ensure its staff could work. The company also altered factory hours to ensure production lines were adequately staffed. Dr. Reddy’s normally runs three eight-hour shifts a day, seven days a week. This schedule was modified to two 12-hour shifts on a seven-day period. “What this meant is that staff could travel to and from their worksites

outside of curfew hours,” Kalawadia said . The team also looked at their systems to minimize some of their staffing needs while also optimizing manufacturing output. “We learned that we could optimize our systems and processes, resulting in the same output with less manpower,” he said. These measures allowed Dr. Reddy’s to become more efficient throughout the COVID pandemic, although it took a few months to put the improvements in place and get the operations running smoothly, he said. While the pandemic had a negative impact on injectable sales due to a decrease in hospital elective surgeries, Kalawadia said that

Dr. Reddy’s Labs, based in Princeton, N.J., adjusted its factory hours throughout the pandemic to ensure adequate staffing and safety.

HERE’S A LOOK AT SOME OF THE INNOVATIVE NEW GENERICS THAT ARE MAKING THEIR DEBUT: Metolazone tablets are indicated for the treatment of salt and water retention, including edema accompanying congestive heart failure and edema accompanying renal diseases, including the nephrotic syndrome and states of diminished renal function. Alembic, Bridgewater, N.J. Alembic recently introduced Timoptic-XE ophthalmic gelforming solution. The product is indicated for the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure in patients with ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma. Alembic’s Timoptic-XE ophthalmic gel-forming solution is available in dosage strengths of 0.25% and 0.5% in 5-ml bottles. Amici Pharma, Melville, N.Y. Amici Pharma is launching metolazone tablets in dosage strengths of 2.5 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg. The product is the generic of Zaroxolyn. 54

Hikma, Berkeley Heights, N.J. Hikma recently released estradiol valerate injection in dosage strengths of 10 mg/ml, 20 mg/ml and 40 mg/ml. Estradiol valerate injection is indicated to treat vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause, in the management of hormonal imbalances due to castration or primary ovarian failure, and to treat androgen-dependent carcinoma of the prostate.

Hikma also rolled out labetalol hydrochloride 1mg/ml in 200-ml dextrose injection and in 100-, 200- and 300-ml sodium chloride injection. Labetalol HCl in sodium chloride injection and labetalol HCl in dextrose injection are indicated for severe hypertension to lower blood pressure. Lifestar Pharma, Mahwah, N.J. Lifestar Pharma recently unveiled acetazolamide. The product, a generic of Diamox, is used to treat glaucoma, epilepsy and hypertension. Lifestar also debuted alosetron, which is a generic of Lotronex. The medication is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, the company has introduced amitriptyline, a generic of Elavil, that is an antidepressant and nerve pain medication. Finally, Lifestar launched fenofibrate, a generic of Tricor. The medication is an antilipemic agent and fibric acid prescribed

for reducing “bad” cholesterol and fats — i.e., LDL and triglycerides.

Upsher-Smith, Maple Grove, Minn. Upsher-Smith is offering isotretinoin capsules, a generic of Sun Pharmaceuticals’ Absorica. It is used in patients aged 12 years old and older for the treatment of severe nodular acne that cannot be cleared up by any other acne treatments, including antibiotics. Isotretinoin capsules had a market value of approximately $156 million for the 12 months ended April 2021, according to IQVIA.


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Mason, Ohio-based Prasco has been focused on growing its portfolio of respiratory products, many of which use the same device as branded treatments. Executives said its U. S.-based manufacturing also helps set the company apart. Dr. Reddy’s was able to ensure the supply of critical medicines. Victor Borelli, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Edenbridge Parsippany, N.J.-based Edenbridge Pharmaceuticals, said the company has had to focus on strategic planning to meet customers’ needs. He said that during the initial stages of the pandemic, there was a feeling of uncertainty about the pandemic’s effect on the global supply chain. “Edenbridge has been very strategic in our decisions to focus on the security of our supply chain,” Borelli said. “As a reaction to the uncertainty, we received customer orders that were 3 to 4 times more than normal. Due to the supply chain investments we have made, we were prepared for this and did not experience any issues.” Borelli also pointed out that as the pandemic continues, there are other places in the world that are still feeling the impact, and this is further stressing the supply chain. “Our decisions are helping us not only meet our customers’ supply demands, but we are also assisting other customers with their supply gaps. We have not, nor do we anticipate any issues with our supply chain,” Borelli said. Paul McMahon, senior vice president of commercial operations at East Windsor, N.J.-based Aurobindo, mirrored Borelli’s


sentiments concerning how supply issues have become a priority for generics firms. He said that from a supply chain perspective, COVID continues to have some impact on the industry, especially when it comes to key starting materials, specifically API delays, as well as variability in material supplies and costs. “Risk mitigation is another area all trading partners are reviewing within their supply chains for risk and ways to build in redundancy to eliminate it,” McMahon said. “Thankfully, the COVID spike in India has begun to recede significantly, and our team continues to be resilient and dedicated, and output levels have remained consistently high throughout. Aurobindo’s integrated supply chain is long and complex, yet nimble enough to quickly shift with market factors, as well as the incalculable external challenges that the pandemic presented us with.”

Product Strategy and Partnerships Mason, Ohio-based Prasco, a leading supplier of authorized generics, has made inroads in respiratory treatments, launching three significant products in the past three years and ensuring supply can meet demand for the treatments. Prasco’s CEO Chris Arington said the company’s respiratory portfolio ensures continuity

of care by using the same device as the branded treatment while creating more access and affordability for the patient. In 2020, when respiratory prescriptions spiked, Arington said Prasco was responsive enough to meet the demand due to its strong supply chain. “Prasco is able to maintain over a 98% service level across their portfolio due to the fact that 80% of their prescriptions filled are manufactured in the United States,” Arington said. “We understand these products are vital for patients and we work hard to provide these medications to over 60,000 pharmacies across the country.” Aside from meeting a steady supply of products, generics companies are expanding their capabilities or working with partners in new areas, including complex products, biosimilars, specialty medications and injectables. Upsher-Smith’s McBride said the company has been focused on diversifying its portfolio. “We’re also focused on and are already moving into some complex generics and diverse dosage forms, either through partnering or our own internal capabilities,” he said. “In May, we announced our commercial launch of moxifloxacin, our first ophthalmic, through a partnership with Rafarm.” Ascend Labs also has an interest in expanding into new areas.


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BRIDGING THE GAP where others see difficulty.

Conducting research and development in-house. Directly sourcing raw materials and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Developing high quality products and maintaining robust inventory. Responding to specific customer demands with speed and personalized support you can count on. This is where your obstacles are transformed into opportunities. That’s a solution worth knowing.

Bridge the gap. CONTACT: Victor M. Borelli, Senior VP, Sales & Marketing PHONE: 201.603.2515 EMAIL: vborelli@edenbridgepharma.com

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East Windsor, N.J.-headquartered Aurobindo Pharma said the company, like many generics firms, has seen the pandemic affect the supply of key starting materials and active pharmaceutical ingredients for generic drugs. Ascend’s parent company Alkem owns a biosimilar company in India. “I have had an opportunity to visit, and they are doing some really interesting and innovative things there,” Dillaway said. “There’s a need for more companies to be involved in biosimilars and injectables, and both areas may offer growth.” Aurobindo’s McMahon said the company is continuously striving to achieve product differentiation, specifically through formulation development and novel delivery methods of complex products. Aurobindo is expanding into biosimilars by way of a partnership with a company that has significant expertise in this area. “Some other specialty products include metered-dose inhalers, dry powder inhalers and transdermal patches. Inhalers and patches are part of our specialty research and development team, which is based out of our 40,000-sq.-ft. facility in North Carolina,” McMahon said. “Our specialty R&D team consists of a large group of scientists, with a high level of experience and expertise in [pressurized metered-dose inhaler] aerosol and transdermal delivery systems.” Among companies exploring new categories, there is Dr. Reddy’s, which has been


growing its portfolio of injectables to the point that they now represent one of the firm’s high-growth business segments. “This is a space we planned to own when we launched this business with a small basket of oncology-focused products,” Kalawadia said. “It’s continuing to grow, and we now have over 30 products in this segment.” Niche products, which treat rare diseases, have limited competition or may be difficult to manufacture, also offer potential for companies willing to invest in the areas. Edenbridge happens to be one of the companies focused on growing its offering of niche products. The company will have two 505(b)(2) filings before the FDA by the third quarter of this year, and it also has additional 505(b)(2) s in development and dozens of other generic niche products in the works. “Our pipeline is strong. However, we are always looking to explore dynamic new opportunities or create new partnerships that will assist with filling patients’ unmet needs,” Borelli said. “Diversification is key to business longevity. While we have no limit to our development or manufacturing capabilities, we are always looking for like-minded partners in an effort to broaden our reach, enhance our supply

chain security further and hurdle any obstacles to bring quality products to the market more quickly. We have worked with several partners over the years in achieving these goals.” The ability to establish new sales strategies is yet another hallmark of successful generics companies. Kalawadio said that Dr. Reddy’s strategy to grow its business follows the traditional account management strategy of focusing on major group purchasing organizations and specialty pharmacy groups, but he also noted that the company has established an integrated delivery network sales force to call directly on hospital channels. Dr. Reddy’s also recently launched an e-commerce site dubbed Dr. Reddy’s Direct, where hospital pharmacies and other customers will be able to purchase products outside of traditional channels. If that weren’t enough, Dr. Reddy’s also is exploring inorganic growth opportunities to accelerate access to high-quality and affordable medicines to patients globally. The company has put an enhanced R&D and technologydriven platform in place to address the evolving needs of patients, physicians and caregivers through the development of innovative


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ACTIVE INGREDIENTS Extensive portfolio of more than 250 API products across various categories such as anti-infectives, peptides, biosimilars, vaccines, polymers and more.

FORMULATION Robust product portfolio comprised of over 225 product families including oral solids, topicals, injectables, ophthalmics and inhalations.

Vertically integrated supply chain ensures unmatched quality and value for our customers

MANUFACTURING Serve over 125 countries globally and include 17 API facilities with continuous expansion of our operations to meet our customers’ needs.

PACKAGING Designed to handle high speed packaging, in-line labeling and printing for bottles, blister packs, prefilled syringes, and multi-dose vials, while maintaining automated filling systems, tablet counters, along with a state-of-the-art vision system.

DISTRIBUTION To see our full product portfolio spanning across varied therapeutic categories, please visit us at aurobindousa.com

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567,000 sq ft warehousing and distribution space provides capacity of up to 40,000 pallets, enabling increased safety stock, service levels, and order fulfilment to our customers.

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products, services and a digital business model.

Remaining Competitive Beyond creating sales and digital strategies, generics companies are developing solutions to address pressure that they are feeling from increased competition. “It is no secret the generics industry is highly competitive and will continue to be,” McMahon said. “In order to keep up with demand and set ourselves apart, it is critical for Aurobindo to have highly competitive costs, product availability, and hold the best-in-class standards of compliance and quality. By doing so, the company is able to grow in a sustainable manner and successfully deliver billions of doses of medicine to our customers and patients.” McMahon said that vertical integration has become an even more crucial competitive advantage, particularly as pressures continue from economic, regulatory and geopolitical fronts. “Having control and oversight of our operations from development to API to finished goods, all the way through to distribution helps to insulate Aurobindo from market gyrations, set our own priorities and drive out costs throughout the supply chain. This all comes together to fuel Aurobindo’s continued growth story,” he said. Upsher-Smith’s McBride concurred that there’s never been a time when the generics industry has been more competitive. “The industry is seeing extreme pricing compression and fierce competition among competitors, especially offshore players,” he said. “At the same time, there’s increasing interest from legislators for more U.S.-based manufacturing. These two forces often are at odds, but we’re continuing to distinguish ourselves with our consistent product supply.”

Looking Ahead In sizing up the future of the generics space, while industry players are optimistic, they also are cautious, and they have plans to ensure continued growth. “Companies who have invested in brand products are likely focused on that side of their business because they have more control of their own destiny, but branded prescriptions have their own unique set of challenges,”


Executives from Upsher-Smith, operating out of Maple Grove, Minn., said the generics industry has never been more competitive — which ups the need for companies to distinguish themselves from the competition by delivering on such demands as consistent supply. McBride said. “I don’t think anyone fully appreciated the importance of a solid supply chain, a responsive team and strong customer communication until we all experienced the demands of last year’s pandemic.” McBride also pointed out that there is an increasing openness toward the use of more biosimilars, which show a lot of promise for the future as regulations and industry adoption attitudes begin to resemble what you currently find in Europe. “Specialty products that come off patent also may drive future growth in generics, since there just aren’t a lot of new small molecules of significance getting approved right now,” he said. Ascend’s Dillaway is realistic and cautious about the future. He noted that with increased competition there is a lot of downward price pressure on traditional solid-dose drugs. “Given the landscape of consolidation and the advent of the three major buying organizations, it’s not uncommon to have more competitors than customers on given molecules and this is certainly not a good recipe for success,” Dillaway said. “Add on top of that increased costs for serialization,

potential opioid taxes and stewardship programs to deal with outdated drug takebacks and the numbers look challenging,” he said. Borelli also is aware of the challenges in the current environment and the extraordinary steps generics firms will need to employ to meet customers’ needs. “Generics will continue to be a cornerstone of the pharmaceutical industry,” he said. “Despite some companies seeking to disrupt the industry based on price, the customers’ biggest concern will always be supply. Companies that have made significant, strategic investments and concentrate their attention on their manufacturing partnerships, raw material sourcing and supply chain security will continue to succeed.” Perhaps McBride summed up what is required of generics companies in the future best: “At the moment, it’s hard to see the end game, but we do know from experience that the generics industry is cyclical,” he said. “There likely will be significant contraction continuing within the industry, given the current fierce competition, and the key to surviving these current challenges is diversification.” dsn


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Reimagining Women’s Health The key to recapturing in-store sales of women’s healthcare products is understanding the physical and emotional impact of the past year on consumers By Carol Radice


ne of the takeaways from the ups and downs of this past year is that caring for one’s mind and body needs to be a priority. The pandemic has, in a strange way, given previously time-pressed consumers permission to practice self-love and self-care. Women have been most sensitive to this messaging, and many have taken to re-examining their current product choices while being open to the idea of adding new ones into the mix. Immune health, brain support, aging, pregnancy, stress, nutrition and vaginal health are among the areas women said they most want to focus on. Beauty from within is another emerging trend as women look for protection against stress and free radicals through such antioxidants as resveratrol, curcumin, turmeric and vitamins C and E. Given this, the number of nutritional products featuring skin health benefits is on the rise as more consumers realize diet and lifestyle combined with nutritional supplements offer them the possibility of a stronger outcome. Today’s health-savvy consumers are looking for products that can help maximize both their physical and mental health, plus offer an improved and more enjoyable experience. Companies are eagerly responding by creating products that seamlessly fit into consumer’s day-to-day routines, whether it be through innovative ingredients, packaging, delivery forms or product features. Another lesson the pandemic taught us this past year is that business as usual is no longer an option. Consumers had a year to reinvent how they purchased their healthcare essentials and their comfort in buying these items online has never been higher. That said, brick-and-mortar retailers are discovering there is still ample opportunity to grow sales in the women’s healthcare category by leveraging trends and new product innovation.


Less is More Feminine hygiene, one of the largest components of the women’s health category, has seen a significant amount of innovation as of late. As a result, the $21.6 billion global feminine hygiene category is expected to see a CAGR of 6.7% between 2021 to 2026, according to Mordor Intelligence. Leading manufacturers in the feminine hygiene products market, including Procter & Gamble, SCA, Edgewell Personal Care and Kimberly-Clark, are expanding the depth and breadth of their product range to appeal to a wider consumer base and keep customers loyal. As more companies center their efforts around eco-friendly products, experts predict the trend toward greener feminine hygiene products will gain

further momentum in the coming years. Amy Krajewski, research and development director at Procter & Gamble, said the decision for her company to enter the organic space was made out of both opportunity and necessity. As head of R&D, Krajewski spent years studying the existing product options and, after speaking with thousands of women, identified an unmet need in the menstrual category, a natural fem-hy product that exceeded efficacy expectations. “When we set out to create Tampax Pure and Always Pure line of products, we did so with the belief that women should not have to settle when it comes to period protection just because she wanted an organic option,” Krajewski said. “It was important to us that users could feel good about the ingredients and


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at the same time trust that our product works.” Even though some may see menstrual care as an over-SKU’d category, Lauren Wang said many women, herself included, still struggled to find the right product. Using her needs as the backdrop, Wang founded The Flex Company, based in Venice, Calif., and designed a menstrual cup to give women more options. “Women have a love-hate relationship with their periods, something they spend 25% of their lives dealing with,” Wang said. “It seemed like the time was right to offer women a product that allows them to live their lives without constantly being reminded they are on their period.” Incontinence products are undergoing a transformation of sorts, too. Once associated with geriatric populations, bladder leak issues affect women in a wide range of ages, and yet regardless of age, so often many are ashamed to address it. Lauren Kren, senior brand manager of Appleton, Wis.-based Kimberly-Clark’s Depend brand, said there are more than 65 million Americans experiencing some type of bladder leakage, but many are not using the correct products to help manage the issue because of the shame and embarrassment surrounding incontinence. “Depend Silhouette was a true game changer in allowing consumers to experience Advanced Shapewear Technology for the smoothest and softest fabric from the brand to date,” Kren said. “Kimberly-Clark and the Depend brand are committed to making the process of managing incontinence stress-free by breaking category stigmas and providing people with innovative underwear-like products that allow them to live active, fulfilling lives.”

Play to the Audience Dietary supplements focused on women’s health are evolving, with much of the innovation coming from products that focus on specific health benefits rather than formulas

with broad-based ingredients that promote general health. To further drive interest and excitement in many of these companies that produce evergreen nutritional supplements, they have been focusing their efforts on developing innovative delivery forms. Chuck Tacl, vice president of sales at Mason Vitamins in Miami Lakes, Fla., said while capsules and tablets are still the most popular delivery methods, gummies have quickly become a popular option. “Some women struggle with taking larger sized capsules and tablets, or get an upset stomach using traditional delivery methods,” Tacl said. “Gummies address both of those concerns as they are easy and convenient to take while the quick absorption makes it gentler on one’s stomach.” Mason offers an extensive array of womenspecific supplements, including those targeting menopause, pregnancy, healthy hair, skin and nails, leg circulation, urinary tract, and daily multivitamin formulas. The company also makes several prenatal vitamins and recently launched a sugar-free gummy version of one of its most popular formulas. As Tacl explained, traditional prenatal vitamins often come in a very large tablet form, which meant mothers-to-be often had to break the tablet in half to swallow. “We decided to address this issue and focus on offering gummies with little to no sugar at all in the formulations. For a childbearing mom, sugar-free, clean ingredients are priorities,” he said. True, gummies are garnering much of the attention, but some up-and-coming delivery forms such as effervescent stick powders are poised to change the category in the coming months. “Our sachet stick powder was created with a ‘get-out-and-go’ mindset. Consumers simply pour it into any beverage, stir and enjoy great flavor full of nutrients,” Tacl said. dsn

Recent Developments in Menstrual Care

Despite being a standby of the category, menstrual care is not immune from innovation. Here are a few noteworthy additions to the category: The Flex Company launched a line of disposable discs as an alternative to tampons. Known for its innovative and sustainable menstrual products — the Flex Disc and Flex Cup — the company’s alternative period products claim to be better for the environment, offer 12-hour protection and produce 60% less waste than traditional period products. The product is now featured in 25,000-plus retail stores across the United States. The company launched into Walgreens stores nationwide, as well as Target and CVS Pharmacy, and has tripled its retail presence in the past two years. P&G’s Tampax and Always brands debuted Tampax Pure, its new organic tampon option, and Always Pure pads — both free of dyes, fragrances and chlorine bleaching that require no compromise on ingredients or protection. Tampax Pure tampons have a 100% organic cotton core and an applicator that is composed of 90% plant-based material. Additionally, the new Always Pure pads are made with a cotton top layer from sustainably sourced cotton. Kimberly-Clark revamped its Depend Silhouette Underwear for Women to include more comfort, colors and userfriendly features. The Silhouette line features advanced shapewear technology and comes in two color collections, including Classics and Expressions. The expanded size range runs from small through extra large. —C.R.


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Diabetes in Focus Companies look to ease the physical and metaphorical pain points of diabetes management By David Salazar


iabetes is not a new disease, but the ways that people address some of the fundamental aspects of it are changing. This month, DSN takes a look at innovation in insulin injection and in monitoring, highlighting some of the forward-thinking offerings in the category.

Getting to the Point Insulin injection is at the center of diabetes management for many of the 34.2 million Americans living with the disease, and it is crucial for them to get that right. “We know that when patients receive structured injection-technique training, ... there have been studies that show patients seeing as much as a 1% reduction in A1C over six months,” said Claire Lotito Levine, associate director of strategic customer marketing at BD Medical — Diabetes Care. Needle gauge and length play a part in injection effectiveness, Levine said, making it necessary for patients to be educated on proper technique and use the right tools. Companies such as BD are centering innovation on injection necessities to make managing diabetes easier. The company has been rolling out its BD Nano 2nd Gen Pen Needles, which improve on its BD Nano Ultra Fine Pen Tips — the world’s best-selling pen needle SKU — with features that include a contoured needle base to prevent wobbling when pressed against the skin, as well as a larger inner needle shield and a wider outer cover. “The contoured needle base is really something that patients appreciate because it’s comfortable against the skin, and the fact that they can hold the pen against their skin without wobbling makes a difference in their confidence and comfort in their injection process,” Levine said. “When people have confidence and more comfort, they’re more likely to follow their injection regimen.” Another company focused on pen tip


innovation is Owen Mumford. The Marietta, Ga.-based company makes the Unifine brand of pen needles, which expanded last year with the launch of Unifine SafeControl. The product is focused on giving patients more control over the injection process, with a needle that they can clearly see every step of the process and ensure insulin delivery. “If a pen needle prematurely activates, there’s a possibility of being unsure about the full dose being administered,” said Stephanie Lee, marketing director at Owen Mumford. “If the patient flinches and the mechanism activates, you may not have that confidence — and that was what we saw [was needed] when we started asking healthcare professionals and letting them use our device. Having control over the safety mechanisms gave patients the confidence that the full dose was administered.”

Frictionless Connected Health Connected health has been one of the buzziest concepts in health care for years, especially with the advent of the Internet of Things and various fitness/health tracking apps. But one company’s story highlights the importance of keeping things simple in an age when many companies might be overthinking things. Smart Meter’s flagship product is iGlucose, a cell-enabled blood glucose monitor

that completes a reading, displays the results and then automatically logs those results to a cloud database. The simplicity is something Smart Meter CEO Casey Pittock said gives the product an advantage over connected-health devices that require Bluetooth connection. “With [iGlucose], we heard loud and clear from the market that Bluetooth just doesn’t work — it’s too unreliable,” he said. The company now is taking the demand for cell-enabled monitoring solutions and expanding it — creating an ecosystem Pittock said can support the growing demand for remote patient monitoring by health professionals. In the past year, the company has introduced iBlood Pressure, a cell-enabled blood pressure monitor, and most recently, the iScale, both of which take the ease of use pioneered by iGlucose and bring it to bear on conditions that often are comorbid with diabetes. “We like to think of ourselves as being the foundation of chronic care management with devices and reliable data,” Pittock said, noting that a growing number of its distribution partners are pharmacies. “They have specific reimbursement codes that they can utilize for chronic care management … that they are doing on behalf of their patient populations.” dsn


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Nailing Consumer Needs in the Second Half Retailers need to be on point as the pandemic wanes By David Orgel

Y 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.

ou may have heard about the British consumer whose mission was to park in all 211 spots at his local grocery store. It took six years, a lot of record keeping and shopping trips — including during the pandemic — to succeed. For those six years, his loyalty was pretty much guaranteed, but maybe not any longer as his long pursuit is over. There’s a loyalty message in this for U.S. food and drug retailers. In the second half of this year, society is fully opening up as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes. Many consumers are feeling “done” with the pandemic. They are getting out more. They have more choices as retail and restaurant competition increases. The result is that shopper loyalty will be harder to come by. Retailers will need to be on target for customers more than ever. That is easier said than done. Here are some key insights to help achieve success.

Retailers will need to be on target for customers more than ever. Show Empathy Shoppers may be getting out more, but that doesn’t mean it comes without anxiety. A survey from The American Psychological Association found almost half of Americans feel uneasy about adjusting to in-person interactions once the pandemic ends. Of course, everyone is different and attitudes vary by geography. But it’s not a stretch to say that a return to post-pandemic life creates anxiety for many. Retailers have an opportunity to welcome back shoppers who had avoided in-person trips. They can relay empathy in their messaging and engagement — “We’re so glad to have you back!” Or even convey humor — “We knew you couldn’t stay away from us much longer!” They can create enhanced in-store experiences and let shoppers know these are not to be missed.

Watch the Puck In the second half, it’s more important than ever to


skate to where the puck is going — when it comes to consumer behaviors and spending patterns. A recent report from AlixPartners found the pandemic has driven permanent changes in the consumption habits of one out of two consumers globally. That’s a lot of consumers. Retailers need to identify the changes and how these will continue to shift — because they will. The behaviors at issue will involve e-commerce, health and well-being at home versus restaurant meals and other crucial topics.

Navigate Prices A spike in consumer goods prices is creating a more complex landscape for retailers and consumers. Increases are driven by factors ranging from higher demand to disrupted supply chains. It’s not clear how long the inflation will last, but it will be an important factor in the second half. Surging prices impact a lot more than just food and drug retail, which means consumers may be more constrained in general on spending. Retailers can only hold back so long on increases if their costs are going up. Yet, they can strive to educate shoppers about price spikes and deliver value through other means, such as marketing programs. Understand Trade-offs Retailers need to understand how competing motivations are playing out with consumers. For example, sustainability is a growing focus for many shoppers, but it can be trumped at times by other factors, such as convenience. A NielsenIQ Omnibus survey conducted this year found 61% of consumers polled want online shopping items delivered as fast as possible, while only 39% said they prefer having product deliveries consolidated in one shipment to reduce packaging and the number of delivery trips — even if the items take longer to come. An article about the survey in Progressive Grocer was titled: “E-Shoppers Pick Speed Over Eco-Friendliness.” The upshot is that consumer behaviors will be moving targets as time goes on. For the second half of the year, it will be essential to track where shoppers are headed — and I don’t mean which parking spots. dsn


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NOW YOU Y SEE IT. NOW YOU DON’T. It’s the disappearing act you have been waiting for! A pen needle that works like a conventional one, with a lock-out feature that’s anything but conventional. If that doesn’t impress you, the price tag will.


Safety Pen Needle with Dual-Protection Safety n • Dual needle protection to help prevent needlestick injuries • Ideal for use in long-term care • Excellent option for caregivers or self-injection • Enhanced user control preventing premature activation1 • Visual confirmation of dose-delivery1

For more information about Unifine® SafeControl®, visit www.unifinesafecontrol.com To order samples, contact USSamples@owenmumford.com. 1 Project Saturn B (2017) Face-to-face interviews and product evaluations commissioned with an independent market research agency. Data on file.DSN2020/OMI/0720/1/US

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Keeping people healthy shouldn’t make the planet sick. Making affordable medicines for good health shouldn’t harm the environment. At Dr. Reddy’s, our commitment to the planet lies at the heart of all that we do. We manage our manufacturing and business activities within a sustainable framework: from zero liquid discharge and zero hazardous waste to landfill initiatives, to reducing packaging, green chemistry, and process innovation. Minimizing the environmental impact of our business operations is our top priority because Good Health Can’t Wait.

www.drreddys.com Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Inc. | 107 College Road East, Princeton, NJ 08540 | Tel: 866-733-3952

©2020 Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved. RDY- 0420-291

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