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Volume 42 No. 9


Drug Store News September 2020

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Who’s Who in VMS P. 70

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE Industry experts weigh in on what the last quarter of 2020 and the coming year hold for mass retail and pharmacy

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Your choice of an accreditation organization is as important as the services you provide.


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Vol. 42 No. 9 DrugStoreNews.com

FEATURES 10 Industry News 20 In Depth: Tech and Medication Adherence Insights from Cardinal Health on how technology can foster optimized medication use

42 CBD News 46 Products to Watch 47 Selfcare Roadmap Insights Skin care shopper insights powered by GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s and HRG’s Selfcare Roadmap Insights tool

48 Cover Story: Where Do We Go From Here? Thirteen industry insiders share their thoughts on the path forward for the industry




36 Focus On: The Compliance Team



8 Editor’s Note 22 Counter Talk with Howard University’s Toyin Tofade and Capital Rx’s A.J. Loiacono

24 Counter Talk with People Incorporated Training Institute’s Russ Turner


26 Counter Talk with Health Mart’s Nancy Lyons

28 One-on-One with eHealth’s Alisha Mecier

30 One-on-One with UI Global Brands’ Psyche Terry

32 One-on-One VMC Pharmacy Program and Buying Group’s Adam Salus

Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews

34 One-on-One

Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews

86 Last Word

with physician Dr. Edgar Ross with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

PHARMACY 56 Specialty Retailers find their niche in the specialty pharmacy segment

HEALTH 66 Natural and Homeopathic Ingredient-conscious and immunity-focused consumers fuel growth

70 VMS Who’s Who Breaking down leading suppliers in the vitamin, mineral and supplements category

76 News

78 INSIDE BEAUTY 78 Big Trends Six areas where beauty companies are focusing to help drive sales

84 Focus On: Duke Cannon

DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) is published monthly 12 times a year by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rate in the United States: $125 one year; $230 two year; $14 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $150 one year; $270 two year; $16 single issue copy; Foreign: $170 one year; $325 two year; $16 single issue copy. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Vol. 42 No. 9, September 2020. Copyright © 2020 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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The Retail Wars Heat Up Can Walmart+ take on Amazon Prime and win? By Seth Mendelson


almart is turning up the heat on Amazon — and offering the entire mass retail community a potential path to better compete with the Internet giant. The big question is whether it is enough to level the playing field with Amazon. The giant chain announced in late August that it was rolling out a much-anticipated membership service that will give its shoppers free shipping on many of its products Seth Mendelson carried at Walmart.com. The service, called Walmart+, Editor in Chief/ will cost $98 a year, about $20 lower than what Amazon Associate Publisher charges for its Amazon Prime service. In order to get free shipping, consumers must purchase at least $35 in merchandise from Walmart+, while Amazon Prime, which also offers its much-ballyhooed online entertainment, does not have a minimum for free shipping. According to published reports, Walmart said that about 160,000 items would qualify for free shipping. This is a no-brainer for Walmart, and the gurus on Wall Street agreed, driving up the price of the company’s stock by about $9 per share on the day the new service was announced. While company officials seem to be going out of their way to avoid stating that Walmart+ is designed to fight off Amazon, there is little doubt that the new service is a vehicle created to win back shoppers from the online merchant. The bottom line is that if any retailer can develop and successfully run something on the scale of Amazon Prime, it is Walmart. But, frankly, while a great start, I do not think it is enough. First, shipping needs to be free for all purchases. Second, Walmart will have to expand its offering to virtually all products in its distribution system. Third, and most importantly, Walmart officials are going to have to put on their thinking caps and find more ways to show consumers that their service is better than the other guy’s service. Still, this is a giant step in the right direction. Walmart has the resources to compete head-on with Amazon. Other traditional retailers, with less backing, will have to look for their own avenues to convince consumers that Amazon is not the answer for all of their shopping needs. Is that possible? Of course, but it will take a lot of ingenuity, patience and perseverance to win this battle. Amazon has a gigantic head start. Now, it is time to play a little catch-up. dsn

Walmart has the resources to compete head-on with Amazon. Other traditional retailers, with less backing, will have to look for their own avenues to convince consumers that Amazon is not the answer for all of their shopping needs.


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

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


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Vaseline’s New Products Keep Skin Hydrated

Dr Teal’s Facial Toners Feature Witch Hazel, Essential Oils Dr Teal’s is growing its skin care offerings. The Stamford, Conn.based company is debuting its newest line of Witch Hazel Facial Toners, which contain certified organic witch hazel, aloe vera, vitamin E and essential oils. Available in three formulas — calming rose water, rejuvenating eucalyptus and soothing lavender — each toner looks to smooth and protect the skin by removing impurities and minimize pores via its alcohol-free formula, the company said. “Consumers are searching for easy and accessible ways to incorporate healthier and more wellness-oriented products into their everyday routine, whether the purpose is to relieve physical aches and pains or improve your mental health. Dr Teal’s products, such as our leading Pure Epsom Salt Soaks to body lotions and now Witch Hazel Facial Toners, are formulated with therapeutic ingredients and natural essential oils that are good for your body and mind, so consumers can feel their best,” said Bradley Essig, chief marketing officer at PDC Brands, Dr Teal’s parent company. Dermatologist-tested Dr Teal’s Witch Hazel Facial Toners are safe for sensitive skin and free of parabens, phthalates and gluten. Not tested on animals, the products also are vegan and retail for $5.97 each.

Kit Kat Duos Debuts Mocha + Chocolate Variety


Vaseline is unveiling three new offerings that soothe, moisturize, and help revive and restore dry skin. Two of the products offer new variants on the company’s Jelly Stick Line. The Vaseline Refreshing Body Balm Jelly Stick aims to calm and soothe irritated dry skin, using menthol for a subtle cooling sensation and Vaseline’s healing jelly for moisturization in a nonsticky formula. The Cocoa Shimmer Jelly Stick, which features cocoa butter, a mineral shimmer and healing jelly, can be used as a highlighter or body luminizer, Vaseline said. Both Jelly Sticks carry suggested retail prices of $5.99. Vaseline also is augmenting its lotion offerings with Vaseline Intensive Care Almond Smooth Body Lotion. The product, which contains sweet almond oil and vitamin E, is infused with a light almond scent. The lotion also features Vaseline original jelly to help lock in moisture without leaving a greasy feeling. The product has a suggested retail price of $5.99. All three of Vaseline’s new products have launched at major food, drug and mass retailers nationwide.

There’s a new addition to the Kit Kat Duos line — Kit Kat Duos Mocha + Chocolate. Featuring a flavor combination of Hershey’s classic Kit Kat wafers with a mocha-flavored crème top and sweet chocolate bottom, this new launch will become a permanent addition to the brand’s portfolio, the Hershey, Pa.-based company said. “The expanding duos line is special because we can explore both flavor innovation and flavor pairings,” Amy Minderman, senior manager at Kit Kat said. “Consumers clamor for the latest and greatest from the Kit Kat brand, and we believe our newest star will not disappoint; with real coffee bits wrapped in a mocha-flavored creme surrounding the undeniable Kit Kat wafer, what’s not to love.” Kit Kat Duos Mocha + Chocolate will launch in November in a standard size set to sell for $1.11 and king size that will retail for $1.66 at stores nationwide.


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Henkel is centering inclusivity with its latest brand, STMNT. The brand’s high-performing grooming products were designed to be accessible to all, regardless of gender or style. STMNT consists of four lines, including a general care line and three curated lines, developed by the brand’s creators — Sofia Pok aka Staygold, Julius Arriola aka Julius Cvesar and Miguel Gutierrez aka Nomad Barber. Overall, STMNT offers 12 products that range from shampoos and conditioners to pomades, sprays and powders for long and short styles. “Over the past few years, barbering and grooming have evolved. Modern barbering is all about making a statement. It is sophisticated, lifestyle driven and genderless,” said Caleb Foltermann, general manager of STMNT Grooming Goods US. “We wanted to pioneer a brand that was authentic to the movement and made grooming products accessible to all. These three creators embody what it means to be a modern barber and they have the deep expertise to formulate products that are truly effective.” Pok’s Staygold collection is a three-piece genderless set that includes the STMNT spray powder, wax powder and fiber pomade. Arriola’s Julius Cvesar line consists of products designed with the ability to combine for custom styling, including the STMNT hairspray, shine paste and matte paste. Gutierrez’s Nomad Barber collection features a range of such classical products as grooming spray, classic pomade and dry clay. The STMNT care line has five products designed to create the perfect canvas for styling, with a shampoo, conditioner, all-in-one cleanser, beard oil, and a bath and body cleansing bar. Available at Ulta Beauty, STMNT products range from $11.95 to $24.95.

Abbott Adds Protein to Ensure Plus Abbott’s nutrition shake Ensure Plus has received an increase in its protein content. The company announced that Ensure Plus now contains 16 g of protein — 75% more protein than Ensure Original — alongside nutrients meant to support immune health. Abbott also said that protein particularly is important for older adults, and the United Nations has estimated that by 2050, more than one in five adults will be older than 65 years old. With age affecting weight, strength and energy levels, the company said protein can offer strength and energy, as well as immune health and recovery. Ensure Plus also includes vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as zinc. Available in five flavors — milk chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, dark chocolate and butter pecan, Ensure Plus is sold online and in store at Target, Walmart, Kroger, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens, with a suggested retail price of $10.99 for a six-pack.


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ChapStick’s Newest Balm Offers Tinted Hydration, Sun Protection ChapStick is looking to give consumers’ lips protection from the sun, hydration and a little pop of color all with one product. New to the Warren, N.J.-based company’s line of lip car products is Total Hydration Moisture + Tint + SPF 15. “Lip care is at the heart of everything we do at ChapStick, and we are always evaluating beauty trends and consumer needs to inform our product development and continue to deliver on our fans’ lip care needs and desires,” said Evelyn Furia, ChapStick’s brand director. “With the Moisture + Tint + SPF 15 lineup, we are expanding our growing portfolio that offers products for all steps of a lip care regimen to now include a lip balm that addresses multiple needs, including hydration, color and SPF protection.” Featuring mineral sunscreen formulated with naturally sourced ingredients that help nourish and protect the lips, the product contains such

ingredients as shea butter, coconut oil and sunflower seed, the company said. Available in three shades — very berry, pretty in pink and peachy keen — the subtle colors aim to enhance the natural tone of lips. “I always keep ChapStick Total Hydration products in my makeup kit, which my clients know and love, and it is now stocked with the Moisture + Tint + SPF 15, my latest go-to lip product,” brand ambassador and celebrity makeup artist Matin Maulawizada said. “This mineral sunscreen formula offers a smooth, nourishing application with a beautiful tint, making it a perfect lip product to not only protect and hydrate my clients’ lips, but to also help them look their best.” The ChapStick Total Hydration Moisture + Tint + SPF 15 products and the full Total Hydration line currently are available for purchase at Ulta Beauty and Target for $6.99.

Harpoon Brewery, Dunkin’ Partner on Coffee-, Donut-Infused Beer Harpoon Brewery and Dunkin’ are expanding their partnership to bring a fall-ready beer to stores. Both companies are releasing several flavors of beer that combine Dunkin’s iconic donuts and coffee with Harpoon’s brewery expertise. The partnership will launch Harpoon Dunkin’ Pumpkin beer, made with real pumpkin and a hint of coffee, as well as Boston Kreme and Jelly Donut beers, both of which are brewed with Dunkin’ donuts. The companies also are introducing Coffee Porter, made with Dunkin’ original blend coffee. “We’re excited to elevate our collaboration with Harpoon this fall, with the introduction of Harpoon Dunkin’ Pumpkin beer and the first-ever Harpoon beer made with real Dunkin’ donuts,” Brian Gilbert, vice president of retail business development at Dunkin’, said. “We have no doubt the new donut brews, along with the rest of this new fall lineup, will bring the same moments of sweetness and smiles our coffee and donuts have created for 70 years.” The Pumpkin Spiced Latte Ale contains 5.2% alcohol by volume. Inspired by a dry Irish stout, Boston Kreme is made with cacao nibs and donuts, and has a 4.3% ABV. Jelly Donut, with raspberry puree, real donuts and a 5.7% ABV, is a hazy IPA with notes of jelly and citrus. While the Coffee Porter with a 6% ABV features malty notes of chocolate, caramel and toffee, as well as coffee. “After more than two years and three seasons of collaborating with the Dunkin’ team, our fans have come to expect a delicious fall beer from us, but we wanted to give them something extra special this year,” Dan Kenary, Harpoon CEO and co-founder, said. “Our brewers have always been master innovators, but brewing beer made with real donuts was a first even for them. It’s hard to pick a favorite of the four recipes — just like it’s hard to pick a favorite donut from Dunkin’ — but we hope both our and Dunkin’s fans have a blast trying.” The Harpoon Dunkin’ Pumpkin flavor will be available on draft and in bottle packs of six, as well as part of a mix pack, which contains three cans of each seasonal beer flavor. Each limited-edition flavor is available wherever Harpoon is sold.



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The latest product from ColgatePalmolive’s flagship oral care brand is getting smart about brushing. The new hum by Colgate is a smart electric toothbrush that looks to help users brush better and build healthier habits. The toothbrush features smart sensors that track the frequency, duration and coverage of users’ unique brushing styles, and it offers personalized guidance in targeting areas that need extra attention via the hum by Colgate app. “Hum by Colgate was designed with the consumer in mind to create a more accessible, smart electric toothbrush to help more people brush better,” said Bill van de Graaf, Colgate-Palmolive vice president of marketing for North America. “Hum also meets the consumer demand for a lightweight and sleek toothbrush that delivers a powerful clean. For consumers, good habits are key to staying happy and healthy, and they prefer brands that help them build those habits in easy and fun ways.” Built to fit into people’s busy lifestyles, hum by Colgate also features user-friendly technology with offline brushing that allows the brush to store data for 10 days, so users do not have to constantly bring their smartphones into the bathroom. The app also offers rewards via smile points, which accumulate and can be used to purchase products in the app shop. Hum by Colgate is available in a rechargeable toothbrush option that retails for $69.99 or a battery-powered option that retails for $49.99. Available in blue, teal and purple, the product has launched online at Amazon.com, Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart.com, as well as at other select retailers.

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Dr. Reddy’s rolled out two generics in August, growing its portfolio in ADHD and rheumatoid arthritis, among other conditions. The company launched a generic of Janssen’s Concerta (methylphenidate hydrochloride) extended-release tablets and a generic of Bausch Health’s Cuprimine (penicillamine capsules) — both of which previously were approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Reddy’s generic Concerta, indicated to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is available in dosage strengths of 18 mg, 27 mg, 36 mg and 54 mg in 100-count bottles. The Concerta brand and generic market was roughly $1.2 billion for the most recent 12 months ended in June 2020, according to IQVIA. The company’s generic Cuprimine, available in 250-mg capsules in 100-count bottles, is indicated to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Wilson’s disease and cystinuria, which causes kidney stones. For the year ended June 2020, the Cuprimine brand and generic equivalents had a 12-month market value of $80 million, according to IQVIA data.


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GT’s Aqua Kefir Tackles Pre-, Post-workout Hydration GT’s Aqua Kefir wants to give consumers a boost before and after their workouts. The nondairy and caffeine-free cultured drink from the Los Angeles-based brand is fermented with dairy-free kefir cultures in order to create a more approachable and desirable taste profile, the company said. “Breaking a sweat is a daily practice for me,” said GT Dave, founder and CEO of GT’s Living Foods. “When I’m finished with my workout and I’ve depleted my energy, I guzzle GT’s Aqua Kefir. The combination of light refreshment and naturally occurring probiotics replenishes my gut and restores my performance to take on the day. I’m excited to share GT’s Aqua Kefir as a form of healthy hydration to our fans so they too can enjoy the delicious digestive nutrients.” Available in coconut lime, peach pineapple, pear ginger and pomegranate flavors, GT’s Aqua Kefir contains such


ingredients as water kefir grains, tibicos and Japanese water crystals. “Water kefir is the best way to step into the world of fermented foods,” Dave said. “Traditional dairy kefirs taste heavy and sour. GT’s Aqua Kefir is light and nourishing, which is why it makes for the perfect pre- and post-workout drink.” The product has launched at Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market and other natural food retailers nationwide.


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Pharmacy Technology and the Healthcare Ecosystem How technology can improve patient outcomes BRENT STUTZ, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMERCIAL TECHNOLOGIES, CARDINAL HEALTH


edication therapy is not being optimized in the United States, a problem that is negatively impacting patient care and placing a major strain on the U.S. healthcare ecosystem. Each year, non-optimized medication therapy is linked to more than 275,000 avoidable patient deaths and adds upwards of $500 billion in costs, representing 16% of all healthcare expenditures. Non-optimized medication therapy is a cyclical process that begins with patients either not receiving the right medication/dosage or not adhering to their prescribed medication regimen, which leads to adverse events and potential health problems, and ultimately results in increased healthcare costs. As the shifting healthcare landscape places increasing emphasis on both cost efficiency and patient outcomes, breaking this cycle of non-optimized medication usage dramatically could lower costs and improve patient care. Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to be a key player in this effort and, with the right technology solutions at their disposal, they will be empowered to become even better advocates for their patients and help drive down healthcare costs.

Why Pharmacists are Uniquely Placed for an Expanding Role While the role of the pharmacist has been vastly underutilized in the past, the evolution of pharmacy into more clinical operations, as well as their position among patients as a trusted and accessible provider, places them in a central role to optimize medication therapy and engage with patients to help prevent nonadherence. In Gallup’s 2019 Honesty and Ethics survey, pharmacists ranked second overall — just below nurses and ahead of medical doctors — in their list of most trusted professions. This high level of trust indicates that pharmacists have opportunities to motivate patients toward behavioral change, whether by conducting a medication review to address some of the main challenges of non-optimized medication therapy or by providing clinical advice and support. Pharmacists also are highly accessible to patients and interact with them more frequently than other providers. Commonwealth Medicine notes that nine in 10 Americans live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy, and other research has shown that patients visit their pharmacists up to eight times more frequently than their primary care provider. Because of their overall accessibility to patients, pharmacists are well suited to serve as a central connector between key stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem, from payers to providers to manufacturers. The expansion of the pharmacist’s role into clinical services in recent years has led to increased cohesion and efficiency in the



healthcare system. An example of this expansion is the development of collaborative practice agreements, or CPAs. According to Commonwealth Medicine, a pharmacist and primary care physician collaborate through a CPA to enable the pharmacist to provide additional direct patient care services to their clients, such as ordering and interpreting laboratory tests, prescribing, changing or discontinuing medications, screening and treating patients for minor ailments, and developing care plans. As of 2011, 44 states had allowed for the development of CPAs. Pharmacists are also playing a major role in advanced medication management. Health Datix reports that overusing, under-using or misusing medications costs the American healthcare system around $300 billion a year, but when pharmacists take on a more involved role with patients and manage their medications, the cost of nonadherence inevitably will decrease, and simultaneously improve patient outcomes. Payers are particularly interested in the expanded role of the pharmacist, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reimburses based on performance. State administrators of these programs can demonstrate how they are able to differentiate and better administer health plans, and the benefits of improved adherence for all stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem. This is an area in which pharmacists can add significant value and help other stakeholders reach the shared goal of improved outcomes at a lower cost.

Why Technology is Critical for Enabling Clinical Capabilities The expansion of the role of pharmacists as key players in connecting stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem, as well as their role in advanced medication management and adherence, clearly shows they can successfully address the issue of non-optimized medication therapy. However, having the right technology solutions at their disposal is critical in order for pharmacists to expand into these areas. Currently, many pharmacies are managing several disconnected systems that make it difficult to track clinical opportunities and delegate priorities. Ideally, pharmacists should seek out a scalable patient-focused clinical care suite of advanced technology solutions that allows them to digitally manage their workflow, drive efficiencies, engage with patients and connect with payers, providers and manufacturers. Medication therapy management tools can be integrated into the pharmacy management system, connecting pharmacists with payers to access targeted, payable patient care opportunities and centrally

A MASSIVE PROBLEM WITH PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN AMERICA Every year non-optimized medication therapy costs

$528.4 billion, 6%


of total U.S. healthcare expenditures

avoidable deaths

(Source: https://www.pharmacist.com/article/nonoptimized-medication-therapy-costs-us-5284-billion-year)

document them. Additionally, they can enable pharmacists to provide health education, improve medication therapy compliance and assess medication side effects. As states continue to expand the provider status of pharmacists, enabling them to screen patients for diseases like flu and strep throat and prescribe treatments, pharmacies will require technology solutions to document and bill for these clinical services. Digital communication tools can also be integrated into existing systems for direct patient engagement, streamlining patient communication workflows and driving efficiencies through automated reminders, on-demand messaging, pre-fill alerts and medication delivery management. By helping pharmacists maintain a high-touch, personal relationship to patients, they can improve adherence and retention while adding a convenient, modernized patient experience. Telepharmacy solutions should also be a core component of a pharmacy technology portfolio. These solutions enable pharmacists to expand their operation and capture more prescriptions in a cost-effective manner, as well as load balance between locations. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, these tools are especially useful for counseling patients remotely in a secure, HIPAA-compliant manner. When their capabilities are fully leveraged and they have the technology tools needed to efficiently optimize medication therapy, pharmacists can help patients live healthier lives and reduce the overall cost of care. From their unique position in the healthcare ecosystem, pharmacists’ ability to connect to manufacturers, payers and providers can add significant value. dsn

The solution:


Why the pharmacy? Pharmacists Rank Second Again among Gallup’s Most Trusted Professionals,” not just healthcare professionals — all professionals. (Source: nacds.org/news/pharmacists-rank-second-again-among-gallups-mosttrusted-professionals/)

Patients visit their pharmacist eight times more than their primary care provider. (Source: “New Findings Confirm Predictions on Physician Shortage,” Association of American Medical Colleges, April 23, 2019)

Why technology? When you add technology to the trusted relationship between the pharmacist and the patient, patients achieve better health outcomes. 1. Intelligent Digital Communication • •

2.9 times more adherent to medication (Cardinal Health) 20% increase in adherence to medications (Cardinal Health)

2. Comprehensive Medication Reviews • •

60% of interventions document a drug therapy problem (Cardinal Health) 94% patient acceptance rate for consultations

3. Telepharmacy •

Fewer errors than traditional pharmacy (Error rate less than 1%, ½ national average.) 100 million Americans lack good access to pharmacies (Source: “The Growing Problem of Pharmacy Deserts,” Drug Topics, Sept. 14, 2019, drugtopics.com/view/ growing-problem-pharmacy-deserts)

(Cardinal Health) DRUGSTORENEWS.COM September 2020

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Expanding Opportunity Broadening diversity in pharmacy begins with making education more affordable By Toyin Tofade and Anthony J. Loiacono

I Toyin Tofade, dean and tenured professor, Howard University College of Pharmacy

A.J. Loiacono, founder and CEO, Capital Rx


n 1837, James McCune Smith became the first Black physician to earn a medical degree, and opened the first Black-owned pharmacy in the United States at 93 West Broadway in New York. Fast forward 183 years, and Black men and women represent only 5.25% of pharmacists in the United States, according to DataUSA. According to the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, the high cost of tuition is the top barrier to entry for minority students pursuing their pharmacy degrees. As a step toward closing that gap, Capital Rx recently partnered with Howard University to launch the Dr. James McCune Smith Scholarship fund to support the next generation of pharmacists. The endowment represents a natural synergy. Howard University’s College of Pharmacy strives to be a premier college in teaching, learning, research, leadership and service. Likewise, the core principles of innovation, diversity and accessibility are embedded within Capital Rx’s DNA. Working in tandem, we will have the opportunity to raise African American and minority student leaders who have the potential to influence the future of our noble profession. Diversity of healthcare practitioners is not just about nominative representation — having more diverse medical teams and practitioners saves lives, according to a study published in the Harvard Business Review. As Dayna Bowen Matthew documents in her book “Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Healthcare,” we lose almost 84,000 lives of color each year due to discrepancies in care, coverage and access that arise from racial and ethnic biases held by physicians, pharmacists, providers and patients themselves. Fostering greater diversity across health care is one way to mitigate the health gap, by integrating more nuanced perspectives on multicultural populations that can lead to better diagnoses and rebuild trust. Black and minority pharmacists are invaluable resources within the communities they serve, helping patients of diverse backgrounds to better understand their specific health needs. As such, we want to support more Black men and women in pursuing pharmacy careers. While

there were approximately 2.6 million Black students enrolled in higher education in fall 2019, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 2,247 PharmCAS applicants self-identified as Black or African American during this past pharmacy admissions cycle. Therefore, the journey toward greater equity in pharmacy is a two-fold strategy: lowering the financial barriers to entry and ensuring greater awareness of health professions as younger students are charting their career paths. To that effect, Capital Rx is developing a mentorship program with underserved communities in New York to inspire more local students with interests in STEM to consider careers in pharmacy. Over the last several years, Howard’s College of Pharmacy has doubled the number of student internships and expanded its clinical and industrial partnerships. In 2018, international student rotation sites were doubled. Currently, the college has 16 international partnerships in 14 different countries benefiting student rotation experiences. Approximately 30% of the college graduates pursue a career in pharmaceutical industry or regulatory affairs, many of whom started out as a fellow. In 2018, the college entered into a one-of-a-kind partnership with the FDA and GlaxoSmithKline, providing a fellowship opportunity in regulatory affairs and policy. The first graduate of the program concluded her training in 2020 and is successfully employed at GSK. With about 36% of the class of 2020 completing a post graduate training program, partnerships between academia and business are critical to ensure the continued pipeline of minority and Black pharmacy graduates into the workforce. Long ago, Dr. Smith’s academic journey was made possible through abolitionist benefactors, who funded his travel and education. Similarly, we invite you to join us in accelerating this worthy cause, as it is incumbent upon today’s leaders across business and academia to support the next generation of talented, aspiring pharmacists. To donate to the Dr. James McCune Smith Scholarship or for more information, please contact Sara Ganz at scholarship@cap-rx.com. dsn


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De-escalating Tense Situations How retail workers can make mask mandates work By Russ Turner

T Russ Turner, director, People Incorporated Training Institute

hose who work in drug stores and mass retailers regularly see people from the community who are stressed and anxious — maybe they’re worried about a sick family member or concerned about how they’re going to pay for a high-cost prescription. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many workers also are expected to enforce new protocols like social distancing rules and mask mandates. More than ever, these workers need guidance on how best to communicate and help the diverse range of people they are interacting with during their shifts. Leaders in the industry need to acknowledge the increasing pressures and challenges store workers are facing. It’s important that staff are trained with the right tools to ask for voluntary compliance, and to de-escalate customers who are defying mask mandates, so that the situation does not turn hostile.

Connect Not Confront

Emotional outbursts are like mini mental health crises and need skillful interventions, since many of the common responses to irate outbursts actually make the situation worse. As an example, telling someone to “calm down” rarely accomplishes one’s goal. De-escalation mode is not problem-solving mode because complex problems require rational thinking and, in a crisis, the thinking part of the brain temporarily goes offline. When a person screams that they’re not going to wear a mask, we teach workers to begin with empathic responses that will help build a connection. In most cases, the responses are different from what people are used to. Some examples include: • “We’re glad you’re here;” • “I know it’s a pain;” and • “Can you help me out with the mask thing?” In other words, connect with them through empathy rather than confront them with rules or logic.


De-escalating Crises

Connection can be produced quickly even in tense situations by following some simple steps: 1. Paraphrasing what you think you’ve just heard This could be responding to an outraged customer by acknowledging “the mask thing isn’t working for you,” or “I realize you’re not happy with the mask rule.” This can be disarming because it’s nonconfrontational; it demonstrates that you’ve heard the person and are sensitive to their feelings. Empathy promotes connection, and connection reduces tension. When we teach this skill in the classroom, many people find it strange, but it’s a skill that can be quickly developed and embodies the idea of being nonjudgmental — another important element in de-escalation. 2. Look for common ground This is about finding a common goal: “Help us out with the mask thing, so we can keep the store open” is the kind of script that matches this idea. We both want the store to remain open, so we’re working together toward the same goal. Look for things to agree on, rather than focusing on areas where there is disagreement. 3. Provide options instead of threats Threats will quite predictably set off a defensive response in the brain and could result in shouting and yelling. Instead of saying, “If you don’t wear the mask, you can’t come in,” we teach people to create options: “You can wear your own mask or grab one of our free ones.” Again, this is disarming — the thinking part of the brain tries to work out what to do. The use of informal language like “grab” reduces the authoritarian feel of the encounter. Often a person will comply, but want the last word on the matter, and if that happens, it’s important to let this go. The end goal is the person’s voluntary compliance, even if it’s reluctant, and workers who realize that they are not going to be able to make someone comply are halfway there. The goal is the kind of interaction where the person quickly realizes that they and the worker are trying to achieve the same thing. dsn


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Patient Safety Is Key For Independent Pharmacies Pharmacies can lead in medication safety around pain relief By Nancy Lyons

D Nancy Lyons, vice president and chief pharmacy officer, Health Mart


elivering positive outcomes and safeguarding patient health are key responsibilities of every member of the healthcare team. Independent pharmacists, as trusted advisers in the heart of their communities, take this responsibility seriously and work tirelessly to have a positive impact. A key aspect of patient safety that pharmacists directly impact is ensuring safe medication use. Safe medication use is multifaceted and defined by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, or ISMP, as a “complex process that comprises the sub-processes of medication prescribing, order processing, dispensing, administration and effects monitoring.� ISMP also defines 10 key elements that affect the medication-use process, many of which community pharmacists are directly involved. While each of the 10 key elements of safe medication use are critically important, proactive patient education is often highlighted as an area where a trusted and accessible pharmacist can have a greater impact, especially when inadequate patient understanding may pose significant medication safety risks. Supporting patient safety takes on a new level of urgency when a national health problem threatens our local neighborhoods. Independent pharmacists are often dedicated to using their knowledge, skills and technology to support prevention and treatment efforts, and the overall improvement of patient outcomes. When it comes to pain relief, focusing first on ensuring evidence-based care, pharmacists educate patients on appropriate options for pain relief, including over-the-counter medications and nondrug therapies. When opioid medications are prescribed, pharmacists are critical of ensuring that patients fully understand prescriber directions and the risks and responsibilities of the medications. As a part of this risk process, pharmacists can also help patients consider if the potential of respiratory depression is present and recommend co-prescribing of life-saving naloxone to ensure safe use. Health Mart is working to expand the ability for pharmacists to prescribe naloxone directly to

patients through collaborative practice agreements and standing orders from prescribers. Technology also can play a major role in improving patient safety. Health Mart and McKesson are dedicated to the development of a national prescription safety alert system that will focus on identifying patients at risk for overuse, abuse, addiction or misuse of pain medications. The system would provide proactive, real-time clinical alerts integrated into pharmacist workflow, and would address shortcomings of existing state and federal clinical decision support systems, while saving time for pharmacists and prescribers. We continue to advocate that Congress require mandatory e-prescribing of opioids, which would reduce fraudulent or counterfeit prescriptions and improve patient care by reducing errors and improving medication adherence. Addressing the risks that unused opioid medications pose to friends and family members is another key focus for improving patient safety. Going beyond simply informing patients about the risks, independent pharmacies are increasingly providing specific tools patients can use to safely dispose of unneeded or unused medication. Health Mart pharmacies have partnered with DisposeRx to provide education and an at-home disposal solution. Each pharmacy received a starter supply of DisposeRx deactivation packets and patient instruction cards to share with their patients. After mixing the medications with water and adding the powdered solidifying agent into the vial, the solution creates a gel that dissolves and sequesters the medication, and allows the patient to place the vial in the trash. Some Health Mart pharmacies have also added in-store disposal take-back kiosks or collection containers in their pharmacies, allowing patients to safely dispose of medications in store. Although the opioid epidemic is far-reaching and will take efforts from multiple community stakeholders, including the government, public health agencies, prescribers, third-party payers and more, to solve, independent pharmacies can use their skills and expertise in continuing to improve patient safety. dsn


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Decisions, Decisions eHealth offers partnership to assist pharmacy patients navigate Medicare plans


elping patients manage their health insurance and Medicare plan options is at the heart of eHealth’s mission. The Santa Clara, Calif.based company, founded in 1999, currently has more than 1,00 employees who work to make it easier and faster to shop for health insurance and prescription drug coverage. Drug Store News caught up with Alisha Mecier, eHealth’s vice president of business development, to discuss how it partners with pharmacies and helps patients. Drug Store News: How does eHealth work with pharmacies and what are the benefits for pharmacies that you partner with? Alisha Mecier: Health partners with pharmacies to help Medicare-eligible customers enroll in plans that give patients the best pricing for their prescription drugs at their preferred pharmacy. eHealth has the largest selection of Medicare, small group and individual health plans of any broker in the country, which enables us to provide customers with plans that best fit their needs. We provide partners with a turnkey, market-tested solution that helps them retain patients aging into Medicare, as well as engage new customers. Medicare beneficiaries receive valuable information and help enrolling in plans that best meet their needs, which in turn supports pharmacies’ revenue growth. DSN: How have you helped pharmacy retailers amid the COVID-19 pandemic? AM: Following the coronavirus shutdown, in less than a month, eHealth reconfigured our Medicare partner online exchanges to feature Medicare educational content (videos and free downloadable guidebooks) so that people aging into Medicare could better understand the program. At the same time, eHealth began offering monthly webinars for newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries to replace in-person seminars, which


Alisha Mecier, vice president of business development, eHealth

people often use to learn about Medicare. eHealth’s entire agent salesforce moved to working from home, and our leading online shopping and enrollment experience already had us well positioned to serve these consumers. DSN: What are the challenges for pharmacy customers who are Medicare beneficiaries? AM: It can be intimidating for Medicare beneficiaries to choose from the hundreds of available plans, including prescription drug plans, supplemental plans and Medicare Advantage. Researching and selecting the right coverage can seem confusing and complicated, especially when you consider the importance of factoring in a preferred pharmacy, prescription drug coverage and the cost of medications.

DSN: Describe eHealth’s enhanced education and enrollment program. AM: Our programs help pharmacies educate customers, including those who are aging into Medicare, and enroll these customers into coverage that best meets their needs. Through our webinars, online education program and best-in-class shopping tools, eHealth provides a world-class experience for partner customers. Our partnerebranded educational materials help people learn about the issues that matter most to them, including how Medicare can best serve them and the benefits offered by Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplement and Medicare prescription drug plans. When customers are ready to enroll, our powerful online search tools help people identify and select the Medicare coverage that is right for them, based on their preferred doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. DSN: What are the challenges for pharmacy retailers and Medicare beneficiaries going forward, and how can you help? AM: Changing dynamics in health care are redefining everything from customer interactions to reimbursement. For pharmacies seeking to navigate these challenges and grow revenue, eHealth’s pharmacy program can help. Our new programs tie in digitally with pharmacy management systems to help increase fills, retain patients aging into Medicare, capture new business and deliver a seamless customer experience. Using de-identified data, we provide patients with customized, unbiased information to help them select the best coverage for them. eHealth is always working to help improve customer experience, patient engagement and digital integration, and we’re ready to partner with pharmacies to help patients meet their health and prescription drug coverage needs. dsn


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Give Them What They Want Urban Hydration founder discusses the brand’s dedication to its loyal fan base


syche Terry, founder of UI Global Brands, is excited about the growth of her company, which makes the Urban Hydration brand of products. She spoke with Drug Store News about why the company is growing so quickly and what the future looks like. Drug Store News: Tell us about what is happening at UI Global Brands. Psyche Terry: Urban Hydration was recently named one of the fastest-growing privately held companies once again by Inc. magazine. Our core brand assortment is growing rapidly and, according to Nielsen Data, is the fastest-growing brand in facial cleansers over the past 52 weeks. We recently launched clean beauty sun care and extended our HBL collection and skin treatment collection. One of our micellar waters recently won a Women’s Health magazine 2020 Skincare Award. DSN: Why should retailers carry the Urban Hydration brand? What makes it unique? PT: Urban Hydration, which was new to many drug and grocery aisles in 2019, continues to see triple-digit growth year over year because of a few factors. The brand is agile and innovative, and led by moms and dads that truly believe that business is not transactional, it’s personal. Our leaders are of an old-school thought that honors business on a handshake or a text message. They come from heritage industries like banking and appliance manufacturing, and were taught by global business leaders from Whirlpool, Zappos, Best Buy and Helen of Troy. Urban Hydration is an extremely profitable brand as a result of focusing on its core customer, a specific group of customers that the brand calls its LUHVies. These LUHVies are committed to the cause of clean and conscious beauty and are aligned with the products and the retail partners that sell it. They not only shop it more regularly than the average beauty customer, but they provide valuable feedback.


Urban Hydration is constantly involved in mission based social causes that our customers care about. We also activate in stores with sampling, tutorials, spiffs and trainings. In addition, we support with creative designs for on-store shelving opportunities that are relevant and eye-catching. We help get customers in stores with our social media pages, newsletters, online and in-person sampling and event support, and even geo targeting. We support digitally with images and creatives and high-fashion photo shoots that help drive increased likability to our brand on retailer platforms.

Psyche Terry, founder, UI Global Brands

“Urban Hydration is agile and innovative, and led by moms and dads that truly believe that business is not transaction, it’s personal. Our leaders are of an oldschool thought that honors business on a handshake or a text message.” DSN: How are you supporting the brand? What is your marketing pitch? PT: We support Urban Hydration with extensive storytelling. We tell our stories with social media campaigns that have earned our website over 1.5 million unique impressions per month of real and authentic engagement. We inspire bloggers and authentic grassroots influencers. We work with digital, on-air and print press to tell our story with relevance.

DSN: What should retailers do to build sales from this product? Placement? In-store support? PT: Retailers can help us by sharing our product with their online customer and in-store customer. Online retailers can help send our product samples out to their influencers, and tagging and even reposting and resharing our social media posts. Digitally retailers can help by allowing retail takeovers, introducing our customer to their site and platform. Finally, retailers can partner with Urban Hydration with shelf talkers, off-shelf and sampling opportunities. DSN: Do you have new products coming down the pike? PT: Urban Hydration’s customers are growing in their love for travel and outdoor activities, and asked us for clean sun care that absorbs into the skin quickly and isn’t chalky and doesn’t smell bad. We introduced Urban Hydration SPF 30 Sun Screen that is moisturizing and great for eczema prone and dry skin. Also, we are proud to not only offer clean beauty aloe vera hand sanitizers, but also to now have new natural coconut oil based lemon, vanilla and rosehip extract hand creams for these colder months. We cover skin naturally in both warmer and colder seasons. dsn


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Chris of Hemmingsen Drug Store in Marshall, Michigan

CHRIS CHOOSES ULTIGUARD SAFE ACK. The best option for his pharmacy’s finances—and his patients’ health. With UltiGuard Safe Pack, you give your customers 100 premium pen needles and an FDA-cleared sharps disposal system. All for the same copay as pen needles alone—and with higher revenue and margins for your pharmacy. Visit our website to see it in action. W W W. U LT I G UA R D S A F E PAC K . C O M

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Cooperative Medicine VMC Pharmacy Program offers collective strength for independents


s the pharmacy arm of Valu Merchandisers, the VMC Pharmacy Program and Buying Group is a member-owned cooperative created to promote the interests of independent and smaller-store pharmacy chains. It currently serves more than 450 pharmacies in 20 states. Drug Store News caught up with Adam Salus, the organization’s pharmacy operations manager, to talk about how members benefit from their involvement.

independents ways to improve their profits utilizing the lowest cost of goods, additional revenue streams, and learning opportunities to help fight these challenges.

Drug Store News: Please tell us about the VMC Pharmacy Program and Buying Group. Adam Salus: The VMC Pharmacy Program and Buying Group is a retailer focused and high performing member-owned independent pharmacy program offering the tools needed to help pharmacies be successful. Our program enables member pharmacies to improve their positions in a competitive marketplace with an extensive offering of exceptional services, comprehensive programs and the lowest cost of goods.

DSN: Can you talk about the additional programs and services you offer? AS: Through VMC and our partners, our program members have access to over 40 preferred vendor programs, and that number keeps growing. This offers a lower cost on the valuable services and savings that go right to the bottom line. From switch services, supplies, continuing education and training platforms to secondary wholesalers, Drug Supply Chain Security Act, reconciliation vendors and Pharmacy Service Administration Organization, our preferred vendor list covers almost every service an independent pharmacy needs.

DSN: What differentiates your company from your competitors? AS: With over 90 years of experience in retail, community, hospital, long-term care and mail order pharmacy, our team members know the pharmacy business. The success of our program comes in making independent pharmacies competitive and looking out for our retailers’ best interests. DSN: How do you help independent pharmacies and smaller grocery store pharmacy chains? AS: Independent pharmacies and independent grocery store pharmacies are still the backbone of the pharmacy industry. They are community pharmacies that consumers turn to for their prescription and health needs. Over time, we hear more and more about how pharmacy benefit managers are undercutting reimbursements and restricting access to specific large chain pharmacies. Our program offers


DSN: How do you ensure the lowest cost of goods? AS: AWG leverages its buying power through partnering with other companies and co-ops. This allows us to provide the lowest cost of goods overall in the market today amongst buying groups.

Adam Salus, pharmacy operations manager, VMC Pharmacy Program and Buying Group

“Through VMC and our partners, our program members have access to over 40 preferred vendor programs and that number keeps growing. This offers a lower cost on the valuable services and savings that go right to the bottom line.”

DSN: How are you helping retailers/pharmacies amid the pandemic? AS: 2020 has been a challenging time for everyone. Independent pharmacies are no exception. The VMC Pharmacy Program has been providing weekly updates to all members from a variety of sources, including the American, state pharmacy associations and NACDS. In addition, 15 current member pharmacies have partnered up with eTrueNorth for drive-thru COVID-19 testing in their communities. Another eight pharmacies have signed up to provide the drive-up COVID-19 testing services beginning in mid-September. It is also more important than ever for the public to receive their flu vaccine this year. VMC Pharmacy Program members are already actively providing regular dose, high dose and Flublok doses to their communities. dsn


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VMC Pharmacy Program Buying Group Trusted by Independent Pharmacies for over 25 Years

The VMC Pharmacy Program is the most retailer focused and highest performing member-owned independent pharmacy program offering the tools needed to help pharmacies be successful.

Changing the Independent Pharmacy Game • Over $48,492,958 in Rebates Returned to VMC Members Annually • NO GCR’s • Member Owned Cooperative • Over $6 Billion Leveraged Collective Buying Power • Dedicated Support Staff

• • • • •

Independent Pharmacy Advocates Customized Reporting Preferred Vendor Discounts Industry Trend Information Participating Sponsors of NCPA, APhA, NACDS, Capitol Hill Fly-Ins, & State Pharmacy Associations

Contact us today to find out how we can help YOU!

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Heating Up the Pain Relief Category Pain management expert discusses Sunbeam Pain Relief’s heat therapy approach


r. Edgar Ross, a senior clinician at Pain Management Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, tells Drug Store News how Sunbeam is rethinking pain relief with heat therapy. Drug Store News: What makes Sunbeam Pain Relief’s approach unique? Edgar Ross: As a pain management doctor, I see people when they are at their worst. Suffering from pain can take an incredible toll, physically and emotionally. It can affect everything from mobility and independence to productivity and relationships. When people are in pain, they will do anything to alleviate it, which of course can lead to overuse of medications — be they prescribed, controlled or over-the-counter. What I appreciate about Sunbeam Pain Relief is that it provides a smarter approach to pain relief that leverages heat therapy to treat pain. It doesn’t reinvent, but rather rethinks pain treatment. Heat therapy gives people an opportunity to proactively help manage chronic pain levels and increase tissue healing when used for a minimum of 20 minutes as a part of their relief regimen. Let me explain what I mean. For all of history, across cultures from Egyptians to Native Americans, people have been using heat to treat muscle pain. It wasn’t until 1911, though, that Earl Holmes Richardson invented the first electric heating pad, which he called the “El Warmo.” The basic concept of Richardson’s El Warmo stands the test of time, so there’s no need to come up with something entirely new. But even the best inventions become outdated. What Sunbeam has done in rethinking relief is take this good concept and make it great by modernizing it to meet today’s needs. DSN: Heat therapy has become a big topic with consumers looking for relief from aches and pains. Tell us what you are doing in this segment.


associated with muscle tension and stress. It promotes blood flow to the source of your pain to increase tissue healing, for relief that lasts. Additionally, in my experience, I have even seen an impact to overall mood and mental well-being. People feel warmth physically, and they translate that into warmth emotionally. Heat therapy is definitely experiencing a resurgence, not only as a supplemental therapy, but as a primary therapy.

Dr. Edgar Ross, senior clinician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and assistant professor, Harvard Medical School

“What I appreciate about Sunbeam Pain Relief is that it provides a smart approach to pain relief that leverages heat therapy to treat pain. It doesn’t reinvent, but rather rethinks pain therapy.” ER: What’s old is new again, as long as it is modern. People have experimented, they’ve tried different drugs, acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic, surgery — you name it. And though those treatments are typically regarded as mutually exclusive, practitioners pretty much across the board will suggest that patients supplement treatment with heat therapy. Heat is clinically proven to relieve pain

DSN: You have joined with Sunbeam and the U.S. Pain Foundation for Pain Awareness Month in September. Tell us about that. ER: As a doctor, I see the individual toll pain is taking on our country and do what I can as an individual to help people feel better, but partnering with Sunbeam and the U.S. Pain Foundation for Pain Awareness Month gives me the opportunity to understand the depth and breadth of the problem and contemplate how I can have a bigger impact by building awareness. Pain is a real problem in our country. It’s not only the No. 1 reason people seek medical attention, but 50 million people live with chronic pain. I hope that through my collaboration with both Sunbeam and the U.S. Pain Foundation, I can help change those numbers and help people live happier, healthier lives with their pain well under control. DSN: What would you say the future holds for pain management? ER: There’s a stigma associated with pain, no doubt about it. People don’t want to be perceived as weak or limited, so often they will suffer through their pain. This, of course, makes it worse. So, that smart rethinking that Sunbeam has done to modernize heat therapy is going to become even more integral. I can see innovations around even more flexible and portable heat therapy options becoming all the more relevant, something Sunbeam is already offering. People won’t stop for anything — not even pain — so we’re going to have to problem solve on the go, literally. dsn


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N •









HSA/FSA eligible

For more information, contact SunbeamPainRelief @newellco.com

*Heating pad units sold, based on IRI-MULO 52 weeks ending 8/9/20 **Based on IPSOS Survey in December 2016, 720 users or intenders aged 18-65 ***Associated with muscle tension and stress © 2020 Sunbeam Products, Inc. All rights reserved. HAH1057 CSB-BH0820

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Exemplary Service Safety, honesty and caring guide The Compliance Team’s accreditation and certification programs BY SETH MENDELSON


hen Sandra Canally first opened the doors of The Compliance Team in 1994, she had no idea that just a few years after launching, her company would become the organization it is today, acknowledged by many in the industry for its simplified, innovative and leading-edge accreditation and certification programs. At the time, Canally, the founder and CEO of the company, just wanted to improve the accreditation process. The Compliance Team is a nationally recognized Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services-approved healthcare accreditation organization based in Spring House, Pa. It provides Exemplary Provider


accreditation and certification programs for pharmacies, DMEPOS providers and clinics throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company also is a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise and is recognized by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Canally spent the better part of the past 50 years serving on the front lines in nearly every sector of the country’s healthcare delivery system. She knows firsthand what matters most to patients — safety, honesty and caring. She said that safety, honesty and caring have been The Compliance Team’s guiding principles for many years, adding that the accreditation


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programs are designed to be “operations-driven.” They are based on daily practices, making the program easier to implement across the provider spectrum. The simplified standards are adaptable to meet the needs of each provider’s business model, instead of a top-down approach. “Simplification leads to clarity and clarity allows the provider to focus on improving patient care,” Canally said. “Excellent patient care depends on getting the basics right. All our standards and programs are built on safety, honesty and caring because that is what patients and their family members care about most. If the provider excels in those three things, then what else matters?” Before The Compliance Team, people thought of accreditation as costly, difficult and not focused on day-to-day practices, Canally said. The Compliance Team’s Exemplary Provider programs are all based on two fundamental beliefs: One is that every patient deserves exemplary care, and the second is that it should not be costly or difficult for a provider to achieve accreditation

Gaining consumer trust is vital to the success of any pharmacy business. The Compliance Team’s Exemplary Provider pograms demonstrate proof of a pharmacy’s commitment to continuous quality improvement. Such simple principles were not considered essential elements of healthcare accreditation until Canally first challenged industry orthodoxy, starting in the fall of 1998, when The Compliance Team filed the first of what has grown into a full suite of service-specific Exemplary Provider accreditation programs. The company’s first accreditation program was for durable medical equipment, prosthetics/orthotics and suppliers, or DMEPOS. Pharmacy programs followed in early 2000. After the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003, the Secretary of Health and Human Services authorized The Compliance Team to accredit Medicare Part B DMEPOS providers. In 2014, the firm received the secretary’s authority to accredit Medicare Part A Rural Health Clinic, and in 2018, The Compliance Team received CMS recognition to accredit Part A PatientCentered Medical Home practitioners. The list continues to grow. To demonstrate The Compliance Team’s dedication and commitment to its providers, Canally said that one can go back to 2009. In mid-September 2009, with just days before the Medicare DMEPOS accreditation deadline, The Compliance Team was still accepting last-minute applications from providers. All the other accreditation organizations had stopped taking applications. The Compliance Team became the only accreditation organization in town. Not one applicant was turned away, and The Compliance Team employees were in the air and on the ground right up until midnight of the deadline. The Compliance Team continues to service and support the healthcare industry with new programs coming out almost every year.

Canally said that new to the organization in 2020 are a series of certification programs. Pharmacy and Clinic Testing Certifications offer the pharmacy or clinic a new revenue stream via point-of-care testing for COVID-19 and other tests, while stressing safety in all related areas. The Immunization Certification program can be a stand-alone program or combined with one of the testing certifications. Safety has always been important. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the emphasis on safety to a new level. The Compliance Team believes that community pharmacies play an ever-important role in our nation’s COVID-19 strained healthcare delivery system. Accreditation or certification ensures that personnel are properly trained and knowledgeable about safety issues. It provides the pharmacy guidelines, checklists and tools to help maintain safety for their patients, their employees and their customers. Another COVID-19 related program from The Compliance Team is its real time remote virtual survey process. Canally said the process will be implemented for certification surveys, and temporarily, for Rural Health Clinic and DMEPOS surveys. The company plans to announce additional certification programs before the end of 2020. “Whenever we create a new program, it benefits everyone involved,” Canally said. “Our retail partners are generating additional revenue from their pharmacy departments, they are offering solutions to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and they are showing their patients and payers that they are putting quality and patient safety first.” Canally said she is fond of saying that “most people don’t know what accreditation means, but everyone knows what exemplary is.” The Exemplary Provider brand came into being in 1998. The designation is designed to award only those providers that successfully complete The Compliance Team’s comprehensive accreditation or certification standards. Gaining consumer trust is vital to the success of any pharmacy business. The Compliance Team’s Exemplary Provider accreditation and certification programs demonstrate proof of a pharmacy’s commitment to continuous quality improvement. The Exemplary Provider brand has become synonymous with quality, simplicity and, of course, safety. The Compliance Team offers what Canally calls a “one-stop shopping range” of different programs designed to help retail pharmacies in various ways. Included in their pharmacy options are: community pharmacy, non-sterile compounding, long-term care, specialty pharmacy, infusion/sterile compounding, telepharmacy and PatientCentered Pharmacy Home, the firm’s award-winning program that focuses on coordination of care within a healthcare team. Medicare Part B DMEPOS is included in The Compliance Team’s community pharmacy program, but also can be a stand-alone program. For The Compliance Team, when all is said and done, Canally said it is about making sure that the pharmacy’s patients are confident with and feel good about using its services. “We work with retail pharmacists to make sure that they have the right accreditation and knowledge of the industry, so that their customers know that everything is being done correctly,” she said. “We hold our providers accountable to our comprehensive standards and then recognize them for the exemplary providers that they are, patient champions and community leaders.” dsn


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New Spending Power A CARES Act provision creates an opportunity for OTC brands and retailers By Seth Mendelson


ignificant changes in the Affordable Care Act might be a boon for mass retailers and the over-the-counter medications section, as well as the CPG companies that operate in this space. According to industry information, more than 50 million American families have signed up for either the Flexible Spending Accounts, or FSAs, or Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs — programs designed to help pay for medical and dental expenses that fall outside of traditional health coverage. The plans, developed in


the late 1970s, allowed people to set aside a portion of their income into a pre-tax account to be used for healthcare reasons. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2011 established rules that only reimbursed consumers for OTC drug sales, if purchased with a prescription. In practice, according to a fact sheet supplied to Drug Store News by GSK Consumer Healthcare, that program prevented most people from having the ability to use their FSAs/HSAs to purchase OTC products. Prior to that rule change, about 52% of households with FSA accounts had used those funds to purchase

OTC items at retail. Yet the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act — which passed in Congress and was signed into law by President Donald Trump in late March — changed that rule, expanding the list of items eligible for reimbursement by FSAs and HSAs to include over-the-counter medications, as well as many menstrual products. More than 40 OTC categories are included in this, from acid controllers and acne medications to cough-cold and flu and sleep aids. GSK Consumer Healthcare’s fact sheet explained that this is a permanent change,


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SPECIAL REPORT: HEALTH BENEFITS SPENDING with no expiration date on this law. The fact sheet also explained that the average American household spends nearly $5,000 per person on out-of-pocket healthcare expenses and insurance premiums. It stated that the average domestic household spends almost $450 per year on OTC products. Using the two programs to purchase OTC products could save an average household in excess of $100 annually. One caveat is that the accounts have a “use it or lose it” provision, meaning the funds an employee contributes to the account must be used within the calendar year or be forfeited. The fact sheet noted that Americans lose as much as $400 million annually in forfeited FSA balances. Retailers and suppliers could be big winners in this new change. The fact sheet pointed out that as more consumers see the advantage of these programs, retailers could see a fast uptick in sales. That growth could increase as consumers near the end of the year and realize that they must use the money in the accounts or lose those sums.

Some merchants already have noticed a difference, even in just the four or five months after implementation of the rule changes, which were retroactive to the beginning of the year. Several retailers told Drug Store News that they have been asked numerous questions about the rule changes from shoppers who remain confused about how the programs work and how they can purchase products. “We are getting a lot of questions from shoppers who simply don’t understand what they can spend and how much money they have to spend in their accounts,” said one merchant in New Jersey. “They are asking us the questions and we have to have the answers for them, or it is potential lost sales from people who are not only eager to purchase OTC products, but have to or they will lose the money.” Another retailer said that his chain was adding signage to make it clear that consumers can use the FSA/HSA debit cards at his stores. “Sometimes the shoppers don’t know how to use these cards,” he said. “It hurts them and it hurts us, too.”

Interestingly, the fact sheet suggested that “retailers and manufacturers find new ways to support year-round communication with shoppers to ensure that the benefits of using these accounts stay top of mind with each shopping trip.” Retailers can help shoppers understand what has changed, tell them who is eligible and how to use their benefits, according to the fact sheet. It also suggested that retailers connect with shoppers digitally, and when they are in store to use signage and other methods to engage the shopper and get her to visit key categories. It also is important for the retailer to show shoppers how easy it is to use their benefits and to make sure that they take the FSA/HSA debit cards in store and online. “There is a real opportunity to be an ally to shoppers as they navigate through these uncertain economic conditions and express a heightened need for value,” according to the fact sheet. “Make the benefit tangible to them by helping them calculate the savings they will get by using their FSA/HSA benefits on these product categories.” dsn



























20% 21% 22% 25%

39% 36%

Source: Aite Group



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The Hemp Plug Creates End-to-End CBD BrandBuilding Solution

Global Widget Brands Join Study on CBD, Liver Health Global Widget’s three brands are going under the microscope. The company’s Hemp Bombs, Nature’s Script and Perfect Paws Hemp brands are joining an observational study that will examine the effects of CBD on liver health across 1,000 consumers. “Being an industry leader, Global Widget is really driving a lot of our decision-making based on science,” said Margaret Richardson, chief compliance officer. “So, when we had the opportunity to join a study designed to address some of the concerns that the FDA has raised, particularly around CBD and its effect on the liver, we jumped.” The study, which is being executed by clinical research organization ValidCare, will look at 12 other leading CBD companies in addition to Global Widget. “The study is designed to collect data in a blinded fashion that allows for safety information to be provided to the FDA,” Richardson said. “It’s not specific to any one particular company’s product. It’s an industry effort to address what the FDA has said publicly they need, which is more safety information, especially around liver toxicity.” Rod Nuss, COO of ValidCare, said, “It is great to see over a dozen companies make the investment in consumer safety and collaborate to get FDA the data it needs.” Global Widget said this study is the latest in its efforts to use science to inform its product development. The company performs its own testing and stability tests, while also working with third-party labs for full-panel lab results on all of its projects. It currently is in the process of forming a scientific advisory board that assists in driving the businesses’ scientific strategy as it expands its products and offerings.


The Hemp Plug’s latest effort to make CBD private label easy is offering end-to-end brand-building support for sellers looking to get into the CBD market. On the heels of introducing its online CBD product builder, Miami-based THP is launching its “Build Your Own Brand” solution. The offering includes turnkey services for white- and private-label CBD manufacturing, as well as assistance with branding, packaging, logo creation and such digital marketing services as website development and search engine optimization. The company said its goal is to help first-time CBD sellers build a brand easily. Among the hurdles THP said its service bypasses are those associated with lab testing, manufacturing, fulfillment, product variety and legal compliance. “We wanted to give new entrepreneurs a chance to successfully build quality CBD brands. This is why we developed our ‘Build Your Own Brand’ solution, which we feel is the easiest and fastest way for new CBD businesses to go to market,” said CEO Adam Levy. The company said that it has helped launch more than 500 CBD brands, and that the “Build Your Own Brand” offering can integrate its online product builder, which allows customization of CBD types, products, potency, flavors, colors, branding and packaging.


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Mile High Labs Secures Funding, Prepares for CPG Partnership Launches Mile High Labs has some capital-based momentum as it prepares to launch CBD products in partnership with CPG companies and retailers. The Broomfield, Colo.-based cannabinoid processor has closed a round of Series B equity financing, receiving a cash infusion from entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria. “There isn’t a company in the CBD industry that matches Mile High Labs,” DeJoria said. “The scale of their platform, along with their drive for innovation, is exactly what brands need to navigate and succeed in this emerging market. They are well on their way to creating one of the most important platforms in the cannabis industry.” Mile High Labs said that DeJoria’s investment will go toward paying down existing debt and accelerating the development of its manufacturing and formulations being used by global brands and big-box retailers entering the CBD category. “The first wave of mainstay consumer companies are already preparing to launch CBD products,” said Jon Hilley, Mile High Labs’ recently appointed CEO. “As we look forward, we see a groundswell of interest from the world’s most recognizable brands, and we are excited about the global partnership opportunities in front of us.” Mile High Labs said it has been working with leading CPG companies to launch pilot CBD products, including CarryOn — a CBD-infused sparkling water that emerged from Ocean Spray Cranberries’ innovation incubator. Additionally, Mile High Labs has debuted a line of products with Nisa Retail for distribution

to its more than 2,500 U.K. stores. The company said it would announce more partnerships in the coming months and quarters. “We have built a different kind of company with a different approach to this market,” Hilley said. “We believe that if we set our standards high, if we lead with integrity and transparency, and if we are intentional about how we manufacture our products, we can build one of the legacy companies in this industry. John Paul shares this ethos, and we are beyond humbled to partner with him and learn from him.”

Wellphoria Debuts CBD Hair, Body Care Line Zotos Professional, part of the Henkel portfolio, is looking to shake up the hair care game with a CBD- and hemp seed oil-infused line. The brand’s latest creation, Wellphoria, contains a plant-based blend of 99% pure CBD and hemp seed oil that looks to cater to consumers looking to stay healthy from head to toe and give their tresses some extra pampering as well, the company said. Wellphoria’s product roster includes Nourishing Shampoo, Nourishing Conditioner, Nourishing Intensive Treatment Masque, Hair and Scalp Oil, and Nourishing Hand and Body Lotion. To keep with its healthy lifestyle ethos, Wellphoria’s products are formulated with nonintoxicating, vegan ingredients, that are not tested on animals and are


vegan. The products also are free of SLS/SLES sulfates, parabens, dyes, mineral oil and gluten, the company said.


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New and Noteworthy Hamacher Resource Group’s five standout products from August

ot even the dog days of summer — coupled with a pandemic — kept CPG brands from introducing new products this year. In August, companies launched 170 new products, including 38 OTC items, 50 wellness products and 82 beauty SKUs. Out of the mire, Hamacher Resource Group’s new product team was able to identify five standouts. They include:



Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel



Vitafusion Apple Cider Vinegar Gummy

The Church & Dwight brand that put gummy vitamins on the map is rolling out an Apple Cider Vinegar Gummy, which is meant to meet weight-management shoppers’ needs. The gummies contain 500 mg of apple cider vinegar per serving, as well as vitamin B-12 for energy and metabolism support. The product is free of highfructose corn syrup, gluten, dairy and synthetic dyes.


Mommy’s Bliss Organic Baby Elderberry Drops

Advil Dual Action with Acetaminophen

Long known as an ibuprofen brand, GSK Consumer Healthcare’s Advil got a big upgrade. New Advil Dual Action with Acetaminophen combines two top-selling multi-symptom pain relievers in a single pill. Ibuprofen targets the source of pain, while acetaminophen blocks pain. Advil Dual Action contains lower doses of both medicines to make it last for up to eight hours.


Aveeno Restorative Skin Therapy Itch Relief Balm

Johnson & Johnson’s latest launch from Aveeno is bringing a new solution to market for dry, distressed and itchy skin. The product contains Aveeno’s highest levels of prebiotic oat content and avenanthramides, the antioxidants that are missing in sensitive skin. The balm is designed to promote a healthy skin microbiome and is free of parabens, phthalates, fragrance, dyes, mineral oil and sulfates.


Bio-Oil is known for its flagship product and Bio-Oil’s Dry Skin Gel is the brand’s second product in 30 years. The Dry Skin Gel looks to minimize water content — it only contains 3% water — and use natural and synthetic oils, humectants and vitamins to treat dry skin and lock in moisture.

Mommy’s Bliss is looking to capitalize on the appeal of immune-supporting black elderberries and interest in organic products with its USDA-Certified Organic Mommy’s Bliss Organic Baby Elderberry Drops. The product, which the company said is the first mainstream organic elderberry syrup, contains echinacea and vitamin C, alongside 50 mg of elderberry per serving and prebiotics to create a healthy gut biome. dsn


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nowing how consumers in a certain category are shopping is crucial to merchandising in a way that successfully will drive bigger baskets and higher sales. Recognizing this, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow and Hamacher Resource Group created the Selfcare Roadmap, a tool that can identify opportunities and reveal how forward-looking practices can remake the shopping experience, while inspiring new merchandising and service models that make an impact throughout the store. The tool, which only is available to GMDC|Retail Tomorrow members, demonstrates how to optimize shoppers’ health, beauty, personal care and wellness experiences, as well as how to drive new avenues for profitability by offering more than 140 insights and infographics that can be sorted by category of self-care occasion. This month, the companies have shared insights with Drug Store News about the skin care shopper. Skin care


Cosmetics 2%

Multicultural beauty care <1%

Shaving and grooming 2%

Skin care




Fragrances <1%

Deodorants 4% Sun care 1%

Hair care 5%

Average Basket

Skin care 86%

Key insight: The top 10 beauty lotions/creams in units are 31% less expensive per ounce compared to the top 10 therapeutic skin lotions/ creams unit-movers in the skin care category.

Skin care





17% West

36% Midwest


Key insight: Consumer purchases to resolve and care for skin conditions strongly over-index in the skin care and oral care categories — approximately 15 times and four times the size of the average for the category, respectively. Oral care purchases may be attributed to fever blisters, cold sores, and canker sores.

Key insight: The top three subcategories skin care shoppers intend to purchase from across all regions are skin care medications, first aid bandages and vitamins/supplements


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WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE Industry experts weigh in on what the last quarter of 2020 and the coming year hold for mass retail and pharmacy

It’s crystal ball time.

As the mass retail world gears up for the crucial fourth quarter, while still looking ahead at the COVID-19 pandemic and the damage it has caused the economy and the industry, Drug Store News has reached out to a number of key industry executives to get their feedback on the state of the industry. There is little doubt that the immediate future holds many concerns for retailers and suppliers in the industry. Still, many industry executives are optimistic that the industry will rebuild over time, and even the next few months can be strong.

“It is a very uneasy time for the consumer,” said Joseph Juliano, vice president of marketing at Prestige Brands. “Consumers are concerned about their health, their family and economic future. Brands need to follow consumers and address their needs. In addition, to a portion of consumers moving to e-commerce, many are looking for self-care solutions. With the ever-changing consumer, the OTC category needs to continue to evolve and bring health and wellness solutions.” Here is what a number of other key industry officials had to say about the industry over the near-term and longer, and what they are doing to help retailers build for the future:

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Gene Cavacini senior vice president and COO, McKesson

As the healthcare system responds to a global pandemic, McKesson continues to focus on meeting the needs of our customers in this unprecedented and rapidly changing environment. Our vision is unwavering — to improve care in every setting. And with our 185-year legacy of serving patients, we have the expertise and knowledge across the healthcare supply chain to best serve frontline workers and the patients that depend on us. We’re proud to expand our existing partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed team as a centralized distributor of future COVID-19 vaccines and ancillary supplies needed to administer vaccinations. It’s a meaningful way our company is supporting public health in the United States. In addition to future vaccine distribution, we continue to monitor the supply chain closely and we are actively working with manufacturers, industry partners and government agencies to anticipate shortages, and acting swiftly to address supply continuity. We also are leveraging data, analytics and insights to not only respond but better predict demand. We’re working hard to have the right product availability and selection where and when it’s needed most. I’m also deeply proud of the McKesson teammates on the front lines as an essential part of delivering health care. We have operated our facilities 24/7 throughout the pandemic and have made significant investments to continue operating without interruption. We understand the critical nature of the global healthcare supply chain, and we have dedicated the teams and resources necessary to help healthcare providers and first responders provide the highest quality care to those in need. As the nation experiences new spikes, and we anticipate a formidable flu season with the added complication of COVID19, the need for COVID-19 testing is being answered by frontline healthcare workers like pharmacists. Health Mart is offering free COVID-19 test collection at select pharmacies across the United States through a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services and eTrueNorth. Health Mart is providing these testing options to rural and underserved populations. Currently, more than 150 Health Mart pharmacies are offering a testing solution. Community pharmacies already play an important role as a local healthcare provider, and we expect this role will expand as a vaccine and treatments for COVID-19 are discovered. Whether it’s future vaccine distribution, caring for our customers or helping patients through testing programs, we know the work we do is essential to health care and we care deeply about doing this work well.


Brian Owens

senior vice president, Kantar Inclusion and diversity have evolved in the last few years from a moral responsibility to a business imperative. Kantar Purpose 2020 study highlighted that over a period of 12 years, the brands with high perceived positive impact have a brand value growth of 175% versus 86% for medium positive impact and 70% for low positive impact. Kantar Inclusion and Diversity Index found that one percentage increase in racial diversity in an organization can correlate to a nine percentage increase in net sales. This means that all winning brands and retailers must re-examine their purpose if they look to attract support and grow with Black shoppers. Kantar Futures 2019 Monitor estimated the purchase power of U.S Black consumers at $1.4 trillion dollars, projected to grow to $1.8 trillion by 2024. Yet, brands continue to underinvest in Black consumer needs, even as the demographic group’s purchasing power grows. Furthermore, according to a 2019 Nielsen Diversity Intelligence Series survey, Black consumer-focused media spend declined from 2017 to 2018, even as these Black consumers maintained high levels of engagement. This means that brands aren’t investing enough at retail to connect back to the lives of Black shoppers. Converting Black shoppers is not only a purposeful opportunity, it is also a financial gain. Below are eight ways to better connect with Black shoppers or other communities of color at retail: 1. Elevate your organization’s Black consumer and shopper insights, foresight and intelligence; 2. Reprioritize brand portfolios to meet the new Black consumer needs states 3. Re-examine your brand’s value proposition to better support Black values, not just their skin color; 4. Make disruptive media investments focused on advocacy, hygiene and maximizing spending; 5. Invest in new research that embraces and calls out regional differences across Black communities; 6. Invest more in Black shopper mobile and population health data for real-time responsiveness; 7. Remove all promotion redemption restrictions to make it easier for older Black shoppers to shop; and 8. Remake marketing/sales organizations to depend more on diverse thinking and backgrounds.

Monica Turner

president of sales, North America, Procter & Gamble Our industry is constantly disrupted but was changed in unprecedented ways in the past six months. The role of business in society has forever changed, and P&G stepped up and stepped forward as a force


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Over 1,597 buyers and 1,547 suppliers have participated in a virtual program

36,934 1-on-1 meetings have been executed

3,000 Samples Requested by Buyers through RangeMe LE AR N MOR E AT EC RMCONNECT.COM

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COVER STORY for good and a force for growth. At P&G, we established three clear priorities. First, protect the safety of our people. Second, serve people with our essential health, hygiene and cleaning products. And third, however possible, support communities in need. Even more so during times of uncertainty, we need to double down on our strategic choices. At P&G, we are focused on our portfolio in categories where performance drives brand choice. We continue to strengthen our innovation across price tiers, with the aim of delivering noticeably superior performance and superior value. We want to ensure that our consumers are able to purchase their trusted brands at the right pack sizes and right price points. We also believe in “constructive disruption” to drive growth and create value. It is our long-term strategy, which includes lean innovation processes to improve speed to market and success rates of new products; disrupting the brand-building ecosystem to enable one-toone mass marketing; and leveraging digitization and data analytics to drive greater efficiency and effectiveness of our operations. During the pandemic, we had to innovate our operations to respond to a heightened need for health, hygiene and cleaning products. An efficient, agile and resilient supply chain meant being able to reach more consumers at a time when they needed these brands the most. Winning in this highly competitive industry requires the willingness to adapt and the ability to create the future. And in this current environment, agility and a mindset of constructive disruption are even more important to serve consumers and be a force for good and a force for growth in our communities.

Joann Marks

CEO, CosPro Marketing The beauty industry traditionally bounces back from recessionary periods. The “Lipstick Factor” is holding true in the case of the current pandemic, although it might be better to call it the “Mascara Theory” because, while lip sales are currently down (likely because of masking), mascara sales are booming. We’ve also seen great increases in nail, skin and hair color/care — anything that has a DIY theme. As our white paper on COVID-19 reports, what brands should do during the pandemic is reach out to consumers on a more emotional basis. Some 83% of consumers surveyed are more likely to support brands that help others during hard times. They will remember these companies and develop lasting loyalty to them. The challenge right now is not being able to interact with customers by touch and testing, and I love how creative many brands have become in response. We have found ways to do no-touch sampling, such as our tutorial coupon book, and added tools to our Beauty Advisor interaction kits that help customers find their shades, using shade charts, online color matching and nail wheels. We will get back to in-store events in 2021-22, but brands need to plan on continuing


safety precautions for many months to come. We’re seeing the rapid evolution of a new normal, where social distancing mandates are redefining how businesses interact on the human level. Large-scale telecommuting is here to stay, as many Fortune 500 companies have seen that they can do business with lower overhead. COVID-19 is also transforming how people shop. Before, women mostly shopped on their way home from work; now they may opt to go mid-day when traffic is lighter. Working from home also requires less makeup — except for Zoom days — so how do we boost color cosmetic sales? It’s going to require even more demonstration and sampling to keep customers engaged. COVID-19 is proving to be a learning experience for our industry, spurring innovative new ways to interact with customers and a more personal approach to sales. These shifts will remain long after the pandemic has passed.

Greg Farrar CEO, ECRM

The pandemic has caused an inflection point in the industry, speeding up the adoption of tools that keep us connected during a time when in-person options are severely limited. This includes tools for more effectively connecting with supply chain partners, tools for connecting with consumers and tools for connecting with each other. Because, the fact of the matter is, while safety is paramount and restrictions on travel and in-person gatherings are necessary for everyone’s protection, business must continue moving forward. Virtual meetings, which previously took a back seat to meeting in person, have become a critical part of doing business, and consequently plans for adopting virtual tools that were further on the horizon have been greatly accelerated. ECRM is a case in point. We had approximately 100 in-person Efficient Program Planning Sessions, or EPPS, planned for 2020; and all those scheduled for March and later have been successfully converted to virtual. And much like any digital technology, virtual is undergoing rapid and constant improvement. Indeed, the ECRM Connect Platform of today already has evolved with new features that greatly enhance the quality of the experience since we launched it in May. Consequently, even once the pandemic passes, virtual face-to-face meetings will continue to be a part of our service offerings. As an industry, we are only in the early stages of using virtual tools, yet retailers and suppliers alike already have recognized their effectiveness, vast efficiencies and expense-savings they offer. The key to their continued successful adoption will be the willingness to fully embrace the technology, and to continually seek out the best ways to leverage it. Sure, we’re all looking forward to being able to meet in person, however we’re still facing an uncertain future when it comes to the pandemic. But one thing is certain: Regardless of how soon we can meet in person, virtual tech is here to stay.


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Todd LaRue

vice president of sales, Bausch + Lomb Consumer Healthcare, and chair, CHPA’s Retail Liaison Committee Americans are in the process of reappraising what’s important to them, alongside a mass retail industry that will need to adjust to shifting values in order to weather the storm ahead. Mass retailers will now require a greater focus on client engagement to reconnect with customers in addition to a heightened need for stakeholder listening. We’ve been working to ensure our communications and actions are aligned with the growing sense of control and empowerment that customers are currently seeking in these difficult times. With more than 20 million Americans unemployed, the public also will expect mass retailers to conduct themselves with an appreciation of this new economic reality. We already are seeing consumers putting a premium on retailers that focus on problem-solving and community support. Consumers will be interested to see how the entire sector demonstrates that it is on their side. Stores, distribution facilities and supplier networks are faced with significant challenges given today’s demand, so it’s essential that retailers reengineer everything from procurement to customer service in addition to redeploying some products and resources to better support online orders.

Doug Hoey

CEO, National Community Pharmacists Association With much of the world thrown into chaos in recent months, community pharmacy has proven, yet again, that it has a steady hand. That it is essential to the health of its community — accessible and agile every day, all the time, in crisis or not. Community pharmacists have been doing their part and the National Community Pharmacists Association is ardently advocating to position community pharmacists to play a major role by administering COVID-19 vaccines in the near future. Now, it’s time for the politicians in Washington to do their part and help ensure that the neighborhood pharmacy safety net can serve their communities during the pandemic and beyond. NCPA’s Essential campaign is aimed at making sure independent pharmacy is represented in future coronavirus relief packages. We’re advocating for five pandemic-related measures, at a minimum, to protect essential businesses, in addition to the urgent need for critical pharmacy direct and remuneration reform: • Liability protections for small businesses that operated in good faith and followed CDC guidelines; • Improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program,

allowing businesses that received PPP loans to deduct eligible expenses from their taxes and qualify for the Employee Retention tax credit; • Recognition of pharmacists as healthcare providers, so they can be compensated for services they provide, including administering coronavirus tests; • Federally subsidized hazard pay for front-line workers; and • Tax credits to offset increased expenses on PPE and sanitation products. Independent pharmacies have always played an integral part in local communities. In 2020, we’ve put on our masks and PPE and demonstrated that our businesses and skills are essential components of everyday life. Pats on the back are nice, but the essential relief and payment model reforms they’ve earned and deserve are needed for these essential healthcare providers. NCPA will keep pushing, and we hope you will too.

Terry Thomas

executive vice president and COO, Unilever USA If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we must all remain flexible. This rings true across all aspects of our industry and business. With the rapid change in shopping behaviors and lifestyle trends driven by the fear of the unknown, we must adapt quickly to not only mitigate risk, but more importantly, build trust with consumers and serve people and our planet in sustainable ways. In times like these, people are not only seeking safe and convenient shopping environments, but something more innate — a sense of security. The uptick in health and hygiene products will not subside, but more likely shift to more natural, “better for you and better for the environment” clean living solutions as people settle into a new normal, just as they have with at-home cooking and self-care routines. This also means we must adapt to serve consumers with robust omnichannel options, including buy in store, pick up online and home delivery. For those financially constrained and seeking financial security right now amidst layoffs and an economic downturn, we must reimagine our definitions of and how we deliver value to different people. This flexibility mantra has not only pushed us to address the needs of the shopper, but also of the communities in which they live. From supporting our own employees in personalized ways and helping tackle the root causes of social injustice to playing a prominent role in ensuring the essential needs of the most vulnerable and directly impacted are met. We must continue to positively impact society as the full implications on education, mental health and the economic crisis are yet to be fully understood. In short, now more than ever, we have to think beyond the bottom line to address the immediate needs of today, while leading change now for a more sustainable future.


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Stephen J. Ubl

president and CEO, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America The biopharmaceutical industry is fighting COVID-19 through testing, repurposing existing medicines, and developing new medicines and vaccines. We are well positioned to respond thanks to our experience with similar diseases, investment in key technologies, ability to manufacture and distribute treatments and vaccines at scale, and our market-based system in the United States. But one area where we have an opportunity to better serve patients is clinical trials. To that end, our companies have collaborated in new ways to respond to COVID-19, and partnerships that typically take months to plan are now coming together in a matter of weeks. These efforts can reduce a vaccine timeline, save resources and, possibly, save lives. Our work to find a vaccine is moving quickly, but we can’t wait until vaccines are in hand to build trust with the public. Historic wrongs and systemic challenges often keep Black and brown communities from participating in clinical trials that provide earlier access to potentially lifesaving medicines and high-quality care. We need to work together with physicians and other stakeholders to encourage patients who represent the entire diverse U.S. population to participate in clinical trials. This is critical, not only for COVID-19 trials, but also for diabetes, congestive heart failure and other diseases that disproportionately affect diverse populations. We also need to improve patient access and affordability to treatments and vaccines, while avoiding harmful policies that create barriers to innovation. I believe that by working together, we can close the gaps in health care and improve patient outcomes.

Brian Sullivan

senior systems sales manager for USA and Canada healthcare solutions, KNAPP When COVID-19 became a reality in North America, order volumes shot up exponentially. Customers with 30-day scripts suddenly switched to 90-day refills by mail. In-store behavior changed virtually overnight as customers who traditionally enjoyed a personal interaction with their pharmacist were suddenly ordering online and picking up at off-hours to avoid crowds. The digital touchless store went from being a planning consideration to an overnight imperative. KNAPP works with its customers in this new reality in several ways. First, we offer scalable systems designed to address


production surges — and drops. Retailers’ first reaction was echoing the same chorus. “We never want to be in this position again.” Projects that were planned for a five-year horizon have been accelerated, with expectations for an operational solution cut in half. With added pressure on labor, touchless solutions and the need for more automation at an all-time high, we are partnering with clients to ensure that healthcare retailers can profitably meet their customers’ new and changing requirements. KNAPP provides the most automated solutions available for central fill, mail, long-term care and specialty pharmacies. Using such modular sub-systems as our ATD high-speed pill dispensers, KNAPP-Store automated storage and retrieval systems, and “Covariant AI” — artificial intelligence and cloud-based applications working seamlessly with our Pick-It-Easy Robots — enable KNAPP’s customers to surge up and down with changing customer demand. We also offer digital and touchless retail stores. KNAPP’s retail customers have created pharmacy micro-fulfillment centers, or MFCs, using our Apostore in-store automated systems. Combined with our digital Aposcreens for ordering and Apostore 24/7 terminals for round-the-clock order pickup, our retail pharmacies’ customers are able to pick up orders in offhours with no human interaction required. At the same time, these stores provide automated hub and spoke solutions, servicing multiple neighboring stores in a highly productive and scalable cluster. Customer flexibility can be increased significantly, while our retail partners reduce their costs and can deliver added products and services, as well as increase their revenues.

Jason Mitchell

co-founder and CEO, Probulin and HempFusion It’s a challenging time, but an interesting one for companies like ours that make probiotics and CBD hemp extracts. Right now, immunity is king. As the connection between gut health and immunity becomes more known, consumers’ understanding of probiotics also have become more sophisticated. They’ve learned CFU count isn’t nearly as important as a delivery system that allows probiotics to survive their journey to the gut — and they want products that deliver results. Our unique, scientifically studied delivery system, MAKTrek 3-D, helped Probulin become the fastest-growing probiotics brand in the natural channel. The most unique opportunity, of course, is CBD. Continuing lack of clarity on CBD supplements by the FDA has kept most drug stores’ fingers on the pause button, and countless states have now propagated their own laws. This makes it difficult for larger retailers to sell CBD, and allows less reputable brands to flourish.


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COVER STORY That said, as we rapidly approach the end of 2020, there are hints of both enforcement discretion by the FDA and bipartisan legislation in the works. Fortunately, we’ve always been about knowledge and compliance. Our CMO serves as president of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, the industry’s leading legislative organization. We’re participating in the largest human observational liver and reproductive toxicology study ever done on CBD. We’ve put significant resources into testing and documenting the safety and consistency of our products, partnering with our exclusive supplier on Self GRAS Affirmation — including NOAEL, or No Observed Adverse Effect Limit — for all ingestible CBD products, as well as testing and NOAEL for all topical CBD products. And the demand for CBD grows. In SingleCare’s 2020 CBD survey, 33% of Americans said they’ve used CBD — 64% of them for pain, 49% for anxiety and 42% for help with sleep. So, we introduced a line of OTC drug-registered topicals for relief from pain, eczema and acne. We also offer CBD supplements with partner ingredients for sleep, energy and stress. Looking forward, one thing feels clear: Neither probiotics nor CBD are going away; they’re only getting started. And we’re ready for it.

Kristen Abreu

vice president, customer business development, drug, Crossmark When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2020, did your New Year’s resolutions include stocking up on toilet paper and tuna fish? Probably not. Who could have predicted that a few short months into the year, disinfecting wipes would become a status symbol or that buying basics like hand soap and pasta would require queuing up in long lines? Or that many shoppers would be afraid to even enter a store? The retail landscape certainly has changed. Retailers and CPG companies that quickly pivot to help their customers meet this time will be rewarded with shopper loyalty long into the future. (Easier said than done.) Take disinfecting items. Typically, hand soap, hand sanitizer, wipes and bleach are managed by different category managers and merchandised separately in neat 4-ft. sections. But today’s shoppers care more about getting all of their disinfecting needs in one quick trip — and they don’t care who owns the category P&L. They resent having to walk three additional aisles to find masks after already locating soap. We must break down previous merchandising barriers to meet these evolved needs. Think about internal processes: go-to-market planning, strategy sessions, category approvals, SOPs and the like. These processes worked with six-month lead times, but they’re useless when action is demanded now. The historical syndicated sales data we rely on depicts consumer behaviors that no longer exist. Are your

supply chains that were based on full truckloads still the right model, if shelves are now empty? Those previously “set in stone” reset, revision and new item launch schedules require an urgent update. And decision makers must be empowered to make choices based on these new realities. Finally, consider the significantly changed definition of what it means to care for your friends and family as a host. No outdoor, socially-distanced gathering is prepared without a complete disinfection of surfaces prior to the event. And hand sanitizer must be offered prominently at any backyard barbecue, right beside single-serve beverages. Masks for guests are now as important as those single-serve snacks. So ask yourself: When you set your Labor Day displays, did you include these new necessities, along with your go-to paper plates and condiments? Our industry has always thrived when we anticipate and meet shopper demands. Today’s climate requires new thinking, evolved norms and even broader flexibility. But those who are up to the challenge can continue to thrive into the future.

Lisa Badgley

senior vice president, pharmacy and retail operations, Walgreens Consumer behavior and expectations are rapidly changing throughout this pandemic. Driven by increasing unemployment rates and economic uncertainty, as well as the desire for increased safety and convenience, consumers are more focused on affordable services and products, community care and digital solutions. And we anticipate many of these behaviors are here to stay as consumers adopt new technology and services that make it easier and more convenient to get the products and services they need. Walgreens anticipated many of these changes well before the pandemic and had a strong foundation from which to accelerate innovative solutions. For instance, customers are asking for delivery and curbside pick-up options more than ever before as another measure to stay safe during the pandemic. At Walgreens, we already had several partnerships and pilots in place with companies like FedEx and DoorDash so we were able to rapidly expand the availability of these services to meet increased demand. During the pandemic, remote access to pharmacists and healthcare providers has been critical to the ongoing health of our communities. Through our digital solutions, like pharmacist chat and Walgreens Find Care, we have been able to continue providing trusted pharmacy support while connecting patients to even more healthcare providers, all from the comfort and safety of their home. As consumers emerge from the pandemic, they’ll continue to rely on these innovations and Walgreens is well prepared to provide our customers services, products and care when, where and how they need it. dsn


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Carving a Niche Retailers build out specialty pharmacy offerings By Sandra Levy


t’s no secret that declining margins, low reimbursement, DIR fees, and the need to fill a higher volume of prescriptions in record time have, combined, become an Achilles’ heel for many pharmacy retailers. Less well-known are the retailers that have carved out a niche in specialty pharmacy and are sprinting forward and experiencing less pain than their retail brethren that have not yet stepped into this rapidly growing and profitable arena. In fact, over the last 12 months, specialty is growing by 10% on a dollar basis, while traditional products are flat, according to IQVIA vice president of industry relations Doug Long. “Specialty now accounts for


49% of dollar sales,” Long said. Retailers that delve into specialty have the potential to boost their bottom line, as well as the ability to accentuate their pharmacists’ relationships with patients to improve their health. Prime examples are a handful of retailers that have created successful specialty models as Amber Specialty Pharmacy, a subsidiary of Hy-Vee; Thrifty White Specialty Pharmacy; and Publix Specialty Pharmacy. Prior to 2010, Hy-Vee pharmacies were filling specialty prescriptions off-site for members of its employee benefit plan. When Hy-Vee saw opportunity in this space, the retailer embarked on a 50/50 joint venture

with Omaha, Neb.-based Amber Pharmacy to create Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, which served Hy-Vee’s employee benefit plan. In 2014, after experiencing dramatic growth, the chain acquired the assets of Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, as well as Amber Pharmacy. It is celebrating its rebranding as Amber Specialty Pharmacy in September. “Since that time, we have invested a lot and grown dramatically to be able to take care of even more patients in the specialty pharmacy space. It’s definitely an up-and-coming area of pharmacy,” said Aaron Wiese, Hy-Vee’s senior vice president of health, wellness and business development, and president of Amber Specialty Pharmacy.


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Amber, which is licensed in 50 states and Puerto Rico, has 20 specialty pharmacy locations throughout the United States, 10 of which opened in the last 12 months. Its locations span from Portland, Maine to Orlando, Fla. Initially, Amber Pharmacy focused on immunosuppressants for organ transplants. That focus has swelled to encompass a wide range of such inflammatory conditions as Crohn’s disease, colitis and rheumatoid arthritis; multiple forms of cancer, including breast, prostate, blood cancer, leukemia and lymphoma; and neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis, movement disorders and epilepsy. Thrifty White also has experienced success in specialty pharmacy. The Midwest chain was filling specialty drugs at its retail pharmacy for many years, but six years ago, it started building a dedicated specialty site, with a dedicated team that oversees insurance processing, drug fulfillment, patient management and clinical counseling. Jeremy Faulks, Thrifty White’s director of specialty pharmacy and pharmacy procurement, said that the company wanted to do something different and not become “just another mail order specialty pharmacy.” Today, Thrifty White Specialty Pharmacy is licensed in 50 states and focuses on three areas: chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, dermatology (psoriasis); oncology; and behavioral health. “We have the ability to mail specialty medications nationwide, but 90% of what we do is picked up locally,” Faulks said. The remaining 10% of specialty drugs are delivered to patients who are unable to visit the pharmacy, or don’t live near a Thrifty White location. With locations in many smaller towns and rural communities in Minnesota and North Dakota, having a specialty pharmacy enables Thrifty White to help patients who would not otherwise be served. For example, there may be a cancer center in some of those areas that don’t have a pharmacy. “They rely on us to be the key pharmacy to manage these oncology patients, especially with the growth of oral oncology medications,” Faulks said. “In behavioral health, we’re also able to create access in rural areas


to long-acting injectables where pharmacists can play that role.” Publix’s success in specialty pharmacy also opens a window on the opportunities for retailers to serve patients in their communities. Publix offered specialty medications for many years and took a more concerted approach when it opened the first Publix Pharmacy in 2012 at Moffitt Cancer Center, where it serves as the onsite outpatient pharmacy for the hospital. In 2013, Publix Pharmacy opened a closed-door pharmacy offering compounded and specialty medications. Toan Do, Publix’s director of central and specialty pharmacy, said that in 2015, resources were dedicated to grow the specialty pharmacy department to provide the full suite of services specialty patients require. Publix Specialty Pharmacy dispenses medications for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, hemophilia, hepatitis C , HIV, multiple sclerosis and pituitary disorders. Publix’s approach to patients is evidence of the impact that retailers can have serving their pharmacy patients with

specialty pharmacy. “In general, patients do not know if the prescription they have is specialty or not, and we do not believe patients should shoulder that burden. Patients need to know that they have a prescription, and Publix is their pharmacy,” Do said. “We strive to meet patients’ prescription needs, while continuing to deliver the premier Publix service our customers know and love. Specialty patients can stop by any of our pharmacies, and we will help navigate the complex process of starting, adhering to and optimizing therapy on specialty medications in person.”

A Growing Roster

Pharmaceutical companies are instrumental in helping specialty pharmacies be successful. Indeed, new treatments for various diseases have been the key drivers of drug spend in specialty, and offering access is a big goal for many retailers. Though the boom that accompanied many hepatitis drugs in the mid-aughts has subsided somewhat, drug firms continue to expand their pipelines. Among Upsher-Smith’s offerings, which include a large portfolio of generics and


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several branded medications to treat migraine and/or epilepsy, is Vigadrone (vigabatrin) for oral solution, a specialty drug for the treatment of infantile spasms and refractory complex partial seizures. In addition to Vigadrone, UpsherSmith’s branded products that may be sold through specialty and traditional pharmacy include Tosymra (sumatriptan nasal spray), Zembrace SymTouch (sumatriptan) injection, and Qudexy XR (topiramate) extended-release capsules. As patents expire on older specialty medications, more generics companies are entering the specialty market, among them Aurobindo. The East Windsor, N.J.-based company launched its generic of Ancobon (flucytosine) capsules in June, adding the specialty antifungal product to its offerings. Paul McMahon, Aurobindo’s senior vice president of commercial operations, said the company expects Food and Drug Administration approval for additional specialty products. “Aurobindo believes we can improve the health of specialty patients by bringing value-oriented products to market to address their needs,” McMahon said. “That is why it’s important for Aurobindo to continue to provide high quality niche specialty products for patients and also provide our customers with high quality customer service in all customer-related activities including orders, shipments and correspondence.” Having a wide range of specialty drugs to prescribe is one thing, but getting patients started on specialty medications faster to successfully drive medication adherence and



improve outcomes also is paramount, which is where many technology companies come into the picture.

Partnering for Success

“Biosimilar drug approvals increased significantly this past year. This means pharmacists have more choices and opportunities to examine how these new therapies can benefit patients,” said Marvin Richardson, CEO of Johnson City, N.Y.-based Innovation. “Pharmacy automation solutions from Innovation create the time a pharmacist needs to work with a healthcare team to ensure that patients have access to the right mix of medications that support the best possible outcome for the patient.” Maximizing the time that pharmacists can spend counseling specialty patients is a critical part of any specialty offering because the drugs being dispensed require a high level of care, according to Publix’s Do. “These medications are considered high touch and require dedicated and knowledgeable support personnel to onboard and follow patients throughout the course of therapy,” he said. Jill Regan, director of relationship management at Alpharetta, Ga.-based LexisNexis Risk Solutions, concurred. “Patients with serious chronic diseases and rare genetic conditions don’t simply pick up prescriptions with a wave and a nod,” she said. “Their pharmacists provide true personalized care based on patients’ condition and treatment plans, carefully reviewing and explaining proper administration, side effects and the regimen’s other demands and considerations in light of the

patient’s overall health status.” LexisNexis Risk Solutions leverages nonclinical data about patients for insights that help pharmacists better understand a patient’s health risk. Socioeconomic health scores are used to identify individuals who may require attention, helping pharmacy staff better allocate resources and address patient needs holistically. Regan said that pharmacists may inquire about finances, food security or transportation, then connect patients with resources to help solve challenges related to medication nonadherence. “With predictive analytics as our solutions’ foundation, we’re able to generate insights that put each patient at the center, so pharmacists can make informed decisions for improved outcomes across the counter and all of health care,” Regan said. “As these insights are integrated directly into the workflow, pharmacists are able to seamlessly further value-based care principles amid shifting market trends, making educated decisions about patients in their community with a wellness-focused approach to care,” she said. Tech companies also are looking to improve the the prescribing process for specialty pharmacies. Among them is Surescripts, whose Specialty Medications Gateway and Electronic Prior Authorization are two new technologies that enable specialty pharmacies to gather clinical information and conduct prior authorizations within their workflow, so that patients can get on therapy faster. “These tools will help pharmacists spend less time pushing paper, making calls and

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using faxes, so they get back to what they do best — serving as trusted resources for both their patients and healthcare industry partners,” said Cecelia Byers, Surescripts’ specialty pharmacy clinical product manager. Besides prior authorization, another challenge that specialty pharmacy operators must contend with is inventory management, particularly important given the higher costs associated with specialty. Kennesaw, Ga.based KNAPP has a centralized version of its Apostore automatic storage and retrieval system that helps manage medication supplies. “In the specialty pharmacy space, highcost medications are automatically inducted and stored in a unique location to assure precise inventory control and First Expired, First Out dispensing of medications,” said Brian Sullivan, KNAPP’s senior systems sales manager of healthcare solutions for the United States and Canada. The KNAPP-Store system can be divided into ambient and refrigerated sections to cover all environmental requirements of the medications.” KNAPP also offers redPILOT, an automated labor management technology that looks at the output and critical timing goals of a specialty pharmacy and automatically signals labor shifts to meet deliveries and optimize staffing. “When a critical medication has to get out the door, redPILOT uses the pharmacy’s historical data and predictive analytics to assure that the right assets are used to ensure that this happens,” Sullivan said.

Personalizing Patient Care

Aside from using technology, it is critical that retailers are prepared to manage the workload that specialty pharmacy care entails and understand the complexity of specialty medications. For example, Publix Specialty Pharmacy has five departments. “Publix’s associates are committed to providing the necessary services that will ensure the patient promptly receives their medications with the appropriate support. These services include providing benefits investigation, prior authorization assistance, clinical support with a 24/7 on-call pharmacist, refill reminders, convenient pickup or delivery options, and educational videos,” Do said. Thrifty White’s Faulks said that a wide


range of services is critical. “We want to make sure we treat the whole patient, not half of them. We want to handle any chronic disease they have plus anything else,” he said. “When you talk about all the insurance and financial assistance, clinical counseling and monitoring we have to do with these products, they are a lot more work. Patients who need these medications get much better outcomes from being more actively managed.” To this end, Thrifty White Specialty Pharmacy’s model leverages its central specialty pharmacy, as well as its local retail locations. “The model allows us to offer the expertise you need in specialty and allows our local retail pharmacists to maintain that patient relationship,” Faulks said. Since Thrifty White’s local pharmacists don’t necessarily have the expertise to deal with rare diseases and oncology specialty drugs, the retailer employs multiple certified specialty pharmacists at its central location to counsel patients and to help educate the local pharmacists on how they can support

specialty pharmacy patients. Amber, which is experiencing the largest growth in specialty from new drug launches in rare and orphan diseases, also reflects the expertise that is needed. “Specialty conditions affect roughly 2% of the population, which means we have the opportunity to develop a relationship with our patients, and it customizes the level of care we are able to offer them,” Wiese said. As retailers use their expertise to bring new therapies to patients, it also is paramount to help patients with psychosocial issues that can be barriers to adherence. “Adherence barriers come in many forms, from difficulty accessing transportation to see a physician to assisting a cancer patient with getting a wig because their treatments have caused hair loss,” Wiese said. “We can help our patients rethink the reasons for stopping medication regimens, prioritize the fact that they want to get better, and help meet their needs.” Amber also employs a certified social worker who connects patients with resources, and a registered dietitian to help patients deal


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with side effects from medications, such as weight gain and weight loss. “There are specific foods/meals that we can help them prepare by providing recipes,” Wiese said. “A lot of that DNA comes from our grocery background, and understanding how food plays a role in people’s recovery and overall health and well-being.” Thrifty White also applies strategies to improve patients’ medication adherence, starting with a very in-depth, upfront consultation. “I am going to talk to you about our programs and what to expect,” Faulks said. “We talk about your disease state and answer questions specific to the drug, and we’ll talk about what side effects to expect, as well as strategies to manage side effects. One of the keys in driving adherence is having those conversations up front.” Thrifty White has live monthly touchpoints with patients. A technician calls patients seven days before they run out of their medication to see how they are doing, to ask about side effects, and if they have missed any doses — and if any red flags appear, they are referred to a pharmacist for a depper conversation about adherence, Faulks said.

Ensuring Affordability, Safety

Helping patients afford specialty medications, which can carry hefty price tags that range from $1,000 a month to $10,000 a month, is yet another crucial responsibility for retailers in the specialty arena, and it requires a knowledgeable staff. To help remove financial barriers to adherence, Amber, Thrifty White and Publix are proactive in helping patients reduce their out-of-pocket expenses by connecting them with copay assistance from manufacturers, access to grant and foundation money, and other resources. “They are definitely very complex conditions, and most of them have fairly substantial drug costs,” Wiese said. “If a patient is diagnosed with cancer, the last thing they should have to worry about is ‘How am I going to pay for this?’ and the journey of working through insurance processes.” Pharmaceutical firms also are doing their part to make specialty drugs more affordable. Upsher-Smith’s migraine medications are


supported by the Access Pathways Program, a dedicated savings and support team that offers copay assistance and administrative support. Eligible patients pay $0 per prescription for their migraine medication with the Platinum Pass Savings Card. “The combination of services offered by our Access Pathways Program and our specialty pharmacy partners aligns with our mission to improve the health and lives of patients through an unwavering commitment to high-quality products and sustainable growth,” said Rusty Field, president and CEO of Upsher-Smith. Retailers also need to be aware that specialty drugs require special handling. Many of the drugs need to be refrigerated, and there are regulations that need to be followed to ensure proper handling and storage of these expensive medications. Additionally, limiteddistribution networks for many specialty drugs can be a daunting challenge. “From a payer landscape side, you see more and more frequent limited networks, where there’s a list of medications that a PBM or health plan will only allow a select group of pharmacies to fill,” Faulks said. There also is more competition in specialty from health systems and PBMs that have bought specialty mail order pharmacies, so it is imperative that specialty pharmacies continually innovate. When it comes to innovation, Amber has been using artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict patients’ nonadherence.

“We’re able to identify which patients are likely to have more challenges with adherence based on historical patterns, and proactively intervene on their behalf and enroll them in advanced adherence programs,” Wiese said. Sandra Canally, founder and CEO of The Compliance Team, based in Spring House, Pa., which started accrediting specialty pharmacies in 2006, said that the company’s accreditation model for the specialty sector has changed “to incorporate key principles that guide today’s value-based care era with its emphasis on quality and positive outcomes.” The company’s Patient-Centered Pharmacy Home accreditation program emphasizes improved patient medication management and care planning through better coordination between pharmacists and prescribers. “The typical patient with chronic disease is by definition at high risk, and in need of this increased communication as well as better medication management to improve adherence which helps reduce ER visits, hospital readmissions, and lessen prescriber workloads,” Canally said. As specialty continues to grow, Faulks said he would like all patients to receive the level of care that specialty patients do. “That would be the gold standard for pharmacy,” he said. “Although the economics don’t always allow that, we are making that shift, with better MTM reimbursement and more payer awareness of the services we can provide, we are moving to the ultimate goal.” dsn


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Good Health, Naturally Natural and homeopathic products gain adoption among consumers with health top of mind By David Salazar


t’s about more than washing your hands — fending off illness has become a state of mind for many consumers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As the crisis has worn on, a growing number of consumers have become health-conscious shoppers, with a focus on products that can keep them healthy while being drug free and composed of natural ingredients. As a result, these shoppers are looking beyond the traditional OTC offerings and eyeing options that are natural, homeopathic or both as a way to be proactive about their health. “People are realizing that in the face of a pandemic, they’re powerless in a lot of ways, and the one thing they can control is themselves,” said Art Rowe-Cerveny, vice president of marketing at Pharmacare US. “By living healthy and taking care of themselves, doing what they can to be proactive gives them some power back.” Pharmacare makes Sambucol Black Elderberry, a line of black elderberry products that use the ingredient — long thought to boost the immune system — in a variety of formats that include syrups, gummies and tablets with formulations for children and adults. As the pandemic set in, Rowe-Cerveny said demand for Sambucol products skyrocketed. “Shopper data shows searches for immune going through the COVID season were up 300%, 400%, and sales were up the same amount,” he said. While a shift toward natural products — with an emphasis on drug-free offerings and ingredient transparency — was taking place, particularly among millennial shoppers, the pandemic has sped up adoption across demographics, he said. “The millennial generation is very aware of what they’re putting in their bodies, so they’ve been moving away from chemicals and pharma anyway,” Rowe-Cerveny said. “All COVID did was accelerate that to the


mass population, a movement that was probably going to take 18 months to three years.” Which is to say that while the pandemic has played a role in speeding up consumer adoption and leading curious customers to the natural and homeopathic aisle, there is more to the segment’s appeal than simply pandemic preparedness and immunity. Consumers see these products as viable alternatives — or adjunctive treatments — in many categories dominated by products with active drug ingredients, including cough-cold, pain relief, eye care and digestive health.

Safety is Key Susan Hanson, COO of Reno, Nev.-based The Relief Products, said that the appeal of homeopathic products has to do with their safety, effectiveness and use of natural ingredients. “One of the greatest advantages that homeopathic products offer over traditional OTC medicine is the absence of side effects, interactions with other medications, or contraindications,” Hanson said. “Nearly half of all Americans (44%) are taking at least one prescription medication. Consumers can avoid potential complications or interactions with their medications by using homeopathic products.” TRP’s offerings include a line of eye care products, as well as Ring Relief ear drops. The company recently introduced an allergy-focused product, Allergy Eyes Relief Day & Night Relief Pack, which includes a sterile daytime eye drop, as well as a preservativefree nighttime ointment, meant to reduce common eye allergy symptoms. With no known drug interactions, the products can be used alongside prescription or drugbased allergy treatments. Lack of drug interactions — and lack of habit-forming potential — are some of the reasons driving sales for the arthritis and pain relief products from Hyland’s. “We have, in a lot of our research, found

that people don’t want to be on a prescription drug for a long period of time because they’re trying to avoid side effects,” said Les Hamilton, president of the Los Angeles-based company. “If you’re receiving relief, you can also take our products in conjunction with a statin or an arthritis prescription; you can still take a homeopathic product to help take that last bit of edge off of your pain.” Hamilton said that pain is a big opportunity for natural and homeopathic categories. In addition to releasing its Flexmore product in two SKUs — daytime and nighttime — Hyland’s has introduced a pain product under its For Kids brand, as well as a fiveSKU pain relief line that is initially exclusive to Walgreens. The five products are focused on migraine, headache, backache, pain and fever.

Cutting Across Generations While millennials may have been the trend-setters, natural and homeopathic products offer solutions across generational demographics.


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While Hamilton said that older consumers gravitate toward its FlexMore products, its new pain offerings, as well as its products with arnica, see adoption from shoppers in their 20s, 30s and 40s. For Lifelab Health, which makes digestive health product NuSyllium fiber and HoneyWorks cough-cold relief, while fiber skews older, younger shoppers are showing a growing interest in fiber from a younger demographic [this is awkward] for NuSyllium. This, Lifelab Health managing director Lou Machin said, is due to adoption of diets like Paleo that focus on eating clean, making the USDA Organic-Certified NuSyllium an attractive option. The product is offered as a mix-in powder in unflavored and natural orange flavors, alongside vegan capsules and NuSyllium Ultra, a sugar-free orange-flavored mix-in powder. “We’re seeing a younger demographic, alongside the older demographic that needs fiber, but we’re also seeing that the repeat purchase rate on NuSyllium is off the charts,” Machin said, noting that some retailers’ loyalty card data shows repurchase rates of 65% and 70% for the brand, compared with the average brand repurchase rate of less than 30%. And while millennials and Gen Z often are coveted demographics, there is a big


opportunity in the natural space for children-focused products. Hamilton said that moms are still the main shopper in the natural and homeopathic space, and that having children-oriented products offers a way to introduce the brand and drive loyalty over time. Machin said that Honeyworks organic cough syrup brand sees big adoption among parents looking for drug-free alternatives for their kids. “Parents are much more likely to give their children a natural or an organic product and stay the course with that because they want to give the child’s immune system a chance to fight it off, so they’re more patient,” Machin said, noting that adult consumers may purchase a natural product, but want immediate results and return to a product with a drug ingredient. “That’s why I think there’s more growth in the children’s category for a lot of these products. Adults are much more willing, especially moms, to stay the course with organic and natural products because they are reluctant to give their kids products with an active drug ingredient if they don’t have to.”

Reaching the Shopper Though various brands may offer products focused on various need states, one area they

largely agreed on is where shoppers should look for natural and homeopathic products — alongside their category counterparts. TRP’s Hanson said that a recent survey by the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists found that 21% of respondents, who are core homeopathic shoppers, said they expected products to be mixed in with traditional OTC medicine. “This placement can be beneficial as it converts shoppers who were not initially looking for natural products,” Hanson said, adding that 35% of those surveyed said they would look in the vitamin/supplement section. “When possible, some retail chains are now placing homeopathic offerings both in the supplement section, as well as alongside traditional OTC medicines,” she said. With the pandemic still going on, there also has been growth in e-commerce or buy online and pickup in-store offerings. Therefore, Hamilton stressed that in-store items show up on retailers’ websites. “A lot of the times, customers are either doing click-and-collect or searching the web before they go to the store,” he said. “So it’s important that the breadth and depth of the homeopathic assortment is prevalent online, as well as in store.” dsn


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9/10/20 1:39 PM


Who’s Who in Vitamins and Nutritional Products A roundup of what’s new from some of the most innovative VMS manufacturers By Nora Caley


uddenly, everyone wants to know everything about the vitamin, mineral and supplements category. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers and retailers are looking to the VMS segment as a possible deterrent to catching this virus and all that comes with it. At home and in the aisles of the nation’s mass retail outlets, immunity has become an extremely hot topic. Consumers want answers and retailers are doing all they can to provide their shoppers with the right products and the right answers to which products are designed for these needs, and who makes them. The vitamins and nutritional products category is growing. According to IRI, a Chicagobased market research firm, for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 8, sales of vitamins in total U.S. multi-outlet stores (grocery, drug, mass market, military and select dollar and club stores) registered more than $8.59 billion, an increase of 13.6% compared with the same period the previous year. The following is a roundup of the major players in the vitamins and nutritional products category:

Bausch + Lomb Officials at Bausch + Lomb said they are committed to helping patients protect their vision, especially as they age. “By the 2030s, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history,” said Joseph Gordon, president and co-head at Bausch + Lomb/ International. “Given that eyesight changes as we get older, and knowing there will be a significant part of the population over the age of 50 within the next 10 years, it’s important that we, as a global eye health company, provide a variety of innovative products that help


support the eye health of aging consumers — and this includes the most current, science-based eye vitamin formulations.” Company executives said its PreserVision AREDS 2 formula eye vitamins are the only vitamins on the market that contain the exact levels of the six key nutrients recommended by the National Eye Institute to help reduce the risk of moderate to advanced age-related macular degeneration progression, a leading cause of vision loss in people over 50 years old. Also, Bausch + Lomb makes Ocuvite Adult 50+ eye vitamin and mineral supplement, which is designed to help support eye health and replenish vital eye nutrients, including lutein, zeaxanthin, omega3, zinc, copper, vitamin C and vitamin E, that adults lose as they age. Ocuvite and PreserVision supplements are based on decades of research and consultation with leading eye care professionals. Bausch Health also recently announced its intentions to convert the Bausch + Lomb business into an independent publicly traded entity, with the goal of creating a fully integrated, pure-play eye health company built on the iconic Bausch + Lomb brand.

Mason Vitamins Founded in 1967, Mason Vitamins began as a specialty pharmaceutical company. Over the years, the Miami Lakes, Fla.-based manufacturer has

focused on quality and kept its high standards as it introduced hundreds of vitamins and supplements. Mason Vitamins manufactures products throughout the good-better-best retail spectrum. That includes private label, a dollar store program, a line of beauty products that are top sellers on Amazon, and new products with on-trend ingredients. “We’re very good at looking forward and listening to the consumer and the retailer,” Tacl said. Among the newest products are ashwagandha gummies made with pectin instead of gelatin because many consumers are looking for plant-based chewable supplements. Mason Vitamins is launching 18 products this year, including PlantBased Ultra Digestive Enzymes, Advanced Probiotic XI with 11 probiotic strains, Whole Herb Bay Leaf, Elderberry, SugarFree Prenatal Multivitamin with DHA and Zinc, Melatonin 10 mg, and, in the beauty segment, Collagen Premium Skin Cream. The company also is seeing success internationally, including in the Middle East. “We are looking at branching out to other categories and different forms, and in turn continuing down this innovation pipeline,” Tacl said. “We believe we can grow significantly.”

Mybite Vitamins To make taking vitamins both easier and enjoyable, Mybite Vitamins offers a delivery format that features nougat, caramel and chocolate. The vitamins have no artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives, and all the products are gluten-free and certified kosher, with 25 calories or fewer, and the same or less sugar than a gummy vitamin. The company debuted


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also expanded its Optimal Solutions portfolio with Nature’s Bounty Advanced Hair, Skin & Nails. More innovation is on the horizon. “We will continue our efforts behind retail and ecommerce partnerships, insight-driven consumer marketing, new product innovation, and meaningful investments against our brands and remain focused on growing consumption across categories,” said Don Kerrigan, president, North America at Nature’s Bounty. two products in the past year, Triple Defense Immune for immune support and Mybite Energy. “We’ve seen a really great response from our customers,” said Elaura Rifkin, Mybite director of operations. “We hear from a lot of our customers that the energy product has been a lifesaver during this time when kids are at home and everyone has so much more on their plate.” This year, Mybite launched in 20,000 stores, including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy and Rite Aid, as well as on Costco. com. Over the next 12 months, Mybite will continue to build the brand and expand with new product innovation and line expansions.

Nature’s Bounty Founded in 1971, Nature’s Bounty is a global manufacturer and distributor of vitamins, nutritional supplements, joint health and sports and active nutrition. The Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based company’s brands include Nature’s Bounty, Pure Protein, Solgar, Osteo Bi-Flex, Dr.Organic, Sundown, Ester-C and others. The company recently launched several products, including Nature’s Bounty Sleep3 + Stress Support, a maximum strength tri-layer, 100% drug-free sleep aid that supports occasional stress. Also new is the Stress Gummies line, which includes three gummies that help calm occasional feelings of stress, support a positive attitude and relax the mind. The brand also introduced Nature’s Bounty Men’s Series, a line of supplements to support men’s health and appearance. For hair, skin and nails, Nature’s Bounty


Nordic Naturals Joar Opheim, the founder and CEO of Nordic Naturals, grew up in Arctic Norway. When he went to California to earn an MBA, he encountered a lack of the pure omega-rich cod

our omega-3 products from some of the cleanest waters on earth, and we bottle all of our fish oils in an oxygen-free, nitrogen-rich environment to promote freshness,” said Brian Terry, national sales manager for FDM and specialty. “This guarantees effective, great-tasting fish oil in each serving.” The company, which sells products in more than 43 countries, expanded in more than 11,000 stores this year, even during the global pandemic. “The future of Nordic Naturals is continued growth, high quality offerings to the category, incremental consumers and science-based innovation,” Terry said. “That includes expansion of all vitamins and supplements as we continue to expand as an essential nutrients company.”

Ocean Blue

liver oil that he was used to seeing back home, and found only low-concentration, bad-tasting fish oil. Wanting to make a difference in the fish oil segment, Opheim founded Nordic Naturals in 1995. The Watsonville, Calif.-based company, which expanded its line beyond fish oil, owns a gummy manufacturing facility that makes zero sugar gummy vitamin D, melatonin, curcumin, children’s DHA gummies and more. New items include Nordic Immune Daily Defense, a four in one product that includes a high potency offering of 1,000 mg of vitamin C, 2,000 IU of vitamin D, 429 mg of elderberry and 15 mg of zinc. The company also launched Concentrated Cod Liver Oil and plans to have more launches in the upcoming months. Nordic Naturals uses bestin-class ingredients that are backed by science-based research. “We source fish for

Vertically integrated Ocean Blue makes omega-3 fish oil supplements and controls the entire manufacturing process from fish to packaging. “We operate pretty efficiently,” said John Licari, vice president of marketing. “We sell very high-quality, high-potency products at prices that are competitive with lower-grade products.” The Delray Beach, Fla.-based company’s flagship product is Omega-3 2100, which has 2,100 mg of fatty acids. Other manufacturers’ omega-3 products have only 900 to 1,000 mg, Licari said, but the trend now is to take a higher potency. In June, the company rolled out a line extension, Omega-3 2100 with CoQ10 Complete Heart Formula. The body naturally produces coenzyme Q10, but with age becomes less efficient at producing it. That’s especially important for consumers who take statins because these prescription pharmaceuticals for lowering cholesterol have been found to inhibit the body’s ability to produce CoQ10. Ocean Blue is seeing success at such retailers as Publix, where the company sends educational materials to pharmacists to share with consumers.


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Olly The mission at Olly is to make nutrition easy to understand. New products, which focus on sleep, energy, glowing skin and children’s nutrition, answer consumer demand for plantbased items, fiber, probiotics and other features. None of the flavors, colors or sweeteners are derived from artificial sources, and Olly partners with suppliers that meet stringent requirements for transparency, traceability and documentation. Olly also has a team of food experts that ensures the flavors and textures of the gummies, powders and bars satisfy consumer demands for indulgent, but healthy products. San Francisco-based Olly also is a certified B Corporation, which means it has earned certification on such various social

and environmental performance indicators as transparency, workplace culture, environmental metrics and others. Since 2019, it has been part of the Unilever family of brands. OLLY is launching a line of female-specific supplements that take the taboo out of everyday women’s health needs. “Feminine health issues are normal,” said Giselle Balagat, brand director at Olly. “Not having solutions isn’t.” Olly’s new line is designed for women by women, and offers solutions in the areas of libido, mood, bloating and urinary tract support. The four SKUs launching are: Lovin’ Libido, which the brand said supports a healthy drive, stimulation and sensation; Miss Mellow mood balancer, which helps when menstrual cycle hormones are fluctuating; Beat

the Bloat, which reduces belly bloat and gas for a flatter feeling stomach; and Cleansing Cranberry, which supports urinary tract health with a clinically studied dose of cranberry. The line will initially launch at Target in September.

Pharmavite Pharmavite’s portfolio of brands includes Nature Made, MegaFood, nurish by Nature Made and Equelle. This fall, Nature Made will launch 10 items, with a heavy focus on immunity, sleep and gummies — the fastest-growing form — to support consumer needs. There also is a new advertising campaign on the way. “Our brand was founded on quality and expert nutrition science and research, and will continue to be at the forefront of science leadership to differentiate us from our competitors,” said Bryan Donaldson, executive vice president of sales. He also said that Nature




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Made is the first vitamin brand to achieve verification by the United States Pharmacopeia, and the majority of the brand’s products currently carry the USP mark. Nature Made is backed by more than 45 years of expert nutrition science, which Donaldson said will always be the foundation of its business. “We also have robust consumer insights to better understand the key jobs to be done to meet the evolving needs of consumers,” he said. The West Lake, Calif.based Pharmavite recently launched nurish by Nature Made, a subscription service that creates personalized vitamin packets. Consumers go online, answer questions and

receive a 30-day supply of vitamins and supplements that are best suited for them.

Piping Rock Piping Rock, which uses its own state-ofthe-art facilities and manufacturing equipment, has implemented operational efficiencies, including in-house packaging, label design and printing. “The result is that we can launch successful products to market much faster than the competition,” said Kimberly Vigliante, senior vice president of wholesale sales and marketing. The company recently launched several products in the immune and stress segments under the Nature’s Truth brand. Also new is Black Elderberry Immune Complex Chewables + Vitamin C and Zinc in bottles that each contain a two-month supply. Stress Away Gummies feature GABA, an amino acid showing strong growth and consumer interest,

and L-theanine and lemon balm for additional calming support. Stress Eaze Essential Oil Blend gives consumers an aromatherapy experience, with a calming mix of citrus essential oils and a peppermint aroma.

As it works to provide continued product innovation, Bohemia, N.Y.-based Piping Rock is focusing on three areas — immune support for year-round wellness, expanded gummy vitamin offerings, and more women-focused items, including its Pink brand. dsn


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Traditional Medicinals Introduces its Throat Coat Lozenges

Amazon Looks to Build Foothold in Fitness, Wearables Amazon is looking to go beyond the traditional fitness wearable with its latest effort. The e-tailer is rolling out Amazon Halo — a subscription service that pairs its proprietary Amazon Halo Band wearable with an app offering AI-powered wellness insights — to customers who request early access. The company said that Halo, which is offered on a membership basis with an introductory price of $64.99 for the Halo Band and six months of Halo membership, is aimed at driving actual population health changes via the wearable and app. “Despite the rise in digital health services and devices over the last decade, we have not seen a corresponding improvement in population health in the U.S.,” said Dr. Maulik Majmudar, principal medical officer at Amazon Halo. “We are using Amazon’s deep expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer customers a new way to discover, adopt and maintain personalized wellness habits.” At the center of the offering is the Halo Band, which doesn’t feature a screen, but contains an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a heart rate monitor, two microphones, an LED indicator light, and a button that turns the microphones on or off. It is waterresistant and is meant to be worn all day, with a battery life that lasts up to seven days and boasts a 90-minute charge time. Three fabric band colors are available at purchase, with fabric and silicone sport accessory bands sold in 15 additional colors. The Halo app focuses on five core features: activity, sleep, body, tone and labs. Tone is assessed using audio from the Halo Band to gauge energy and positivity in a user’s voice, offering insight into sources of stress and its impact on emotional well-being, Amazon said. Labs are challenges, experiments and workouts that allow users to find what works for them in order to build healthier habits. Amazon underscored its data security efforts with Halo, noting that health data is encrypted in transit and on the cloud, body scan images automatically are deleted after processing, and tone requires a personal voice profile, with speech samples analyzed locally on the user’s phone and automatically deleted. Amazon also has built third-party integration into the Halo ecosystem, particularly with users of WW, formerly Weight Watchers. Halo app activity can be translated into WW FitPoints, and Halo members have access to all of WW’s labs in the app. WW will offer a promotion for a free Halo Band and six months of Halo membership as part of a new WW membership.


Catapulting off of its popular line of Throat Coat wellness teas, Traditional Medicinals is launching Throat Coat Lozenges. Created by the Sebastopol, Calif.-based company’s herbalists, the lozenges are certified organic and created with ingredients meant to soothe sore throats and ease coughs. Throat Coat Lozenges include menthol and pectin, as well as herbal extracts and essential oils. The company recommended that they be taken at the onset of symptoms when immediate cough and cold relief is needed. “We are always working to find new and innovative ways to connect people to the power of plants,” said Blair Kellison, CEO of Traditional Medicinals. “The lozenges have been a big step forward in bringing convenience and support to people who need fast relief for sore throats and coughs.” Throat Coat Lozenges are sold in eucalyptus mint, sweet orange fennel and lemon ginger echinacea, with the former two containing menthol and the latter containing pectin. They are sold in bags of 16 individually wrapped lozenges that carry a suggested retail price of $5.99.


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Beauty’s Broad Opportunity With shopper behavior changing due to the pandemic, there’s still big opportunity in the beauty aisle By Seth Mendelson


hat are the key categories to keep beauty shoppers coming into mass retail outlets? Drug Store News spoke with a number of leading retailers, brands and industry analysts who have identified seven categories that need the most attention in order to keep shoppers coming through the front door of those mass chains that want to be players in the beauty segment. Here is a look at what the experts said mass retailers should focus on as they rebuild or re-emphasize their beauty departments:

Wellness Products for wellness are moving to the front burner — whether it be vitamins with immunity properties, aromatherapy or formulas using CBD. Overall vitamin sales rose a healthy 10.9% for the 52 weeks ended June 14 in chain stores, according to Chicago-based market research firm IRI. Retailers with pharmacy counters are well positioned to leverage their wellness capabilities, experts said. Vitamin D, in particular, has had a rapid ascension as it was linked to fighting off the virus. Supplements with immunity capabilities will continue to flourish, experts said. Officials at HatchBeauty Brands, which develops proprietary products, said the potential for ingestibles in the beauty space is mammoth. Consumers, especially


Gen Zers, already are digging deeper into research about ingredients that foster beauty from the inside out. In a July 15, 2020 report, “How the Wellness Movement is Changing the Face of Beauty Forever,” HatchBeauty noted that searches for terms around wellness have increased almost 100% over the past five years. “As we move into the new roaring 2020s, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where wellness and beauty don’t continue to merge and evolve. We believe consumers will begin to associate ingestibles as a nonnegotiable part of their beauty routines,” the HatchBeauty report stated. The company said ingredients to watch include vitamin C; conjugated linoleic acids, or CLA; astaxanthin; whole food fermentate; algae fermentate; and birch bark. Home fragrance also is a category getting a fresh look for its role in the wellness equation. “Home fragrance is more than candles or diffusers,” said Laura McCann, founder and CEO of Asheville, N.C.based Adoratherapy. “We envision our fragrances in wellness because our clean essential-oil based products are mood boosters.”

Is there also new life in the mass fragrance world as people seek well-being? Kevin Shapiro, senior vice president of U.S. marketing for consumer beauty at Coty, said the category saw growth when luxury stores were completely closed. Consumers sought out the mass market for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts, or as “special thank-yous for those lending helping hands during this unprecedented time like front-line healthcare workers,” he said. Beauty offerings with CBD play into consumer wellness demands as well, and there’s plenty of activity, including Jane Fonda signing on as ambassador of Uncle Bud’s, CURE Pharmaceutical’s purchase of Sherman Oaks, Calif.based Sera Labs, and e.l.f.’s extension into the space. For e.l.f., the move is a continuation of the success it had when it introduced its Cannabis Sativa Hemp Seed Oil last year. In May, the company launched its Full Spectrum CBD line at mass. The new collection features face and body care products infused with full spectrum CBD. “We continue to focus on skin care as a strategically


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important category and understand our consumers’ desire for wellness and self-care, especially during this uncertain time,” said Kory Marchisotto, chief marketing officer at Oakland, Calif.-based e.l.f. “Skin care has been outperforming cosmetics during the COVID19 crisis and CBD, in particular, is projected to be a $22 billion industry by 2022.”

Nails The once-dormant nail care category has come to life as nail salons were forced to close during the early stages of the pandemic. For example, for the 52 weeks ended June 14 in multi-unit doors, IRI data said that overall nail sales soared 13.8%, with artificial nail sales ascending almost 32%, nail treatments rising 21% and nail lacquer climbing 8.2%. The uptick was good news for New Yorkbased Coty’s Sally Hansen line. “We’ve seen growth across all nail segments, which speaks to the variety of benefits that consumers are craving,” Shapiro said. “Be it long-wear performance through Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, which just launched a new top coat that


delivers an at-home mani that lasts up to eight days, or a more ingredient-conscious product like Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure., which launched in January.” Shapiro also said that nail care has seen momentum as consumers take more care to make sure their nails, cuticles and fingers are hydrated and healthy. That boosted Sally Hansen’s nail treatment, which leads the category with a 44.6% share, up two percentage points based on Nielsen data for 13 weeks ending June 27. “Overall, Sally Hansen continues to offer products and innovations that consumers want,” Shapiro said. “They have validated that with their purchases, since March 2020, we have seen triple digit e-commerce growth in the U.S. and a brick-and-mortar market share of 44.9%, according to Nielsen.” Tam Tran, founder and CEO of North Miami, Fla.-based Anise Cosmetics, which produces the Nail-Aid Brand, believes women are looking for simplicity — not glitter or loud colors that are difficult to remove. Many women will avoid the salon

for health and economic reasons, she said. “Women are now paying more attention to nail care products that have nourishing or plant-based ingredients that are similar to the ingredients in the vitamin supplements that they are taking for their health,” Tran said. “They are also looking for nail care products in packages versus bottles that can be handled by multiple shoppers.”

Hair Two segments in the hair care space — hair color and products for textured hair — have become monumental profit centers for mass merchants. Hair color sales for the 52-week period tracked by IRI jumped 7% with unisex products — often vibrant colors — soaring almost 60%. That’s huge news for retailers since hair color sales have been in the minus column for almost a decade in the mass market. “Consumers have discovered just how easy Clairol’s Nice ’N Easy is, some for the first time even if they have been coloring for decades,” Shapiro said. He also highlighted an uptick in Clairol’s Root Touch-Up for those


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who want a 10-minute solution to cover roots in between appointments. Brands for textured hair care blossomed during quarantine as many consumers could not get to hair salons for styling or products. Many of these brands are owned by Black female entrepreneurs. Yet, what has emerged during COVID-19 is the selling potential of the brands stretched beyond race.

Moisturization Perhaps there is no better example of a category that is booming during COVID-19 than soaps and hand sanitizers. That boom had a halo impact on facial/hand and body moisturizers. Hand sanitizer volume jumped 178%, according to IRI. Liquid hand soap sales also benefited, showing a 36.2% sales increase in the same period. All of the drying out boosted products for hands and body along with sales of facial moisturizers, which were up 18.9%. Entering the market at a key time is Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble’s Olay Body Wash with Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 and an essential nutrient that contributes to general skin health. Eye Color and Foundations with Benefits Overall, there is no denying women have been buying less makeup, especially during quarantine. A recent NPD Group survey cited 20% of respondents plan to wear less makeup even when things normalize. Lip color sales are sagging thanks to mask wearing, down 12.3% for the 52 weeks ended June 14 in mass doors tracked by IRI. One bright spot is eye care, where early indications show that women are buying more products to make their eyes standout. Eye combo (palettes) sales jumped almost 12%. “From March onward, as we saw people across the country begin wearing masks, eye has been the strongest-performing color cosmetics category, with the spread further increasing between eye and face trends from March to June,” Coty’s Shapiro said. “Our brands have benefited from this more robust consumer demand for eye.” Coty’s brands in color cosmetics include CoverGirl and Rimmel. “The new CoverGirl Exhibitionist Uncensored Mascara launched in January and over delivered its launch expectations


despite COVID,” Shapiro said Rimmel Mascara consistently has been outpacing the mascara category with its best sellers within the Scandaleyes and Wonder franchises, according to tracking data. While makeup suffers, skin care is building — up 4% per IRI data — as people attempt to look better on Zoom calls. Companies such as Coty with its CoverGirl franchise are leveraging the “skinification” of makeup to try to generate a sales spurt in the category. “Our launch of CoverGirl Clean Fresh Skin Milk in January, with CoverGirl Lili Reinhart, delivered against consumer demands for both traditional foundation benefits of a lightweight feel and dewy finish, as well as a moisture boost to skin and nourishment with ingredients consumers recognize like hydrating coconut milk and aloe extract,” Shapiro said.

Celebrities and TikTok Stars TikTok has become the new breeding ground for beauty trends. People were addicted to TikTok during quarantine, often glued to tips and tricks from TikTok personalities, or learning new dances. Revlon, in fact, tapped Megan Thee Stallion, known for her song “Savage” — a popular backing track for viral TikTok dances — as its newest ambassador. The move looks to capitalize on viral fame as Revlon eyes additional sales generators. TikTok influencer Addison Rae also announced the launch of her own beauty brand, Madeby Collective. It debuts with six makeup items online. Not to be outshone by the latest online sensations, TV and film celebrities are trying to wrest power back from influencers. Tracee Ellis Ross and Taraji P. Henson continue to grow their hair brands and, in an interesting twist, e.l.f. is partnering with Alicia Keys — known for her no-makeup look — for a lifestyle beauty brand. “She’s been wanting to do something in beauty and wellness for quite some time,” said e.l.f. CEO Tarang Amin. The company calls the launch a culmination of Keys’ personal skin care journey with “skin-loving, dermatologistdeveloped, cruelty-free products.” The lifestyle beauty brand, which will roll out in 2021, will be wholly owned by e.l.f., and Keys will become a shareholder, Amin said.

Beauty with a Purpose Companies with empathy and a stance are expected to be sought out by consumers in the post-pandemic period. Those that converted plants to make hand sanitizer won consumers’ hearts, especially such companies as Coty that donated to frontline healthcare workers. Additionally, more shoppers looked to buy from Blackowned lines as the killings of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor sparked protests and renewed focus on race in America. Even brands not owned by people of color took a stand. “We worked to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Through our brands, we immediately created space for dialogue on race and justice amongst our social communities and made meaningful donations to organizations like NAACP and Black Lives Matter,” Shapiro said. “From a company-wide perspective, we communicated openly about our corporate diversity makeup, acknowledging improvement is still needed and bolstering or creating diversity councils across our network.” dsn


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Offering a wide variety of fun and functional grooming goods designed for hard-working men, Duke Cannon is up +275% in the last 52 weeks in the Drug Channel. Consider adding the fastest growing brand in one of the hottest segments. BODY








Source: IRI, Latest 52 Weeks ending 8/8/2020.

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High Standards Duke Cannon grows the profile of its grooming products for “hardworking men” By Seth Mendelson


hat does it take to get more men — and their wives, girlfriends or even daughters — to purchase men’s grooming products at mass retail outlets? Officials at Duke Cannon said they think they have the answer. In fact, the Minneapolis-based company is pinning its entire business model on a program that combines quality products, fair price points, and pretty irreverent merchandising and marketing programs. So far, it seems that they are actually working. Duke Cannon is most definitely not your ordinary consumer packaged goods company. On the contrary, the nearly 9-year-old company, founded on Veteran’s Day in 2011 by Anthony Albanese and Sam Swartz, appears to be a company driven by testosterone, albeit with a soft and humorous touch that attracts shoppers of both genders. That is most evident through colorful and unique packaging,


and the names of company products, which includes the Big Ass Brick of Soap, Bloody Knuckles Hand Repair Balm, the Tactical Scrubber, Trench Warfare and Dry Ice antiperspirants and deodorants. Beer & Bourbon Goods, its newest line, feature a host of skin care products made from bourbon or beer. “Our strategy is to differentiate ourselves from the competition and to get the consumer to notice us through our unique packaging and the humor we bring to our products,” Albanese said. “We use humor to catch the consumer off guard and to get them to take notice of our products. We break through with our product names, our packaging, and then they smell the product.” All told, Duke Cannon offers more than 100 SKUs across the body, hair, face, shave and beard segments. “We feel we need to attack every category in a way that offers our customers as many options as possible,” Albanese said.


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Being different from the competitor also means offering unusual sizes of products to make it easier for men to choose Duke Cannon products. Albanese said that when the company began, he and Swartz quickly realized that men were turned off by some of the men’s grooming items available to them. Products were too small, featured a scent geared towards women, and “they were just too mushy for a guy to use,” he said. So, they changed things up a bit, using both history and some unusual consumer research. The company’s Big Ass Brick of Soap is inspired by the product issued to American soldiers during the Korean War. Albanese said that while the soap retains similar dimensions to the original, its scent is a lot better than the government-issued product of nearly 70 years ago. The company also uses the military to test its products and determine whether the soldiers are good with the size, smell and feel of a Duke Cannon item.

In return, Duke Cannon gives a portion of its proceeds to directly support veterans’ causes, including donating to the Honor Flight Network, which gives members of the military a free flight to Washington, D.C. and a tour of the monuments there, as well as the Military Working Dog Team Support Association. “We made [our products] bigger and tougher, and for guys to want to buy them and want to use them,” he said. “We did our research and found what guys are looking for. Plus, we worked with the military to develop products that our soldiers would use. If it is good enough for these elite soldiers, it is good enough for the regular guys out there.” The company’s first big break came in 2013 when Duluth Trading, the rapidly-growing online and traditional retailer, started carrying an assortment of Duke Cannon products. That was followed by a deal with Cracker Barrel, which started to stock a small array of products, hoping that women would purchase these items as gifts for the men in their lives. “Actually, we started focusing on mass when we hired Ryan O’Connell as our CEO in 2016,” Albanese said. “He was a former Target executive, and has showed us how to navigate into mass retailing. Now, we are in 20,000 retail stores across the country, including such mass retailer banners as Target, CVS Pharmacy, H-E-B, Wegman’s and Meijer.” Albanese stressed that Duke Cannon products are designed to get consumers to trade up in the men’s grooming category. “With all we have done to promote and build our brand, we think this will help encourage people to try it,” he said. “We think we are helping retailers capture a trade up in the premium men’s grooming segment. The result will be more dollars spent in mass retailers for a product that many consumers view as a prestige brand.” Yet, the focus for growth remains on both men and women. Albanese realizes that many women still purchase men’s grooming products for men at home, so it is vitally important that the company offers products that appeal to them. But to really grow in the future, he said that the product must appeal to men. “We want to make it approachable for men to try,” he said. “Once they do, whether because their wives bought our products for them or they bought these products themselves, we are confident they will keep coming back.” Albanese said he is excited about future prospects for Duke Cannon. As more men seek out products to make them look and feel better, the men’s grooming category should prosper in the future. “We expect to continue to grow with those progressive retailers who believe in the success of the men’s grooming category,” he said. “We expect to grow our portfolio with them and expand into other categories. We plan to become the category captain in the premium men’s grooming section at mass retail.” dsn


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Recession Sparks New Retail Imperatives Companies that support customers in need will solidify relationships By David Orgel

W 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.

hat is the outlook for the economy at this point in the pandemic and recession? It doesn’t really matter if you’re a consumer trying to make ends meet right now, possibly without a job, in the face of reduced help from government benefits. It’s impossible to list all the eye-popping economic stats, from GDP contraction to personal consumption declines, that relay how much consumers are challenged, but here are just a few: • Food insecurity is on the rise, with almost 30 million U.S. households reporting that they lacked enough to eat in late July. • Food prices have surged as consumer demand increased. The overall July rise in retail food prices of 4.6% year over year was the third-highest increase since 2012, according to an Aug. 12, 2020 Seeking Alpha article. • Unemployment remained a huge problem at a time of resurging COVID-19 cases. Given all the consumer pain in the ongoing recession, a little bit of creative relief from food and drug retailers goes a long way. Those retailers that step up will not only improve their reputations, but also gain long-term loyalty. There are good examples of retailers acting to support customers, ranging from creative discounts to community good works programs.

Given all the consumer pain in the ongoing recession, a little bit of creative relief from food and drug retailers goes a long way. Here are a few strategies succeeding right now: Affordability: Retailers whose brand propositions already center on affordability are ahead of the game. Ahold Delhaize USA recently said that Food Lion is now the company’s fastest growing brand, with its emphasis on fresh and affordable, and a high-density store network. Meanwhile, value leader Aldi plans to open 70 new stores in the second half of this year. 86

Store brands: It’s hard to ignore all the momentum that private brands have received lately. Retailers are emphasizing these products, which are on target for the recession — and beyond — with a combination of value and quality. Moreover, store brands have received lots of new customer trials given all the pandemic-related out of stocks. SNAP and e-commerce: The government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has entered the e-commerce age as an increasing number of states are participating in a pilot with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This move has led many retailers to accept SNAP payments for online orders. An example is Hy-Vee, which recently made this available to customers. Food-drive campaigns: Retailers are accelerating efforts to combat hunger through community good works programs. One of the latest examples is Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, which raised $4 million in food-drive campaign funds across more than 350 stores. Creative discounts: At a time when fall school openings have sparked pandemic-related concerns, what could be a better move than offering temporary discounts to show support for communities and educators? That was the thinking at retailers, including Kroger and Meijer. Kroger offered 10% discounts on general merchandise to teachers, administrators and parents, while Meijer offered 15% discounts to teachers for classroom essentials. Getting personal: Retailers are leveraging their increased capabilities with data and personalization to offer targeted customer discounts. This strategy underscores that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all when it comes to offers. Retailers don’t need to pursue all of the strategies, as the needs will depend on the nature of individual customer bases. Yet, retailers would do well to embrace efforts that show they’re not tone deaf at this challenging time. Let the economists debate the future trajectory of this recession. For retailers, the imperative is to act now by showing empathy and understanding, a stance that will help cement long-term customer relationships. dsn


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