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Volume 42 No. 11


Beauty with a Purpose P. 84

Drug Store News

For the second year running, DSN honors women who make a difference in health, wellness and beauty

November 2020

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Vol. 42 No. 11 DrugStoreNews.com


Industry News

18 Products to Watch 20 Selfcare Roadmap Insights Arthritis shopper insights powered by GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s and HRG’s Selfcare Roadmap Insights tool


36 Focus On: HempFusion 38 CBD News 42 Cover Story: Top Women 2020 DSN’s second annual Top Women in Health, Wellness and Beauty honors more than 85 women who have had a positive impact on their companies and the industry

COLUMNS 6 Editor’s Note with Surescripts’ Tom Skelton

24 Counter Talk with AmerisourceBergen’s Rich Tremonte

26 Counter Talk with the International Housewares Association’s Leana Salamah

SOCIAL Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews



22 Counter Talk

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28 Counter Talk with First Databank’s Dr. Charles Lee

30 One-on-One with Bonum Health’s Ashton Maaraba

32 One-on-One with Designer Greetings’ Steven Gimbelman

90 Last Word with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

HEALTH 11/2/20 1:42 PM

PHARMACY 64 Generics Highlighting some of the industry’s top generics firms

78 Immunity’s Time to Shine Consumers taking their immune health seriously amid the COVID-19 pandemic are driving big growth in the previously niche VMS segment

83 News

68 News


70 Who’s Who in Tech and Automation

84 Beauty with a Purpose

Breaking down some of the leading companies looking to streamline pharmacy operations

Beauty brands rise to the occassion and take a stand to court customers

88 Focus On: No Fade Fresh

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. 11, November 2020. Copyright © 2020 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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Women to Watch Drug Store News shines a spotlight on women who have made an impact in their organizations and the industry By Seth Mendelson


e are proud to do our part. Drug Store News’ second annual Top Women in Health, Beauty and Wellness event, held virtually in late October, once again highlighted the successful sisterhood between women in all parts of the mass retail industry. The result is a concerted effort by women, individually and collectively, to help other women thrive in this marketplace. The 2020 version of this three-day event showcased more Seth Mendelson than 60 women honored by their co-workers and other Editor in Chief/ industry officials for the work they have done to make the Associate Publisher mass retail world a better and more profitable place to work in. Just as importantly, the event also featured two virtual webinars with key industry officials and retailer executives from many of the nation’s largest chains, including Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Kroger. These panelists discussed what women have done for the mass retail industry and what the industry needs to do to not only keep and attract the best and brightest female workers, but find ways to keep them involved in the future of our world. Frankly, though, I think women have this all under control. As discussed during the webinars, women, with some assistance from men in the industry, are taking the right steps to advocate for themselves and to earn the recognition they most definitely deserve from their peers. They are rising to the occasion to help their companies meet the many challenges we, collectively, face during both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and from new competition that completely has changed the way retailers need to go to market. We need more of it. We need more women to realize that they can reach their goals in the mass retail industry, and we need to keep the best and brightest in the industry by giving them the support they want and need to stick around. We also need industry officials — of both genders — to pay more and more attention to what they need to do to help them attain these goals. We are headed in the right direction. Now, we have to do more to encourage these women to give their best and to reward them with what they need to move up the corporate ladder. Drug Store News is proud to recognize this year’s honorees and to do our part to help the mass retail industry grow. dsn

We need more women to realize that they can reach their goals in the mass retail industry, and we need to keep the best and brightest in the industry.


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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EM Brands, Rritual Win at ECRM’s Whole Body & Mind Wellness Virtual Session EM Brands won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its Joon X Moon Cubes at ECRM’s Whole Body & Mind Wellness virtual session. Rritual was a finalist for its Reishi Relax Elixir Enhanced with Aswhagandha+Raw Cacao. The products were selected from dozens of entries submitted by participating suppliers. Buyers were able to evaluate each entry and cast their votes based on product packaging and innovation via the Drug Store News-branded Buyers’ Choice Awards section of the ECRM Connect platform.

“A big part of wellness these days, especially during the pandemic, includes finding ways to relax the body and mind,” said Craig Chmielowicz, senior vice president of health and beauty care at ECRM. “Both Buyers’ Choice Award winners have products aimed at calming and relaxing one’s mental state — one from the outside and the other from the inside — and each would be a great addition to buyers’ wellness assortments. Congratulations to both winners.” EM Brands was created to help solve the stress that can come from picking a good, affordable gift. It manufactures and ships out of its offices in Indiana, and also has a production facility in Aruba. The company’s Joon X Moon cleansing and exfoliating sugar cube scrubs are portioned as a one-use-per-shower body scrub and cleanser developed to relax and soothe users. Consumers simply wet a cube and scrub it on wet skin to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize. Each cube contains a blend of lavender and chamomile, with soft floral notes and an earthy sandalwood finish. Rritual is a consumer wellness brand based out of Vancouver, B.C., dedicated to creating simple, pure and effective plant-based health products that are mindfully designed to also facilitate self-care, the company said. It entered the market with its flagship collection of certified-organic mushroom and adaptogen elixir mix powders, offering products for three need-state health categories: Lion’s Mane Focus, Reishi Relax and Chaga Immune. All Rritual products are vegan and made with only non-GMO ingredients, with no added sweeteners, artificial flavors or gluten.

Pampers Pure Adds Plant-Based Liner with Shea Butter Pampers Pure is adding a plant-based liner to its diapers to ensure the skin of little ones is protected. The Cincinnati-based company announced that its Pampers Pure line now features a plant-based liner enriched with shea butter. Pampers Pure products are clinically proven hypoallergenic, do not contain chlorine bleaching or any allergens identified by the European Union as most likely to cause skin allergies, and feature an absorbent core, the company said. “Pampers Pure diapers contain ingredients parents are passionate about and are free from the ones they aren’t,” said Andre Schulten, P&G senior vice president of North America baby care. “This is why Pampers Pure diapers are now enriched with shea butter, providing our best in class protection and outstanding skin care and dryness.”



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Kind Employs Whole Grains for Energy Bar Kind is looking to bring some fuel the energy bar category. New to the brand’s lineup is Kind Energy, a bar that features such ingredients as whole grains from oats, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and millet. “Since day one, Kind has been committed to balancing health and taste, and adhering to our Kind Promise to craft snacks with a nutritionally dense first ingredient,” said Daniel Lubetzky, founder and executive chairman of Kind. “Kind Energy honors this promise and is consistent with how we’ve always entered categories — with an eye toward disruption and a goal of elevating people’s overall experience.” In addition to this new launch, the brand also is introducing the Kind Energy Pledge, which requires consumers to make a commitment to eat energy bars only before physical activity. When the pledge has been signed, participants will be required to submit a photo or receipt of their energy bar purchase, and the first 1,000 people who sign the pledge will receive $100 towards a future fitness-related experience, the company said. “Energy bars are typically higher in calories, carbohydrates and sugar, and should not be eaten before being sedentary as your body won’t be challenged to metabolize the energy efficiently,” said Stephanie Csaszar, a registered dietitian and nutrition expert at Kind. “While Kind Energy has 35% less sugar than the top selling energy bar, it should still be eaten before physical activity for this reason. An ideal snack for when you’re less active is our Kind dark chocolate nuts and sea salt bar, which leads with heart-healthy almonds and contains only 5 g of sugar.” Kind Energy bars, which contain 10 g of protein per serving and retail between $1.39 to $1.69 per bar, are available at retailers nationwide.



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Reina Rebelde Brings its Makeup Exclusively to Walmart Latina-owned makeup brand Reina Rebelde is expanding its availability. The Dallas-based brand, which aims to celebrate Latinas’ unique cultural duality, is bringing its collection of high quality cosmetics to more than 350 Walmart locations. To kick this new partnership off, Reina Rebelde is debuting an assortment of products exclusive to the retailer. In addition, the brand is celebrating Día de los Muertos with a collection highlighting the holiday. “As a self-funded, Latina-owned and operated makeup brand, I could have never imagined that four years into this journey, I’d see Reina Rebelde in Walmart stores,” said Regina Merson, founder and CEO of Reina Rebelde. “I created Reina Rebelde for our Latinx community to be authentically seen and heard in the beauty industry. Walmart is helping a Latinx small business grow and allowing Reina Rebelde to be more accessible to Latinxs across the country, while bringing our multifaceted culture to life by celebrating my favorite holiday — Día de los Muertos.” Included in the Reina Rebelde for Walmart Día de los Muertos collection are Bold Lip Color Sticks, Rebel Eye Definer Liquid and Rebel Eye Paint for Brows + Eyes. Three new products debuting exclusively at Walmart from the beauty brand include reformulations of the 4 Play Wet Dry Eye Color in the Azteca shade and the On Your Face Contour + Color Trio in Coqueta, as well as the new Lip Brilliance in Bomba shade.




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Pond’s Rejuveness Collection Aims to Slow Signs of Aging Pond’s is looking to fight the signs of aging with a brand new skin care collection. Rejuveness, the brand’s first range of products that aim to help visibly reduce wrinkles and slow new signs of aging, contains retinoid as a key ingredient, the company said. Affordability also is key with this new collection, which retails for $7.99 and features retinol complex and vitamin B3 to aid in strengthening the skin’s moisture barrier, as well as firm the skin and help with the look of wrinkles. “With over 150 years of proven skin care innovation, Pond’s has the expertise to deliver real results at an affordable price,” said Dawn Hedgepeth, vice president of marketing at Pond’s. “At a time when many Americans are looking for cost-effective products that deliver on what they promise, we are thrilled to offer this option for daily skin care routines.” The collection includes: • Rejuveness Lifting & Brightening Eye

Cream, which helps to reduce the look of wrinkles and improve skin’s elasticity to create the appearance of tighter and lifted skin around the eyes; Rejuveness Skin Tightening Serum, which tightens the appearance of skin, hydrates and aids in slowing any new signs of aging; and • Rejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream, which reduces the look of wrinkles, hydrates and also helps slow any new signs of aging. “I am so excited about the launch of Pond’s first retinol range for the face, eyelids and neck, which is combined with niacinamide,” said Shari Marchbein, a board-certified dermatologist and Pond’s spokesperson. “This is one of my favorite powerhouse antioxidants because it helps even skin tone, address dark spots and make the skin look brighter and radiant.” Pond’s Rejuveness Collection is available at mass retailers and drug stores nationwide.

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Flex Period Products Hit Meijer Stores Period care brand Flex is growing the distribution of its menstrual cups and disks. The brand’s products rolled out to 229 Meijer stores and the retailer’s website on Oct. 17, following its recent addition to 1,000 Albertsons locations. Flex said its expansion into the grocery channel looks to meet demand from the 39% of shoppers it said purchase their period products at the grocery store. Initially a direct-to-consumer brand when it launched in 2016, Flex hit brick-and-mortar retailers in 2019 and has expanded to Target, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Albertsons stores. All told, the company has tripled its retail presence in the past year. According to recent Nielsen data, it currently leads the menstrual cup subcategory with 44% revenue share. Additionally, it said that it has sold more than 50 million units of its Flex Disc, which is made to be effective for up to 12 hours.

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New and Noteworthy Hamacher Resource Group’s standout product picks from October



Tums Naturals Ultra Strength 1000 Tablets


With a focus on keeping skin healthy, Cetaphil introduced its Sheer Hydration Replenishing Body Lotion, featuring a proprietary HydroSensitiv Complex that includes various moisturizing ingredients and blue daisy to offer 48-hour hydration. Designed to be lightweight and absorbed quickly, the product also includes hyaluronic acid to boost the skin’s water content, as well as sunflower oil for softness and vitamins E and B5.


Johnson’s Almond Oil


Biofreeze Foot Cream


PanOxyl PM Overnight Spot Patches



s autumn set in, CPG manufacturers showed no signs of slowing down their ability to innovate. In October, companies introduced 140 products, including 36 new OTC offerings, 49 wellness products and 55 beauty innovations. Once again, Hamacher Resource Group’s new product team was there to sift through and identify five of the standout products that hit shelves that month. They were:

Cetaphil Sheer Hydration Replenishing Body Lotion

Leading external pain relief brand Biofreeze is getting into foot care with its latest product. Biofreeze Foot Cream is designed to act fast and deliver long-lasting cold therapy pain relief alongside natural moisturizers to soften skin and prevent dryness. The paraben-free cream is sold in 4-oz. tubes and is designed to have a vanishing scent.

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Consumer demand for natural has made its way to the digestive space. GSK Consumer Healthcare expanded its legacy Tums brand with the new Tums Naturals Ultra Strength 1000. Free of artificial flavors and dyes, the tablets — sold in 56-count bottles in black cherry and watermelon flavors — are gluten-free and made with naturally sourced ingredients, while still delivering quick and effective relief. Johnson & Johnson is expanding its baby care offerings with Johnson’s Almond Oil, which is designed to lock in as much as 10 times more moisture when used on wet skin. The company said it has been formulated and tested by dermatologists to be gentle and mild on delicate skin, while being free of parabens, phthalates and dyes.

Crown Labs is getting into one of the hottest spaces in skin care — acne-focused patches. The PanOxyl PM Overnight Spot Patches use hydrocolloid technology to clear existing blemishes and speed the healing process, while being a non-medicated option. The patches are meant to be suitable for all skin types, are free of latex and have no parabens, fragrances, sulfates or dyes. dsn

10/30/20 3:06 PM

Partners In Care At Upsher-Smith Laboratories, LLC, we’ve always had a special relationship with pharmacists. We were founded by a pharmacist, and we’ve continued to be owned and operated by leaders who’ve had a strong, sustained connection with the pharmacy industry. Because we value your ongoing partnership, we strive to give you the highest level of support. We recognize that without you, we wouldn’t be able to fulfill our commitment to sustainable growth and high-quality products that help improve the lives of patients. In 2019, we celebrated our 100-year anniversary—a century of serving patients. Thank you for helping make both Upsher-Smith and Sawai, our parent company, trusted names in the marketplace, and for continuing to dedicate yourselves, year after year, to being our partners in care.

Visit us at upsher-smith.com to learn more.

© 2020 Upsher-Smith Laboratories, LLC, 6701 Evenstad Drive, Maple Grove, MN 55369 1-800-654-2299 PM-000736.02

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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 arthritis shopper. dsn Arthritis


Arthritis Back/Muscle/Joint Menstrual Migraine + Headache




12% Shaving and Grooming

19% 12%



Aspirin Analgesic + Sleep Aid Migraine + Headache All Other Arthritis

<1% Fragrances 1% Multicultural Beauty Care 1% Hair Accessories



5% 4% 1% <1%


8% Cosmetics



Multi-symptom All Other



4% Sun Care



8% 7% 7% 3%

15% Deodorant

17% Hair care

Key insight: Internal pain relief sales amass more than four times topical pain relief sales. Products marketed specifically to arthritis patients contribute 4% overall. Topical arthritis items account for 23% of total arthritis pain relief sales.



41% Skin care






18% West


Key insight: Across all regions, the top three subcategories arthritis shoppers intend to purchase are pain relievers, vitamins/supplements, and skin care medication.


Key insight: Unscented products make up 4% of beauty skin care units and 5% of sales. Seventy-one percent of unscented units are hand and body lotions and they contribute 79% of unscented product sales.


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Working Smart Pharmacies accelerate the use of health IT during COVID-19 By Tom Skelton

C Tom Skelton, CEO, Surescripts

OVID-19 has disrupted healthcare patterns and changed how and where patients receive care. Pharmacists have risen to the challenge and become a primary point of care in providing such enhanced services as vaccine administration, COVID testing and much more. Pharmacies were already pushing for enhanced health IT tools, and COVID-19 accelerated the need for IT innovation even more. Here are a few ways pharmacies are leveraging technology in response to the pandemic and stepping up to meet patient needs.

Fortunately, pharmacies are increasingly utilizing benefits-based prescription price transparency tools that enable them to quickly access therapeutic alternatives, real-time prescription costs and coverage details — all within their electronic workflow. As an independent pharmacist from Illinois recently shared, “[Real-time prescription benefit] saves a ton of time and resources for our staff, from processing prescriptions then reversing them, wasting supplies, returning meds to stock … [it’s] so much more efficient.”

Resolving Drug Therapy Problems and Managing Drug Shortages

Patients with challenging chronic conditions need their medication fast, yet obtaining these medications isn’t always easy. According to a survey of specialty pharmacists that Surescripts commissioned in April, specialty prescriptions can take as many as four days to fill, and delays of seven days or more were not uncommon. In the same survey, two-thirds of specialty pharmacists shared that administrative tasks were getting in the way of patient care, and prior authorizations were the leading cause of the delays. Despite these barriers, specialty pharmacies are working overtime to ensure patient therapy is not interrupted because of COVID-19 by replacing a manual process with a streamlined, electronic workflow. Specialty pharmacies now can initiate a patient search, gather clinical information and conduct the prior authorization all without leaving their electronic workflow, which helps patients get on their treatment journeys faster.

Pharmacists have always been on the front lines, and their time is more precious than ever as they cope with demands from the pandemic. That’s why having these healthcare professionals spend time on hold or waiting for faxes to come through to resolve administrative issues related to drug therapy problems is so inefficient. Pharmacies have been using electronic prescribing for nearly two decades, but more opportunities to improve efficiency exist. For example, the RxChange transaction can save time and replace inefficient manual processes, including alerting prescribers when a therapeutic interchange might be beneficial, a prescription needs clarification, or a medication is out of stock or on shortage. Over 1 million prescribers now send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically, and RxChange can help resolve issues safely and in a fraction of the time, thereby allowing pharmacists to focus on patient care.

Promoting Cost Transparency High prescription costs have always been a threat to medication adherence — and the problem is only getting worse. In a PwC survey from May, nearly a quarter of people shared that they were going to modify medication spending because of financial issues from COVID-19. But medication affordability can be a problematic issue for pharmacies to address, mainly because of manual processes that impede ready access to cost information when needed.


Streamlining the Specialty Prescribing Process

Looking Ahead By accelerating health IT use in pharmacies, these advancements will help pharmacy staff as they are increasingly recognized as essential healthcare resources and critical members of a patient’s care team during the COVID-19 pandemic. By leveraging new technologies, pharmacies can improve workflow efficiencies that enable pharmacists to work at the top of their license, and provide expanded patient services and optimal patient care amidst all of these changes and beyond. dsn


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Pharmacy’s Important Role Pharmacies are the key to ensuring patient access to a COVID-19 vaccine By Rich Tremonte

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

harmacies have historically stepped up to address public health crises and immunization needs. Now, they have an opportunity to play a crucial role in supporting a COVID-19 vaccine — particularly in rural areas where they are the primary healthcare destination for miles. Pharmacy-based immunization services can and should be leveraged to protect the health of our population. During the 2018-2019 flu season, 1 in 3 adult vaccines were provided at a pharmacy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thinking back to the H1N1 pandemic of 2009, 10 large pharmacies participated in the CDC’s H1N1 Vaccine Pharmacy Initiative. In three months, approximately 5.5 million doses were distributed to these pharmacies. A subsequent pandemic influenza vaccine study, published in Disaster Med Public Health Prep in 2017, showed that national vaccine administration capacity increased to 25 million doses per week with pharmacists included in the model, and the time to achieve 80% vaccination coverage nationally decreased by seven weeks. As the current health crisis continues, pharmacies are a proven asset to the healthcare system. We must ensure they are utilized to their full capacity for COVID-19 testing and immunizations to reach the most patients.

Preparing to Test and Treat To position themselves for COVID-19 testing, pharmacies must be equipped with the right resources and support. This includes education on how to obtain and/or update a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment, or CLIA, certificate of waiver, as well as an understanding of state-specific requirements. Pharmacies must then decide which tests to offer — diagnostic versus serology — and secure access to the necessary products and PPE through a trusted distribution partner. Most importantly, pharmacies must understand the path to reimbursement and how to bill for tests performed. In anticipation of a commercial vaccine, pharmacies should stay in close communication with


their distributor to ensure timely access and obtain any supplementary products needed to store or administer it. They should also prepare to inform their communities on the availability of testing and immunizations, while communicating their safety and efficacy to instill confidence in patients. Robust digital and social media marketing will help pharmacies educate patients, who are increasingly connected to their devices, on the services offered. As pharmacies begin to provide these new services, we must ensure they can be properly and fairly compensated for their work.

Advocating for Reforms The pandemic has highlighted the essential need for advocacy at the state and federal levels to support reimbursement reform and expansion of the pharmacy scope of practice. Pharmacies have been fighting a financial battle against low reimbursement and direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR, fees for years. Legislators should eliminate DIR fees to help pharmacies maintain viability amid current economic challenges, especially at a time when their services are so critical. The Department of Health and Human Services recently authorized pharmacists to order/administer COVID-19 vaccinations to persons age 3 years old and older. In August, HHS also authorized state-licensed pharmacists to order/administer all CDCrecommended and FDA-approved vaccines for children between the ages of 3 and 18 years old, aiming to strengthen vaccine access during the pandemic. These are positive developments, but questions remain about how pharmacists will be reimbursed for this service. Legislators must recognize pharmacists as reimbursable providers under Medicare Part B to both assist in the response to COVID-19 and support future public health initiatives.  With nearly 90,000 pharmacies in the United States, they represent the most accessible healthcare destinations in this county. Like doctors, pharmacies must be treated as essential sites of care for COVID19 testing and immunizations to protect their businesses and, most importantly, patients. dsn


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Home Essentials Houseware industry sees record growth amid pandemic By Leana Salamah

T Leana Salamah, vice president of marketing, International Housewares Association


he pandemic has upended any number of industries — but among all the wreckage are a few that have persevered and even (gasp!) thrived. Drug stores are one. Along with grocery and mass retail, these essential retail channels have been a bright spot, not only in terms of financial success, but as key players in making sure that consumers have been able to acquire the necessities that have been getting them through this trying time. On behalf of consumers — and moms — everywhere, I personally thank you for your efforts and the risks that you shouldered keeping your stores open and providing essential services. Your employees put themselves on the front lines by coming into work and making sure that our needs were met. Stores that remained open to provide essential services during the crisis stand to realize enhanced customer loyalty in the years ahead. In fact, many consumers indicate that they are now relying on stores like yours for products that they might normally have purchased somewhere else. The home and housewares industry has discovered its own essential nature for consumers during this crisis. Immediately after the pandemic became known, our industry saw record growth. In retrospect it’s no surprise, is it? Spaces that were meant for entertaining guests are now in-home classrooms. Remodeled kitchens are the background for Zoom calls taken from the breakfast nook. The focus on the home is absolute, and consumers looking to buy products to enhance their homes are often first looking at the options offered by their preferred essential retailer (that’s you). Drug and grocery stores have always carried some degree of housewares products. Humidifiers, personal groomers and, especially, kitchen gadgets and cookware. These have always been high-margin products albeit lower volume, as consumers were perhaps more inclined to buy these categories elsewhere. Today, we see the perfect convergence of “essential”— as housewares category demand intersects with consumer dependence on — and loyalty to your stores.

To give you a sense of the overall opportunity, I’ll point you to some key statistics from NPD Group, which tracks point of sale and register receipts to realize actual consumer purchasing habits. These are stats from the first several weeks of the pandemic through April, but all have continued to outperform 2019 numbers.

Personal Care:

• Facial trimmers $25 million; • Home hair clippers up 18 million; • Hot air stylers up $4.7 million; and • Massaging appliances up $1.2 million.


• Metal bakeware up $5.2 million; • Traditional food storage up $3.2 million; • Non-electric can openers up $2.3 million; and • Caps up $1.2 million. These are categories that can naturally flow into your store and generate real profit for your business. And they show no sign of slowing down; in many instances, we wondered if we were just pulling holiday spending forward — but the truth is that the holidays look very different from past years and may require even more in-home spending. How many people are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time because they normally travel to another relative’s home? Do they have all of the necessities on hand to host at home? Will the winter holidays see fewer people, but on more discrete occasions? All seems likely in the near term. As the “home authority,” the International Housewares Association tracks and reports on consumer trends, and the concepts of safety, security, health and wellness all have taken on new meaning and increased gravitas as of late — and the opportunity for stores to up- or crosssell consumers is immense. Please look to IHA as a resource as you consider how to enhance your home and housewares offering, and I look forward to discovering all of the new product innovations borne from the pandemic with you at The Inspired Home Show 2021 on Aug. 7 to 10, 2021. dsn


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Just the Facts Targeted education can overcome health literacy challenges and improve adherence to chronic condition drug therapies By Dr. Charles Lee

Dr. Charles Lee, senior director of clinical knowledge, First Databank


ne of the few certainties about COVID19 is that patients with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension and other chronic conditions are at the highest risk for coronavirus complications. Keeping these patients as healthy as possible through adherence to their drug therapy may not prevent them from contracting COVID-19, but it may lead to a better prognosis — and it’s recommended by leading medical associations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Community pharmacist-led interventions can improve patient adherence to medications and have been demonstrated to help in managing blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.

Multiple Causes of Nonadherence Apart from protection from COVID-19 exacerbation, adherence to treatment plans — including medication therapy — can improve outcomes. The CDC reports, however, that the majority of patients with cardiovascular and other chronic conditions take less medication than prescribed or stop the medication altogether after only six months. For hypertension, this nonadherence costs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at least $13.7 billion annually, and contributes to 100,000 emergency department visits and 7 million inpatient hospital days. Nonadherence is multifactorial and may be due to a patient’s reluctance to take medication or forgetting to take it. In addition, low health literacy can be a major obstacle. Low health literacy is associated with patients forgetting to take their medications and being more likely to take less medication than instructed compared with patients who have fewer health literacy challenges.

Visual Elements Aid in Learning Information technology can play an important role in helping pharmacists educate patients about their medications in order to close knowledge gaps and increase adherence. For example, community


pharmacists can integrate patient education tools into pharmacy management systems and dispensing workflows to deliver personalized medication information and education. Patients with low health literacy, visual challenges or language barriers also can be identified in the system so that pharmacists are alerted when opportunities for education arise. The way the patient education is delivered matters. Patient education aimed at medication adherence should include simplified, patient-specific medication instructions written at a 5th- to 8th-grade reading level, with large font sizes to ensure readability for the elderly and visually impaired. Education can be enhanced by visual elements as well. For example, simplified graphical calendars of all of a patient’s medications and dosing pictograms can be powerful adherence-building tools and can help prevent dosing errors. Instructional videos can also be provided for the patient to review at home for drugs that require some skill to administer, such as inhalers and injectable medications.

Multilingual Instructions Are Crucial Instructions should also be available in many languages to support the large, limited Englishproficient population in the United States, which is at high risk for medication errors. I understand these challenges firsthand. As an immigrant from Korea to the United States at age 7, I witnessed family members struggle with health literacy and language barriers, which inspired me to dedicate my career to effective patient education focused on health literacy and language. Education about patients’ medications is one of the most important and personal roles pharmacists can perform, especially for those patients who tend to need greater assistance but might hesitate to ask for it. By leading the medication adherence charge through enhanced education and overcoming patients’ health literacy obstacles, community pharmacists in the age of COVID-19 can play an even more important disease prevention and management role. dsn


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Making Telehealth Accessible Bonum Health offers partnership to make improved health outcomes more accessible to pharmacies and patients


shton Maaraba, president of Bonum Health, talked to Drug Store News about how his company can help retailers improve consumer health.

Drug Store News: Tell us about Bonum Health. Ashton Maaraba: Bonum Health is a digital health technology company. Our team combines compassion with technology to help people everywhere take control of their health. Our focus is on making health care accessible, affordable and convenient for everyone. By using our Bonum Health mobile application (available for both iOS and Android), website or by being a Bonum Health+ for Business member, patients and employees nationwide can access not only U.S. board-certified medical providers, but also have access to our health risk assessment tools and personal protective equipment from home or on the go. DSN: What differentiates your company from your competitors? AM: We are a unique low cost, deeply discounted and affordable patient-, providerand pharmacist-centric telemedicine platform. With over 650 board-certified physicians and providers on staff, our patients gain access to affordable nonemergency medical care with Bonum Health’s free, customized telemedicine service buy-down code that is exclusive to retailers in our preferred membership program. Patients register the dedicated retailer code, linking it to a preferred member pharmacy. We have also partnered with RxSense’s SingleCare savings card program to innovate the patient telemedicine experience even further. We plan to integrate a proprietary smart pharmacy technology that further enhances prescription affordability at the first mile of prescription issuance.


Bonum Health provides a new Brand PAK (Pharmacy Activation Kit). This is a glitzy and attractive professional marketing tool kit that includes a variety of in-store, digital and social media messaging resources that help pharmacist educate and promote the collaborative care, telemedicine service experience between the store and Bonum Health Virtual Care Practice Specialists.

Ashton Maaraba, president, Bonum Health

Bonum Health also provides employers with a user-friendly and engaging mobile application that bundles telemedicine, a COVID19 risk-assessment tool and an e-shop where employers can order personal protective equipment in bulk as needed. DSN: How do you help chain and independent pharmacies thrive? AM: We help chain and independent pharmacies by boosting their value-add medical service offerings by diversifying their healthcare market basket and helping them connect with the mobile and remote patient. With the discount service care coupon, they can offer patients, a unique, health care approved patient service model that deeply discounts access to premium, virtual medical care services. Our tools can help pharmacist form new relationships with digital healthcare prescribers in the 49 states that our medical providers e-prescribe, and we can help convert front-end shoppers into program participants.

DSN: Can you talk about your company’s telehealth services? AM: Our telehealth services focus on the more than 15 million uninsured Americans, communities secluded from accessible health care, and the many more that suffer from high-deductible insurance plans that are searching for relief from their overburdening medical expenses. The Bonum Health telemedicine service has become more of an adherence-driven, virtual care platform than your traditional model. We are seeing a lift in medication adherence data because patients can both afford to speak to our physician and can opt for prescription delivery from their pharmacy of choice, so they never even have to leave their homes to pick up their prescription. These are two key indicators of medication adherence. DSN: How are you helping pharmacies amid the pandemic? AM: Our B-to-B tool, Bonum Health+, gives pharmacists the option to generate new revenue by reselling Bonum Health+ as a healthcare benefit for one low price per employee per month. This includes telemedicine services with access to the 650-plus board-certified providers, a proprietary COVID-19 risk-assessment tool, and exclusive access to our PPE e-shop that provides discounts on bulk PPE to safeguard individuals and employees. Each solution is white labeled and adds value to the retail pharmacist arsenal of health services products they offer today. dsn


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Getting Card$mart Designer Greetings focuses on building out greeting card sections at independent and small retailers


teven Gimbelman, CEO and president of Designer Greetings, said that the company’s Card$mart program can help build sales at mass retail. In a talk with Drug Store News, he outlined how the program can be best utilized. Drug Store News: We have noticed a lot of card shops have closed in areas near many of the independent and small chain drug store retailers. How can the Designer Greetings program benefit independent drug stores and small chain retailers when there are now fewer places to buy cards? Steven Gimbelman: Designer Greetings offers a variety of programs that are designed to help your pharmacy increase sales. The Card$mart program, selling cards at 50% off every day, is a traffic driver for independent and small chain retailers. Offering the most extensive title selection in the industry with over 23,000 card titles, Card$mart also provides a Preferred Giftware Vendor Program, which is an exclusive benefit to the retailer, whereby the store owner gains access to top gift vendors across multiple gift categories. In addition, part of Designer Greetings’ array of product is our premier gift wrap line, known and recognized nationally as the branded “Glitterwrap” program. This program includes the essential gift wrap items, such as gift wrap, roll wrap, gift bags, bows and ribbons, all in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit every customer’s need. DSN: How can the independent drug store or small chain drug store compete with greeting cards at Walgreens and CVS? SG: A top advantage for independent drug stores is that Designer Greetings’ Card$mart program out values the national drug chains. The three national drug chains sell their cards at full price. As you know, card prices have risen dramatically and the discerning shopper is discouraged. With Card$mart, the shopper can purchase cards at 50% off the published


retail price, without sacrificing quality. Such appealing pricing drives traffic to the store, creating new customers. This is one of the only products an independent drug store retailer can buy that out values national retail drug chain stores. In addition, data has shown that the Card$mart customer will purchase more units of cards, ultimately improving the retailer’s profit, an advantage every retailer is seeking. DSN: Why should an existing store think about giving up prime space in their location? SG: Card$mart Store-In-A-Store is a huge traffic driver. Card$mart is one of the only programs that an independent drug retailer can buy that out values the national chains. While the cost to the customer is “half” the price, Card$mart greeting cards do not sacrifice on quality. Card$mart products are equivalent to the competition’s high-end full price card lines. Moreover, while customers will receive quality product at a value price, the likelihood that they may purchase more units ultimately drives up retail sales, bringing new customers to the store. However, if your store does not

meet the minimum space requirements, our dedicated and experienced sales team will help find the program that best suits your store to maximize greeting card sales. DSN: What is the state of the greeting card category right now in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, and how has Designer Greetings continued to meet customer needs? SG: During this unprecedented time, greeting cards remain part of the product sold in the essential business channels, drug and food, thus we are seeing strong sales coming from these channels, especially for our new card line we created specifically to address COVID-19, Care and Concern. The Care and Concern line offers the perfect sentiment for this difficult time with encouraging messages, such as “Yes you can!” and “It’s a good day for a good day.” The ability to send a hand-written card to a friend or family member at this time is like sending someone a big socially distant hug. Designer Greetings hopes our cards will put the biggest smile on someone’s face. Visit us at CardSmart.com or on Instagram, @ CardSmartCardAndGift. dsn


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Innovating to Grow Nordic Naturals focuses on innovation to grow its profile


ith consumer demands changing at a rapid pace, retailers and suppliers in the vitamin and supplements categories must be willing to evolve at a fast pace. Brian Terry, the national sales manager for food, drug, mass and specialty at Nordic Naturals, spoke with Drug Store News about the state of the VMS space. Drug Store News: Can you tell us about Nordic Naturals? Brian Terry: The company, founded in 1995, sells products in 43 countries across six continents. We are diligently working to expand in the mass channel and to bring our success across all of our business units to provide customers with a premium offering from a company they can trust. When you factor in our penetration into the natural segment, Whole Foods Market stores and the mass channel, Nordic Naturals is a top 25 brand in all vitamins and supplements sets across all channels. Nordic Naturals is set apart by its high-quality products, which are manufactured using best-in-class ingredients that are backed by science-based research. Nordic Naturals ensures freshness by bottling all of its fish oils in an oxygen-free, nitrogen-rich environment. This guarantees effective, great-tasting fish oil in each serving. Additionally, all of our products — from essential nutrients and probiotics to fish oils and vitamins — are non-GMO; dairy- and gluten-free; and made without preservatives, artificial flavors and artificial colors. DSN: What is new at the company in regards to products and promotions? BT: The company is continually innovating to expand its best-in-class manufacturing and product development operations. While we’re best known for our fish oils, we also own our gummy manufacturing facility, which allows us to craft and


are certain items that might not have been as prominent a year ago have new life, as constant studies and education from consumers are continuing to drive growth. Customers are also wanting to be able to trust what is being put in their bodies, so the brand and ingredients are very important, as the shopper has changed. Finally, the ability to connect with customers via omnichannel, with store pickup, delivery and traditional shopping are all interconnected is changing how brands market and learn about new products.

Brian Terry, national sales manager for food, drug, mass and specialty, Nordic Naturals

sell our proprietary Zero-Sugar gummy line, including Vitamin D3, Melatonin, Curcumin, Children’s DHA Gummies and more. Nordic Naturals has also recently introduced Nordic Immune Daily Defense, a 4-in-1 product that includes a high-potency blend of vitamin C (1,000 mg), vitamin D3 (2,000 IU), standardized elderberry (429 mg) and zinc (15 mg). Additionally, the company has the first concentrated cod liver oil on the market. We’re constantly innovating and have many new offerings that will be launching in the upcoming months and years with a robust schedule. DSN: The nutrients category is changing. Tell us about that. BT: There are a lot of new customers that are entering the category. Innovation as well as education of existing items are increasing substantially, so understanding that they

DSN: What do you recommend retailers do to get the most out of the category? BT: Customers are shopping the healthand-wellness categories far greater than in the past. Many brands will be experiencing increased sales, however deeper evaluations of brand loyalty will be instrumental in retaining these new customers, larger market baskets, cross-selling categories, and measuring many aspects of a brand’s importance to a category. DSN: What does the future look like? BT: Nordic Naturals intends to build on its success and to play an even more prominent role in helping people by providing the omega-3s and other essential nutrients they need to maintain good health and immunity. The future includes continued growth, high-quality offerings to the category, incremental consumers, and science-based innovation that includes expansion of all vitamins and supplements as we continue to evolve as an essential nutrients company. We’re working to expand our business in multiple divisions, even though we are one of the few companies with a diversified business that includes natural food stores, food/drug/mass chains, professional doctors, e-commerce, an international scale, and a presence in both the sports (NSF certified) and pet categories. dsn


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Quality at the Forefront HempFusion stands out in the crowded CBD space through its thorough processes and quality product BY SETH MENDELSON


n the crazy, crazy world of CBD, you have to be prepared to walk the walk and talk the talk if you want to survive. Officials at HempFusion said they think they are one of those companies. In fact, executives at the Denver-based company said they have implemented the right steps to ensure they offer the best quality products at affordable price points, backed by sensible merchandising to get consumers to notice the brand and develop a strong relationship with it. Frankly, they better be. With more than 3,000 suppliers and an estimated 25,000 products competing for both valuable retail space and the hearts and minds of consumers, the CBD category remains a world of false starts, great promise, and a lot of waiting around for the dust to settle. The bottom line is that CBD has been the talk of the retail world for nearly three years now. Yet, the promise of dynamic growth at retail — and the expected profits that would follow for all involved — have been met by the reality that the category is too crowded and the lack of industry oversight that has led to concerns over consistent product quality. Those issues, plus a warning from the Food and Drug


Administration about the category, have put a damper on the industry’s performance. Some retailers have refused to stock CBD-based products, while others have limited their selection. Meanwhile, many consumers simply are confused by it all and also have taken a wait-and-see approach to the category. Yet, while the category has underperformed on expectations, the potential remains extremely strong for those CBD companies willing to take the necessary steps to calm retailer fears and consumer anxieties. In fact, it has become extremely clear that the survivors in the CBD battles will be those suppliers that provide sound business plans, unique products and perhaps, most importantly, the wherewithal to produce products that merchants and consumers will trust and work. Everyone is waiting to see which companies are going to step up to the plate. “We have to meet and exceed consumer expectations in this category because of everything that is currently taking place,” said Jason Mitchell, the CEO and one of four co-founders of 5-year-old HempFusion, a privately owned company with about 50 employees. “At the end of the day, the main factor is having the quality


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that meets consumer expectations and gets our retail partners comfortable enough to carry our merchandise on their shelves.” The key, Mitchell said, is to follow the established rules and practices of this complex category. In manufacturing, for example, he said that HempFusion only produces products in FDA-registered facilities that are compliant with current good manufacturing practices and uses a primary manufacturing facility that is ISO 9001 certified. Testing and validation also are part of the program. Mitchell said that HempFusion does the following to ensure the best quality product: • All raw materials are tested for identification, microbiological safety, heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides — including glyphosate — as well as residual solvents; • All finished products are tested in an independent ISOcertified third-party lab for cannabinoid profile, terpene profile, residual solvents, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals and microbiological safety; • All finished product testing is available publicly by accessing the on-pack QR code or by entering a lot code on the HempFusion website; • All other botanicals used in HempFusion formulations are properly tested to make sure they are free of residual solvents and other potential contaminants; and • Prior to their organic hemp even being planted, soil on the farms also is tested for pesticides and herbicides (including glyphosate), fungicides, heavy metals and other contaminants. Testing even extends to water sources adjacent to the farms, since that could have an impact on the hemp crops. Soil testing is important because hemp is a bioaccumulator. He also said that HempFusion uses an exclusive panoramic hemp extract from European Commission-registered, DNA-verified hemp and is participating in a number of studies addressing questions about CBD products posed by the Food and Drug Administration about hemp. All hemp is grown using organic methods, Mitchell said. “We do all this to make the public feel comfortable with our product line. When they see the HempFusion label, they will know that we are a company that dots the I’s and crosses the T’s. The result is also

that we are now the third-most-recognized CBD brand, according to the Brightfield Group, a Chicago-based organization that closely tracks data in the CBD industry,” he said. “We know that retailers are risking a lot when they get involved with CBD and they want answers to what they should be offering their shoppers,” he said. “They are not going to take chances and put their consumers’ safety at risk. We have those answers.” Of course, promoting the products is part of the process, too. And, Mitchell said that he relies on a combination of what he calls the “digital footprint, influencers and word of mouth” to get people to learn more about HempFusion and its sister company Probulin. Between the two brands, there are more than 50 hemp and probiotic products. Products in the line are focused on alleviating stress, helping with sleep and providing energy. A new eight-SKU topical line focuses on such issues as pain relief, acne, eczema and first aid. Mitchell can take credit for much of the company’s success. A naturopathic doctor board certified by the American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board and a longtime board member for the US Hemp Roundtable, many CBD officials agree that he has been a driving force behind the company and the category. Straight out of college, he became involved with the vitamin category, eventually becoming the chief science officer at Country Life Vitamins. In the process, he helped design and launch more than 300 dietary supplements and related products to the market. In 2013, suffering from his own debilitating illness, Mitchell started Probulin, a company that now offers a wide range of probiotic products that could support a body’s needs. Two years later, he helped start HempFusion. The two companies merged just over a year ago. “We did this one brick at a time,” he said. “At first, it was just an idea. Through innovation and addressing the direct needs of consumers, we built this company up to what it is today.” The future calls for more products that will satisfy consumer demands and needs, and possibly the entry into the food and beverage industry. “We are going to stay true to our formula of creating a portfolio of products that are compliant,” Mitchell said. “We try to minimize the risk for our retail partners and still develop products that consumers want.” dsn


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Criticality’s Korent Select Tackles Dry Skin

Sweet Reason Cracks Open Evening Blend CBD Drinks

Industrial hemp company Criticality is using its CBD expertise to tackle dry skin with the latest product from its Korent Select brand. The Wilson, N.C.-based company is launching Korent Select CBD Hydro Moisture Sealant. The product, sold in a 6.5-oz. spray bottle that incorporates 200 mg of full-spectrum hemp extract, features such nourishing ingredients as olive oil and shea butter. “We are excited to share our Korent Select CBD Hydro Moisture Sealant as an option for consumers with higher level skin concerns,” said Criticality CEO Brian Moyer. “We have not seen a product like this in the hemp-focused product market to date, and it is a great complement to our award-winning liniment.” CBD Hydro Moisture Sealant is designed to be used daily on damp, clean skin to lock in moisture and enhance overall hydration. The citrus-scented spray features hemp extract from hemp grown on U.S. family farms that also has been tested and analyzed for safety, quality and regulatory compliance, the company said.

Sweet Reason is growing its lineup of CBD-infused sparkling beverages with Evening Blend, a trio of sparkling drinks that combine broad-spectrum hemp, calming herbs and adaptogens to help unwind at night. “We created Evening Blend as a response to these unprecedented times and couldn’t be more excited to introduce these beverages as a way to find calm in today’s world,” said Hilary McCain, founder and CEO of New York-based Sweet Reason. “We’re on a mission to calm the minds of humankind — we all know 2020 could use a whole lot more of that.” Evening Blend is sold in three flavors — plum blush, peach jasmine and citrus spice — each with 30 mg of broad-spectrum hemp. The drinks also include ashwagandha, ginseng, l-theanine, chamomile, sceletium, lemon balm and limonene. The company said it was responding to consumer demand for alcohol alternatives. “We saw ourselves reaching for a cleaner, healthier way to unwind at night without alcohol, so we created our Evening Blend to meet that need,” McCain said. “We chose high quality ingredients that deliver a noticeable calming effect, scientifically-backed cannabinoids, herbs and adaptogens all with known calming benefits. Most alcohol alternatives replicate the taste of alcohol, but not the effect. With Evening Blend, we have formulated a product that does both.” Evening Blend sparkling beverages are available on the Sweet Reason website at $45.99 per six pack or $7.50 per bottle. They also are sold in 12 and 24 packs. Additionally, the company offers the drinks via same-day delivery in such cities as Manhattan, Brooklyn and Los Angeles.



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BioFit 360 Debuts Sleep Tincture with CBN, Melatonin BioFit 360 CBD is branching out into other cannabinoids with its latest product. The Los Angeles-based brand has unveiled its Deep Sleep tincture, which combines CBD; cannabinol, or CBN; and melatonin. “Many people have heard about how CBD and melatonin can enhance sleep, but the amplified, sleep-sustaining properties of the cannabinoid CBN are just beginning to come to light,” said Heather Hughes, BioFit360’s president. “When combined, the three create a sleep tincture that’s more effective than anything we’ve ever seen before, without grogginess and with a great taste.” CBN increasingly has been used by CBD companies for its ability to help overcome restlessness and enhance sleep. “These three substances work together to make deep restful sleep possible,” Hughes said. “Since your body already produces them naturally, the negative side effects of many other sleep aids have not proven to be an issue.” The product carries a suggested retail price of $145. The products currently are available at Canopy Growth’s online store.

Kadenwood, Purity Organic Intro CBD Hot Teas CBD company Kadenwood is joining food and beverage brand Purity Organic for its first foray into the CBD space — Purity Organic CBD Hot Teas. The line features several benefits-focused herbal teas made with non-GMO ingredients and high levels of CBD. Purity Organic CBD Hot Teas use Kadenwood’s CBD formula to include 15 mg of CBD in each tea bag. The teas also adhere to Purity Organic’s focus on offering products that are free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. The line features English breakfast tea,


Sleep Chamomile Tea, Revive Earl Grey Tea and Focus Green Tea & Lemon. “We’re focused on building a line of CBD products under the Kadenwood umbrella that bring consumers new options in formats that best allow them to experience CBD in a way that fits into their daily lives,” said Erick Dickens, co-founder and CEO of Kadenwood. “Our consumers wanted us to explore products in new categories, and we sought to find a partner that reflected our commitment to quality when entering the CPG space. We’re excited to roll out Purity Organic Hot CBD Teas as we continue to explore new markets for our CBD products.” The suggested retail price per 18-bag box is $24.99 found on purityorganiccbd.com.


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For the second year in a row, Drug Store News is shining a spotlight on high-performing women in retail pharmacy and mass retail by celebrating their achievements in our pages. DSN’s 2020 Top Women in Health, Wellness and Beauty program honors more than 85 women from the retail and supplier sides of the industry. These women were selected by their peers and divided into three categories � Commitment to Care, Business Excellence and Rising Stars � designed to recognize women at all levels of their organizations. Each winner has made significant contributions to the industry and helped smooth the way for the next generation of female leaders. The winners are: 42 42 November November 2020 2020 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM DRUGSTORENEWS.COM

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COMMITMENT TO CARE NANCY LYONS Chief Pharmacist Health Mart Vice president of pharmaceutical solutions and services McKesson As chief pharmacist of Health Mart, the independent pharmacy franchise under McKesson, Nancy Lyons leads and executes Health Mart’s clinical direction, which has an impact on the more than 5,000 locally owned Health Mart pharmacies nationwide. Additionally, she collaborates with the National Independent Advisory Board, Health Mart franchises and the leadership within McKesson Community Pharmacy to expand clinical services and improve pharmacy performance. A pharmacist by training, Lyons has an extensive background in education, clinical pharmacy and diabetes care, having played a key role in developing clinical practices at Albertsons and Supervalu. Lyons also has worked with Accredo Specialty Pharmacy, Roche Diabetes Care and directed Drug Store News’ continuing education and clinical content before her time with McKesson. EMLAH TUBUO Pharmacist and owner Powell Pharmacy Challenging childhood experiences in the Central African country of Cameroon inspired Emlah Tubuo to serve others. A passionate pharmacist driven to treat patients with dignity, love and kindness, Tubuo opened Powell Pharmacy in Ohio in 2019. She offers education, support and guidance, with a focus on functional medicine, nutraceuticals, preventive medicine and chronic disease management. Tubuo is known for going the extra mile to enhance patient care. Tubuo earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, a Master of Science degree in molecular biology at Chicago State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology from the University of Buea Cameroon. She serves on the Alumni Board of Governors of OSU College of Pharmacy and worked as an ambulatory care pharmacist for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

TARA THOMPSON Pharmacist and founder The Sexual Health Pharmacist Vice president of clinical services Innovation Compounding When she recognized the lack of pharmacist education in the field of sexual medicine, Tara Thompson created The Sexual Health Pharmacist website and social media platforms to bring education to the public surrounding sexual medicine and treatments. Her passion is counseling and educating patients and providers alike about men’s and women’s sexual health conditions, ranging from vulvodynia and interstitial cystitis to erectile dysfunction and Peyronie’s disease. Thompson has been a practicing compounding pharmacist at Innovation Compounding in Georgia for eight years in the field of sexual medicine, and she also co-developed an advocacy panel called “justASK!” which hosts different sexual health experts on a monthly basis to encourage patients to ask questions surrounding sexual health. She is a supporter of the LGBTQ community and an advocate of mental health and the fight against sexual trauma and trafficking. ASHLEY KUNKLE Pharmacy district manager U-Save-It Pharmacy Since joining the U-Save-It Pharmacy team as a pharmacy student in 2005, Ashley Kunkle continually has strived to improve processes, training and operations at U-Save-It. Kunkle has been on the forefront of the adaptation of such enhanced pharmacy services as diabetes education, immunizations, medication therapy management and advanced inventory management. Kunkle’s passion lies in creating processes that maximize customer care. She has served as a preceptor at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy for community pharmacy and entrepreneurship for 13 years. Ashley is part of U-Save-It’s management team, where she helps find innovative solutions to drive growth and sustainability for the independent family-owned pharmacy chain, which has 26 locations, 22 of which are in Georgia.

OTHER COMMITMENT TO CARE WINNER: Heidi Barrett, pharmacy manager, Walgreens



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DEDICATED LEADERS for Being Recognized as DSN’s 2020 Top Women in Health, Wellness & Beauty!







Sr. Director Customer Strategy, OTC

US Category Head, Pain Relief

Director Shopper & Category Insights, Walmart





Shopper Engagement Manager, Walgreens

Marketing Director, Digestive Health

At GSK, these valued and well-deserved award winners continue to demonstrate commitment and leadership. They are game changers and an inspiration to women across the industry and GSK! © 2020 GSK group of companies or its licensor

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R I S I N G S TA R S DESIREE SURPLUS Patient care pharmacist and regional community outreach coordinator Albertsons, mid-Atlantic, Acme Pharmacy Desiree Surplus is passionate and committed to promoting the health of women, the underserved, those with HIV/AIDS and individuals with mental health disorders. As a member of Women’s Initiative and Inclusion Network, an American Academy of HIV Medicine Certified HIV Pharmacist, a licensed immunizer and pharmacist authorized to administer injectables, she holds American Pharmacists Association certificates in medication therapy management, immunization delivery, diabetes care and travel health. Her zeal for community health and education is evidenced in her over 50 immunization clinics and innovative strategies, such as “have flu shots will travel,” parking lot/roving flu clinics and social sandwich boards. She is a 2007 graduate of the University of Sciences in Philadelphia. MARIANA FERREIRA Head of drug wholesale and managed markets Beiersdorf US Mariana Ferreira has worked in the commercial and consumer goods business development field for more than 17 years. Ferreira’s expertise spans both retail and industry for worldwide major chains that include Walmart and Carrefour, where she led high performance focused teams to successful outcomes. She joined Beiersdorf in 2013 as the national account manager for Walmart Brazil, then as team leader for international and key accounts based in Brazil. “My goal is to challenge what is already in place by pushing myself and others to move beyond their comfort zone, bring new ideas to the table and execute them with excellence, thereby delivering outstanding results,” she said. LAUREN ABENDROTH Senior category analyst Coca-Cola As a senior category analyst, Lauren Abendroth helps support Coca-Cola’s Total Beverage Business at Walgreens. Abendroth has been with Coca-Cola for two years and in CPG for approximately five years. She has experience in both the drug and mass retail channels, and is passionate about digging into shopper and category data


to find compelling stories that drive growth. She has developed fact-based, shopper-centric business plans for retail categories, helped mass retailers optimize their assortments and leveraged incremental sales. She earned certification from the Category Management Association as a Certified Professional Category Analyst, which involves gaining expertise in pricing, promotion and assortment analysis, and other areas. KATIE ROLLINS DELSIGNORE Senior shopper marketing manager Coca-Cola Katie Rollins DelSignore calls on CVS Health and manages Coca-Cola shopper marketing programs nationally. Rollins DelSignore started her professional career at Coca-Cola in 2011 as a category analyst in the drug channel. She then moved into a sales and operations role as an account executive, managing the Coca-Cola portfolio at CVS Health. Most recently, she served as a marketing asset manager responsible for Coca-Cola’s contracts with New England assets, including the Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and NASCAR. Prior to her career with Coca-Cola, she lived in Germany where she played professional basketball. She was a four-year starter for the women’s basketball team at Harvard University and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She serves as president of the Harvard Basketball Alumni Association. CASEY HUTH Sales manager Hello Products For five years, Casey Huth has held roles in both marketing and sales at Hello Products, which makes natural toothpastes, deodorants and other personal care items. Huth’s current responsibilities across various channels include online, specialty and grocery, as well as shopper marketing. She began her career at Hello Products as a “mintern” during her final year of college, where she earned her honors marketing degree. She enjoys bringing her cross-functional experience working with her retailers to bring meaningful, millennial-focused innovation to drive incremental growth across categories. She also has an interest in empowering the next generation of women and co-leads the WE Next Gen board. She is an active member of the WE Community that is committed to championing representation and providing support to women in the industry.


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37% HIGHER GROWTH than drug retailer front end*

WE’RE HERE TO HELP YOU THRIVE IN THE DRUG CHANNEL • Headquarter Sales • In-Store Retail Support • CPFR Inventory Forecasting

*Source: iRI Unify Data 52 week 08.09.20 Total U.S. Drug - Total Store; CROSSMARK supported Brands within represented Retailers


Kristen.Abreu@crossmark.com www.crossmark.com

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R I S I N G S TA R S ANGIE DANIELSON Pharmacy manager Hy-Vee Angie Danielson began her career with Hy-Vee in 2004 as a pharmacy intern. In 2007, Danielson began working as a full-time registered pharmacist and later as a pharmacy manager. In 2018, she was chosen to join Hy-Vee executive staff as a pharmacy supervisor and was later named Hy-Vee’s 2019 Supervisor of the Year. Hy-Vee’s operational philosophy is to take exceptional care of customers, while helping them meet their health-and-wellness goals. She leads the pharmacies in her territory with excitement and promotes exceptional service to help customers meet or exceed their health-and-wellness goals. She also guides her pharmacies to provide a variety of services, including medication therapy management, immunizations and COVID-19 testing. SHELBY ENDICOTT Vice president of fashion and beauty Hy-Vee When Shelby Endicott began working for Hy-Vee’s corporate office in 2003, her first position was in produce purchasing. Endicott has since moved to nonfoods and in 2009 was promoted to general merchandise purchasing specialist. In 2016, she was named director of beauty and apparel and held various positions before being promoted to her current role as vice president of fashion and beauty in January 2020. Over the years, Endicott’s work has been recognized by her employer and by DSN’s sister publication Progressive Grocer. In 2013, she was named Hy-Vee Staff Member of the Year, and in 2014 she was named one of Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery. Endicot earned her Associate of Arts degree in marketing and retail merchandising from Des Moines Area Community College, and in 2014 completed the Iowa Grocery Industry Association Leadership Institute. STEPHANIE TROUTEN Category manager for beauty Kinney Drugs Stephanie Trouten’s passion for beauty started at age 5, when she developed new hair and makeup looks on her family members. As she grew older, she saw that beauty could transform a person and bring confidence and wellness to somebody’s life. Trouten graduated from Western Michigan University and worked for Save A Lot in buying and category management. In 2017, she joined Kinney Drugs, an employee-owned company based in Syracuse, N.Y., and


took her dream job of category management of beauty and personal care. She has advanced each category through product assortment, merchandising, pricing, promotions, social media, inventory control and new product launch parties. This year has redefined and reshaped the beauty industry, bringing new engagement and users, and Trouten said she looks forward to incorporating these new trends and evolving each beauty category with the changing landscape. SARA ROSZAK Vice president of pharmacy care and health strategy National Association of Chain Drug Stores At NACDS, Sara Roszak is responsible for a portfolio focused on the advancement and expansion of pharmacy care services. Separately, she also serves as vice president of research at the NACDS Foundation, where she oversees innovative patient care research grants. Prior to joining NACDS, Roszak held positions at the National Association of County and City Officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She also worked for former Sen. Bob Graham at the congressional commission and then a presidential commission. Roszak graduated with a doctorate in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019, and she completed a dual master’s degree program in international affairs and public health at George Washington University. She lectures and writes about community pharmacy, diabetes prevention programs and other topics. VAL AGDALIPE Sales director of Walgreens personal care Procter & Gamble Val Agdalipe is the sales leader for Walgreens personal care, which has annualized sales representing over $130 million. Agdalipe delivered a tremendous 2019-2020 year with regard to top-line, bottom-line and share growth. She delivered top-line sales growth of 23%, leading the channel and significantly ahead of the North America average, while over delivering her bottom-line targets. She delivered share growth in three core categories, while also entering into two new categories during the last quarter of the fiscal year during the midst of COVID-19. She is an expat from the Philippines and has increased levels of responsibilities in managing the Asia-Pacific business, as well as leading the market strategy and planning group in the Philippines for the beauty care division. She has received awards for her leadership and results in shopper-based design.


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*Beiersdorf, Inc., will donate $1 to kindness.org for each NIVEA® product purchased from October 1 to December 31, 2020, up to $200,000. Visit www.NIVEAusa.com/choosesoft for more details. No part of your purchase is tax deductible. DSN_Template.indd 1

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R I S I N G S TA R S MEGAN BERLAND Group director of shopper-based design Procter & Gamble Megan Berland leads omnichannel retail shelf design for P&G’s North America personal care business, a portfolio featuring Old Spice, Secret and Olay. She partners with retailers to make the shopping experience in store or online effortless and engaging, through rich understanding of shopper behavior and retailer strategy. In 15 years with P&G, Berland’s career developed in sales and marketing strategy, and she pioneered work in omnichannel retail innovation. She enjoys building high performing teams and leading innovation that will have a meaningful impact for the future. NICOLE DVORAK Director of sales for North America oral care Procter & Gamble While P&G directors are often asked to play many roles, Nicole Dvorak is the only one who also is a commercial leader. As the commercial leader for mouthwash, Dvorak is responsible for leading a multifunctional team of 20-plus people to create consumer meaningful innovation, market and strategy sales plans for the Crest and Oral B mouthwash businesses. She also creates the right go-to market strategy and execution plans to enable a successful rollout to retail and continue its expansion plans for P&G’s new oral care brands Arc, Native and Gleem. She has strong expertise in holistic business planning, breakthrough go-to-market strategy and execution, customer relationship building and management, leveraging data and analytics to turn insights into action, promotion planning, and has outstanding stewardship. She raises the bar every year in oral care at P&G. HAILEY HELIN Sales operations director for U.S. skin care Procter & Gamble Hailey Helin leads the development of winning plans to drive category growth across the market by working with more than 20 teams to deliver value creation for P&G and its retail partners. Helin began her career at P&G more than nine years ago as an intern, and she has become an expert at building strong relationships with internal and external partners to deliver results. In 2017, Helin led the turnaround of the P&G Target skin care business, delivering back-to-back years of growth for the first time in nearly a decade. Her passion for developing a winning culture leaves each team stronger than when she joined. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University.


LAUREN LARSEN Senior director of sales for the Walmart feminine care business Procter & Gamble Lauren Larsen has built a career breaking the tension of women’s health taboos in retail, while bringing products to the market that elevate women’s confidence and give back in a meaningful way. Last year, Larsen led the launch of Just, a Gen-Z brand that looks to normalize period protection and drive awareness of mental health stigma. She leads P&G’s Walmart feminine care business and has partnered with Walmart to drive the Always #LikeAGirl program, donating more than 2 million pads to girls in need. She invests in her local community and has a passion for mentoring and coaching women inside and outside of P&G, especially working moms. JESSIE MAZUR Sam’s Club sales director for personal care Procter & Gamble Jessie Mazur started her career at Procter & Gamble as a sales intern. Throughout her 11 years in P&G, she has worked across the home care, healthcare and beauty care categories. In the last three years, Mazur has worked in the personal care category, first leading and developing winning strategies at Walmart and P&G, and now managing P&G’s personal care business in Sam’s Club. She works closely with partners to drive shared business growth and to continue building the team’s skills. Under her leadership, P&G was recognized by Walmart as the Category Advisors of the Year for the second straight year. She is a passionate champion for gender equality, leading P&G Women’s Network leadership team in Fayetteville, Ark. JULIE NIEHAUS Target sales director Procter & Gamble Julie Niehaus leads P&G’s oral care category growth and market share strategy at Target, P&G’s second-largest customer. Niehaus manages joint business planning negotiations and multiyear strategy, including opportunities for growth with national and captive brand development with the partner retailer. She is an active member of the Network of Executive Women CPG leadership organization, serving on the NEW’s Next Gen National Board from 2016 to 2019. She also currently serves on the University of Missouri Trulaske College of Business Marketing Board and leads P&G recruitment efforts at the university, her alma mater. She has been with P&G for more than eight years and managed the company’s North America $350 million Oral-B manual brush and $150 million Oral-B floss businesses.


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Barbara Poremba

Emily Rogers

National Retail Sales Vice President

Senior Category Manager

Business Excellence Award

Business Excellence Award

Katie DelSignore

Lauren Abendroth

Senior Shopper Marketing Manager

Senior Category Strategic Advisory Analyst

Rising Star Award

Rising Star Award

Cheers to all the 2020 Top Women in Health, Wellness and Beauty! And a special thank you to our Coca-Cola winners for refreshing the world and making a difference through your remarkable contributions. You are an indispensable ingredient in our secret formula. Congratulations!

Š2020 The Coca-Cola Company

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R I S I N G S TA R S MEGAN PUKALA Commercial director of skin for the Amazon team Procter & Gamble Megan Pukala is the commercial account director for P&G’s Amazon skin care business, where she oversees all aspects of delivering P&G megabrand Olay at the e-tailer. Over her 12-year career with P&G, Pukala has developed multifunctional and multicategory expertise from a unique range of assignments spanning engineering, consumer research, marketing and sales disciplines across all P&G health and beauty categories, as well as the paper sector. She has led initiatives at each stage of the product development cycle from seed to launch, growing both $1 billion brands and new item launches. She is a proud champion of equality and diversity within her organization and her business. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Northwestern University. ANNA RICELLI Health team leader and senior account executive, Meijer Team Procter & Gamble Anna Ricelli leads a 13-person multifunctional team and is responsible for the P&G oral care business at Meijer. Ricelli reinvigorated the P&G oral care business, which had been declining before her arrival. Her primary responsibility is the P&G Crest and Oral B business, and she has consistently developed key strategies to enable Meijer to capture market growth through display and a shopper-based shelf set. She also plays a critical role in helping P&G develop winning strategies in oral care and ways to accelerate the food channel business. Her colleagues describe Ricelli as a real game-changer who demonstrates strong leadership and strategic thinking. Her coaching of her team is recognized as best in class, and her energetic ideas lead to additional growth. Prior to this role, she led the digital business for the Meijer Team. TOMEKA WILLIAMS Senior director of sales Procter & Gamble Tomeka Williams has led multimilliondollar businesses across various categories with an emphasis on beauty and wellness. Her relentless focus to serve all consumers has enabled her to deliver outstanding results over her 13 years with P&G, both


on the business and in the community. After graduating from UNC Greensboro, Williams began her P&G career as a sales representative for healthcare products. She has since worked various project manager and customer team positions for such retailers as Walmart and Delhaize. In her community, she is a founding member of the Community Cohesion Project, an initiative focused on making Northwest Arkansas a more inclusive environment for all. She’s delivered science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics programming to thousands of minority girls by leveraging the power of P&G’s scientists to inspire others. YANA HANSEN Category manager for beauty care Stop & Shop Yana Hansen is the category manager responsible for all things beauty at Stop & Shop. From curating an at-home spa experience to sourcing every hand sanitizer type imaginable, enabling customers to take care of themselves and their loved ones is her top priority. Through her work on the engagement committee and in partnership with other Ahold Delhaize banners, Hansen brings cross-functional teams together to deliver on company values. Hansen, who is fluent in Russian, once worked as a director of purchasing for a company in Moscow, where she negotiated contracts with P&G, Johnson & Johnson, and Unilever. MEAGHAN DEVANEY GEIGER Category management team lead Unilever Meaghan Devaney Geiger has worked at Unilever for eight years, primarily on beauty and personal care businesses. She has worked her way up from retail analyst to category management team lead. Her objective thought leadership, critical insights and strategic solutions have consistently accelerated growth. Devaney Geiger’s cross-functional experience drives her acute understanding of both customer and consumer needs. In addition to driving strategy, she has led initiatives with Unilever’s women’s employee network, focusing on developing female leaders with purpose and expanding connectivity. She earned a Bachelor of Arts at The Ohio State University and once worked as a marketing and event planning intern at the American Heart Association for its Go Red for Women campaign.


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R I S I N G S TA R S AMY WADSTROM Vice president of clinical operations Vivid Clear Rx, a Hy-Vee company Amy Wadstrom began her career with Hy-Vee in 1996 after graduating from Drake University, and since then she has served in several positions, including pharmacy intern, registered pharmacist, pharmacy manager and pharmacy supervisor. In October 2020, she assumed her current position of vice president, clinical operations of Vivid Clear Rx, a new Hy-Vee company. Wadstrom has been widely recognized for her involvement with state pharmacy associations. She also continues to be involved with Drake University’s School of Pharmacy in a variety of clinical partnerships. She has led with a balance of achieving operational goals, while maintaining an unsurpassed level of customer service in her territory. Her focus always has been to be a mentor to Hy-Vee’s pharmacy team members for developing growth professionally and in the area of clinical practices.


Brittney Holmgren, senior category manager, Walgreens; Debbie Eklund, category manager, Kinney Drugs; Debra Strunk-Ross, patient care services manager, Acme Markets; Kendyl Scabbia, customer business manager, The Dowell Group; Mary Kaup, owner, JMK Boutique; Vanessa Barnes Springer, category manager for health, Kroger; and Shannon Heffernan, divisional merchandise manager for personal care, Walgreens.

B U S I N E SS E XC E L L E N C E MICAILA RUIZ COO and chief pharmacy officer Amber Specialty Pharmacy, a Hy-Vee subsidiary In just under 10 years with Hy-Vee, Micaila Ruiz has garnered respect and established herself as a voice of influence in both retail and specialty pharmacy circles. Starting as a retail pharmacy manager for the Midwest grocer in 2011, Ruiz, who also is a Hy-Vee vice president, now leads all operational functions across a national network of 21 locations for Hy-Vee subsidiaries Amber Specialty Pharmacy and Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions. Ruiz is motivated to lead her teams towards the building of exceptional and innovative whole health clinical programs. Possessing a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Ruiz currently is pursuing a master’s degree in public health with a focus on health law and ethics from Creighton University. JULIE ZATIZABAL Senior vice president of trade/ industry relations Amber Specialty Pharmacy, a Hy-Vee subsidiary Julie Zatizabal has a heartfelt desire to mentor other women the same way she’s been


mentored throughout her 30-plus years in the pharmaceutical and specialty pharmacy industry. From starting as a sales representative with Upjohn right out of college to her current role at Amber Specialty Pharmacy, Zatizabal said she thrives on bringing people together to move initiatives forward. She has been honored with numerous industry awards throughout her career, most recently by Hy-Vee, Amber’s parent company, with the Spirit of Hy-Vee Award. This award highlighted her motivating brand of leadership, her impact on the organization at large, and her ability to nurture business opportunities into successful, patient-serving relationships between manufacturers and the Amber team. SARAH POMPOSELLO Director of e-commerce Beiersdorf Sarah Pomposello has spent her career in CPG with experience in category, trade and sales. She is passionate about the brands and heritage of skin care experts at Beiersdorf. Over the last five years, Pomposello has been creating and refining e-commerce strategy, developing digital shelf presence with elevated content and driving online sales. During this time, both the brands and sales teams have experienced growth in e-commerce and digital acceleration. She is actively involved in youth


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Making ga W rld Di erence Congratulations Casey for being honored among the Top Women in Health, Wellness and Beauty. This honor exempliďŹ es your high level of passion, dedication and commitment to our organization. All of us at Owen Mumford are proud of you for this extraordinary achievement.

Casey Pieger, Director, Retail Sales 2020 Recipient of Drugstore News Business Excellence Award DSN1120/OMI/1020/1/US

For more information, visit owenmumford.com or call 1-800-421-6936

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B U S I N E SS E XC E L L E N C E sports, coaching or managing soccer, lacrosse and ski racing teams, including an alpine race team at a ski area in the Berkshire Mountains in New England. KERRY TOTTEN Key account manager of club and value channels Beiersdorf Kerry Totten has been with Beiersdorf for most of her career and has gained a strong background in analytics, category management, trade marketing and sales. Totten started her career in analytics with IRI, where she formed a solid data foundation. To enhance her knowledge set, she moved over to category management at Beiersdorf to drive the story of new items at retail. Over the years, she moved on to trade marketing and running the Walmart customer insights and replenishment team, and later became the team leader of customer insights at Beiersdorf. Now, she is key account manager of club and value channels. Her strength is in strategic thinking and insights driven customer execution, which blends fact-based analytics and fact-based selling. “Creating the win-win relationship between retailer-manufacturer is now my biggest objective,” she said. MARYELLEN TEFFT Vice president of sales for food, drug and mass Boiron USA The homeopathic manufacturer Boiron USA has enjoyed significant growth over the past 10-plus years, partly thanks to the work of MaryEllen Tefft. She has served in various capacities on the sales team with Boiron USA over the years, and today Boiron products can be found in seven categories across mass market retailers nationwide. “I feel so fortunate that I have been able to work alongside an amazing team with our truly collaborative retail partners to offer consumers a true point of difference in their self-care choices,” said Tefft, who leads the mass market team. The company makes products in the allergy, children and baby, cough-cold and flu, digestive, first aid, stress and sleep, and women categories. MICHELE COPPESS Senior strategic account manager for the Walgreens business Bausch Health Michele Coppess has been in the CPG industry for more than 30 years and has worked for industry leaders, including Johnson & Johnson, Ricola, Mattel and Del Laboratories


(now Coty). Coppess has a broad business background, ranging from high level account planning, team lead and corporate trainer to building trustworthy professional relationships. She has been managing the Bausch + Lomb eye care business at Walgreens since 2015 and develops key strategic business plans to ensure maximum profitability, both internally and externally. She has a passion for planning and executing game-changing opportunities, such as with the brand’s most recent launch of Lumify redness reliever eye drops. She piloted a speed-to-market initiative, developed messaging in the eye space and pioneered the first bridge to beauty with an eye care brand, solidifying Walgreens as the No. 1 drug retailer for Lumify. BARBARA POREMBA National retail sales vice president, CVS Health Coca-Cola Barbara Poremba leads Coca-Cola’s system partnership with CVS Health across 400-plus beverage brands and more than 8,000 retail stores across the United States. Previously, Poremba was vice president of food service in Retail Center of Excellence and vice president of food service North East Region supporting national, regional and local restaurant customers. Before Coca-Cola, she led Polaroid Corporation’s global B-to-B marketing team, working with law enforcement, healthcare, education and scientific research channels. Poremba is committed to helping others achieve their full potential in their careers and personal lives. She has volunteered with Delta Zeta National Sorority, Stamford, Conn., Boys & Girls Club Board, Network for Executive Women, Atlanta Chapter, and Women’s Foodservice Forum, as well as launched and led Coca-Cola Women’s LINC Field chapters. Poremba has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from Sacred Heart University. EMILY ROGERS Senior category advisor Coca-Cola As a senior category advisor, Emily Rogers supports the total beverage business at Walgreens. She has been with Coca-Cola for more than five years and in CPG for approximately nine years. Rogers has experience in the drug and convenience retail channels and is passionate about shopper behavior, category insights, and finding innovative ways to drive total store growth.


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B U S I N E SS E XC E L L E N C E JULIE HULTGREN Vice president of sales Conair With 18 years of experience working for one of the most innovative companies in the industry, Julie Hultgren is skilled in consumer products, sales, retail, key account development and marketing strategy. Hultgren is responsible for the growth and profitability of the Conair Hair Fashion Appliance business, as well as leading and empowering the sales team. She has led during challenging times — including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — and is teaching her team to be nimble and resilient. With her positive attitude, she encourages her team to work hard and never give up on the win. She has a passion for coaching and most recently became certified as a health coach. JODI MODRESKE Vice president of sales Conair With more than 25 years in the CPG industry, Jodi Modreske is a performance driven sales leader with a demonstrated career record of exceptional achievement. Modreske is a passionate team builder with a track record of setting people up for success and motivating teams to achieve results. She began her career in contract manufacturing with Perrigo and, in 2000, made the move into beauty with Newell Rubbermaid, where she spent the next 15 years. In 2015, she took an opportunity to move to the Conair, where she remains today. JOANN MARKS CEO and founder CosPro Marketing With a borrowed computer and her garage as a warehouse, Joann Marks founded Cosmetic Promotions — now CosPro Marketing — in 1990. From those modest beginnings, the firm has flourished, and 30 years later is a leader in beauty marketing. CosPro Marketing works with CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens, as well as every mass beauty brand. Prior to starting the firm, Marks worked for Almay, Revlon, Parfums De Coeur and Nat Robbins as a national account manager, handling chains such as Walmart, Albertsons, Eckerd, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens. Today CosPro has 23 employees, owns and operates a 40,000-sq.-ft. warehouse, and supports two offsite workshops for special-needs adults with thousands of hours’ worth of work each year. Altogether, the CosPro team produces and delivers more than 20,000 beauty kits each month.

DONNA IANNUCCI Chief marketing officer Country Life After receiving her MBA in marketing and finance, Donna Iannucci’s career shifted to CPG marketing at Lancôme, a L’Oréal company. After leaving Lancôme in 2000, she transitioned her career to the natural and organic industry at Twinlab, managing its supplement business. In 2006, Iannucci moved to the Hain Celestial Group, working her way to senior vice president of marketing. She managed over $400 million in revenue across multiple natural and organic brands and categories. At Country Life, Iannucci manages Country Life supplements, Biochem protein and Desert Essence personal care. She oversees the marketing, graphic design, trade marketing and e-commerce groups. The company recently won its second NEXTY award for a new product line. This award recognizes the most innovative, inspiring and trustworthy products in the natural products industry. KRISTEN ABREU Vice president of customer development for the drug channel Crossmark With more than 25 years of industry experience, Kristen Abreu is responsible for leading the teams that support Crossmark’s CPG vendor partners in driving profitable sales growth with CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. Abreu also leads the CPG sales and marketing agency’s retail support program in the drug channel, providing retailers and vendors with efficient and effective labor solutions. She joined Crossmark in 2013 as vice president of sales for the Walgreens team. Prior to joining Crossmark, Abreu held leadership roles with MARS Advertising as director of client services and with Walgreens as a divisional merchandise manager and category manager. She earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising and an MBA from the University of Illinois. LYNNE FRUTH President Fruth Pharmacy Lynne Fruth is a bold leader who is passionate about Fruth Pharmacy and its legacy of community service. The first Fruth Pharmacy opened in 1952 in West Virginia, and Fruth, a former educator and consultant, joined it in 2009. During her tenure, Fruth has grown the chain to 30 locations, created partnerships with providers to open 10 retail clinics in Fruth


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B U S I N E SS E XC E L L E N C E locations, and entered regional grocery stores to open small format pharmacies. Fruth led the way in removing single-ingredient pseudoephedrine (used by methamphetamine manufacturers) from all stores and helped encourage other chains to follow suit. She has been active in the drug fight by participating in naloxone training and harm reduction initiatives. She also spearheaded the creation of The Bridge of Hope Fund, which provides grants for training and education for recovering addicts. KAREN MACEYKO Senior national accounts manager for drug Galderma With her 20-plus year consumer sales career, Karen Maceyko is known for her proven track record of consistently exceeding sales goals and building successful brands in health, wellness and beauty. She has earned many honors, most recently the Galderma 2019 Inner Circle Award. Maceyko has held numerous senior leadership roles managing high-performance sales and marketing teams at top companies, including Galderma, Bausch + Lomb, RB, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Warner Lambert. While she has national broad account experience, she is keenly focused on drug. Maceyko has been recognized for driving creativity and innovation as an out-of-box marketer specializing in successful new items and Rx-to-OTC launch plans on leading national brands, including Cetaphil, Differin, Purell, Listerine, Benadryl, Sudafed, Lysol and more. KAREN EJDYS U.S. customer strategy lead for OTC GSK Consumer Healthcare Karen Ejdys leads the U.S. customer strategy and planning team for the $4 billion OTC portfolio at GSK Consumer Healthcare, including such category leading brands as Advil, Voltaren, Centrum, Emergen-C, Tums, Nexium, Robitussin, Theraflu and ChapStick. She is responsible for the development and deployment of activation plans for retail go-to-market strategies for GSK brands and categories along with the commercialization of innovation, including Rx-toOTC switch. Previously, Ejdys was the director for U.S. sales strategy for health and wellness at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. She has an extensive career in CPG, leading teams and expanding her influence through a variety of roles. She has served as a steering committee member for Pfizer’s Women’s Empowerment Network, is a member of GSK’s Women’s Leadership Initiative and Network of Executive Women, and has won such awards as the Pfizer Values Award and President’s Circle of Excellence.


STACEY HARRIS Marketing manager GSK Consumer Healthcare As the marketing lead for GSK Consumer Healthcare’s U.S. pain portfolio — which includes Advil, Excedrin and Voltaren — Stacey Harris is responsible for leading the strategy for brand management, digital marketing and innovation commercialization for these brands. Previously, Harris was the director for expert marketing. She held roles of increasing responsibility, including marketing director for digestive health, leading the team to deliver record-breaking growth on Tums and Benefiber; brand director on Sensodyne and Pronamel; and senior brand manager on stomach acid brands. She also worked in the U.S. sales organization. Prior to GSK Consumer Healthcare, Harris held brand management roles at ColgatePalmolive and Johnson & Johnson. Harris received her MBA from Clark Atlanta University and is active in her community with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. AMY JOYCE Director of shopper and category insights for the Walmart business GSK Consumer Healthcare One of Amy Joyce’s recent accomplishments at GSK Consumer Healthcare has been to transform the vitamins category at Walmart stores. As director of shopper and category insights for the Walmart business at GSK Consumer Healthcare, Joyce leads the team that works closely with Walmart. Its work in the vitamins category led to simplifying the customer experience and reducing shopping time by 46%. This initiative included full-category navigation signage and education, which resulted in delivering growth that was more than twice the rate of overall market growth. Joyce has 21 years of CPG and 16 years of OTC healthcare experience. She has held various roles of increasing responsibility across sales, category leadership and insights, while working across multiple retail customers at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Bayer HealthCare, Clorox and Nielsen. KELLY MATTRAN Shopper engagement manager GSK Consumer Healthcare At GSK Consumer Healthcare, Kelly Mattran leads the shopper marketing strategy for the Walgreens account. Mattran develops and executes against winning shopper marketing strategies, while collaborating with her marketing and merchant partners at Walgreens to drive multi-category


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B U S I N E SS E XC E L L E N C E growth. Most recently, Mattran joined forces with Walgreens on the Voltaren Rx-to-OTC switch that resulted in Walgreens leading the market at launch. The plan was a mix of in-store and out-of-store elements co-created with Walgreens. Together with Walgreens marketing, Mattran delivered a media strategy that leveraged data and insights from both companies resulting in dynamic creative and targeting to personalized audiences. Before joining GSK Consumer Healthcare, Mattran held shopper marketing roles in consumer electronics at Dell Technologies and food/beverage at PepsiCo. She started her career in retail marketing with Starbucks. AMY SHARON Brand director of the U.S. heartburn portfolio GSK Consumer Healthcare Amy Sharon is responsible for the development and execution of brand strategies and marketing plans for market-leading brands, including Tums and Nexium. Most recently, she was the marketing lead on Tums, where she led the team to deliver record-breaking brand growth. She also has held marketing roles of increasing responsibility across multiple categories at GSK Consumer Healthcare, including smoker’s health, skin health and oral health. Prior to joining GSK Consumer Healthcare, she managed the Trident Gum business at Cadbury. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family and being active in her community. She holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University. CHRISTIE WILMER Vice president of sales Henkel Beauty Throughout her career, Christie Wilmer has led CPG sales organizations across the United States. She is passionate about advancing women and is currently the Network for Executive Women Ambassador for Henkel. Prior to Henkel, Wilmer held several executive sales roles at Kellogg and PepsiCo. Wilmer’s influence led to Kellogg’s launching “Ingredients for Growth” as its platform for customer connections, and her “Cincinnati As One” program brought more than 1,000 employees together to give back to the local community and engage with local universities. Wilmer, who is a recipient of the WK Kellogg Global Value Award, was recognized as one of the Top Women in Grocery by DSN sister publication Progressive Grocer and was named “Who’s Who” for Customer Teams by Shopper Marketing.

ANNIE CHEN Vice president of marketing and innovation Hyland’s Annie Chen started her marketing career in pharmaceuticals and then spent the next 20 years developing and marketing consumer products across different industries and brands, ranging from Motorola and Nike to Clorox and Ergobaby. In each of those roles, she used consumer insights to develop new products and launched them domestically, as well as globally. Chen loves representing the voice of the consumer, and she applies this insightbased approach to lead Hyland’s marketing and innovation teams and looks to strengthen the connection to the brand with a new generation of consumers in a fast-evolving market and media landscape. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Waterloo and an international MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business, both in Canada. FAN BONNETT Senior director of global regions i-Health, a division of DSM Fan Bonnett has spent the last 15 years in the CPG industry and has a proven track record of breakthrough results on more than 30 brands, both domestically and globally. Prior to joining i-Health, Bonnett spent 12 years at P&G and gained experiences in brand management, digital marketing and working with retailers. At i-Health, she drives current businesses across all the existing global regions and countries in which i-Health operates, including launching a new brand in Brazil and leading the turnaround result in South Korea. She also spearheads the global expansion strategy work and looks for the next growth opportunity worldwide. She is skilled at thinking globally and acting locally, translating global brand strategies to align with local business strategies, as well as motivating internal teams and external distributors to deliver with excellence. SUSAN LEWIS Vice president of global brand strategy i-Health, a division of DSM Susan Lewis has worked in CPG healthcare marketing for more than 30 years. During that time, Lewis developed winning global brands, led the development of innovative new product solutions and directed the efforts of OTC medical detailing sales teams. For the past 13 years at i-Health, she has led the brand marketing efforts, delivering consistent strong growth through the company’s transition from a small, private equity owned organization into a leading global company, as the


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B U S I N E SS E XC E L L E N C E consumer division of DSM. Working with a very talented cross functional team, she has been instrumental in helping the organization achieve its vision of global leadership and led Culturelle Probiotics to become the No. 1 global probiotics brand. JOY SMITH Co-founder Joy Organics Before founding the premium broad-spectrum CBD brand Joy Organics, Joy Smith traveled the world as an itinerant speaker, empowering women in over four continents. Joy Organics was born out of Smith’s personal and transformational experience with CBD. After discovering that few products on the market yielded the results for which she was searching, she set out to create a trustworthy source of premium CBD at an accessible price. Since then, Joy Organics has grown into a national brand with some of the highest quality standards and most rigorous testing methods in the industry. The company has become widely recognized for its value of compassion and mission to improve lives in the United States and worldwide. LISA FUR Director of national accounts L’Oréal Consumer knowledge is important, and Lisa Fur learned what shoppers want when she began her career behind the beauty counters in department stores. Over the ensuing 25 years, she has become an industry expert, developing a broad background across classes of trade in account management, trade marketing, category development and sales strategy. At L’Oreal, Fur has overseen CeraVe, one of the fastest-growing brands in the Walgreens skin care category for the past five years. During her career, she has driven brands to maximize their fullest potential with her trade partners. She attributes her success to diving into the consumer mindset to form winning strategies, while constantly adding value to her business partnerships. PATRICIA JONES General manager of sales Mason Vitamins As general manager at Mason Vitamins in Miami Lakes Fla., Patricia Jones brings more than 25 years of experience in consumer packaged goods sales and service to her role. Jones has sold in the categories of specialty supplements and foods, health and fitness, beauty, grocery, direct to practitioner, food/drug/mass, club store, and online sales. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Arizona State University.


KATE JONES President and co-founder Mybite Vitamins Everything is better with chocolate, and Kate Jones wanted to make taking vitamins a treat, not a chore. The pioneer in the vitamin category created Mybite, a revolutionary delivery system incorporating all the best parts of a candy bar, such as chocolate, caramel coated peanuts and a fluffy center. Jones started her career in supplements more than three decades ago and co-founded the company that created the first gummy bear vitamin. Driven by a mission to improve health and educational opportunities to underserved youth in the Pacific Northwest, she spends time outside the office working with her family foundation, The KMR Group Foundation, to provide scholarships and nutrition assistance to the most vulnerable. CHRISIE FONG Senior director of shopper strategy and category management Nature’s Bounty Chrisie Fong has more than 20 years’ experience in the health-and-wellness space, working in the CPG industry with such companies as Bayer, GSK Consumer Healthcare and Novartis Consumer Healthcare. She has been with nutritional supplement maker Nature’s Bounty since early 2019 and is responsible for leading and developing category and shopper strategy and solutions, using key shopper insights. Fong leads a team in shopper activation, category management and promotional analytics, and has a keen ability to leverage analytics and insights to benefit both the customer and her organization. She also has a passion for driving a high performing team and advocating for young talent, and is continuously focused on developing, mentoring and coaching others. SAMANTHA GOLDSTEIN Vice president of customer development for the drug channel Nature’s Bounty Samantha Goldstein is an accomplished leader in the consumer products industry and has worked for such companies as Coty Beauty, Nielsen and now Nature’s Bounty. Goldstein was appointed vice president of customer development for the drug channel over a year and a half ago and is responsible for driving differentiated profitable growth across all of Nature’s Bounty’s leading brands within CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Rite Aid. A results-driven trailblazer, Goldstein said she enjoys the challenge of finding solutions to any opportunity. She is known for her optimism and turning objections into creative win-win solutions.


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B U S I N E SS E XC E L L E N C E CASEY COCHRAN PFLIEGER Director of retail sales Owen Mumford Casey Pflieger’s career began in the skin care industry 15 years ago. She earned accolades for her work in direct marketing for Murad, and later honed her brand management skills with CosMedix. In 2013, Pflieger was recruited to oversee marketing for the medical device manufacturer Owen Mumford’s North American division. Here she spearheaded rebranding of the Unifine brand and was instrumental in developing retail pharmacy programs and driving revenue growth. In 2019, she was promoted to director of retail sales, and oversees the diabetes care portfolio across the pharmacy channel, including wholesale, chain and independent pharmacy. Pflieger is known as a creative problem solver and a relentless researcher, unafraid to ask questions. “I love the pharmacy channel and its complex layers of gatekeepers, stakeholders and influencers,” she said. “Success depends on your ability to navigate each level.” TINA DOBUSH Senior marketing director for the wholesale division Piping Rock Health Products Since joining Piping Rock Health Products in 2016, Tina Dobush has been instrumental in developing and implementing wholesale marketing strategies, including digital marketing integrations, merchandising and communication plans for the Nature’s Truth and Sundance brands. Most recently, she played a pivotal role overseeing the development and launch of Pink, the wellness company’s new vitamin and supplement line for women. With her creative, merchandising and marketing background, as well as over 17 years’ experience in the vitamin and supplement industry, Dobush utilizes modern platforms to adhere to each brand’s vision and mission. Her expertise and passion for wellness enables her to lead teams to execute best-in-class merchandising, advertising, POP displays and innovative store of the future category designs, bringing top national brands to the forefront. STACI BAFFETTI Senior sales director for club and grocery Poo~Pourri Staci Baffetti is a senior sales professional with 20 years of retail experience and 15 years of experience selling leading CPG

brands to major retailers. Baffetti has an extensive background in sales, marketing, merchandising and customer service, with more than 10 years of management experience in skin care, fashion and other brands. In her career, she has sold to a variety of retail channels, including drug, beauty, club, grocery and mass accounts. Currently, she is senior sales director at Poo~Pourri, which offers a toilet spray made with essential oils. HELEN DRISKELL Vice president, Target beauty and personal care Procter & Gamble Helen Driskell is responsible for creating joint business plans with Target on P&G beauty and personal care brands that drive sales, profit, market share and category growth at Target. The multifunctional teams she has led have been recognized with Vendor of the Year selections by Target for OTC in 2019 and P&G enterprise in 2020. Driskell has successfully worked across P&G health, beauty, feminine care and baby businesses, and across channels — including drug throughout her 17-year career. Driskell is a passionate leader and advocate for gender equality. She co-leads the P&G U.S. Sales Women’s Network and serves as executive board co-chair at the Network of Executive Women in the Twin Cities. MEGAN TIMBERLAKE Vice president of sales for Walmart beauty, health and grooming Procter & Gamble A 19-year veteran of Procter & Gamble, Megan Timberlake is currently the vice president of sales for P&G’s beauty, health and grooming at Walmart. These businesses include such iconic brands as Olay, Pantene, Vicks, Crest, Always, Gillette, Old Spice and Head & Shoulders. She leads a multifunctional team that spans seven categories across Walmart stores and Walmart.com, which accounts for $4 billion in retail sales annually. Prior to her current appointment, Timberlake held numerous internal and external leadership roles across beauty, baby care, and snacks and beverages. She has broad-based channel experience across traditional food, drug and mass retailers and in e-commerce. She is active in the industry and local community boards, including the Walton Arts Center, the American Heart Association and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.


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B U S I N E SS E XC E L L E N C E SHEILA THOMAS Global head of patient insights and engagement strategy Sanofi Sheila Thomas, a pharmacist by training, is responsible for enhancing the understanding of patient insights and engagement utilizing a variety of sources, including patient communities and large data analytics. She joined Sanofi in 2013 as senior director of evidence-based medicine, national outcomes liaison directors. She also has served as health economics and value assessment, value frameworks engagement strategy leader. Thomas began her career as a retail pharmacist and has held various clinical leadership and health economics and outcomes research roles at biopharmaceutical companies and managed care organizations. In addition, she served on Ohio’s Public Health Advisory Board, Public Health Council and Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Committee. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy and PharmD degrees from The Ohio State University, where she is an adjunct professor. YVONNE ANDERSON CEO and founder Santevia Water Systems Seeking a natural remedy for her husband’s acid reflux, Yvonne Anderson created a niche in-home water filtration business. She and husband David launched Santevia Water Systems in January 2008, a family-owned business that’s grown steadily with sales in the United States, Canada, U.K. and Europe. Her passion for helping others spawned “Santevia Gives Back,” which gives 100 days of clean drinking water to people in need or every Santevia MINA Alkaline Pitcher sold. The company said it believes that access to clean, healthy drinking water is a right that is not available to all and, through a partnership with ACTS for Water, is on a mission to change that. Anderson has an undergraduate degree in kinesiology and a master’s degree in leadership. She enjoys an active, outdoor lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest. MAKENZIE GEIST Senior product manager Similasan USA Makenzie Geist helped Similasan USA achieve its highest-grossing year of sales to date in 2019 through implementation of innovative digital marketing strategies. The company makes eye, ear, allergy and other products with natural active ingredients. With eight years of experience in retail marketing, Geist leads educational training in the homeopathic space for retailers and other industry leaders. Previously, she worked as an account executive at a shopper marketing agency.


Clients included Procter & Gamble and its home care brands, such as Febreze, Unstopables and Swiffer, and the Colorado chapter of Volunteers of America, for which the firm did pro bono work. Geist graduated with honors from Texas Christian University with a dual degree in advertising and public relations. SUSAN LEVY Founder and principal Susan B. Levy Consulting With 35 years of global, cross-functional experience in consumer health care, Susan Levy has worked for such industry leaders as Merck/Schering-Plough, Pfizer/WarnerLambert and SmithKline Beecham. In 2011, Levy founded a boutique consulting firm, Susan B. Levy Consulting, which has helped start-ups, as well as many top U.S. consumer healthcare companies, develop and implement growth strategies. The firm works on acquisitions, divestitures, technology search, in-licensing of new technologies, Rx-to-OTC switches and effective/efficient marketing programs. Levy received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Cornell University and attended NYU’s Stern School of Business. She was named a Top 50 Entrepreneur in New Jersey by Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners in 2014, and was founding co-chair of the Consumer Healthcare Product Association’s Women’s Leadership Forum in 2019. HOLLY HARTSHORN Director of sales and marketing UltiMed Holly Hartshorn began her career in retail, and for the past 12 years has been with UltiMed, an injection device manufacturer and world leader in safe sharps disposal. Hartshorn is responsible for marketing, customer service and analytics. She develops customized programs that address customers’ specific needs, while improving the lives of people and pets with diabetes. She has spent most of her career working with high growth, entrepreneurial companies, and is a collaborative, energetic and strategic executive. “I am proud to be working alongside a great team who has a passion for creating an overall win-win for our customers,” she said. TIFFANY DANIEL Head of drug channel Unilever Tiffany Daniel started her career in brand management, working on some of the most recognizable brands in the world. She helped to lead Unilever’s launch of dry spray deodorant, which marked one of the biggest launches


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B U S I N E SS E XC E L L E N C E in company history. Tiffany transitioned into sales, and today oversees the drug channel at Unilever. She sits on the NACDS Retail Advisory Board and is a devoted mentor through the Jackie Robinson Foundation, an organization that provides student scholarships. DANA REED Rite Aid team lead Unilever A rising star in the consumer packaged goods industry, Dana Reed has more than 12 years of experience across health, grocery and beauty. Today, Reed oversees the Rite Aid business for all Unilever brands and manages a team of five from the Dowell Group, driving thought leadership in the beauty and personal care categories. She has proven her ability to overlay strategic planning with disruptive retail programs that drive growth. She also has helped reshape the thinking internally at Unilever on how brands go to market with an authentic experience at retail in the drug channel. This is knowledge gained when she spearheaded sales in the specialty channel for five years at Sundial Brands before the business was acquired by Unilever. JESSICA WILLIS Director of category management for Walmart and club Unilever With a diverse background in category strategy, sales and shopper marketing, Jessica Willis continues to make a positive impact on both business and people in the industry. Willis creates and executes shopper-centric category solutions that accelerate demand and drive competitive growth. For this, Jessica was recognized by Walmart and awarded the Spark Award for her contribution to servicing the customer and striving for excellence. At Unilever, she leads the Walmart and club category management team, where she invests in her people to achieve their purpose, and with her retailer partners to provide strategic thought leadership and bestin-class omnichannel execution. She is a mentor for many within her organization and community, and is a proud member of the Network of Executive Women. JINALI DESAI Vice president of health and wellness strategic initiatives Walmart A passion for improving health care access and affordability led Jinali Desai to join Walmart as an MBA intern in 2008.

Among her first accomplishments were to develop a strategy to leverage Walmart’s $4 prescription program to employers and to identify opportunities to revive Walmart’s specialty pharmacy division. In the last 10-plus years, Desai has led Walmart Health’s scale and technology strategy, pharmaceutical merchandising and health-and-wellness operations, overseeing approximately 630 stores. Each role has allowed her to deliver on her commitment by focusing on the consumer. Desai said she believes that health care requires disruption, and consumers deserve better outcomes and equity given U.S spend in health care. She said she is excited to be part of an organization that is willing to solve this problem. LA’REN LAUCHIE’-PAUL Category merchant Wegmans Food Markets With a background in nonprofit administration and a Master of Business Administration degree, La’ren Lauchie’Paul brings a well-rounded perspective to her role as category merchant with Wegmans Food Markets. Since 2018, Lauchie’-Paul has focused her management efforts to create customer focused assortments across the 14 personal care categories she manages. Her primary focus is to curate an assortment that meets the need of the customer, while partnering with brands that promote diversity, sustainability and innovation in the industry. She earned an MBA from the University of Rochester Simon Business School, and has worked in human resources in employee recruitment, training and development. OTHER BUSINESS EXCELLENCE WINNERS: • • • • • • • •

Aileen Stocks, general manager of marketing for VMHS, Nature’s Bounty; Cassandra Jones, vice president of beauty and cosmetics, Target; Jamie Revelle, director of UX research and accessibility, Express Scripts; June Risser, vice president/general manager, Galderma; Kimberly Weld, vice president/general manager of North America, PharmaCare US; Melissa King, managing owner and pharmacist, EverCare Pharmacy; Staci Bafetti, senior sales director, Poo~Pourri; and Vicki Enhellig, president and CEO, Good Day Pharmacy. dsn


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The Generic Lineup DSN rounds up some of the leading generics companies and their latest developments By Sandra Levy


his month, Drug Store News is highlighting the standouts of the generics industry dedicated to making drug cost savings possible, particularly at this critical time when the healthcare industry has been affected by COVID-19. Their efforts include developing and launching new products, and ensuring a supply of critical products. The following generics companies are firms that have made clear their committment to going the extra mile to keep costs in check for prescription medications, while keeping patients healthy.

Alembic In 2020, Bridgewater, N.J.-based Alembic launched a number of products, including desonide lotion, tizanidine HCl, adapalene gel, clobetasol cream, clobetasol shampoo, bimatoprost topical, timolol maleate gel, azithromycin and doxycycline hyclate. “Alembic continues to make significant investments into its pipeline and capabilities,” said Eric Purcell, vice president of sales and marketing. In 2019, Alembic invested over 14% of global group sales into research and development, with most of that investment targeting the U.S. market. In addition to product development, Alembic has invested significantly into dedicated facilities for solid oral dose, dermatology products, ophthalmics, injectables and oncology injectables, as well as three facilities that produce active ingredients for the U.S. market. “Alembic is laser focused on building on its reputation as a strong supplier to its customers with high levels of service. This is built on a foundation of vertical integration, strong and flexible manufacturing capabilities, as well as adequate inventory levels and strong planning in the United States,” Purcell said. “We’ve also worked with customers to provide assistance to patients that may have trouble affording their medications.”


Generics will continue to be a critical component to health care in the United States, he said. “Generic products help to control costs for payers and patients, and spur investment by innovators into new therapies that ultimately benefit patients,” Purcell said. “Generics manufacturers must hold themselves to ever higher quality standards to garner the trust of regulators, doctors and patients that is critical to success.”

Amneal Since July, Amneal Pharmaceuticals has launched more than seven generic drugs, including fluphenazine tablets, metyrosine capsules, atazanavir sulfate capsules, naproxen oral suspension, methotrexate tablets, pilocarpine ophthalmic solution and dimethyl fumarate delayed-release capsules. Bridgewater, N.J.-based Amneal also received Food and Drug Administration approval for olopatadine nasal spray and lidocaine patch. “Amneal is bolstering all levels of the supply chain, while working with customers on demand forecasts to ensure we have sufficient quantities of critical products to meet needs of patients as the pandemic continues,” said Andy Boyer, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of generics. “Generics continue to be part of the solution when it comes to affordable, accessible health care. These products increase patient access to therapies otherwise priced beyond most people’s reach. Nobody can ever know what the future holds, but the safe bet is that generics will only play a greater role as time rolls on.”

Ascend Labs Ascend Laboratories recently obtained FDA approvals for several generics, including dimethyl fumarate, tolvaptan, azathioprine and colchicine.

“We are continuing our inventory infrastructure by building on-hand inventory to higher levels and enhancing our product dating through an ongoing continuing stability studies to lengthen expiration dates,” said John Dillaway, executive vice president at Parsippany, N.J.-based Ascend Labs. Dillaway also said, “Generics will continue to be a high demand alternative to expensive branded products as their safety, efficacy and money-saving positions will continue to attract conversions from off-patent products.”

Aurobindo Aurobindo Pharma has increased its generics portfolio with the following approvals in recent months: methotrexate tablets; flucytosine capsules; azelastine hydrochloride, Aurobindo’s first nasal spray; and imatinib mesylate tablets. Paul McMahon, senior vice president of commercial operations, said that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization worked harder with their global teams to take all measures to keep product flowing as seamlessly as possible in terms of production and logistics, so that East Windsor, N.J.based Aurobindo’s customers could continue to rely on the firm’s outstanding production and delivery services even during what has been a very challenging time. “As the world is beginning to open up, Aurobindo strives to come out of this even stronger than before, and having garnered a stronger relationship with customers for how the company was able to step up, deliver and keep their service levels high throughout the pandemic,” McMahon said. In the coming months, Aurobindo plans to launch many new products as it continues to expand its portfolio, which currently includes more than 516 abbreviated new drug applications approved by the FDA, McMahon said.


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Its portfolio growth has been accompanied by ongoing investments in its infrastructure, particularly in plant and capacity expansions, as well as the creation of new facilities to fuel growth in the years ahead. McMahon also said that Aurobindo remains focused on strengthening the company’s existing businesses and developing a differentiated and specialty-driven product portfolio. “Aurobindo continues to perform well across the organization’s key geographies, while providing excellent customer service,” he said. “The size, scope and commitment to driving value establishes Aurobindo Pharma as the partner of choice for some of the largest retail and wholesale customer organizations worldwide, all of which has contributed to Aurobindo continually being ranked as one of the fastest-growing generic manufacturers year after year. The future is bright in generics and we will continue to set ourselves apart and perform well, which is key to the company’s success.”

Camber Pharmaceuticals Camber has made several product launches, including dimethyl fumarate DR capsules, as well as the 30-day Starter Kit that contains a 120 mg 14-count and 240 mg 46-count bottle, silodosin capsules and venlafaxine hydrochloride ER capsules. Upcoming launches include antifungal itraconazole oral solution; zafirlukast tablets; rospirenone and ethinyl estradiol; and daptomycin lyophilized injection. “At Camber, we pride ourselves in learning about the needs of our customers to anticipate and mitigate potential supply issues. Our ongoing commitment to build ‘safety stock’ is only one example of how our proactive approach helps us all succeed,” the company said in a statement. “We are diversifying our portfolio to include more complex generics and have a commitment to a robust injectables product line. Due to our strong vertical integration, Camber is adept at managing global supply chain events. Adaptability helps us overcome even the most challenging obstacles. From sales and marketing to customer service and finance, Camber strives for flexible and transparent


communication to quickly solve even the most complex problems.”

Dr. Reddy’s Labs Dr. Reddy’s currently is waiting for FDA approval or feedback on more than 100 abbreviated new drug applications. By the end of the fiscal year next March, Dr. Reddy’s said it expects to launch more than 30 new products in multiple disease categories. Many of these products will be complex or difficult to make, and they will fall in the limited competition space. Additionally, Princeton, N.J.based Dr. Reddy’s is growing significantly in the oncology space, with the introduction of several complex injectable products. The company continues to leverage its relationships with oncology treatment centers and hospitals. In October, Dr. Reddy’s launched sapropterin dihydrochloride tablets for oral use and cinacalcet tablets. “We have a very close relationship with our trade partners, and we are excited about the prospect of bringing new products to our customers and strengthening our relationship with them,” said Marc Kikuchi, CEO of Dr. Reddy’s North America generics. Part of Dr. Reddy’s strategy has it focusing on building a reliable and flexible supply chain for its products. “We remain committed to supporting our customer through demand surges and helping them be successful, and serve patients with an uninterrupted supply of medicines,” Kikuchi said. “We are well-positioned for sustained profitable growth given our strong base business and proven capability in complex generics with strategic investments in R&D for proprietary products and biologics. Our core business performance remains strong. Our growth levers are proven, vigorously executed and continue to deliver. We will continue to make strategic investments for long-term, sustainable growth. At the same time, we will continue to explore selective business integration and opportunities to augment growth.”

Upsher-Smith Labs Upsher-Smith Labs kicked off 2020 with three generic

product launches and kept the momentum going throughout the year. In August, the Maple Grove, Minn.-based company also announced that it entered into an exclusive agreement with a pharmaceutical partner to develop and market corticotropin injection in the United States. The company recently launched fluvoxamine maleate tablets, haloperidol tablets, clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets, propafenone hydrochloride extended-release capsules and ethacrynic acid tablets. “Upsher-Smith’s commitment to go above and beyond normal expectations for our customers is at the core of everything we do,” said Mike McBride, vice president of partner relations. “The company’s history of quality product supply and enduring customer relationships are playing key roles in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. We remain focused on the health and safety of our employees and building inventory on key products to ensure that we continue to deliver a consistent, reliable supply to customers and patients.” McBride said he believes that the U.S. generics market remains challenging with continued competitive pressures. “This market experienced dramatic price deflation between 2017 and 2019, driven by a significant increase in the number of generic competitors, an increase in FDA approvals of new generic drugs and further purchasing consolidation,” he said. Finally, McBride said that Upsher-Smith is committed to continuing investment in its organic pipeline as a foundation for future growth. “We are focused on adding more new product development programs and more complex programs — both generic and niche brands — to our portfolio. While this adds some complexity, it also adds the opportunity to drive stronger and diverse growth,” he said. “Upsher-Smith remains committed to investing in our ability to efficiently produce generic products in our U.S. facility and to be among our customers’ top suppliers for the products we supply. Our team’s commitment throughout the organization to consistent product supply has earned our place in this challenging market, and this also will allow us to compete well in the future.” dsn


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Micro Labs USA Launches Two Generics Gilead’s Veklury Is First Approved COVID-19 Treatment The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first treatment for COVID-19 — Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug Veklury (remdesivir) for use in adult and pediatric patients aged 12 years old and older requiring hospitalization to treat COVID19. Veklury should only be administered in a hospital or in a healthcare setting capable of providing acute care comparable to inpatient hospital care, the agency said. This approval does not include the entire population that had been authorized to use Veklury under an Emergency Use Authorization originally issued on May 1. In order to ensure continued access to the pediatric population previously covered under the EUA, the FDA revised the EUA for Veklury to authorize the drug’s use for treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in hospitalized pediatric patients weighing 3.5 kg to less than 40 kg, or hospitalized pediatric patients who are younger than 12 years old weighing at least 3.5 kg. Clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of Veklury in this pediatric patient population are ongoing. “The FDA is committed to expediting the development and availability of COVID-19 treatments during this unprecedented public health emergency,” said FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn. “Today’s approval is supported by data from multiple clinical trials that the agency has rigorously assessed and represents an important scientific milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the FDA’s Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program, the agency will continue to help move new medical products to patients as soon as possible, while at the same time determining whether they are effective and if their benefits outweigh their risks.”


Micro Labs USA is introducing two new generic products, which are used for treating glaucoma, a condition characterized by increased intraocular pressure. The first new product is dorzolamide ophthalmic solution, available in a dosage strength of 2%. The company also is releasing dorzolamide and timolol ophthalmic solution in a dosage strength of 22.3 to 6.8 mg/ml. Micro Labs USA is vertically integrated in the drug substance dorzolamide and its manufacturing capacities are “doubling to address the growing need for these two ophthalmic products,” according to the company. Dorzolamide and dorzolamide and timolol have a market value of approximately $150 million, according to IQVIA.

Zydus Cadila Receives Tentative Nod for Generic Xeljanz The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to Zydus Cadila for tofacitinib extended-release tablets in a dosage strength of 11 mg. The product is the generic of Pfizer’s Xeljanz XR tablets. It is recommended for the once-daily treatment of adult patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis.


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Who’s Who in Pharmacy Technology and Automation Highlighting companies creating innovative solutions to help pharmacies thrive By Sandra Levy


mid the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists have been called upon to serve their patients in ways they may never have imagined. From filling an avalanche of prescriptions and administering COVID-19 tests to providing curbside pickup and home deliveries of prescriptions and OTCs, while also being responsible for clinical services. With only so many hours in the day, pharmacies are turning to automation and technological solutions to improve efficiency and keep up with patient needs. And the companies in this area have continued to churn out innovative solutions to help pharmacies successfully multitask. Here is a look at the shining stars in the pharmacy technology and automation industry that are helping pharmacists juggle their responsibilities and the products and services they are offering.

encompassing thoughtful features, honed by years of experience providing solutions for our nation’s top pharmacies and their patients’ needs.” Bavis Drive-Thru’s audio system offers the ability to remove background environmental noise in the drive-thru. “It allows for that audio signal to be present in a conventional console unit, but more commonly, that signal is provided to the store’s phone system,” Sieber said. “In this, every phone in the pharmacy is a potential portal to a drive-thru customer, which adds incredible convenience and flexibility when dealing with drive-thru customers.” Bavis remote delivery systems use advanced electronic drive systems that minimize the required parts, which yields low maintenance and power consumption. “Our pharmacy delivery systems offer greater carrying capacity than other systems, resulting in fewer delivery trips to the drive-thru and less time for both customers and staff,” Sieber said. The company’s newest entry is the Falcon Drive, a state-of-the-art drive system meant to use less energy and offer a smooth conveyor experience.

Bavis Drive-Thru Based in Maineville, Ohio, Bavis DriveThru initially offered drive-thru products and other applications to banks, savings and loans, and credit unions when it was founded in 1957. “Bavis Drive-Thru is known for ultratough, U.S.-made drive-thru equipment, using the latest technology that marries convenience, reliability and throughput with a positive customer experience,” said company president William Sieber. “Our unique pharmacy-specific range of drivethru equipment brings a targeted evolution,


CoverMyMeds CoverMyMeds was founded in 2008 with the common patient question of why health plans would not cover certain medications. “This question was the catalyst of an idea to create a website that enables providers, pharmacists and their staff to manage prior authorization requests electronically,” said Caitlin Graham, vice president of core network at CoverMyMeds. “Today, we’re still streamlining care teams’ prior authorization workloads,

while addressing additional medication access barriers for patients, such as affordability and complex processes for specialty medications. “CoverMyMeds’ electronic prior authorization solution allows for the requests to be fully managed online or through provider and pharmacy system software. “Our IntelligentPA solution expedites the prior authorization process within pharmacy systems and is designed to help decrease prescription abandonment,” Graham said. “We are able to auto-populate the electronic prior authorization request with the patient’s demographic information, and then the provider is notified of resolution options to fill the patient’s prescription. This helps free up time for pharmacists to focus on patient care and consultation.” CoverMyMeds’ specialty dashboard enables end-to-end visibility into the patient journey, while accelerating time to therapy by as much as 27%. CoverMyMeds also has developed a solution that Graham said arms patients with data that enables more informed therapy decisions based on cost, quality and convenience. Finally, when a provider initiates a prior authorization request electronically at the point of prescribing through CoverMyMeds, 43% of those determinations are made within minutes, addressing the barrier before the patient steps foot in the pharmacy, Graham said.

Digital Pharmacist Digital Pharmacist, based in Austin, Texas, with offices in Newark, N.J., was created to help pharmacies transform their businesses.


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“Since 2012, we’ve been known for providing pharmacies with everything they need to succeed in the digital age,” said Dustin Humphreys, CEO of Digital Pharmacist. “We’ve built our technology to help pharmacies attract new customers, increase efficiencies and grow their business, all while improving patient care.” Digital Pharmacist’s latest product is Rx Confer, a secure, HIPAA-compliant, two-way text messaging solution. It enables pharmacies to send targeted, secure text messages to hundreds of patients at once with a single keystroke to improve adherence and drive demand for incremental pharmacy services. The company also offers a customizable, HIPAA-compliant website and mobile app, which integrate with more than 70 pharmacy management systems to simplify secure prescription refills, transfers and patient communication. The company’s digital marketing offerings include a range of expert marketing services and support — from ad and reputation management to curated health resources — that are designed to help pharmacists attract more customers. Finally, Digital Pharmacist’s Interactive Voice Response offers a cloud-based, HIPAAcompliant solution that supports pharmacy operations by managing incoming calls. Pharmacies can automate and simplify greetings, call forwarding, multiple language translations and voicemail capture through a configurable and secure system.

EnlivenHealth Based in Raleigh, N.C., EnlivenHealth, a division of Omnicell, provides advanced technology solutions for intelligent patient engagement and communications. Currently used in more than 30,000 retail pharmacies nationwide, the EnlivenHealth Patient Engagement Platform empowers pharmacies and health plans to measurably improve medication management, adherence and safety for their patient and member populations.


EnlivenHealth’s solutions include Med Sync, a system designed to align prescription refills to a single date each month to coincide with appointment visits; CareScheduler, which automates scheduling, managing, reporting vaccinations and point-of-care testing; Opioid Mitigation Solution, which reduces the risk of accidental overdose from opioid use by applying evidence-based criteria to identify highrisk patients and activate naloxone co-dispensing; and Personalized Communications Solution, a digitized, omnichannel communications solution that uses EnlivenHealth’s clinical intelligence and pharmacy data to tailor communications to patients, creating a personalized experience for patients and health plan members.

iA Johnson City, N.Y.-based iA, which was founded as Innovation Associates in 1974, develops pharmacy automation and software solutions that enable pharmacists to focus on patient care. In November 2019, iA was acquired by a consortium of investors, including former Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Greg Wasson, which brought in new pharmacist-led leadership. The company recently refreshed its brand, including its name, iA, which is supported by the tagline: Unleash the Full Potential of Pharmacy. “Since our founding, we have employed innovative engineering design and highly effective manufacturing techniques to produce a wide range of customized technologies for a variety of industries,” said CEO Marvin Richardson. “Our goal is to help customers transform their pharmacy through our suite of leading-edge pharmacy automation and software solutions.” iA’s line of hardware and Symphony Software optimize fulfillment throughout retail, hospital/health systems, federal health care and mail-order pharmacies. Richardson said that iA’s pharmacy solutions automate prescription filling and allow the pharmacist to spend more time with

patients providing services. “From retail to mail order to central fill, iA works with our customers to tailor our software and hardware solutions to meet their needs and support the growth of their pharmacy,” he said. “We empower pharmacy providers and pharmacists to unleash the full potential of pharmacy.”

Inmar Intelligence Inmar Intelligence is based in Winston-Salem, N.C., where it was founded more than 40 years ago. Lari Harding, Inmar Intelligence’s vice president of client development, said the company’s first solution revolutionized the consumer coupon processing industry. “Previous practice had brands reimbursing coupon costs to retailers based on the weight of the coupons and/or sampling,” Harding said. “Our platform provided a complete count of all coupons, bringing critically needed automation, transparency, accuracy and security to the process of coupon settlement.” Harding said that promotion processing and settlement now are a part of Inmar’s Fintech Solution suite, which includes trade promotion optimization and EBT services. Inmar’s service to retailers and brands features returns management, including returns from trading partners and consumers, as well as Rx product returns for more than 80% of the nation’s pharmacies, wholesalers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and hospitals. The company recently opened a new processing facility in the Dallas area. The Inmar Intelligence Healthcare suite of services also includes recall management, Drug Supply Chain Security Act product-tracing solutions, consumer drug takeback programs and pharmacy financial management services. The financial management offering enables pharmacies to maximize profitability through better contract management, audit mitigation, and improved reconciliation and collections.


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Inmar also recently launched its Innovator Ecosystem, which seeks to integrate leading tech, analytics and media solutions into its platforms. Most recently, Inmar Intelligence debuted InmarPay in October, offering a unified omnichannel payment platform connecting consumer engagement and payments for retailers, pharmacies and CPG manufacturers. The platform will soon link to Inmar’s Retail Cloud, as well as patient billing and payment solutions.

InfoWerks InfoWerks, based in Las Vegas and founded in 1997, had its origin in data conversions. “We’ve expanded offerings over the years to meet the needs of pharmacy and the entire healthcare ecosystem,” said company co-founder and CEO Jeff Deitch. “InfoWerks positioned the brand to be the ‘pipes’ that healthcare data flow through to support software systems and other datadriven services throughout the industry. The company had a passion for interoperability long before it became a vital need in health care. InfoWerks is excited about the opportunities to continue to express that passion while advancing patient care.” Deitch said that data, accessibility, portability and interoperability are the most valuable assets of any organization. “We make those things happen, whether that be a data conversion from one system to another, secure archiving, gaining insights through analytics or sharing data between health information systems,” he said. “We address all these needs and more in the continuum of healthcare data management.” InfoWerks recently launched the latest generation of its iWerks platform and, in mid-2021, the company will debut a platform that allows for more efficient data processing and interconnectedness across its services. “This new platform helps address the latest regulations going into effect now and throughout the next few years,” Deitch said. “It will


enable our customers and team to improve existing and launch additional products and services faster and easier.”

KNAPP Kennesaw, Ga.-based KNAPP Healthcare Solutions provides state-of-the-art automation for the global pharmacy supply chain, with a particular focus on blending secure supply chain regulatory compliance, including track, trace and serialization, with efficient operations. The company’s customers include pharmaceutical manufacturers; wholesalers; pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs; retail chains; governmental organizations; health systems; and independent retail pharmacies. KNAPP delivers technology forward systems that automate central fill, mail, longterm care, specialty and retail pharmacies. “Leveraging award-winning approaches to the digital supply chain, including big data, predictive modeling and analytics and AI, KNAPP’s industry-leading prescription fulfillment automation allows our customers to meet their objectives sooner with superior results that provide a strategic advantage,” said Brian Sullivan, senior systems sales manager at KNAPP Healthcare Solutions, USA and Canada. “These often include improvements in accuracy and reduction in cost per script, improved service levels, and unique technology-driven solutions that improve the lives of the patient.” The company’s core products include: ATD and KMeD automated tablet and capsule dispensers for centralized pharmacies; Apostore automated storage and retrieval systems, both refrigerated and ambient, for the retail and specialty pharmacy; Pick it Easy Robots with AI from Covariant for medication put away and dispensing; and KiSoft One Pharmacy Execution Software systems with more than 1,100 installations supported worldwide.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions Health Care LexisNexis Risk Solutions Health Care, based in Atlanta, serves the pharmacy, payer, provider and life science industries by using identity, claims and provider data to deliver meaningful insights that can improve outcomes and operational efficiency. “Our provider validation tool enables real-time checks against all prescriptions — right within the pharmacy workflow — to ensure prescriber and licensure data are accurate and in compliance with federal, state and industry regulations,” said Craig Ford, senior vice president of pharmacy sales. “We also are known for our delivery of identity-based solutions and patient-level data to aid in patient identity management and personalized approaches to care.” Among the company’s offerings is LexisNexis Risk Solutions VerifyRx, which provides real-time compliance verification on prescription transactions at the point of care before transmission to payers, which helps pharmacies reduce risk and optimize reimbursement. The company’s Provider Data Masterfile serves as a centralized database that improves and evolves daily by ingesting, verifying and integrating incoming data, including proprietary data collection and outreach findings. LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ Socioeconomic Health Attributes enable pharmacists and other healthcare providers to better understand each patient for optimal engagement and, ultimately, better outcomes. VerifyRx, a tool that processes millions of transactions a day, is highly configurable and responsive, enabling real-time sub-second response on multiple compliance checks for all prescription transactions. Finally, a COVID-19 Data Resource Center identifies information, care needs, resources and other factors that healthcare organizations and professionals need to make informed decisions about the infectious disease. The company also enhanced the VerifyRx Prescriptive Authority Edit feature in response to dispensing of COVID-19-related prescriptions.


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Magstar Magstar, based in Canada, was founded in 1986 by Steven Greenwood and Ronald Ross. In 2012, the company was acquired by Constellation Software. “Our mission has always been to deliver an enterprise-wide software solution to the midsized multi-location retailer,” said president Greenwood. “For over 36 years, Magstar has been helping retailers integrate operations and synchronize workflows with omnichannel ERP and POS solutions made explicitly for specialized retailers. With an end-to-end solution that addresses your unique retail needs, you can automate processes, gain inventory visibility and outshine competitors.” For the pharmacy industry, Magstar Total Retail offers direct integrations

with Rx dispensing applications, as well as Appriss. The company also offers 2-D scanning of drivers’ licenses for ID and age verification, in addition to supporting EBT and flexible spending account cards. Magstar’s system also provides an internal gift card program and interfaces with third-party gift card programs. “Magstar has stayed ahead of the curve with our in store operational technology,” Greenwood said. “We support tablets for assisted shopper and curbside pickup payments, including BOPIS, or buy online pick up in store. We also offer mobile support, including receiving, ordering, transfers and inventory count, giving users access to real-time store and in-depth supply chain information.” Magstar Total Retail allows retailers to offer an optimized customer experience, while also increasing efficiencies on the back end. “Our direct integrations with a variety of pharmacy systems help to reduce

complexities. On the front end, things like internal gift card programs greatly benefit retailers by fostering loyalty from customers,” Greenwood said.

OmniSys OmniSys, based in Dallas, has a mission to help improve the health of health care by empowering retail pharmacists as a provider of care. The company offers medical billing, electronic health record, automated pricing and patient communication solutions for pharmacies, as well as consumer engagement programs for pharmaceutical manufacturers that drive value and deliver real results. OmniSys currently serves more than 25,000 pharmacies and connects to hundreds of payers.

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“We know that shrinking margins and changing market dynamics are putting pressure on pharmacies,” said John King, the company’s CEO. “But at the same time, provider status is expanding, and an increasing number of patients are choosing the pharmacy as their preferred destination for clinical care. OmniSyS helps pharmacies protect their bottom line and successfully leverage the expanding role of pharmacists to grow their business.” Founded in 1988, OmniSys began as a medical claims processing company to help pharmacies bill and get reimbursed for goods and services covered under Medicare Part B. Over the years, those capabilities expanded to include virtually all medical payers, as well as Medicaid and most commercial plans. In the past five years, the company has expanded its portfolio, adding solutions that are targeted towards enabling the pharmacist to be a provider of clinical services. In 2016, the company launched an immunization service that leveraged its adult immunization data and intelligent, real-time alerts to improve companion immunization rates from 2.5% to 24%. Last year, it made two acquisitions. The company’s acquisition of Rx-Net was focused on optimizing pharmacies’ cash business, while maintaining profitable margins, adding Rx-Net’s automated usual and customary pricing solution. OmniSys’ subsequent acquisition of Strand Clinical Technologies integrated the industry’s first electronic pharmacy-specific health record with OmniSys’ medical billing and reimbursement platform.

build a national network to deliver comprehensive patient information to the point of care, turning data into actionable intelligence. Now, Davis said, it is the company’s leading health information network built to transform how patients, pharmacists and patients interact. “The Surescripts Network Alliance unites virtually all electronic health records vendors, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies and clinicians, plus an increasing number of health plans, long-term and post-acute care organizations, specialty hubs, and specialty pharmacy organizations,” Davis said, noting that last year the company processed nearly 20 billion secure transactions that generated actionable patient data for more than 95% of the country’s population. To empower healthcare professionals, especially amid the pandemic, Surescripts offers e-prescribing; its Real-Time Prescription Benefit tool, which delivers real-time, patient-specific benefit and cost information within the electronic workflow; and Medication History for Reconciliation, which aggregates and delivers accurate dispensed medication history data from pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacies directly within the electronic health record, or EHR, workflow. This year, Surescripts has announced a number of tools that provide specialty pharmacists with clinical information, better prior authorization capabilities and a prescription benefit tool that enables pharmacies to access information on out-of-pocket prescription costs and therapeutic alternatives at the point of dispensing.

Surescripts Arlington, Va.-based Surescripts’ vice president of key accounts, Bobby Davis, said that in 2001, pharmacy associations formed SureScript Systems to enable e-prescribing, and the three largest PBMs formed RxHub to connect payers and prescribers. In 2008, these competing organizations formed Surescripts as an alliance meant to


Synergy Medical For over a decade, Synergy Medical, based in Canada, has been focusing on

the pharmacy automation sector, helping pharmacists streamline operations with robotic technology. Founded to automate the manual process of creating prescription blister cards, SynMed continues to lead the way with innovations that enhance adherence, accuracy and efficiency, while reducing errors and saving money in the process. After five years of development led by founder and president Jean Boutin, the SynMed system made its 2008 debut in a high-turnover Montreal pharmacy, followed by three additional launches over the next few months. In 2009, more than 15 pharmacies in Canada joined the SynMed family and by 2010, that number included the first U.S.-based pharmacies. In contrast to manual production, a SynMed robot does not tire, make mistakes in concentration or run up labor costs. The company’s automated dispensing systems support medication therapy management efforts by easily adapting and interchanging among single-dose and multidose blister pack configurations, organizing medications by day and administration time, Boutin said. A typical card has 28 individual blisters — seven rows by four columns — with each row and column color coded to represent a day of the week and specific dosing time, respectively. That makes it easy for patients to see, at a glance, whether or not they took their medications as directed, eliminating doubled up or missed doses. Boutin said that statistics show that a single customer, who signs up for a med sync program like those supported by SynMed pharmacy automation technology, can bring in as many as 20 additional prescription refill orders per year on average. That represents exponential growth in annual revenue of $90,000 for every 100 enrollees. Additionally, 83% of end users said that med sync programs are very or even extremely helpful for their medication management. What’s more, enrolled customers are 10% more likely to be highly satisfied with their chosen pharmacy, Boutin said. dsn


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Playing Defense The immunity category is thriving and manufacturers said consumer interest will continue By Nora Caley


mmunity products went from the back of the medicine chest to front and center, all in the time it took for a pandemic to sweep the globe. As many mass retail industry officials quickly realized, if there is one thing consumers learned during the first stages of the COVID-19 crisis, it is that they need to pay attention to their health all the time. Shoppers who once bought symptom relief products only when they felt sick shifted to pantry loading when the pandemic hit. Now they are buying immune products proactively, and this move to constant purchasing and replenishing gives retailers an opportunity for a sales boost throughout the year. “Immune products are continuing to be used and bought at a consumption level,” said Art Rowe-Cerveny, vice president of marketing at San Diego-based PharmaCare US, whose flagship product is Sambucol Black Elderberry. “People are actively trying to get in front of their health.” The growing interest in immunity products is helping retailers maintain higher basket rings, while shopper traffic in stores is down. Visits likely will increase as people return to stores to get flu shots, so to capitalize on this consumer behavior, retailers are expanding their sets and merchandising immune products both in the cough-cold aisles and in the vitamin sections. There is little crossover between the two sections, Rowe-Cerveny said, so the purchases are additive. “The consumer is changing and especially in the face of a pandemic where they realize how little control they have, they are looking for anything they can control,” he said. “What they can control is their own personal health and well-being and they are being more proactive, and immunity is now incredibly top of mind.”


Attracting New Shoppers Immunity also is top of mind for consumers who are new to the category. Before the pandemic, there was interest in products that help strengthen a person’s immunity and that benefit overall health, said Thomas Rinck, director of customer and industry development at GSK Consumer Healthcare, maker of Emergen-C. “Since the beginning of COVID, we have experienced an acceleration of that interest with millions of households entering into the immunity space as a result of media reports on the importance of strengthening one’s immunity.” Consumers who are entering the immunity space are seeking information, and retailers can benefit by offering education at the shelf, online, in advertising, and through pharmacists and nutritionists. More consumer interest can result in increased household penetration and growth in market basket, Rinck said. These consumers already are getting much information from media reports, covering

everything from a study in Spain that indicated that patients who survived COVID19 had higher levels of zinc in their blood to infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci saying he takes vitamin D supplements to maintain a healthy immune system. While none of the research points to immune health products curing or preventing the coronavirus, consumers clearly have decided it can’t hurt. “Media can significantly increase subcategories within VMS,” said Chuck Tacl, vice president of sales and business development at Miami Lakes, Fla.-based Mason Vitamins. “People have their phones and they look up everything.” As a result, sales of vitamin C, vitamin D and multivitamins are seeing doubledigit increases not only during the early days of the pandemic, but also in recent weeks. Zinc, a longtime favorite for preventing colds, is growing significantly, as are other products such as brain, stress and sleep with melatonin. “Those are the


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subcategories that are growing significantly during the COVID era,” Tacl said. “It made people rethink how they want to treat their bodies. Everything I’m reading is that’s going to be the new base.” Retailers are putting a stronger focus on immunity, carving out space for new products and increasing their signage around prevention. New manufacturers are jumping into the immunity space, much like new companies emerged in the hand sanitizer area this year. “One thing retailers should be cognizant of is these new brands hop in to ride the tide, and they might not be fully vetted out,” Tacl said. “You need to be aware of what’s out there, how they produce products, where they’re from and their history.” Mason Vitamins, which introduced an elderberry gummy in May and a sugar-free prenatal multivitamin with DHA and zinc in October, began manufacturing more than 50 years ago, using good manufacturing practices, Tacl said. Others agree that retailers can drive sales by offering products from reliable, established companies. “Immunity is becoming woven into people’s daily routine and proactive use seems to be up,” said Anna Selser, brand manager at San Francisco-based Olly. “In times of uncertainty, consumers also tend to seek out brands that they trust.” Olly, which offers gummies, recently expanded its immunity line to include powders. “We’ve heard from consumers that immunity powders don’t always taste great,” Selser said. The three new SKUs all have vitamin D, zinc, elderberry and 14 oranges’ worth of vitamin C. Retailers should look for brands they trust and that use premium ingredients. “Shoppers are willing to spend more dollars with brands they find most compelling,” said Brian Terry, national sales manager for food, drug, mass and specialty at Nordic Naturals. “Increasing preventive medicine is more important now than it has ever been.” The Watsonville, Calif.based company recently launched Nordic Immune, which has elderberry, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc.


Keeping Up the Sales Momentum Manufacturers are working to communicate immune products’ benefits beyond flu season and beyond the pandemic. For example, people have a general idea that the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off pathogens, said John Licari, vice president of marketing at Oceanblue in Delray Beach, Fla. They might not know how much or how often to take vitamin D or other vitamins or supplements. “I would recommend for retailers and for pharmacists that are giving consultations about vitamin D or vitamin C that they are really something you need to take consistently for the long-term,” Licari said. “It’s not going to be of benefit to you if you take it only when you feel under the weather.” Oceanblue makes omega-3 supplements, including Omega-3 2100 with Vitamin D. The brand offers educational information on its website and on social media to help consumers and retailers learn more about the products. Pharmacists play an

important role in this educational effort. “We focus heavily on getting referrals and recommendations from pharmacists,” Licari said. “There is a layer of trust that exists between patients and pharmacists.” Manufacturers are helping retailers keep up with demand for immunity health products, not only in store but on their e-commerce platforms. Kimberly Vigliante, senior vice president of wholesale sales and marketing at Bohemia, N.Y.-based Piping Rock, said the company plans to expand its capacity to continue to bring best-in-class products to market quickly through its family of brands. “A new consumer mindset will continue to drive demand for products that help boost the immune system, as well as products for sleep and stress that can support overall immunity, health and wellness,” she said. “Piping Rock remains committed to supporting its retail partners and helping consumers take charge of their health.” Piping Rock’s wholesale division, Nature’s Truth, recently introduced Immune Support Gummies with vitamin C, manuka honey and zinc, as well as Black Elderberry Immune Complex Chewables with black elderberry, vitamin C and zinc. Retailers also should keep in mind that gut health and sleep are important factors in immune health. “Seventy percent of immune health is in your gut,” said Kimberly Stiele, founder of Benesprays, which makes itSpray. “They need to look at gut health. It’s not just zinc or vitamin C or vitamin D.” The Largo, Fla.-based company makes oral sprays in BOOSTit immune support, CHARGEit energy and DREAMit sleep varieties. Sleep is an important part of immune health, Stiele said, because lack of sleep can stress the immunity system. The sprays offer a variety of immune health-related solutions with an innovative delivery system. “With pills and gummies, there are so many fillers and binders that you get so little of what’s in there, so you have to take larger quantities,” Stiele said. Probiotics manufacturers have also seen sales growth this year, as research indicates that probiotics may support immune health and overall wellbeing. “Probiotics are one


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of the top five products that people seek for immune health,” said Jason Mitchell, founder and CEO of Topeka, Kan.-based Probulin. “Probiotics are a defensive item. These are items that help to build healthy immunity in the body.” Sales are still increasing, but not at the extreme levels seen when consumers were panic buying. Now people are looking at probiotics as part of their health maintenance. “People are getting into a routine,” Mitchell said. “Probiotics help you have your defenses in a manner fitting of whatever you have to face.” Probulin makes products including Daily Care Probiotic, My Little Bugs Total Care Probiotic for Kids, and launching in January, Total Care Immune Probiotic. Other self-care products should also be part of retailers’ assortments.“Homeopathic medicines can be used in complement with immunity products, other OTCs and prescription medicines,” said MaryEllen Tefft, vice president of sales for food, drug and mass at Boiron USA in Newtown Square,


Pa. “As consumers found themselves spending more time at home during the pandemic, they realized that keeping their medicine cabinets stocked with homeopathic medicines and at the ready was essential.” Tefft also said that retailers should support education on holistic offerings like homeopathic medicines for their pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and retail team members. “This is a prime opportunity for drug stores to develop trusted relationships with their consumers now more than ever,” she said. “Additionally, this offers an opportunity to build the customer market basket. The homeopathic market basket has a higher dollar value than a conventional OTC market basket.”

Other Ingredients While elderberry, vitamin C, vitamin D, echinacea and zinc have generated excitement, other ingredients are emerging. San Diego-based CV Sciences, which makes the PlusCBD brand of hemp-derived CBD products, recently launched an immunity line of non-CBD products. The first two immunity products are CV Acute, a plant-based traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, formula with forsythia, honeysuckle baikal skullcap extracts. The second is CV Defense, which contains selenium; PEA, or palmitoylethanolamide; vitamins A and D; selenium; zinc; and an organic reishi mushroom extract. “We have been looking at the immunity space for a long time,” said CV Sciences CEO Joseph Dowling. “We have been looking at other ingredients that are further ahead on the science side.” He said that while CBD is an exciting ingredient with much potential, there is a dearth of scientific study on the cannabis plant. Meanwhile, PEA has been the subject of several clinical studies, demonstrating that it has clear benefits for immune health. Also, the TCM formula and botanicals in CV Acute have been in multiple studies that demonstrate overall immune system defense. The two new products have been well received, said Jesse Karagianes, vice president of sales at CV Sciences. The company

supported the launch with in-store signage, shelf talkers and QR codes that consumers can scan to get more information or watch a video. The immunity products also are available on Amazon.com, which restricts CBD sales, an obstacle that CV Sciences did not have to overcome with its non-CBD products. New York City-based Plant People offers hemp products, as well as non-CBD immune products. The brand already made a name for itself in the hemp category, and it wanted to leverage that brand trust with other botanical products. “Herbal solutions have been around for a very long time,” said co-founder Gabe Kennedy. “They are making their way into popular culture the way they never have before.” Among the immunity lineup is Advanced Immune Power, which features certified organic functional mushrooms, the immune supporting herb astragalus and vitamin C. Lung Guard, which the company said promotes a healthy respiratory system with a formula of researchbacked reishi mushroom and herbs, also is included. “We’ve gotten a ton of interest and excitement because of our fresh approach,” Kennedy said. “We create things that are effective and new, not just the same product with a different label. We don’t think the world needs another vitamin C chewable.” Interest in immunity products will likely continue. “It’s a very interesting time within this category right now with everything that’s going on,” said Mason Vitamins’ Tacl. “I don’t see it slowing down for a while.” Consumer interest in the category remains strong, said Aileen Stocks, general manager of VMHS for Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based Nature’s Bounty which recently launched Nature’s Bounty Zinc Gummies. “Zinc and vitamin D, among other immune support products, have seen steady growth since the onset of the pandemic, and that continues today,” Stocks said. “In fact, insights show that a desire to support overall health and the immune system are top drivers in consumers who have increased their use of vitamins and supplements in recent months.” dsn


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Growve, Epion Brands Thrill Buyers at ECRM VMS Session Growve won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its Fruily Organic Immune Gummies at ECRM’s Vitamin, Weight Management & Sports Nutrition virtual session held in October. Epion Brands was a finalist for its Kori Pure Antarctic Krill Oil 1200 MG Soft Gels. Buyers voted on dozens of entries based on product packaging and innovation via the DSN-branded Buyers’ Choice Awards section of the ECRM Connect platform. “The pandemic has greatly sharpened consumers’ focus on wellness, prevention and longevity,” said Craig Chmielowicz, senior vice president of health and beauty care at ECRM. “Both Buyers’ Choice Award winners have products that deliver health benefits that are in great demand today. Congratulations to both winners.” Growve creates and partners with brands focused on natural wellness and beauty, with products spanning multiple categories and channels. Its Fruily brand is “the next innovation in gummies,” according to the company. Its line of products are certified organic, vegan and made with real fruit — a base of apple, strawberry, mango and peach juice, puree, pectin and fiber — with no added fructose, artificial colors/flavors or preservatives. The Buyers’ Choice Award-winning Fruily immunity products, set to launch in January, feature Elderberry Immune, Elderberry Kid’s Immune and Vitamin C Boost. The Elderberry Immune products contain organic elderberry, vitamin C and vegan vitamin D3 from

lichen and zinc. Vitamin C Boost features organic acerola and organic orange juice. The company also will launch 18 additional products in the spring, including men’s, women’s, children’s, prenatal and 50+ multivitamins, among other condition-focused products, letter vitamins and apple cider vinegar. Finalist Epion Brands was recognized for its Kori Krill Oil, available in a three-SKU range — 1,200 mg, 600 mg and 400 mg — with each serving delivering the same amount of essential omega-3 EPA and DHA that consumers would get from eating the weekly amount of fish recommended by USDA Dietary Guidelines. Kori Krill Oil has launched with a significant investment plan across TV, digital, PR and more to drive growth in the omega-3 category. The company said that the oil in its products is made from sustainable pure Antarctic krill, offering improved absorption without a fishy aftertaste or burps.


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11/4/20 7:28 AM

Beauty with a Purpose As consumers look to buy brands that are socially and eco-conscious, these brands are stepping up By Seth Mendelson


hile the COVID-19 pandemic continues to uproot the retail industry and play havoc on the beauty segment, in particular, there is growing evidence that consumers are still turning to purpose-driven brands when they do show. The theory among many industry officials is that purpose-driven retailers and brands can build trust with customers, which results in greater sales. According to a survey by New York-based Deloitte Global, purpose-driven products are selling three times faster, on average, than their competitors. The importance of leading with a purpose accelerated during the pandemic and the social unrest that gripped the nation. According to Deloitte Insights’ recently published 2021 Global Marketing Trends report, 79% of respondents surveyed had positive awareness of companies that responded during COVID-19 to help customers, workforces and communities. In the beauty industry, examples included companies shifting gears to produce hand sanitizers (which L’Oréal is credited with being the first to do) or donating to front-line workers. Nearly 1 in 4 respondents strongly agreed that those actions favorably shifted brand perceptions. Additionally, 1 in 5 people surveyed strongly agreed that such moves pushed their buying preferences in favor of that brand. Given the increased importance that consumers are putting on brands to be socially responsible, it is more crucial than ever for the beauty industry to do the right thing — from


cutting down on the wasteful packaging endemic in the category to ensuring products offer shades for all skin tones. Empathy rules, according to Joann Marks, CEO of Orlando, Fla.-based CosPro Marketing. Her company published a white paper on COVID-19 that encouraged brands during the pandemic to 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,” she said. “They will remember these companies and develop lasting loyalty to them.” The luxury beauty market traditionally has been associated with purpose-driven efforts. Over the past two years, however, the mass market has stepped up its game. Recently, Ulta Beauty launched its Conscious Beauty


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Email, Call, or Send Us a LUHV Letter! Email: customerlove@urbanhydration.com Phone: (469) 731-5458 Mailing Address: 15222 King Rd #701 Frisco, TX 75036

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program, which is designed to help consumers make more informed beauty choices. The featured brands offer products that are clean, cruelty-free, vegan and sustainably packaged. “The introduction of Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty reflects the incredible value we place on listening to our guests,” said Dave Kimbell, president of Ulta Beauty. “We consistently work to answer their evolving desires and, with this holistic effort, we’re aligning beauty choices with their personal values.” CVS Health, based in Woonsocket, R.I., began focusing on a purpose-driven business approach several years ago, starting with its decision to not sell tobacco to more recent moves to eliminate photoshopping of beauty imagery. The company’s Beauty Mark effort labels beauty imagery in store and on the retailer’s website, noting whether images have been retouched or not. The standards have had a broad impact on the industry, with such large companies as Coty and Revlon saying that all their store marketing images now are unretouched, not just the ones for CVS Pharmacy. Target and Walmart also are thinking more inclusively when it comes to beauty and increasing shelf space for more diverse brands. Target was one of the first retailers to add textured hair care products, along with such multicultural cosmetics brands as The


Lip Bar. Through its Take-Off Accelerator program, the Minneapolis-based chain helps numerous multicultural brands create go-to market strategies. Consumers and retail buyers now are expecting brands to have some altruistic program, as well as formulas and packaging that are environmentally conscious. Here are several companies that retailers and industry experts singled out for beauty-with-apurpose initiatives. These brands stand out for many reasons, including clean ingredients, sustainable production and packaging, inclusivity, self-care/wellness products, and those that make a positive impact by giving back.

Corporate Responsibility L’Oréal The world’s largest beauty brand has been at the forefront of environmental issues for almost a decade. Recently, the Clichy, Francebased company with a New York City subsidiary launched its new sustainability program, “L’Oréal for the Future.” The company plans to have all L’Oréal sites be carbon neutral by 2025. By 2030, 100% of plastics used in L’Oréal products will be either from recycled or bio-based sources. Also, by 2030, L’Oréal will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% per finished product compared with 2016. L’Oréal developed its Product Environmental and Social Impact Labeling initiative that scores products on a scale from “A” to “E,” with an “A” product considered “best in class” in terms of environmental impacts. The first brand to implement the new methodology to create a rating is Garnier hair care products. Recently, Garnier kicked off a virtual press event to introduce its Green Labs to develop products bringing together the best of nature and science. Garnier also announced partnerships with Plastics for Change and the Ocean Conservancy to further reduce environmental and social impact of plastic pollution. Garnier brand president Adrien Koskas appeared at the virtual event, explaining that Garnier has been transforming over the past decade and now has 90% natural ingredients in its formulas. He showcased a few items that exemplify the efforts, among

them Micellar Cleaning Eco Pads — reusable makeup remover pads that can be washed 1,000 times.

Unilever Unilever, with headquarters in The Netherlands and London, broke the traditional mold of what constitutes beauty with its Real Women Campaign in 2004. The company has maintained efforts to ensure inclusivity. Unilever continues to make sustainability a priority. This past summer, the company committed to net emissions from all products by 2039 — from sourcing to point of sale. Unilever promises even higher standards to protect such high carbon ecosystems as forests, peatlands and tropical rainforests. The company will have a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023. Unilever was attracted to Sundial, which it acquired in 2017, for its purpose-driven platform. Sundial’s SheaMoisture invests proceeds from every purchase back into the communities from where its ingredients are sourced. Unilever and Sundial invest yearly to help empower women of color through its New Voices Fund. Shea Moisture just introduced its new Advisory Council — made up of nationally recognized Black women activists and thought leaders — for its recently formed Social Justice Coalition. The council is part of Shea Moisture’s $1 million pledge to support women of color entrepreneurs and small businesses, along with its broader commitment to reinvest in their community. The coalition and advisory board will further support communities of color and the brand’s work of combating institutional prejudice and inequalities.

Coty The New York-based company jumped into action during the pandemic, converting manufacturing lines to produce hand sanitizers, which were donated to frontline healthcare workers, as well as to retail partners operating as essential stores that remained opened. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, which led to widespread protests nationwide, Coty made meaningful donations


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to such organizations as the NAACP and Black Lives Matter, and doubled down on existing programs, including its global social platform, We Stand For You, and its multiyear partnership with Global Citizen, which envisions a world free of prejudice and discrimination in any form.

that debuted in 2017. During the summer of 2020, she shook things up again. A week after George Floyd’s death, Chuter launched a call to action on Instagram called Pull Up for Change, which has since mushroomed to more than 135,000 followers. Her actions followed her frustration that while many companies posted a black square on Instagram in support of Black Lives Matter, not all did their best to promote Black leaders. She asked companies to publicly release employment statistics regarding the Black composition of their organizations, especially those in leadership roles. Her message struck a chord. Companies large and small, in beauty and outside the industry, owned up to their statistics — even if the numbers told the story that the company has a long way to go. “What bothers me the most are the companies who directly market to the Black community and profit off it, but don’t provide jobs for them,” Chuter said. “This is the key to integration. If you want to be part of the solution, be part of the solution and stop talking about being part of it. I hope we have triggered conversation.”


Beauty with a purpose is not limited to megabrands. Los Angeles-based Raw Sugar is not only an organic and eco-friendly brand, but it also donates one bar of soap for families in need for every product sold. “As the pandemic has shifted perceptions, values and spending habits, and people’s concern with less disposable income, beauty brands and retailers will need to speak to consumers in more authentic and innovative ways,” said Donda Mullis, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Raw Sugar Living. “The need to educate consumers on brand promises is more important than ever and can be led more prominently with unique value propositions.”

Chris-Tia Donaldson, founder and CEO of Chicago-based Thank God It’s Natural, or TGIN, used to represent Fortune 500 companies in complex business transactions involving technology and open source code. In 2015, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. During her treatment, she learned that having money could make the difference between living and dying. She discovered that few organizations provided support and social services to help women in treatment with transportation, childcare, parking, or to help women seeking disability leave from their jobs. Her diagnosis prompted her not only to launch her natural line, but also to create a not-for-profit organization to support uninsured women undergoing treatment for breast cancer and to highlight the impact of health disparities on survivor outcomes.

Uoma Beauty

Urban Hydration

Sharon Chuter, founder of Uoma Beauty, based in Los Angeles, disrupted the makeup industry with her inclusive product assortment

Urban Hydration has a partnership with WaterIsLife that began in 2016, enabling the Frisco, Texas-based company to donate a

Doing the Right Thing Raw Sugar Living

gallon of water to a community without ease of access to drinking water per product sold. The company has raised enough funds to help build clean drinking water wells in Kenya, with plans to build its own well next year.

The Honey Pot Beatrice Dixon, founder of Atlanta-based The Honey Pot, not only wanted to provide natural solutions to feminine care, but also help women who cannot afford proper supplies. “Feminine care is not a luxury, it’s a human right. We’re proud to partner with #HappyPeriod to help give women in need the dignity they deserve,” Dixon said. To do so, she offers a special #HappyPeriod pin to help donate feminine care products to those in need.

Reina Rebelde Walmart recently added Reina Rebelde, a makeup line for Latinx shoppers. “As a self-funded, Latina-owned and operated makeup brand, I could have never imagined that four years into this journey, I’d see Reina Rebelde in Walmart stores,” said Regina Merson, founder and CEO of Dallas-based Reina Rebelde. “I created Reina Rebelde for our Latinx community to be authentically seen and heard in the beauty industry,” she said. “Walmart is helping a Latinx small business grow and allowing Reina Rebelde to be more accessible to Latinxs across the country, while bringing our multifaceted culture to life by celebrating my favorite holiday — Día de los Muertos.”

E.l.f. Self-care has been a buzzy concept all year, particularly in the early phases of the COVID19 pandemic. E.l.f. Beauty, based in Oakland, Calif., teamed up with singer Alicia Keys to establish a full lifestyle brand, Keys Soulcare. In a virtual press and consumer launch event, Keys explained the importance of what she terms soulcare, or a holistic approach to self-care that includes body, spirit, mind and connection. “It is going to reveal itself as skin care as the first step,” Keys said. The products will be sold online and in Ulta Beauty starting in December. One retailer likened it to a more affordable Goop “for the masses.” dsn


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Good Clean Color No Fade Fresh looks to deliver on a pandemic-fueled need for convenient, clean hair color By Seth Mendelson


iming may be everything for the people who run No Fade Fresh. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company unveiled a 15-SKU line of what company officials call clean hair color products in February, just weeks before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shut down of the economy that prevented many women from getting their hair colored for months. The result was a huge rise in demand for home-based coloring products and, as No Fade Fresh’s founder and CEO Leland Hirsch pointed out, an opening for his new products to get on store shelves. “Consumers really did not have much of an alternative since salons were closed, and they still wanted to color their hair and keep it fresh,” said Hirsch, a lifelong veteran of the health and beauty categories. “We knew right away that we had an opportunity to help them keep their hair looking the color they wanted it to.” No Fade Fresh has its roots in a Hirsch’s professional line of hair coloring products. He developed the Celeb Luxury banner nearly 20 years ago, which is now available in 30 countries. “We saw an opportunity to expand into mass with a new type of product that enhances other hair coloring products on the market,” he said. The No Fade Fresh line of shampoos and conditioners consists of natural colors (browns, blondes, reds), pastels and vivids (silvers, pinks, purples and blues) that correct, maintain, refresh and create color in the shower, Hirsch said. They are priced at $14.99 each. “Since salons have been closed, customers are looking for salon-quality, high-deposit semipermanent shampoo and conditioner


color maintenance on the retail shelf. Our products can be used as an add-on to box hair color, and can also extend color between salon visits,” he said. “All products have BondHeal, our built-in bond rebuilder technology that strengthens and repairs the hair from the inside out, plus a stand-alone BondHeal product.” To draw consumer interest in store, Hirsch said the company developed the first “smart color smart bottle, with color swatches on the front at the point of purchase. The directions on the back label provide a very precise salon color consultation,” he said. “The label folds open, showing a video on how the product is used. The QR code allows for changing videos and messaging to continuously share product knowledge. We want to extend the consumer’s hair color investment.” The company uses plant-based, healthy ingredients that do not harm the consumer. “Our products, other than not being harsh chemically based, actually contain bond rebuilder that improves the health of the user’s hair,” he said. “We believe in being vegan. We believe in having a cruelty-free product. And, we believe that the consumer is going to begin insisting on these factors when they make purchase decisions.” Right now, Hirsch is focused on spreading the word. He said that No Fade Fresh already is in about 4,000 stores at several major retailers, and a few other large chains are on the verge of bringing the product in. “We are just getting the word out about our products and what they can do,” he said. “There is a lot of interest in our line right now.” dsn


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An Expanding World of Retailer Health Efforts Retailers increasingly are broadening health initiatives for a wider range of consumer needs By David Orgel

F 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.

or much of this year, it has seemed the health-and-wellness discussions across retail were centered on one thing — COVID-19. Food and drug retailers pulled out all the stops, from ramping up testing capabilities to enhancing in-store sanitation protocols. Now, more than seven months into the pandemic, retailers increasingly are spotlighting consumer wellness solutions for a wider range of needs — from mental health resources to nutritional coaching. And even if some of these resources were in place before, their profiles are being raised. The effect is to remind consumers that health has many angles. This is a smart move and a great service to customers, as long as it’s executed well. Building COVID-19-Related Capabilities Before getting into this broadening focus, let’s start with a quick update on how coronavirus-focused health initiatives are evolving. Retailers are expanding free COVID-19 testing, including Hy-Vee’s recent expansion to 150 locations for this service. Retailers also are boosting capabilities to be prepared for the dual challenges of COVID-19 and the flu — see CVS Health’s recent move to hire 15,000 more employees, including 10,000 pharmacy technicians. Addressing a Broader Range of Needs As the pandemic rages on, retailers are addressing a bigger variety of health needs, even if some of these arose from pandemic-related stress. Retail solutions include digital tools, among them Walmart’s new Safe & Well website, an interactive platform that provides prescription drug safety and mental health resources. Kroger introduced a Wellness Experience online platform, which offers monthly digital events and healthy living resources. Targeting Specific Health Topics Some of the new efforts are aimed at supporting targeted health-and-wellness needs. • Hannaford Supermarkets unveiled an app focused on helping parents teach children about how to practice healthy eating. The app and companion


website are called Hannaford Snack Pals; • Walgreens is making efforts to address health disparities in Chicago’s underserved communities. Efforts by pharmacists include diabetes outreach and pediatric asthma outreach and education; and • Natural Grocers is enhancing its free nutrition education program by adding virtual personalized sessions with its nutritional health coaches. Ensuring Good Consumer Experiences Many of the new efforts leverage online platforms, a wise move in this pandemic landscape. Yet, retailers carefully will need to measure results to make sure consumer experiences match retailer goals. A new study from Label Insight relays some potential pitfalls in online communications, specifically as it relates to e-commerce. The “Empty Aisles: The Grocery E-Commerce Shopability Audit” study, released in October, was based on research that analyzed 30 of the top U.S. grocery, health, beauty and pet retailers, according to an article in DSN sister publication Progressive Grocer. to The study found consumers often are not finding products on retailer e-commerce sites that meet their specific dietary, medical, allergen and values-based needs. “On average, even among the top 25 most popular need-state searches, including organic, gluten-free and vegan, retailers failed to return more than half of qualifying products, giving shoppers a limited selection to choose from,” PG reported. In addition, the research found more than half of respondents said it’s challenging to ensure a product meets the goals of their diet or health regime. My takeaway is that it’s not enough to offer an array of health offerings — retailers need to make it easy for consumers to find items and understand the benefits. I give retailers a lot of credit for making available wider assortments of health-and-wellness solutions. This has the potential to result in new customers and increased loyalty. It just needs to be executed in a way that provides optimal customer experiences. dsn


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