Volume 43 No. 11
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What’s driving OTC sales? P. 64
CROP DSN honors another crop of talented women helping grow and diversify the industry
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, Treat Season! By Joe Toscano, Vice President, Trade & Industry Development at Purina As temperatures cool and the leaves change, we enter the time of the year when consumers are looking for more ways to create special moments with those they love. For pet owners, this typically leads to an increase of treat purchases with December holidays prompting the highest sales volume treat weeks of the year. But it’s not just winter holidays that drive treat sales—Halloween and Valentine’s Day are also timely sales drivers for the category. Studies have also shown that consumers are more willing to indulge and spend more on themselves and their pets during key seasons and around the holidays. Grocers can capitalize on the timely bumps with limited holiday items, seasonal ﬂavors, themed packaging and displays. Purina has many seasonal treat items for pets including Beggin’® holiday variety packs, Friskies® Party Mix® seasonal ﬂavors and the 12 Days of Treats and 24 Days of Treats Holiday Advent Calendars. Treats is a category that has always held great potential for retailers as a basket builder and proﬁt driver. The bright spot for retailers is that treats are an incremental purchase for consumers, and our data indicates that the more treats consumers have, the more they’ll treat. For year-round coverage, ensure you have a variety of treats including crunchy, meaty, long lasting and functional so that consumers can select multiple treats for the various occasions. Purina has developed several innovative treats for each category including Prime® Bones...(which are safe, longlasting natural chews dogs will love without the potential hazards of treating with animal bones, antlers or rawhides), and Fancy Feast® Savory Cravings, which provide the savory ﬂavors your cat will love in a special breakapart form. There are multiple ways to capitalize on the growth of treats. Below are some strategies retailers can leverage to capture the valuable dog treat buyer.
• Cross-promotion. Retailers can start by bringing in new households with dry pet food cross-promotions focusing on their health beneﬁts and ingredient story. • Disruption. Treats are more likely to be an unplanned purchase than dog and cat food, which means it is beneﬁcial to disrupt consumers on their shopper journey. Try signage and secondary displays to disrupt the shopper in-store. For online shoppers, banner ads, pop-ups on food pages and add to basket at checkout are beneﬁcial tactics. • Timing. Now, more than ever, consumers want to create those special moments treats provide year-round. Pet retailers should ensure treats are part of their monthly merchandising programs in order to stimulate incremental sales and proﬁts. • Multiples pricing. Because treat consumers are not as price sensitive, stimulate additional purchases by using multiples pricing. Instead of suggesting a $3.49 retail price either in ad or everyday, change to
2/$7.00 and see the incremental purchases and proﬁts soar. • Variety. For treat buyers, variety is key. Dog treat buyers, on average, feed treats eight times a week. Half of buyers reported having two or more varieties (crunchy, meaty, dental, long lasting or niche) on hand, and 60% of buyers reported having two to ﬁve packages on hand. Cat treat consumption has grown and is driven primarily by crunchy form and larger sizes. But variety remains important as half of cat treat consumers report looking for something new. Are you capitalizing on this prime time to sell more treats and drive proﬁtable sales in your stores? Please contact your Purina sales rep for a customized annual plan to take advantage starting today.
Purina trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A.
11/2/21 5:05 PM
Vol. 43 No. 11 DrugStoreNews.com
FEATURES 10 Industry News 14 Products to Watch 26 CBD News 28 Cover Story: DSN’s 2021 Top Women in Health, Wellness & Beauty Winners DSN honors a group of talented women helping grow and diversify the industry
COLUMNS 8 Editor’s Note 16 Counter Talk By Surescripts’ Ken Whittemore Jr.
18 Counter Talk By Parata Systems’ Cedrick Hall
22 Counter Talk By Pharmavite’s Bryan Donaldson
with Veriteque USA’s Bobby Betros
74 Last Word By David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel
SOCIAL Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews
50 New Frontiers in Pharmacy School Education
64 Over-the-Counter Medication Trends
Pharmacy schools are offering new courses and electives to ensure students are prepared for their roles and can adapt in an ever-evolving practice
The demand for OTC products has increased with the help of more consumers interested in self-care, the growth of an aging population and the pandemic
70 Immunity COVID-19 concerns and healthy food trends are driving immunity supplement sales
DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) is published monthly 12 times a year by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rate in the United States: $125 one year; $230 two year; $14 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $150 one year; $270 two year; $16 single issue copy; Foreign: $170 one year; $325 two year; $16 single issue copy. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Vol. 43 No. 11, November 2021. Copyright © 2021 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
11/3/21 3:34 PM
11/2/21 5:06 PM
The Next Big Thing The future of retail pharmacy will depend on bold new ideas By Nigel F. Maynard
merica was built by people who had big ideas — dreamers, innovators, pioneers. These individuals saw possibilities when others did not. There are also modern innovators who had brilliant ideas that blossomed into such products and services as Google, Netflix, GoPro and Tesla. But there is another type of visionary in the business world, the individual who identifies challenges that a business or industry might be having and comes up with ideas to help address them. There are tons of examples of companies that Nigel F. Maynard have fallen on hard times but recovered with the help of good Editor-in-Chief | Editorial Director ideas. FedEx, General Motors, GE and Apple come to mind. So how does this relate to retail pharmacy? The industry is not as badly off as, say, GM circa 2009, but there are some challenges. It’s no secret that pharmacies have been experiencing slowing traffic because of the pandemic. In the last 18 months, more consumers curbed store visits, put off flu shots and delayed doctor visits to limit exposure to the virus. Walgreens told The Wall Street Journal in January 2021 that the pandemic is hurting visits to pharmacies. Storm clouds were gathering before the pandemic, however. In a 2019 article, the Chicago Tribune reported that Walgreens was closing 200 stores and CVS was slowing openings due to declining store visits and changing consumer habits. “For pharmacies, which also face pressures related to reimbursements for medication, getting customers to come in once a month for a prescription refill, or for an occasional gallon of milk or bottle of shampoo isn’t enough,” the Chicago Tribune article stated. “Walgreens and CVS are both trying to give customers more reasons to visit their stores by offering more health services and better merchandise.” Solving the challenges of retail pharmacy will require out of the box thinking and bold ideas. Some options might be easy enough to try, while others may require a leap of faith. I’ve been thinking about this recently, and playing around with some ideas of my own. Here are some of my thoughts: What if pharmacies lean into the e-commerce trend that the pandemic accelerated. It works for Amazon and many other retailers. Sure, pharmacies already offer delivery for their products, but they could make online orders a bigger part of the business model. How about subscription services? What if pharmacies started programs for consumers who want to receive delivery of basic goods on a regular basis? Coincidentally, a subscription program was a big hit with our recent focus group of young female consumers. Would pharmacies see traction if they rethought the store concept? Should they redesign their stores with an updated, modern look that is easier to navigate? How about doing an inventory check on the front-end, eliminating the items that don’t move and focusing on the things that do. A streamlined, redesigned store concept might work well for younger buyers who appreciate good design. Of course no one knows for sure if these options will work, but the idea here is that pharmacy execs may need to think outside the box if they want to find solutions to reverse current trends. Their futures depend on it. dsn
An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Senior Vice President, Publisher John Kenlon (516) 650-2064, email@example.com Editor-in-Chief | Editorial Director Nigel F. Maynard firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL Managing Editor David Salazar (212) 756-5114, email@example.com Senior Editor Sandra Levy (845) 893-9573, firstname.lastname@example.org Desk Editor Maria Manliclic (212) 756-5093, email@example.com Online Editor Gisselle Gaitan (212) 756-5138, firstname.lastname@example.org SALES & BUSINESS Northeast Manager Alex Tomas (212) 756-5155, email@example.com Regional Manager Steven Werner (312) 961-7162 firstname.lastname@example.org Production Manager Jackie Batson (224) 632-8183, email@example.com PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President, Production Derek Estey (877) 687-7321 x 1004, firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Director Colette Magliaro email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org REPRINTS & PERMISSIONS Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at email@example.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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11/2/21 5:08 PM
St. Ives’ Solutions Looks To Reduce Skin Care Stress
Walmart Testing Text-to-Shop Tool Walmart is continuing to look for new ways to enhance how consumers shop for their day-to-day necessities. In order to meet that goal, the retailer recently announced that it will work with Global Tech and Store No. 8 on testing a text-to-shop tool in select areas. The new collaboration, which was disclosed on Walmart’s website, is identifying how consumers shop and how their preferences are constantly changing, the companies said. “We’re learning a lot about when and how customers prefer a conversational experience, and we look forward to making this more widely available in the future,” Dominique Essig, vice president of conversational commerce at Store No. 8, said. “Walmart gets it, and we’re here to make the shopping process simple and convenient. This type of innovative customer experience is exactly what we build every day. And while Walmart has offered voice shopping for years, text shopping is just getting warmed up.” Essig also noted that in addition to helping busy families, a key benefit of this new service is that it’s personalized. “By understanding our customers’ preferences, we also solve the paradox of choice and save them time by serving up what we know they love best. Most importantly, we offer Walmart customers the opportunity to shop no matter where they are, and to communicate naturally by simply asking for what they want, any way they want,” he said.
St. Ives is aiming to help ease any stress that Gen Z members might face when it comes to choosing the right skin care product by launching its new Solutions line. Solutions features acnecontrol products to help fight breakouts and clear skin products to help care for post-acne skin. The collection includes the following: • Solutions Acne Control Cleanser, made with salicylic acid and natural tea tree extract, works to clear blemishes and prevent new blackheads and whiteheads from forming; • Solutions Acne Control Spot Treatment features natural tea tree extract and 2% salicylic acid. The spot treatment aims to reduce pimple size, swelling and redness. • Solutions Clear Skin SPF Moisturizer, a lightweight gel cream made with natural tea tree extract. It contains SPF 25 to protect skin and has a sheer appearance that works on all skin tones; and • Solutions Clear Skin Toner, a 3-in-1 solution that contains witch hazel, natural tea tree extract and vitamin B3 to brighten skin; fade dark spots; and remove dirt, oil and makeup while reducing the appearance of pores. To celebrate the launch of this new collection, the brand is working on a campaign with actress and college student Sierra Capri that calls on students to share good, clean and fun ways to de-stress for a chance to win up to $50,000 in free tuition and books for one year. “We know the cost of college is an issue that can weigh on the minds of Gen Z,” said Dawn Hedgepeth, vice president of skin care at Unilever. “At St. Ives, we believe in infusing fun into one’s daily routine to find ways to de-stress. We hope our new Solutions range — a collection of effective and affordable products — will help reduce the stress of skin care, especially when it comes to breakouts. We’re also excited to offer one lucky student the opportunity to win funds for free tuition and books to help alleviate some of that financial stress.” To enter, undergrad students can tag @stivesskin and use the hashtags #StIvesScholarship and #Contest on a post with an original version of Capri’s video, which was shared on Instagram. “As a full-time student studying biology, who was also juggling acting auditions, I remember the financial stress of college like it was yesterday,” Capri said. “Many times, that stress would manifest as breakouts. I wish at the time I had a line like St. Ives Solutions — it’s an easy, low-stress approach to caring for skin and keeping it in glowing condition.”
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
11/1/21 9:39 PM
Cipla launches the ﬁrst AB-rated generic to Durezol
(Diﬂuprednate Ophthalmic Emulsion 0.05%)
Indication & Usage2: Ocular Surgery: Difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion 0.05%, a topical corticosteroid, is indicated for the treatment of inflammation and pain associated with ocular surgery. Endogenous Anterior Uveitis: Difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion is also indicated for the treatment of endogenous anterior uveitis. Product Name:
Diﬂuprednate Ophthalmic Emulsion2
NOW AVAILABLE AT ALL MAJOR WHOLESALERS/DISTRIBUTORS. To place your order contact them today. › Contact CIPLA: Non-Medical Inquiries:
Medical Inquiries & Reporting:
Phone: 844-CIPLA US (844-247-5287) E-mail: Ciplacs@ups.com
Phone: 1-866-604-3268 E-mail: DrugSafety@cipla.com
Wholesaler/Distributor Order Entry Number Amerisource Bergen
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION Contraindications: Contraindicated in most active viral diseases of the cornea and conjunctiva including epithelial herpes simplex keratitis (dendritic keratitis), vaccinia, and varicella, and also in mycobacterial infection of the eye and fungal disease of ocular structures. Warnings and Precautions include: IOP Increase: May result in glaucoma with damage to the optic nerve, defects in visual acuity and ﬁelds of vision. Cataracts: May result in posterior subcapsular cataract formation. Delayed Healing: May delay healing and increase the incidence of bleb formation. In those diseases causing thinning of the cornea or sclera, perforations have been known to occur with the use of topical steroids. Bacterial Infections: May suppress the host response, increasing the hazard of secondary ocular infections. Viral Infections: Patients with a history of herpes simplex requires great caution as corticosteroid medication may prolong the course in and may exacerbate the severity of many viral infections of the eye. Fungal Infections: Fungal infections of the cornea are particularly prone to develop. Topical Ophthalmic Use Only: Diﬂuprednate ophthalmic emulsion is not indicated for intraocular administration. Contact Lens Wear: Diﬂuprednate ophthalmic emulsion should not be instilled while wearing contact lenses. ADVERSE REACTIONS • Ocular Surgery: 5-15% of subjects included corneal edema, ciliary and conjunctival hyperemia, eye pain, photophobia, posterior capsule opaciﬁcation, anterior chamber cells, anterior chamber ﬂare, conjunctival edema, and blepharitis; 1-5% included reduced visual acuity, punctate keratitis, eye inﬂammation, and iritis; < 1% included application site discomfort or irritation, corneal pigmentation and striae, episcleritis, eye pruritis, eyelid irritation and crusting, foreign body sensation, increased lacrimation, macula edema, sclera hyperemia, and uveitis. • Endogenous Anterior Uveitis: 5-10% of subjects included blurred vision, eye irritation, eye pain, headache, increased IOP, iritis, limbal and conjunctival hyperemia punctate keratitis, and uveitis; 2-5% included anterior chamber ﬂare, corneal edema, dry eye, iridocyclitis, photophobia, and reduced visual acuity. Pregnancy: Teratogenic Eﬀects Pregnancy Category C. Diﬂuprednate ophthalmic emulsion should be used during pregnancy only if the potential beneﬁt justiﬁes the potential risk to the embryo or fetus. Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether topical ophthalmic administration of corticosteroids could result in suﬃcient systemic absorption to produce detectable quantities in breast milk. Caution should be exercised when diﬂuprednate ophthalmic emulsion is administered to a nursing woman. You may report side eﬀects to the FDA at 1·800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side eﬀects to Cipla USA, Inc. at 1-866-604-3268.
See the following page for a brief summary of full prescribing information.
References: 1 FDA Orange Book Diﬂuprednate Approvals www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/ob/index.cfm 2 Diﬂuprednate Ophthalmic Emulsion Prescribing Information. Cipla, April 2020 Durezol® is a registered trademark of Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp. All rights reserved.
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Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information INDICATIONS & USAGE Ocular Surgery: Difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion 0.05%, a topical corticosteroid, is indicated for the treatment of inflammation and pain associated with ocular surgery. Endogenous Anterior Uveitis: Difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion is also indicated for the treatment of endogenous anterior uveitis. Contraindications: The use of difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion, as with other ophthalmic corticosteroids, is contraindicated in most active viral diseases of the cornea and conjunctiva including epithelial herpes simplex keratitis (dendritic keratitis), vaccinia, and varicella, and also in mycobacterial infection of the eye and fungal disease of ocular structures.
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS •
IOP Increase: Prolonged use of corticosteroids may result in glaucoma with damage to the optic nerve, defects in visual acuity and fields of vision. Steroids should be used with caution in the presence of glaucoma. If this product is used for 10 days or longer, intraocular pressure should be monitored.
Cataracts: Use of corticosteroids may result in posterior subcapsular cataract formation.
Delayed Healing: The use of steroids after cataract surgery may delay healing and increase the incidence of bleb formation. In those diseases causing thinning of the cornea or sclera, perforations have been known to occur with the use of topical steroids. The initial prescription and renewal of the medication order beyond 28 days should be made by a physician only after examination of the patient with the aid of magnification such as slit lamp biomicroscopy and, where appropriate, fluorescein staining.
Bacterial Infections: Prolonged use of corticosteroids may suppress the host response and thus increase the hazard of secondary ocular infections. In acute purulent conditions, steroids may mask infection or enhance existing infection. If signs and symptoms fail to improve after 2 days, the patient should be re-evaluated.
Viral Infections: Employment of a corticosteroid medication in the treatment of patients with a history of herpes simplex requires great caution. Use of ocular steroids may prolong the course and may exacerbate the severity of many viral infections of the eye (including herpes simplex).
Fungal Infections: Fungal infections of the cornea are particularly prone to develop coincidentally with long-term local steroid application. Fungus invasion must be considered in any persistent corneal ulceration where a steroid has been used or is in use. Fungal culture should be taken when appropriate.
Topical Ophthalmic Use Only: Difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion is not indicated for intraocular administration.
Contact Lens Wear: Difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion should not be instilled while wearing contact lenses. Remove contact lenses prior to instillation of difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion. The preservative in difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion may be absorbed by soft contact lenses. Lenses may be reinserted after 10 minutes following administration of difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion.
ADVERSE REACTIONS •
Ocular Surgery: Ocular adverse reactions occurring in 5-15% of subjects in clinical studies with difluprednate included corneal edema, ciliary and conjunctival hyperemia, eye pain, photophobia, posterior capsule opacification, anterior chamber cells, anterior chamber flare, conjunctival edema, and blepharitis. Other ocular adverse reactions occurring in 1-5% of subjects included reduced visual acuity, punctate keratitis, eye inflammation, and iritis. Ocular adverse reactions occurring in < 1% of subjects included application site discomfort or irritation, corneal pigmentation and striae, episcleritis, eye pruritis, eyelid irritation and crusting, foreign body sensation, increased lacrimation, macula edema, sclera hyperemia, and uveitis. Most of these reactions may have been the consequence of the surgical procedure.
Endogenous Anterior Uveitis: The most common adverse reactions of those exposed to difluprednate occurring in 5-10% of subjects included blurred vision, eye irritation, eye pain, headache, increased IOP, iritis, limbal and conjunctival hyperemia, punctate keratitis, and uveitis. Adverse reactions occurring in 2-5% of subjects included anterior chamber flare, corneal edema, dry eye, iridocyclitis, photophobia, and reduced visual acuity.
USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS Pregnancy: Teratogenic Effects Pregnancy Category C. Difluprednate has been shown to be embryotoxic (decrease in embryonic body weight and a delay in embryonic ossification) and teratogenic (cleft palate and skeletal anomalies) when administered subcutaneously to rabbits during organogenesis at a dose of 1-10 mcg/kg/day. It is difficult to extrapolate the doses of difluprednate to maximum daily human doses of difluprednate, since difluprednate is administered topically with minimal systemic absorption, and difluprednate blood levels were not measured in the reproductive animal studies. However, since use of difluprednate during human pregnancy has not been evaluated and cannot rule out the possibility of harm, difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the embryo or fetus. Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether topical ophthalmic administration of corticosteroids could result in sufficient systemic absorption to produce detectable quantities in breast milk. Systemically administered corticosteroids appear in human milk and could suppress growth, interfere with endogenous corticosteroid production, or cause other untoward effects. Caution should be exercised when difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion is administered to a nursing woman. Pediatric Use: Difluprednate was evaluated in a 3-month, multicenter, double-masked trial in 79 pediatric patients (39 difluprednate; 40 prednisolone acetate) 0 to 3 years of age for the treatment of inflammation following cataract surgery. A similar safety profile was observed in pediatric patients comparing difluprednate to prednisolone acetate ophthalmic suspension, 1%. Geriatric Use: No overall differences in safety or effectiveness have been observed between elderly and younger patients
This is a brief summary of information about Difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion. This information is not comprehensive. Visit https://www.ciplausa.com/sites/default/files/PI-Difluprednate-Ophtalmic-Emulsion.pdf or call 1-866-604-3268 to obtain the full Prescribing Information.
11/2/21 5:13 PM
FDA OKs New Indication for Roche’s Tecentriq The Food and Drug Administration has given the greenlight for Roche’s Tecentriq, or atezolizumab, as adjuvant treatment, following surgery and platinumbased chemotherapy, for adults with stage II-IIIA non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors express PDL1≥1%, as determined by an FDA-approved test. “Tecentriq is now the first and only cancer immunotherapy available for adjuvant treatment of NSCLC, introducing a new era where people diagnosed with early lung cancer may have the opportunity to receive immunotherapy to increase their chances for cure,” said Levi Garraway, Roche’s chief medical officer and head of global product development. “Today’s landmark approval gives physicians and patients a new way to treat early lung cancer that has the potential to significantly reduce risk of cancer recurrence, after more than a decade with limited treatment advances in this setting,” Garraway said. “Too many patients with early-stage lung cancer experience disease recurrence following surgery. Now, the availability of immunotherapy following surgery and chemotherapy offers many patients new hope and a powerful new tool to reduce their risk of cancer relapse,” said Bonnie Addario, co-founder and chair of GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer. “With this approval, it is more important than ever to screen for lung cancer early and test for PD-L1 at diagnosis to help bring this advance to the people who can benefit.” Tecentriq previously has shown clinically meaningful benefit in various types of lung cancer, with six currently approved indications. Additionally, Roche’s Tecentriq was also the first approved cancer immunotherapy for front-line treatment of adults with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer in combination with carboplatin and etoposide, or chemotherapy. Tecentriq also possesses four approved indications in advanced NSCLC — as either a single agent or in combination with targeted therapies and/or chemotherapies. Tecentriq is available in three-dosing options, providing the flexibility to choose administration every two, three or four weeks.
Nestlé Rallies Nut Butter Bombs Transform Indulgent Snacking Nestlé is looking to give consumers a wider range of options when it comes to choosing a sweet and indulgent snack by introducing its Rallies Nut Butter Bombs. Made with nut butter and premium chocolate, these chilled snacks are made without the use of artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, the Arlington, Va.-based company said. Available flavors include: • Brownie Almond Butter, filled with dark chocolate, almond butter and almond pieces, has a shell made of milk chocolate; • Salted Cashew Butter is covered in a dark chocolate coating; and • Raspberry Peanut Butter hits shelves in 2022 and features a dark chocolate coating wrapped around a peanut butter center that’s dotted with raspberry pieces. “Between family, work and the stress of their daily lives, consumers are struggling to find opportunities and ways to prioritize themselves throughout the day. Seventy-four percent of consumers say “treating oneself” is the main driver of comfort snacking to combat slumps in their busy lifestyles, said Michael Darman, innovation manager at Nestlé USA. “Eventually, we all need a ‘pick me up.’ “Nestlé Rallies offers a delicious treat with less added sugar than consumers are used to finding in similar snacks. The indulgence is a grab-and-go option and a fresh, elevated take on a traditional treat. From the initial bite into the chilled chocolate shell to the rich, smooth textures of the nut butter filling, we’re providing a treat that combines delicious ingredients to help consumers take on their day.” Consumers can find Nestlé Rallies Nut Butter Bombs in the refrigerated aisle of select Hy-Vee stores and online at NestleRallies.com. A package of three individual bombs retails for $2.49 and a package of six retails for $19.99.
DRUGSTORENEWS.COM November 2021
11/1/21 9:40 PM
PRODUCTS TO WATCH
New and Noteworthy HRG’s Products to Watch from October 2021
s the industry winds down an unexpectedly busy year, suppliers continue to launch new products to the market. In October, companies introduced 103 new products in the health, wellness and beauty categories. Hamacher Resource Group’s new product team evaluated nine products in the health category, 80 in the wellness sector and 14 for the beauty aisle to highlight five that could be a boon for retailers that stock them. Here is what they found.
Arcadia Consumer Healthcare Hair Care
Applied Biological Laboratories Cold & Allergy
Telebrands Pain Relief Cream
Medtech Products’ Feminine Care
Arcadia Consumer Healthcare Foot Care
Applied Biological Laboratories claims Biovanta Lozenge is the first 100% natural drug with an FDA moniker that treats the underlying cause for throat pain and brings cells back to their original integrity. Lozenges are made from naturally derived ingredients, including acetylsalicylic acid, organic menthol, lactoferrin, lysozyme and aloe. Monistat Maintain Feminine Cleanser is formulated with boric acid and prebiotics to gently cleanse away odor and discharge without irritation. The wash is gynecologist tested, fragrance free and contains a pH-balanced complex to support a healthy pH, to be safe for everyday use. The product comes in a 10-oz. package.
Nizoral Deep Moisturizing Conditioner offers triple action hydration for hair that is dry from the use of dandruff shampoo. It’s formulated so it won’t strip the ketoconazole off the scalp. The trademarked formula, which is infused with peppermint complex, tea tree oil, and vitamins E, C and B5, is free of sulfates, parabens, artificial fragrances and dyes. Nizoral Deep Moisturizing Conditioner comes in a 9.4-oz. bottle. Hempvana has added a new topical pain relief cream with 4% lidocaine and double the hemp seed oil to provide maximum-strength pain relief, quickly. The 4-oz. size nongreasy cream is vegan and cruelty-free, as well as free of phthalates, parabens and gluten.
Opti-Nail 2-in-1 Nail Repair + Antifungal from Arcadia Healthcare is designed to be an easy to use, two-step treatment for both the nails and the skin around the nail affected by fungus and athlete’s foot. The triple action formula is formulated to kill fungus, stop itching and burning, as well as restore and smooth skin that improves nail and skin appearance in as little as two days. The two-part system comes in .169-oz. bottles. dsn
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
10/28/21 1:41 PM
11/3/21 2:08 PM
Overcoming Obstacles Helping pharmacists’ roles evolve in response to COVID-19’s challenges By Ken Whittemore Jr.
E Ken Whittemore Jr., vice president of professional and regulatory affairs, Surescripts
ighteen months into the pandemic, pharmacists continue to serve a critical role in the fight against COVID-19. How pharmacists and the rest of the healthcare community have come together and risen to this challenge has been nothing short of impressive. But how has COVID-19 specifically impacted pharmacists and patients, and what can we do differently to improve their experiences? Those are questions that we recently asked 520 pharmacists, 200 prescribers and 300 patients. Here are a few things that we learned:
1. COVID-19 is exacerbating pharmacist burnout. Pharmacists now have the added responsibilities of coronavirus testing, vaccinations and reporting inoculations to primary care providers. But in tandem with this increased workload, 90% of community pharmacies report having trouble staffing open positions to meet these growing needs. For these reasons and more, only 1 in 5 pharmacists felt very prepared to handle their new role during the pandemic. Pharmacists said they fielded more patient questions during the past 18 months, but only a fifth of pharmacists (21%) felt they always had the correct patient information to provide proper medication and therapy guidance. Burnout in health care has been a growing issue for the industry for years, but these new COVID-19-related responsibilities and staffing issues threaten to intensify this issue. As an industry, we can help pharmacists through the pandemic and beyond with up-to-date, interoperable technologies that allow them to do more for patients with less burnout and frustration.
2. Too few pharmacists have access to advanced technology. While nearly half of pharmacists (48%) reported increased use of technology, there is still room for technology to improve workflows and reduce the impact of frustrating processes, including prior authorization and finding accurate medication pricing.
Pharmacists reported having questions for the prescriber for nearly a quarter (22%) of the prescriptions they dispense, yet half of the communication still happens by telephone or fax. Pharmacists communicate with prescribers via their pharmacy software about 33% of the time, so there clearly is room for improvement on this count. Time spent on these administrative tasks using antiquated technologies exacerbates existing workflow bottlenecks and staffing challenges. We need to ensure pharmacists are aware of the tools that can help them facilitate greater interoperability and access to prescription price information and streamline growing workloads, allowing them more time to care for patients.
3. Patients want to talk about prescription costs, but pharmacists aren’t always enabled to do so effectively. Nineteen percent of patients in our survey said it has become harder to afford medication in the past 18 months. It’s no surprise, then, that the average pharmacist sees as many as 10% of patients walk away without their medications due to cost. Unfortunately, pharmacists often have limited ability to resolve such cost concerns. Most of the pharmacists surveyed (58%) find it somewhat or very difficult to access a patient’s out-of-pocket costs. Pharmacists listed prescription costs as the most significant issue in health care today because when patients experience sticker shock, the likelihood of prescription abandonment increases, and patients can lose trust and satisfaction in their providers. A future in which ready access to prescription price information is the norm should be realized today. Pharmacists can now leverage newly available prescription price reporting tools to meet patients’ expectations around medication costs while ensuring their patients get highquality and affordable care. We need to do everything we can to help prepare pharmacists for whatever tomorrow may bring and to help them spend less time on administrative tasks and focus on what matters — patients. dsn
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
10/28/21 1:43 PM
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11/2/21 5:14 PM
The Inevitable Future of Pharmacy Automation The benefits of technology that improve overall pharmacy operations are ‘undeniably overwhelming’ By Cedrick Hall
Cedrick Hall, customer success manager, Parata Systems
he last year and a half brought about an incredible opportunity for pharmacies to demonstrate their immense value as accessible and reliable care providers. Concurrently, the average American now takes four daily prescription medications (not including OTC), and this growing utilization combined with the pandemic has resulted in heightened demand on pharmacy staff. Increased wait times, reduction of inventory, supply chain complications and the increased potential for errors to occur has a simple solution — pharmacy automation. The thought of this tech in the pharmacy likely sends mixed emotions throughout the industry. For some, it could be part of the business plan from the beginning. Others may see it as an option for retail giants or hospitals. Yet, no matter the perception of automation, the benefits are undeniably overwhelming. The question for some may be, “Will automation even impact my pharmacy?” I believe the question that should be asked is, “Can I afford not to automate my pharmacy operations?”
Efficiency When an increase in demand begins at a pharmacy, the initial thought may be to add staff. For most pharmacies, it’s just not that simple. Most states regulate pharmacist to technician ratios, meaning pharmacists are limited to how many technicians can assist them in the preparation of prescriptions. In order to add staff, the first staff member would probably resort to adding a pharmacist versus a technician, since they would otherwise be over ratio. The introduction of automation would circumvent this challenge and allow for growth while freeing up budget for increased technician wages and reducing the need to work in close quarters. Achieving the optimal intersection of speed and competency in pharmacy operations can make or break day-to-day workflow. With phones ringing, patients waiting and lines wrapped around the store, getting customers in and out as fast and efficiently as possible is the goal. Automation technology can rapidly dispense and fill prescriptions in the
background, which allows staff members to provide valuable in-person time to customers. Robots cannot greet with a smile or consult with customers. Allowing automation to complete tedious tasks more quickly and with more accuracy puts muchneeded humanity back in pharmacy.
Pharmacy Inventory Inventory management is a key factor in pharmacy success. Drug purchases are by far the largest expense of any pharmacy. Having the ability to control inventory on a macro level would yield tremendous dividends for local decision makers. Pharmacy automation allows for inventory control and predictability. This is the result of built-in tracking technology inside most robots. The ability to run reports from a range of past dispenses and track trends helps pharmacies recognize dead stock and create a more cost-effective supply chain.
Accuracy In pharmacy, while the reality may be tough to digest — mistakes do happen. There are many factors that go into when and why an error can occur in dispensing. Staff fatigue, distractions and stress are just a few of the litany of causes. The addition of pharmacy automation reduces these risks significantly. The act of pulling the right medication, counting the right number of doses and labeling the product can all be eliminated from human responsibility. Robots can produce repetitively and accurately. Most pharmacy automation comes with cameras for post-dispensing verification. These types of features add to the confidence in assuring that the right drug is going to the right place. Pharmacy automation should be viewed as the benefit that it is. As with all robotics, care is needed for them to be as impactful as possible. If you haven’t already, now is the time to start thinking about taking the work out of your workflows and start procuring the benefits that allow pharmacists and technicians to be providers instead of assembly line workers. Doing so is the best outcome for staff and customers alike. dsn
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
10/28/21 1:45 PM
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Card Shark Designer Greetings looks to bring value and quality cards to its customers
reeting cards are still a thriving category. Even as email gave way to text messages, and they both gave way to FaceTime and Zoom calls, the physical greeting card remains a popular way to share sentiments — and a big opportunity for retailers, particularly independent pharmacies looking to provide the segment at a value and drive foot traffic. Drug Store News spoke with Steven Gimbelman, president and CEO of Designer Greetings, to learn how the company helps its customers create a destination in their stores.
Drug Store News: Can you give us some background on Designer Greetings? Steven Gimbelman: Designer Greetings was founded in 1982 by my parents, Jack and Vickie Gimbelman. My father spent many years in the greeting card industry and saw an opportunity to start up his own business. From our humble beginnings of having only five employees to today with many key acquisitions, such as Card$mart, Glitterwrap, Madison Park Greetings, Northern Exposure and Palm Press, we remain true to our strong core values as a family-owned and operated company. DSN: What sets Designer Greetings apart from other card companies? SG: The strength of Designer Greetings is that we offer more than 23,000 everyday and seasonal greeting cards, in addition to our boxed and packaged note cards, boxed holiday cards and gift wrap line (Glitterwrap). We offer a variety of programs that are designed specifically to help independent pharmacies increase sales. The Card$mart Store-In-A-Store program — selling cards at 50% off every day — is a proven traffic driver for independent and small chain retailers. This program outvalues the regular-priced cards that are found in CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid. Card$mart
alike. We are able to successfully serve the customers of today’s marketplace by consistently calling on and servicing our retailers, ensuring optimal product selection, a well-balanced pricing model, caption differentiation and presentation.
Steven Gimbelman, president and CEO, Designer Greetings
“Even though the cost to the consumer is half the retail price, Card$mart greeting cards do not sacrifice on quality.” also provides a Preferred Giftware Vendor Program, which is an exclusive benefit to the retailer, whereby the store owner gains access to top gift vendors across multiple gift categories.
DSN: How does Designer Greetings build and maintain relationships with its customers? SG: Designer Greetings is just as committed to the high quality and value of our products as we are to being a leader in customer support. We have a dedicated and experienced nationwide sales team that helps find the program that best suits each location to maximize greeting card sales, creating happy retailers and consumers
DSN: What are some of the biggest opportunities for independent pharmacies in the greeting card space? SG: Designer Greetings’ Card$mart program outvalues the national drug chains by offering a “50% Off” greeting card program. The three national drug chains sell their cards at full price — a price that is only continuing to rise. Even though the cost to the customer is half the retail price, Card$mart greeting cards do not sacrifice on quality. Having such a nationally recognized value brand as Card$mart not only entices customers to view the location as a destination store, but it also helps to attract new customers seeking to purchase highquality products at a super value. Consumers are starting to come back to their brick-andmortar stores once again, and this unique shopping experience offers buyers multiple options within a single pharmacy. DSN: What are some new offerings from your lines that you want people to know about? SG: Designer Greetings is always updating existing product with fresh, new designs to stay up to date with the latest trends. We recently refreshed many of our popular card lines, from the topical humor of “A Little Salty” to the high-end collection found in “Premier Boutique.” In the near future, we will be adding three-dimensional pop-up features and other unique treatments to select cards that promise to provide an even more memorable and extra-special way to celebrate all of life’s occasions. And in addition to greeting cards, Designer Greetings now produces a stationery line of journals and planners. dsn
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
10/28/21 2:00 PM
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Wellness Awareness Pharmavite’s Donaldson talks about the future of vitamins, supplements and women’s health
ocean of less than reputable brands.
elebrating 50 years, Pharmavite is a health-and-wellness company that believes there is a better way to being healthy than relying on prescriptions. The California-based company offers a wide range of brands, such as Nature Made and MegaFood, and is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives. Drug Store News caught up with Pharmavite executive vice president and chief sales officer Bryan Donaldson to see what’s in store for vitamins and supplements. Drug Store News: What’s new in the vitamins, minerals and supplements category? Bryan Donaldson: What’s really new in VMS is the way consumers are engaging with the category. The focus on health has never been greater and consumers are taking a more active role than ever before in managing their personal wellness journey. As consumers gain a better understanding of how various systems and functions work together to create optimal health, they are going deeper into VMS categories, actively seeking solutions that may help support other areas of their health. Understanding the interplay between immunity, sleep and stress has resulted in consumers seeking out products in these areas where they need the most support. Sleep is a great example. Over the last 18 months, consumers have a greater awareness that length and quality sleep or lack thereof can directly impact other areas of their health, including their immune system. DSN: How do you convey to consumers the benefits of vitamins and supplements? BD: It’s really about educating consumers and being a trusted partner in their health-andwellness journey. Over the last five decades, Pharmavite has implemented an omnichannel approach to educating consumers, not just on the importance of filling key nutrient gaps, but in understanding how to identify
DSN: Are you working on different delivery methods for vitamins and supplements? BD: We are constantly working with new formulations and delivery formats that address real health needs, help fill nutrient gaps and ensure the consumer is surprised and delighted. We’re also thinking years into the future by creating partnerships that will help us identify new phytonutrients and exciting compounds that may help improve the health and wellness of consumers in new, unexpected ways.
Bryan Donaldson, executive vice president, chief sales officer, Pharmavite
quality supplements from trusted producers. We’ve sought third-party validation through reputable independent bodies, such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). In fact, Nature Made was the first VMS brand to earn the USP Verified Dietary Supplement mark, which independently verifies that products meet stringent quality criteria for purity and potency. We’re currently the leading VMS brand with products carrying the USP mark. Nature Made has also been the leading choice of pharmacists in key vitamin and supplement categories for over 20 years. Speaking of pharmacists, healthcare providers play such an influential role in helping their patients navigate issues related to their health and well-being, it’s important that we continue to support that work by providing education on our ever-expanding understanding of the role nutrients play in supporting overall health. As the leading VMS brand that has built its reputation on making quality, sciencebacked products, our focus is on being the gold standard that consumers and healthcare providers alike can turn to in an
DSN: After your acquisition of a urinary tract health brand, are you looking to position yourself in urinary health? BD: The acquisition of Uqora speaks to both Pharmavite’s growth and our commitment to women’s health. For the first 50 years, Pharmavite was synonymous with Nature Made. While Nature Made remains a critical part of our business, we’ve been focused on expanding our horizons by becoming a more multidimensional company that can provide quality solutions backed by science that support many of our consumers’ needs. That growth includes the acquisition of MegaFood, whose farm-to-tablet approach to supplements resonates with consumers in the natural channel, and the launch of Nurish by Nature Made, our vitamin subscription service that offers consumers a highly personalized vitamin regimen based on their specific needs. The acquisition of Uqora speaks to our focus on making long-term investments in providing better solutions for women to proactively manage their own health and wellness. With the leading urinary health brand as part of Pharmavite’s portfolio, we now offer an unrivaled set of solutions in the women’s health space, which also includes EQUELLE, our nonprescription dietary supplement that is clinically validated to help in managing multiple menopause symptoms. dsn
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
11/3/21 3:52 PM
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11/2/21 5:15 PM
Trust by Verify Veriteque USA develops the world’s first line of field tests to detect cannabis and fentanyl in the home, schools and workplace
eriteque USA is the manufacturer of SwabTek test kits, a field test for narcotics and explosives used by law enforcement and government agencies. Now the company has launched Verifique, the world’s first line of presumptive field tests designed specifically for use at home, in schools and in the workplace. Drug Store News recently caught up with CEO Bobby Betros to get a better understanding of the product and its potential in the market. Drug Store News: What is Verifique and how is this product unique? Bobby Betros: Verifique tests are single-use spot tests designed to detect drugs. They are currently available in two varieties — cannabis and fentanyl — with the goal to expand the brand’s portfolio over time. Spot tests, as opposed to traditional drug tests, are used for testing surfaces, rather than hair, urine or other samples taken from humans. This allows the tester to screen any surface or any sample suspected of being, or coming into contact with, drugs. For the first time, at-home users can detect narcotics in samples such as pills, powders, oils, edibles and plant material, as well as items suspected of being drug paraphernalia, such as pipes, vape pens, baggies and needles, with results in under 30 seconds. DSN: Please explain how the process works. BB: Users start by identifying the sample or surface that they wish to screen, and selecting the appropriate test, either cannabis or fentanyl. Each individual test consists of two pieces — a test pen and a test card. The test pen has a moistened cotton tip used for sample collection. The test card contains the printed reagents used in conducting the test. The test pen is dabbed across the item or surface that is being tested to collect a sample and is then transferred to the test card. The
Bobby Betros, CEO, Veriteque USA
sample is then combined with the reagent printed on the test card to complete the test. In the case of a positive result for the target drug, a rapid color change will emerge on the test card in under 30 seconds. The cannabis test produces a bright red color, and the fentanyl test produces a bright pink color. Upon completion of the analysis, users may choose to submit the results of their test, including a photograph, through Verifique’s browser-based application. This app allows users to save and access previous test results over time. Once the process is complete, the user may recap the test pen and store the pen and card for their records or dispose of them along with regular garbage. DSN: How do you envision it will be used and what are the implications for the market? BB: Verifique test kits are designed to help keep our communities safe and have many applications across the spectrum of drug prevention. They are an excellent tool for use in drug education, intervention and interdiction, and harm reduction. Verifique is committed to providing products that
empower testers with reliable, fact-based information, helping them to take control of situations they encounter and make decisive and informed decisions. Cannabis legalization trends and the prevalence of vaping devices have changed the landscape of adolescent drug abuse and have propelled youth cannabis consumption into a pressing public health issue. With cannabis products more easily accessible than ever, and with consumption methods like edibles and vaping that are difficult to monitor and detect, parents feel like they are fighting a losing battle. Verifique’s Cannabis Test aims to help turn that tide. For the first time, parents have a tool that can help identify the presence of drugs in the home, even in products such as vape pens and edibles where cannabis can be easily concealed. Since the test is used on surfaces, rather than biological samples, conclusive tests can be conducted discreetly and without being intrusive. Having accurate, rapid and reliable test results can help parents know what they’re dealing with and provide peace of mind. Knowing whether or not cannabis is present can help provide a powerful data point to help put parents in the driver’s seat in conversations regarding drug use in the home. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin, has emerged as a threat to public health, now accounting for 30% of all overdose deaths in the United States. Increasingly, fentanyl is making its way into drug supplies across the country and posing a significant risk to drug users and those around them. Verifique’s Fentanyl Test is designed to help detect the dangerous drug. It provides a tool to help parents, employers and educators identify fentanyl in suspect samples that are encountered — allowing the tester to avoid possible exposure and helping to inform decisions regarding disposal. dsn
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
11/3/21 11:53 AM
11/2/21 5:16 PM
Karma Beverages Unveils CBD Water Karma Water has rolled out the first CBD beverage under the Karma wellness and probiotic waters beverage portfolio. Developed in partnership with Canopy Growth, a cannabis and hemp company, Karma CBD Water is crafted with Canopy’s broad spectrum CBD distillate (from hemp biomass) and powered by Karma’s Push Cap technology, which protects the active cannabinoid constituents until seconds before consumption. “Karma Water is a leader in wellness beverages, and we see CBD as the next evolution of our premium infused-waters portfolio,” said Karma CEO CJ Rapp. “We are thrilled to partner with Canopy Growth to deliver optimum wellness, using best-in-class CBD paired with our industry-leading Push Cap technology to bring consumers an innovative new product offering in the CBD-infused beverage space.” David Klein, CEO of Canopy Growth, said the category presents an opportunity for CBD. “Beverages are continuing to fuel the growth in the CBD category as consumers seek out familiar, fast-acting product formats that fit seamlessly into their busy lives,” he said. “Through our strategic partnership with Constellation Brands and Karma, we are thrilled to provide our best-in-class CBD distillate and help add a groundbreaking new CBD wellness beverage to Karma’s industryleading product lineup.” Karma CBD Water is infused with 25 mg of antioxidant-rich CBD distillate, plus four adaptogens and seven essential vitamins to support holistic health. Canopy Growth utilizes technology to distill the purest available CBD from hemp, ensuring a consistent consumer experience with the push of the cap, the company said. Karma’s CBD Water lineup will be distributed through Constellation Brands’ beer distribution network, which has helped the company become one of the fastest-growing and the third-largest beer companies by volume in the United States. “Every bottle of Karma contains unprecedented levels of active ingredients, which are then made more effective by the patented Push Cap technology,” said Karma president Jeff Platt. “In contrast, all too often the active ingredients in premixed drinks deteriorate and underdeliver on their promise.” Karma CBD Water, which is naturally sweetened, vegan and non-GMO, is available in five natural flavors: cranberry lime, blueberry yuzu, blood orange papaya, lavender orange and watermelon dragon fruit. Free of preservatives, gluten and lactose, Karma CBD Water is available at retail stores nationwide and online at drinkkarma.com.
Perricone MD’s Ultra-Smooth Clean Shave Cream Aids Personal Care Routines Perricone MD is rolling out the latest addition to its Hypoallergenic CBD Sensitive Skin Therapy collection — Perricone MD Hypoallergenic CBD Sensitive Skin Therapy Ultra-Smooth Clean Shave. Made with 99% pure cannabidiol sourced from the United States, the product features a rich texture that creates a slick surface, resulting in a clean and comfortable shave, the San Francisco-based company said. “With the launch of the Hypoallergenic CBD Sensitive Skin Therapy Collection in 2020, we continue to be at the forefront of CBD innovation since our first launch with the ingredient in 2017,” said Robert Koerner, Perricone MD’s chief marketing officer. “With the CBD skin care market continuing to grow at an incredibly rapid pace, we are excited to bring these new offerings to the category while maintaining our brand commitment that all formulas within this franchise be clean, gentle and effective.” Other ingredients found in the shave cream include cannabis sativa seed oil and allantoin to hydrate and soften skin texture, as well as nourish the skin for a smooth and soft appearance, the company said. Featuring a formula that is noncomedogenic, vegan, dermatologist tested and sulfate-free, the product also has been recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation. “The National Psoriasis Foundation Seal of Recognition identifies products that have been created or are intended to be nonirritating and safe for people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis,” said Randy Beranek, president and CEO of the National Psoriasis Foundation. “We are excited to finally have a shave cream recognized on our Seal Product Directory.” Perricone MD Hypoallergenic CBD Sensitive Skin Therapy Ultra-Smooth Clean Shave Cream, which retails for $29, is available online at perriconemd.com.
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
11/1/21 9:42 PM
11/2/21 5:16 PM
TOP OF THE CROP DSN honors another crop of talented women helping grow and diversify the industry For the third year running, the industry has no shortage of women who could be considered Top Women in Health, Wellness & Beauty. With more than 120 entrants, DSN this year whittled the list down to nearly 70 women across its three categories — Business Excellence, Rising Stars and Commitment to Care. As part of the celebration, each of the winners was mailed an award and were invited to attend the virtual programming around the event, held in mid-October. The event featured a keynote from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and two days of panels with leading women retail executives discussing their careers and how to foster talent in the industry. Read about the work these exceptional women do — whether they work with a retailer, supplier or service provider — to make the industry better and more inclusive in the following pages.
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
11/3/21 4:03 PM
Unilever brands are committed to equality. Our brands are committed to equality. That’s why Dove co-founded the CROWN Coalition to help make hair discrimination illegal—and why SheaMoisture® invests in the dreams of Black women entrepreneurs*.
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Business Excellence Winners ALECIA LASHIER CHIEF SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT IA The pillar of knowledge within the iA organization, Alecia Lashier is one of the founding creators of the pharmacy technology provider’s Symphony software, the “brains and functionality” of the PharmAssist Platform within the world of automated pharmaceuticals. Lashier is responsible for overseeing all technical execution and engineering at iA, a global solutions provider for the pharmacy fulfillment industry. For more than 20 years she has taken a hands-on approach, working closely with industry and academia to advance technology solutions, especially in the field of healthcare. She is frequently sought after to solve complex technology problems that reshape and improve healthcare globally. AMY PLEASANT DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT, WALGREENS TEAM LEAD CROSSMARK As leader of the retail support program for Crossmark at Walgreens, Amy Pleasant helps vendor partners succeed at the retailer while overseeing a team of five national account managers and demand planners. Pleasant has been calling on Walgreens for 20 years, working with executives across internal divisional boundaries. Notably, Pleasant recently worked with Walgreens’ healthcare business owner to create a co-merchandising plan for a household division launch of a product that had healthcare benefits. In support of a fragrance vendor partner, her team secured space in the trial/travel section with an item small enough to meet TSA guidelines. ANGIE NELSON SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF PHARMACY HY-VEE Hy-Vee’s 275 retail pharmacies in eight states have made important updates over the years, thanks in no small part to Angie Nelson. Overseeing the team that implemented artificial intelligence technology and machine learning models to improve patient adherence, she also oversaw the launch of prescription prepay and made prescription delivery available through DoorDash. In 2020, the retailer introduced drive-thru flu shots, resulting in a record number of flu shots administered that year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nelson helped roll out contact-free health-and-wellness services, including digital vaccination consent forms. Hy-Vee has administered the vaccine onsite as well as in long-term care facilities, Hy-Vee Healthy You Mobile units and pop-up sites. 30
APRIL COUDRIET DIRECTOR, CONSUMER PRODUCTS, STRATEGIC GLOBAL SOURCING AMERISOURCEBERGEN As a director at AmerisourceBergen, April Coudriet leads a team of five category managers who develop growth-focused strategies for categories within Health and Beauty and Over the Counter. With more than 16 years of category management experience at Rite Aid and AmerisourceBergen combined, Coudriet is now leveraging her expertise to drive growth within the independent pharmacy class of trade, in addition to the many other business channels AmerisourceBergen supports. CANDICE ST. PIERRE VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES, TRADITIONAL MARKETS TWINLAB CONSOLIDATION After joining Twinlab Consolidation in 2018 as director of sales and being promoted to vice president of sales in 2019, Candice St. Pierre took a nine-month leave of absence to work on her dissertation in industrial/organizational psychology. Her research focuses on leadership identity development and the use of executive coaching as a tool to help women advance their careers. At Twinlab, she is responsible for building and strengthening sales performance within the FDM, natural, specialty, e-tail and international channels. Over the past year she successfully navigated the bankruptcy of a top customer, renegotiated all vendor contracts, and implemented an extensive SKU reduction plan. CINDY ORR EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER NO FADE FRESH A chemist and businesswoman, Cindy Orr runs the day-to-day operations of No Fade Fresh and heads research and development for the company’s in-house laboratory. Orr, who earned a master’s degree in textile chemistry from Kansas State University, has in-depth knowledge of the necessary business practices and of the product formulation process. She launched No Fade Fresh to create hair colordeposit products that are vegan, gluten free and PETA-certified/ cruelty free, and free of harsh chemicals, PPD, parabens and mineral oil. Under her guidance, the company achieved growth to more than 6,500 stores in one year since the launch of the line.
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
11/3/21 4:04 PM
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COLLEEN LINDHOLZ PRESIDENT KROGER HEALTH The healthcare arm of Kroger, Kroger Health has more than 2,200 pharmacies and 220 clinics in 35 states. Colleen Lindholz leads a team of more than 22,000 healthcare practitioners, including pharmacists, nurse practitioners, dietitians and technicians who provide health and wellness solutions to over 14 million customers each year. Lindholz is chair of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the recipient of Kroger’s Chairman’s Award, Kroger’s Leadership Award and Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery Rising Star Award. In 2019, Colleen was named one of EatingWell magazine’s “American Food Heroes” and one of Forbes’ “Powerful Women Shaping the Future of Food.”
HEATHER MANCHESTER NATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGER FOR WALGREENS HENKEL Responsible for more than 70 SKUs from 10plus brands, Heather Manchester leads the development, execution and delivery of a comprehensive business strategy for Walgreens in the laundry/household, air care, cleaning and pesticides categories. Manchester manages Henkel and SUN brands at approximately 9,000 Walgreens stores, and manages and maintains the Walgreens.com digital shelf and its expanded portfolio. In January 2021, she executed a strategic month-long promotion at a time when retailer foot-traffic was down due to the pandemic. The promotion generated the highest POS since the beginning of the pandemic (outside of the March 2020 panic buying) with a large portion of the sales coming in through the retailer website.
DIANN BOTELHO VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES, COSTCO TEAM LEAD THE BOUNTIFUL COMPANY Diann Botelho is a highly skilled and respected sales leader in the health-and-wellness space with over 30 years of experience in the CPG industry. Her experience spans across major supplement companies, such as The Bountiful Company and Pharmavite as well as Consumer Products Management and Longs Drug stores. She has been with The Bountiful Company, a Nestlé Health Science company and a pure play branded leader in global nutrition, for almost 10 years as vice president of customer development for the Costco Team. She has a proven track record for driving profitable growth and identifying customer centric solutions for both the customer and her company while focused on developing, mentoring and coaching others.
HEIDI POLEK STRATEGIC PROGRAM MANAGER DRFIRST A pharmacist with more than 30 years of experience in the retail pharmacy sector, pharmaceutical industry, and healthcare technology market, Heidi Polek is a clinical subject matter expert, providing industry and clinical insights that enhance product design and user experience. Polek also provides sales development support across multiple product teams, plus program and account management for pharmacy-related projects and clients. She is a sought-after speaker at industry events and in media coverage, speaking about medication adherence, telehealth, technology and the pharmacy workflow, and other topics. She is an active member of the American Pharmacists Association.
ELISA SLOSS VICE PRESIDENT, HEALTHMARKETS AND DIETITIANS HY-VEE Hy-Vee’s 180 HealthMarkets are storewithin-a-store sections that feature organic and specialty foods. Elisa Sloss oversees all aspects of the HealthMarkets and leads Hy-Vee’s more than 70 registered dietitians across the company’s eight-state footprint. The dietitians annually lead more than 150,000 customers on store tours to help them find the foods and products to meet their specific dietary needs. During the pandemic Sloss implemented a virtual dietitian services platform. In the past year, she and her team launched a partnership with GNC to offer vitamins and dietary supplements, pre-packaged bulk food, and CBD products in stores in Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.
JONI RAMPOLLA REGIONAL NUTRITION SPECIALIST THE GIANT COMPANY With a belief that personal health begins with the shopping cart, Joni Rampolla promotes choosing nourishing, healing, exciting food combinations. The registered dietitian and board certified specialist in obesity and weight management leverages nutritious foods for improved outcomes and connects customers to nutrition and wellness knowledge to build shopper confidence and loyalty. Rampolla joined The Giant Company in 2016 as an in-store nutritionist. In 2018 she became a regional nutrition specialist covering communities across South Central Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. She is state coordinator for the Maryland Vegetarian Dietetic Practice Group, where she encourages all Marylanders to eat more plantbased food items.
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*Retail measurement service for Hand and Body Lotion segment (Beiersdorf defined) for the 52 week ending 12/29/2018 for the total US xAOC market
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KAITLYN DENOPOULOS SENIOR DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT - CVS TEAM LEAD THE BOUNTIFUL COMPANY A high performer within The Bountiful Company, Kaitlyn Denopoulos is a trusted partner who adds extreme value to the customer, CVS Health. Denopoulos consistently exceeds expectations above and beyond the scope of her current role, and has an established track record for success. She proactively seeks out new opportunities to broaden skills and experiences, and she achieved the highest SKU count in 2020 at CVS Health across The Bountiful Company’s portfolio. She is very involved with the CVS Health Charity Classic and its events to raise money for charities across Southern New England. KATHY LEONARD DIRECTOR OF RETAIL PHARMACY OPERATIONS PUBLIX In addition to ensuring effective and efficient retail pharmacy operations across Publix’s seven-state operating area, Kathy Leonard is responsible for directing, coaching and mentoring pharmacy operations managers and administrative associates. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she quickly led her associates through heightened safety processes and procedures that allowed Publix pharmacies to continue smooth operation. When the flu season began, she initiated an all-in approach to immunization services, resulting in Publix achieving record-breaking success on total flu shots. Later she spearheaded the implementation of a historical COVID-19 vaccination program. In 2020, she received Publix’s George W. Jenkins award. KATIE SCANLON SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PHARMACY ADMINISTRATION PUBLIX Katie Scanlon develops strategy and ensures execution of all departments within the pharmacy administration department including procurement, managed care, central and specialty pharmacy, technology, data and analytics and clinical services. To prepare Publix for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Scanlon and her team worked with IT and marketing to bolster the digital reservation system; trained pharmacies on receiving, handling and administering the vaccine; coordinated logistics with the pharmacy warehouse; worked with government relations; and developed appointment schedules for more than 900 pharmacies across three states. Publix pharmacies began vaccinating in stores on January 7, 2021 and have administered more than one million total vaccinations.
KIM ROWE CATEGORY MANAGER WEIS MARKETS At Weis Markets, Kim Rowe is the category manager for OTC, health care and baby care. Rowe has been with Weis for more than 30 years. She brings constant innovation to the categories she oversees. KRISTIN WILLIAMS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER HY-VEE PRESIDENT AMBER SPECIALTY PHARMACY/ HY-VEE PHARMACY SOLUTIONS An influential and strategic thought leader, Kristin Williams oversees more than 275 retail pharmacies across eight Midwestern states and 21 specialty pharmacies across the country. Williams has overseen Hy-Vee’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout since December 2020 when the retailer received its first allocation of the vaccine. She is an advocate and champion of pharmacies and has been integral in expanding pharmacists’ role within their communities. Under her direction, the company is expanding its current fleet of nine Hy-Vee Healthy You Mobiles in rural communities, and Hy-Vee pharmacists are using artificial intelligence to identify patients at greater risk of not being adherent with their medications. LEIGH SHIRLEY DIRECTOR OF PHARMACY OPERATION THE GIANT COMPANY With 27 years of experience in various roles in The Giant Company’s pharmacy department, Leigh Shirley is responsible for the sales, operations and financial profitability of the 132 Giant and Martin’s Food Market pharmacy departments located in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. She challenges herself and her team to provide a high level of service and convenience to The Giant Company’s customers by adding services such as diabetes care and point of care testing and providing immunizations. She took the lead in preparing the response of the pharmacy department as part of The Giant Company’s overall crisis task force. LITTHYA BURGIN MANAGER, SHOPPER INSIGHTS FOR THE RESPIRATORY CATEGORY GSK CONSUMER HEALTHCARE Key customers of GSK Consumer Healthcare rely on Litthya Burgin for her expertise on the respiratory category shopper. Burgin manages all shopper insights activities
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CELEBRATING TOP WOMEN IN HEALTH, WELLNESS AND BEAUTY
Account Executive III - Field and Warehouse CVS Corporate
Senior Customer Marketing Manager
Rising Star Award
Rising Star Award
Cheers to all the 2021 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!
©2021 The Coca-Cola Company
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for the category, which encompasses brands including Theraflu, Robitussin, Advil Respiratory, and Flonase. Her responsibilities include budgeting, leading research initiatives, vendor partnerships and general alignment across her marketing and sales key stakeholder groups. She develops robust category leadership platforms that outline key strategies to drive growth within the category to engage shoppers. At GSK Consumer Healthcare she is a member of the company’s diversity and inclusion team, representing the sales organization, as well as a member of several in-house employee resource groups. MARY VAN PRAAG CEO MILANI COSMETICS Joining Milani during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mary van Praag has built a high-performing team of strong leaders and created a culture of excellence, transparency and accountability. Having grown her career via roles with Chico’s FAS, Perricone MD, Coty Beauty and OPI Products, van Praag aims to make her leadership inclusive while maintaining a results-oriented and peoplecentric leadership style that energizes and challenges her colleagues. She is an active member of many boards and mentorship programs, including Women in Retail Leadership. MICHELLE NILSSON NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR BAUSCH + LOMB For more than a decade, Michelle Nilsson has been a significant contributor to the Bausch + Lomb business by consistently increasing company value and delivering business results. Nilsson is responsible for business development, joint business planning and marketing execution with all national and regional food, retail and e-commerce customers. Known as a passionate and dedicated leader, she continuously seeks innovative solutions for her team and customers. As a result of her ongoing dedication and success, she has been recognized with several awards for her outstanding work and partnerships with customers. NIKI SIMONEAUX VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING AND SALES, EMERGING MARKETS TWINLAB CONSOLIDATED A 15-year veteran of Twinlab Consolidation, Niki Simoneaux heads the marketing team and is responsible for the marketing budget for the company’s Twinlab, Reserveage Nutrition, Metabolife and ResVitale brands. Simoneaux spearheaded three consumer studies to guide the repositioning of the top three portfolio brands, Twinlab, Reserveage and ResVitale. As head of sales for emerging markets, she is responsible for setting and executing channel strategies for Amazon and direct to consumer sales. She is a member of the TCC executive team and a material 36
contributor to overall company turnaround and growth strategies across all verticals. PEGGY TOMES SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, AUDITING AND QUALITY ASSURANCE AMBER SPECIALTY PHARMACY, A HY-VEE SUBSIDIARY For more than 22 years, Tomes has helped shape some of the most vital elements of Amber Specialty Pharmacy and patient care strategies. Tomes oversees pharmacy practices and functions governed by Medicare and other federal and state programs. She uses her depth of knowledge to help create policies and procedures that align with the complex nuances of these programs. Her work helps to protect the pharmacy from monetary risks through routine and standard audits. A loyal leader in the company, she has witnessed its growth from one pharmacy, serving only a handful of patients, to now operating 21 locations. TRACY ROBERTS TEAM LEAD, SHOPPER AND CATEGORY INSIGHTS FOR WALGREENS GSK CONSUMER HEALTHCARE Among Tracy Roberts’ skills is her ability to develop a learning plan, rally her team and activate its findings for a robust strategic initiative. Roberts, who has been with GSK Consumer Healthcare for 11 years, is responsible for leading her team to develop category and shopper strategy and solutions using key shopper insights to support Walgreens and GSK. She was recently awarded GSK’s “Innovation, Performance and Trust” award for recognition from Walgreens and significant contribution to their store formats initiative ,as well as driving shopper-led merchandising changes across multiple health, wellness and personal care categories in response to the dynamic COVID-19 environment. YAMIT SADOK SENIOR DIRECTOR OF MARKETING TWINLAB CONSOLIDATION As senior director of marketing, Yamit Sadok holds a hybrid sales and marketing role across Twinlab Consolidation Corporation’s family of brands, which are Twinlab, Reserveage Nutrition, Metabolife and ResVitale. Sadok is accountable for product line profitability and leading innovation from ideation through launch. She joined Reserveage Nutrition in October of 2014 and was a major driving force in the explosive growth in the year prior to its acquisition by Twinlab in late 2015. She led the launch of nearly two dozen new products, most recently spearheaded the rollout of the Reserveage skin care line.
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AMY REIBRICH MARKETING LEAD FOR U.S. SHOPPER ENGAGEMENT AND SCALE GSK CONSUMER HEALTHCARE A champion of diversity and inclusion, Amy Reibrich works with retail partners to create programs like the award-winning Tums “All are Welcome” campaign highlighting inclusivity and cultural relevancy during the holidays, a key consumption period for the brand and participating retailers. Reibrich and her team of shopper and scale marketing experts work nationally with GSK’s key retail partners. She is responsible for delivering breakthrough activation across the portfolio of brands encompassing oral health, wellness, pain, upper respiratory health and digestive health. She created datadriven partnerships with pharmacies to help drive year-one penetration and sales of the Rx-to-OTC launch of Voltaren. BRENDA CAPOBIANCO SENIOR PRINCIPAL, SUPPLIER SERVICES IQVIA At IQVIA, Brenda Capobianco works with her team to help deliver products and analysis that help clients better understand their performance in the retail pharmacy market. Capobianco works with all levels of the team to encourage them to perform to their highest level. She uses her influence within the organization to get her team the additional resources needed to deliver better analytical products. She listens to clients and determines how IQVIA can best provide the data analysis product that helps them meet their business needs. She impacts the pharmacy space by helping retail pharmacy understand the marketplace. BRITTANY HOLMGREN SENIOR CATEGORY MANAGER OF VITAMINS AND DIET WALGREENS With the task of growing the vitamins and diet category at Walgreens, Brittany Holmgren’s responsibilities include budget oversight, selection of innovation and growing sales in the VMS category. Holmgren joined Walgreens in 2011 as a merchandising analyst, where she participated in a twoyear rotational program through Walgreen’s merchandising team, merchandise planning, promotional planning and visual merchandising. She has been a category manager for coughcold, diabetes and first aid. ELYSE DICKERSON CEO AND CO-FOUNDER EOSERA With more than two decades of experience leading teams in the health care and pharmaceutical industries, Elyse Dickerson oversees her staff; manages finances; oversees all projects and 38
product ventures; maintains relationships with retailers, buyers and brokers; and aids in product development, manufacturing, marketing, quality and distribution. Last year, Dickerson led a drive to collect feminine care products for women who could not afford them due to jobs lost from COVID-19. Prior to founding Eosera, she built popular eye care brands across the globe. GINA CORRIVEAU DIRECTOR OF COSMETICS CVS HEALTH With more than 17 years of industry experience, Gina Corriveau is a performance driven leader with a demonstrated career of delivering exceptional results. Corriveau is skilled in fostering relationships with both the vendor community and her cross functional teams to deliver on company values. She came to CVS Pharmacy over 14 years ago as a frontstore planner with a strong financial background, and has managed multiple categories within beauty and personal care business units. Her primary focus has always been to deliver an assortment that meets the needs of the customer while partnering with brands that promote diversity and innovation in the industry. JENNIFER ILACQUA SENIOR DIRECTOR, HEAD OF NORTH AMERICAN MARKETING I-HEALTH, A DIVISION OF DSM A proven leader in marketing, Jennifer Ilacqua began with i-Health as a strategic brand and marketing consultant and was promoted after little more than a year to the role of marketing director for the company’s women’s health and aging products. In the next two years she rose to the lead marketing position in North America. She develops, implements and oversees the North American strategic marketing plan while tying the plan to i-Health Global brand strategy. Previously she was with Colgate-Palmolive, where she won the Chairman’s Award. JENNIFER ROUSH CATEGORY MANAGER AMERISOURCEBERGEN (PREVIOUSLY WITH RITE AID) At Rite Aid, Jennifer Roush won Category Manager of the Year several times. Roush worked with the vendor community and shared her vast knowledge in the multiple categories she managed at the retailer. With more than 25 years’ experience at the retailer, she succeeded in attaining sales, margin and income goals by partnering with vendors to supply high-quality merchandise to fit both the store and customer needs. She was nominated for the DSN Top Women 2021 Award for her work at Rite Aid, and in August moved into a new role as category manager at AmerisourceBergen.
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NIKI SIMONEAUX VP of Sales & Marketing, Emerging Markets
CANDICE ST. PIERRE VP of Sales, Traditional and International Markets
YAMIT SADOK Sr. Director of Marketing, Retail, Innovation, PR
MARIA SALGADO National Sales Director, Natural Channel
Business Excellence Award
Business Excellence Award
Business Excellence Award
Rising Star Award
CELEBRATING TOP WOMEN
IN HEALTH, WELLNESS AND BEAUTY Congratulations to all the 2021 Top Women in Health, Wellness and Beauty! At Twinlab Consolidation Corporation, we’re driven by one goal—to empower, educate, and provide products that help people achieve lifelong health and vitality. Thank you to our team members and to all honorees of the 2021 Top Women in Health, Wellness and Beauty. You embody our mission to create a world where health knows no boundaries and is available to all. Here’s to the best year yet!
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JESSICA HEITZ VICE PRESIDENT OF BRAND AND MARKETING OLLY After earning her MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Jessica Heitz worked at Clorox in base business, innovation and sales planning roles. With the desire to build a brand from the ground up, Heitz joined Olly in its infancy and has been one of the driving forces behind the brand’s rapid growth and its company culture. Her strategic thinking, tactical expertise and people management skills have been instrumental in scaling revenue 10 times over a five-year horizon and building a high performing team of more than 20 people. JILL STEFFEN NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR BAUSCH + LOMB With nearly 25 years of industry experience, Jill Steffen is a performance-driven sales leader with a career record of exceptional achievement. After receiving her master’s degree in organizational behavior, Steffen made a career shift from registered dietitian in the healthcare industry to management in the CPG sales/category space with Mead Johnson Nutritionals. Following that, Steffen worked for Crayola, then Energizer Personal Care and Galderma, her responsibility escalating with every role. She joined Bausch + Lomb as an associate director and is now a national sales director, responsible for overseeing retail partnerships in all classes of trade. JULIE BONNELL VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS HRG With a fine arts background and business acumen, Julie Bonnell has expertise in problem solving. Bonnell joined Hamacher Resource Group as a graphics coordinator and over the years moved into operations roles. She can envision the end solution while also grasping all the details needed to make it happen, a skill that is especially useful as the retail landscape and the need for data has rapidly changed. She plays a critical role on the HRG product development team and is on the senior leadership team that sets the direction and creates the budget and business plan for HRG each year. MEGAN FAY VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING AND PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT FOR HAIR CARE MAESA Meghan Fay is responsible for growing Maesa’s hair care business in the United States through innovation and continuous marketing efforts on established brands. Maesa is a beauty products incubator that designs and manufactures exclusive brands and private label brands for mass, drug and 40
specialty retailers. Hair care is the largest growth driver for Maesa, with affordable luxury brand Kristen Ess, Hairitage by Mindy McKnight, who is a YouTube mom influencer, and TPH by Taraji from Taraji P. Henson. MELINDA RUBIN PRESIDENT AND OWNER GARCOA LABORATORIES Since 1983, Garcoa Laboratories has provided personal care products including skin, hair, body, baby and OTC topical treatments. Melinda Rubin started and built the family-owned business, which operates manufacturing and distribution sites in the United States and Canada. Garcoa has supplied private and controlled labels as well as contracted manufacturing for some of the largest and most prestigious brands in the U.S. NICOLE BOURDEAU SENIOR DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL MARKETING I-HEALTH, A DIVISION OF DSM During the nearly 10 years she has been with i-Health, Nicole Bourdeau has driven significant growth on each brand she has managed. Bourdeau leads microbiome and peak performance health brands, which include the probiotic supplement brand Culturelle, the probiotics brand UP4 and microbiome nutrient Holigos IBS Restore. She manages innovation and budgets, and has been promoted quickly due to her marketing expertise and her ability to work with sales, operations and other groups. ROBIN PAGE VICE PRESIDENT OF PHARMACY RETAIL OPERATIONS MCKESSON Outside of Robin Page’s primary responsibilities at McKesson, she assumed additional responsibilities in response to COVID-19 pandemic. She assisted her Northeast region’s independently owned Health Mart franchise pharmacies at COVID-19 patient test collection sites and in partnership with state and federal programs providing the COVID-19 vaccines at their pharmacies. Page served as advisor, consultant and business coach throughout setting up the COVID-19 testing site and the authorized federal vaccine pharmacy location. She earned her pharmacy degree at the University of Connecticut and has more than 30 years in retail and independent pharmacy.
OTHER WINNERS Katie Finnegan, chief e-commerce and customer experience officer, Rite Aid Roxanne Schwans, senior vice president, market access and pharmacy purchasing, Rite Aid
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*Source: IRI/SPINS/WFM L52 Wks Period Ending 9/5/21
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RISING STARS WINNERS ERNA MESIC DIRECTOR OF DIAGNOSTIC TESTING WALGREENS During the pandemic, Erna Mesic developed the operating model for drive-thru COVID-19 testing, onboarded three different testing partners, opened 7,000 Walgreens testing sites and delivered 8 million COVID-19 tests. Mesic, who joined Walgreens as a pharmacy technician 15 years ago, works with state departments of health to customize testing solutions. She oversees the revenue cycle of diagnostic testing to ensure accurate and compliant billing practices. She worked on K-12 school testing and with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to ensure Walgreens expanded testing sites into areas of high social vulnerability. JENA HINSPETER NATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER FOR CVS HEALTH COCA-COLA A system-wide expert on strategy, business systems and operating philosophy, Jena Hinspeter leads the Coca-Cola field integration and warehouse relationships at CVS Health corporate. She leads and manages the CVS Health/Coca-Cola partnership across 8,200 stores in 49 states and coordinates all field operations across 51 bottler ownerships. A proactive leader, Hinspeter focuses on generating solutions. She thinks through the lens of “what is possible” and generates key learnings from every project she manages. She received the Top Performer Award in 2017 from parent company Coca-Cola North America. KELLI WYANT SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PHARMACY OPERATIONS AMBER SPECIALTY PHARMACY, A HY-VEE SUBSIDIARY In late 2020, Amber Specialty Pharmacy was named Specialty Pharmacy of the Year by the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP), and Kelli Wyant’s leadership in providing consistent, high-quality and personalized care to patients was integral in this achievement. Wyant is responsible for the daily oversight of all 21 Amber Specialty Pharmacy locations, and manages operations and workflow that are essential to getting patients started with medication therapy. She also oversees the organization’s state-of-the-art call center and ensures patients receive pertinent information quickly and accurately. In 2020, she received internal recognition with the Spirit of Hy-Vee award. 42
KIMBERLY HOWLAND HEAD OF ENLIVENHEALTH PRODUCT MANAGEMENT ENLIVENHEALTH, A DIVISION OF OMNICELL An innovator and leader in healthcare technology, Kimberly Howland has played crucial roles in launching major new products at Omnicell. In early 2020, Howland took over the product management job for Omnicell division EnlivenHealth, and she works closely with customers to develop the road map for current products and new solutions. It is her vision, innovation and deep industry understanding that fuels EnlivenHealth’s growing influence as a leading technology solutions provider for the retail pharmacy and health plan industries. She is a mentor and recognized thought leader in the emerging digital and SaaS pharmacy technology sector. LAUREN WITTENBERG SENIOR MANAGER, GLOBAL E-COMMERCE I-HEALTH Lauren Wittenberg is actively leading i-Health’s advancement within e-commerce, particularly with traditional brick and mortar accounts, ensuring that consumers have access to i-Health’s products no matter how or when they choose to shop. Wittenberg is a passionate connector and coach who effectively builds relationships to drive change within the company, with customers and within the industry. She demonstrates her leadership and drive for results every day in her role. She serves as board chair for the Next Gen group within WE, Empowering Women to Advance Wellness. MARIA SALGADO DIRECTOR OF SALES AT NATURAL CHANNEL TWINLAB CONSOLIDATION Since starting at Twinlab Consolidation in 2014, Maria Salgado’s sales knowledge and customer service prowess helped her quickly progress from customer service to an internal sales role. Salgado’s proficiency in the sales process and strategy has brought success to natural retailers, as she finds new ways to engage broker partners, distribution partners and retail customers to reach sales goals and improve productivity. In one year, she was able to increase warehouse efficiencies in distribution by minimizing the total number of “ship-to” points from 683 to nine and restructured the company’s sales force to bring exceptional sales results.
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REBECCA BEMRICH SENIOR CUSTOMER MARKETING MANAGER COCA-COLA Walgreens is a high-priority retail customer for Coca-Cola, and Rebecca Bemrich serves as the omnichannel marketing lead for the Coca-Cola-Walgreens customer team. Bemrich leads long-term strategic planning and annual marketing planning to bring the portfolio of Coca-Cola products to life with Walgreens and their customers. She collaborates with key stakeholders internally and with the customer to create a marketing plan to drive category growth for the customer and key brands, including Coke, Diet Coke, smartwater, vitaminwater, Gold Peak, Dasani and more. She created a Hydration platform to capture new shopper occasions among consumers who are shopping Walgreens for Health and Wellness needs. ROSE DRAKE TEAM LEAD, SHOPPER AND CATEGORY INSIGHTS, FOOD/ VALUE CHANNELS GSK CONSUMER HEALTHCARE Rose Drake is a talented insights partner with her customer, coach for her team, and key driver of culture withing the organization. Drake is responsible for leading her team and developing category captaincies, category/shopper strategies and solutions using key shopper insights to support the food and value channels within GSK. In addition to her leadership skills and proficiency in the customer dynamics, she has a great ability to focus on key actionable insights and reach conclusions quickly. She helps strategy decision makers for her accounts’ OTC categories, and influences internal constituents on marketplace trends, insights and customer demands. DR. FLORA STAY PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER CLEURE A practicing dentist, Dr. Flora Stay recognized that many of the ingredients found in everyday products were causing health problems in children and adults, so she set out to develop products that were safe, effective and free of irritants as noted by the American Dermatological Society. She created the 100% clean and pure personal care products brand, Cleure. Today, Cleure is recognized as a leading provider of safe, clean products by dermatologists and patients worldwide. Stay oversees all product development, R&D, ingredient selection, and packaging, and leads the marketing, sales and operations teams. Cleure has developed 35 products, sourcing all ingredients in the United States JAMIE JOHNSON CATEGORY MANAGER CVS HEALTH With more than 15 years of retail leadership experience, 44
including finance, retail insights, and store leadership, Jamie Johnson continues to bring innovation to the retail landscape as the category manager of cosmetics for CVS Health. Johnson is passionate about the creativity that beauty offers through its everchanging trends and vibrant colors, and appreciates the financial aspect of the industry, leveraging the knowledge she gained while earning her MBA. As an avid traveler, she finds global inspiration that fuels both her personal and professional life. KILENE KNITTER REGIONAL NUTRITION SPECIALIST THE GIANT COMPANY Since joining The Giant Company in 2017, Kilene Knitter has educated more than 27,000 customers through 700 classes and events both in-store and in the community. Knitter provides virtual nutrition classes, consultations, media appearances, and in-store events, activations, and samples. She collaborates with community partners such as libraries, senior centers, YMCAs, and businesses for health-related events and nutrition education presentations. In 2018, she was awarded the “Serving Up Healthy Habits” award from Down the Line and Beyond Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes free tennis, education, and character development programs for 1,000 children in underserved areas in Philadelphia. KIMBERLY STIELE FOUNDER ITSPRAY In 2018, CPG executive and mother Kimberly Stiele founded itSpray by Benesprays to provide innovative alternatives for better health that outperform traditional pills, powders, and gummies. The sublingual sprays are made with natural vitamins, herbs, minerals and amino acids and are non-GMO, gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan. Today Stiele manages all aspects of the business, overseeing sales, marketing, operations, and logistics. She directly handles all business and communication with third party labs, manages orders, confirmations, packing and shipping, and oversees a growing team, working hard to ensure the right people are in the right roles. KRISTI TAKAGISHI CATEGORY MANAGER FOR ORAL CARE WALGREENS Throughout her tenure at Walgreens, Kristi Takagishi has worked in partnership with suppliers to deliver results, bring in innovative solutions and drive an environment of collaborative planning that results in productive partnerships. Takagishi started at Walgreens as a pricing analyst in 2004 and is now responsible for the P&L for the oral care department. She provides customer-focused strategic development to drive profitable sales and market share growth. She manages new item selection, promotion, pricing and display merchandising, and is also responsible for private brand development and promotions to drive customer loyalty.
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MANDY JOHNSON ASSOCIATE CATEGORY MANAGER FOR BATH, HAIR CARE, HAIR COLOR, HAIR ACCESSORIES RITE AID A creative, hands-on, collaborative, action-oriented category manager, Mandy Johnson is responsible for sales, profits and market share growth strategies. This includes all promotion planning, assortment decisions, P&L management and the development of long-term growth pillars to accelerate growth at Rite Aid. Johnson influences executions in all stores across the U.S., manages category P&Ls as well as steering all future corporate investments in merchandising and space allocation. Colleagues say she knows her stores and customers, and is always willing to jump in and help drive projects to completion. MUFFY CLINCE DIRECTOR OF EMERGING BRANDS ULTA BEAUTY From working through system implementations to planning process development to building out Ulta Beauty’s prestige brand base and boutique businesses, Clince makes projects happen. She began with Ulta Beauty on the professional hair/nail and personal care appliances team, and later joined the prestige cosmetics team. Now Clince oversees all new brand scouting for Ulta Beauty as well as the merchandising and marketing support for emerging brands entering the retailer. In addition, she supports career presentations for Columbia College in Chicago, the University of Illinois and her local Naperville School District, sharing insights on retail careers. TAM TRAN CEO AND FOUNDER ANISE COSMETICS Tam Tran oversees all national and global operations of Anise Cosmetics and all its international brands including Nail-Aid,
Vegan Pure and Anise. The company does not use animalderived ingredients and stands against animal testing. In 2005, it was one of the first beauty companies to receive the Trailblazer Award from PETA. Under Tran’s leadership the company makes the health of women a top priority, and does not use toxic chemicals in any products. She also made sure the company’s workforce is a diverse one. Nail-Aid products are available in 10,000 retail locations, including Walmart. TRACY ALLEN SENIOR DIRECTOR OF SPACE MANAGEMENT WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE Tracy Allen leads the space management division of Walgreens and is responsible for leading all aspects of the retailer’s front of store space strategy and execution. Allen’s division has multiple functions and works collaboratively with merchandising, operations and customer insights functions. Space management covers all aspects of retail including health and wellness, beauty, and convenience. She also leads the planogram development, capabilities and training, macro space, and advanced analytics functions within the space management organization. The engagement scores for her team are the highest in the division. OTHER RISING STARS WINNERS: Anne Marie Cantrell, category manager, Walgreens Laken Bush, registered district manager, Walgreens Ashley Skokan, communications manager, Hy-Vee Katie Barthelmas, senior marketing manager, Cardinal Health Meredith Larson, divisional merchandise manager e-commerce, Ulta Beauty
COMMITTED TO CARE WINNERS DONNA MONTEMAYOR SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PHARMACY PROFESSIONAL SERVICES, MARKETING AND STRATEGIC INITIATIVES H-E-B A 30-year H-E-B partner, Donna Montemayor began her career as a staff pharmacist. Over the years she has worked in training, recruiting, supply chain, procurement, technology and operations. Montemayor is a board member of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, and in 2018 was awarded the William J. Sheffield Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Texas College of Pharmacy. At H-E-B, she oversees clinical 46
programs including immunizations, health screenings, medication therapy management and health education. She also manages marketing and advertising for the pharmacy department, specialty pharmacy, compounding pharmacy strategy, pharmacy store layout and equipment. GRACE FISHER REGIONAL PHARMACY MANAGER THE GIANT COMPANY As the COVID-19 pandemic intensified last year, The Giant Company pharmacy operations quickly shifted to enable safer delivery of prescriptions via mail order, curbside pickup
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and early morning pharmacy hours. Drive-up clinics were implemented to provide flu shots and eventually COVID-19 vaccines. Grace Fisher, who oversees the pharmacy teams in three districts, managed the significant preparation and coordination required to implement these measures. Over the 13 years she has been regional pharmacy manager, she has spent time getting to know pharmacists on a personal level. She is also a CPR instructor and certifies pharmacists to be able to help their patients in emergency situations. LYDIA BAILEY PHARMACY OPERATIONS MANAGER ST. VINCENT DE PAUL CHARITABLE PHARMACY In 2020 the St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy in Southwest Ohio filled more than 73,000 prescriptions, at no cost, for 1,307 patients. Dr. Lydia Bailey oversees the pharmacy’s clinical services and is responsible for procuring donated medications and volunteer labor. Dr. Bailey provides experiential education for hundreds of volunteer pharmacy technicians, residents, interns and pharmacists each year. She serves as the site coordinator for the pharmacy’s residency program through the University of Cincinnati. Faced with staff limits during the pharmacy’s COVID-19 vaccination response, she rallied the volunteer labor necessary to administer the vaccine to over 700 patients and community members. MARY LOU NOTARO STRATEGIC PROGRAM MANAGER DRFIRST At the healthcare technology solutions provider DrFirst, Mary Lou Notaro collaborates with teams throughout the organization but focuses much of her time working with the Backline software product team, which develops DrFirst’s care collaboration and communication platform. Notaro’s professional experience includes leadership and front-line positions in many areas of practice, including community, managed care, medication therapy management, longterm care and specialty pharmacy. She still occasionally practices in her family-owned pharmacies, where she has implemented programs in diabetes management, patient safety and medication adherence. She helped roll out COVID-19 vaccinations to her upstate New York community. ANN COSTANZA CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER CONTRACT PHARMACAL As chief administrative officer at Contract Pharmacal and the only woman in the company’s c-suite, Ann Costanza provides leadership not only to her direct reports but to many non-direct relationships as well. Costanza is a subject matter expert in many 48
areas within the company and in the contract manufacturing industry and the healthcare space. Her reach is global, as the company’s healthcare products are provided throughout the world. She was one of the key drivers in turning the smaller contract supplier into one of the largest in the industry, and she is responsible for bringing thousands of products for branded manufacturers and retail partners to commercialized standing. JASMINA BJEGOVIC MANAGER OF PHARMACY AND RETAIL OPERATIONS WALGREENS In just 10 days, Jasmina Bjegovic developed a program to train a pilot group of pharmacists to safely administer nasopharyngeal COVID-19 testing kits at one store in their parking lot. Today, Bjegovic leads the Walgreens COVID-19 testing program, and the company has thousands of team members trained on this program. She also led the coordination of training thousands of pharmacists in Walgreens’ immunization programs. Colleagues say in all the pharmacist positions she has held, including specialty pharmacy, the Walgreens clinical office, and pharmacy operations, she has transformed the business with her exceptional attention to detail. SAMANTHA HOYE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, WORTHINGTON INDUSTRIES (PREVIOUSLY VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION AND EXECUTION, CARDINAL HEALTH) Samantha Hoye was nominated for her work at Cardinal Health, where she led e-commerce, pharmacy clinical and business program development, strategy and execution, driving additional value for the pharmacy customers the company serves every day. Hoye championed innovative solutions and overall marketing strategies for the pharmaceutical division. In September she moved to a new role at the global industrial manufacturing company Worthington Industries.
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PHARMACY | NEW FRONTIERS
New Frontiers in Pharmacy Education Preparing students for their role in an evolving pharmacy practice By Sandra Levy
hen Todd Sorensen attended pharmacy school there wasn’t a formal course in the curriculum on leadership development, or how to produce quality improvements in medication use. Fast forward to 2021, and Sorensen, a professor and senior executive associate dean at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy in Minneapolis, is part of efforts to create curricular strategies that focus on emerging trends in pharmacy and health care. Make no mistake, this is not your grandmother’s pharmacy school’s curriculum. To be sure, the new crop of pharmacy students nationwide will need much more than an introduction to rudimentary science courses, thanks to the notable progress that the pharmacy industry has made in advancing the clinical role of pharmacists. The pandemic also has elevated pharmacists’ roles and allowed them to assume expanded responsibilities. Many pharmacy schools are stepping up to the plate with new courses and electives, as well as honing some of their existing courses, to ensure that their students are well prepared to meet the myriad challenges that they will face as newly minted pharmacists. Leadership development is one area that is a huge component of the new frontier in pharmacy school education. In the late 2010s, the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy began to address leadership, but Sorensen said that the emphasis on leadership development has evolved. His view is that new graduates are going to need to assume responsibility for creating the change that follows trends in health care. “How can we empower students to envision change and realize they can develop the skills necessary to create that change as new practitioners is a question that is guiding the school’s leadership development
Students at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy have a new elective called Pandemic and Society, which covers COVID-19 and previous pandemics. experience,” he said. To that end, the school created an extensive 16-credit leadership “emphasis area,” a program that results in a transcript subplan designation in leadership development with the student’s Pharm.D. degree. The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy also is focusing on developing students’ leadership skills, with an elective on leadership and advocacy. “One of the outcomes in all of the curriculum is for each student to adopt the lifestyle of professionalism and commitment to the improvement of the profession of pharmacy, which entails leadership and advocacy,” said University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy interim dean Donna Strum. She noted that the state of Mississippi is advocating for pharmacists to provide precision patient care, such as strep tests, and
then treating the patient in consultation or collaboration with a patient’s provider. “If our pharmacy students can adapt to contemporary practice models, and they are committed to professionalism, to learn and improve, that would be an improvement for the profession and for patient care,” Strum said. The Notre Dame of Maryland University School of Pharmacy in Baltimore is yet another pharmacy school that is not standing on the sidelines when it comes to advancing students’ leadership skills and development. “We recognize that in order for the profession of pharmacy to advance, we need all pharmacists to be leaders,” said Anne Lin, dean of the Notre Dame of Maryland University School of Pharmacy. One of the pharmacy school’s courses includes content related to leadership development. “There are a lot of things that go
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PHARMACY | NEW FRONTIERS
The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy in Minneapolis has created curricular strategies that focus on emerging trends in pharmacy and health care, as well as leadership development. into leadership,” Lin said. “You can’t lead if you don’t know who you are. We have a lot of self-exploration that goes into that. Being emotionally intelligent is incorporated into our course work as well. Entrepreneurialism also is an important part of the curriculum.” Pharmacy schools also are acknowledging that students need to be knowledgeable about public health issues. At the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, there is a new elective called Pandemic and Society, which covers COVID19 and previous pandemics. “We can learn a lot from smallpox and other pandemics that the world faced,” Strum said. “We are now looking at COVID19 and … learning about how the virus is transferred, the vaccines’ effectiveness, as well as public policy, such as masking and vaccine requirements. We are comparing the way other pandemics have been handled and how we eventually overcame them. The behavior change component to the curriculum was already there, but we present it in a new way, of how do you educate patients about getting vaccinated?” Strum said. Pharmacy schools also are rolling out innovative educational programs and planning events for students to learn outside of the classroom and from experts in the industry. The University of Minnesota is a case in
point. The school created an annual half-day event a few years ago, titled PED-Rx, which stands for Practice Education Dialogue. Modeled after engaging TED talks, PED-Rx brings together students, faculty and healthcare leaders from outside of the school to engage in a lively discussion about important trends that are currently not in the school’s curriculum, but should be on students’ radar. For example, in November, PED-Rx participants explored the influence digital health will have on medication use and the work of pharmacists. With a shift to distance learning during the pandemic, the program took place virtually last year, and even though it can once again take place live, the school decided on a virtual format. “The adoption of a virtual platform for the event allows us to engage speakers who are national in presence,” Sorensen said. The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy also has innovative educational programs for its pharmacy students, including Leadership Day, which took place in September. Students were excused from class and offered training in different leadership topics to enhance their skills. In addition, a Professional Pharmacy Development Speaker Series, which takes place every week at noon, recently brought
in leaders of state professional pharmacy associations to discuss their efforts around the pandemic. A retail pharmacy group also recently spoke about their practice and how they are evolving. The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s division of professional development also posts a monthly Pharmacy Forward podcast on its website that is targeted to pharmacy students and students who have graduated within the past five years. “A recent episode was about identifying professional formation, figuring out who you are as a professional,” said Strum, who also noted that the school offers an elective in mindfulness and wellness. The dissemination of weekly electronic newsletters from the dean’s office and student body, enabling students to link to things that they should read or to other resources on campus, also is part of the University of Mississippi’s educational efforts for students. The Notre Dame of Maryland University School of Pharmacy also has ramped up its out-of-classroom education programs. For example, Lin conducts a weekly Dean’s Hour, during which she invites different guests to talk about many practice-related topics, including career pathways. This semester, a 2015 graduate, who completed an industry fellowship and a master’s degree in applied health economics and outcomes research, was invited to broaden students’ horizons about his career in the pharmaceutical industry. If that weren’t enough, the school of pharmacy also participated in a new PBS documentary, dubbed “Vaccination for the Misinformation Virus.” The school had a screening for the students with the documentary’s producer, a physician with expertise in vaccine research and a faculty member who appeared in the film, all of whom took part in a Q&A panel. Pharmacy schools also are taking their pharmacy practice experiences in new directions. For example, in the spring of 2021, the University of Minnesota expanded the learning experience in its introductory pharmacy practice experience, or IPPE, program. “Our students still do traditional experiences in community pharmacies and hospitals, but one of the new experiences we
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PHARMACY | NEW FRONTIERS
added this last year was a focus on systemslevel quality improvement processes aimed at improving medication use,” Sorensen said. The program seeks to create a win-win for students and host sites, pairing students with pharmacists leading longitudinal quality improvement initiatives. “The students are directly contributing to an organization’s quality improvement work,” Sorensen noted. “We’ve created learning modules for the students they complete online while they are engaged with a practice site, so they are in a dual mode. They are learning in a didactic manner while they are in an experiential site.” The same modules were made available to the school’s preceptors to help them better understand quality improvement principles and quality improvement strategies. “We believe one of the future roles of the pharmacist is having greater responsibility and expectation for driving changes in care delivery systems that generate improvements in medication use,” he said. Sorensen noted that while the school will be tweaking and improving this offering, he said, “We came out of it believing that this continues to be an important learning experience for students, and it’s a great way for us to partner with practice sites and our pharmacist colleagues. We can create an educational partnership that offers a learning experience to pharmacists, as well as a quality improvement project from students.” Enabling better patient outcomes also is a priority for the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, which was in the process of completely overhauling its curriculum “to be more dynamic and to keep up with the evolving role of the pharmacist,” Strum said. “As practice changes, we have to change our curriculum. We have been updating it so that it was more disease-based,and patient-based.” Although Mississippi doesn’t have prescriptive authority for pharmacies, state law permits under protocol a pharmacy to be set up with a clinic. “It could be for an umbrella of patients seen by that clinic or physician for pharmacists to alter, adjust or change the therapy,” Strum said. “We have cases within our different modules, whether it be endocrinology, cardiovascular or oncology cases where
The Notre Dame of Maryland University School of Pharmacy in Baltimore instructs students on how to perform blood glucose, cholesterol and COVID-19 testing. pharmacy students practice doing that.” During a student’s P3 year, the school offers a course titled Multi-System Complex Patient Care, in which there are patients who have multiple conditions and multiple therapies. Students learn how to make drug therapy recommendations and adjust therapies to achieve better outcomes. Additionally, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is continuing to find ways to have more interprofessional education experiences in its curriculum. “The conditions and the drug therapies and treatments often require a team, whether that’s a physician, pharmacist, nurse, social worker, dietitian, nutritionist, physical therapist or respiratory therapist in the COVID world, it is a team approach to taking care of patients in the hospital and ambulatory care setting,” Strum said. When it comes to medication adherence, the Notre Dame of Maryland University School of Pharmacy is using several approaches to convey to its students how technology can be used to help manage patients and medication therapy. “Technology is very broad, from dispensing technology to point- of-care testing technology,” Lin said. “We handle some of this learning of technology in school, but they
will learn the nuts and bolts when they go out to their rotations.” For instance, the school has rotations at Johns Hopkins Hospital where students can observe the use of technology. When they’re on their advanced rotations, they learn about electronic medical records, and the school also has EMRs in its labs so students can learn how they are used to retrieve data and input information in caring for patients. Preparing future pharmacists to be adept at point-of-care testing is yet another goal of pharmacy schools. For example, the Notre Dame of Maryland University School of Pharmacy teaches students to perform blood glucose, cholesterol and COVID-19 testing. The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy also introduces students to how technology can be used in the treatment of certain diseases. “For example, insulin pumps are integrated into the endocrinology module, and the students would see that in skills lab,” Strum said. “They see different glucose monitors and blood pressure systems and how they may sync results with the patients’ medical chart, and how you can monitor their blood pressure and adjust the medication.” Pharmacy schools also are in a position to
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PHARMACY | NEW FRONTIERS
combine research and practice development opportunities, as illustrated by a project led by the University of Minnesota that focused on a payer-provider partnership centered on delivery of comprehensive medication management to health plan beneficiaries experiencing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. “We have payment opportunities for patient care services in Minnesota, and many of the pharmacies in the state are not engaged in delivering these services, often because they are unsure how to navigate the process of partnering with a health plan,” Sorensen said. “We worked with a health plan that pays for comprehensive medication management services and a cohort of community pharmacies, helping them adapt their work to deliver the services and receive payment from this health plan for those services.” He indicated that his team learned a great deal about why pharmacist engagement was limited, and the adaptations required by the pharmacies to engage payment opportunities rooted in population health and the expectations of value-based payment models. Through the relationship with the health plan, pharmacists received lists of plan beneficiaries at risk for poor outcomes. “That’s a target population with which pharmacists can demonstrate great value collaborating with the patient’s care team to achieve defined clinical goals,” Sorensen said. Preparing students for the time that pharmacists in all states will be authorized to administer medication is yet another area that is ripe for pharmacy schools’ curriculum. For instance, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is a site for administration for the monoclonal antibody treatment REGEN-COV, which will be available to students and school employees who get COVID-19 and require treatment. Although pharmacy students can’t administer the medication, they can volunteer to do paperwork and observe licensed pharmacists provide this COVID-19 treatment on campus. With all of the new additions to the curriculum, some schools like the University of Mississippi are finding that rather than completely eliminate a course, it is integrating topics together.
“We don’t have a communications class anymore, but we have skills lab where they practice communication, and different communication techniques are integrated within all of these different disease modules,” Strum said. “How do you communicate with a patient with cancer? How do you show empathy and help them understand the information so they can make informed choices as compared to the patient that has Type 2 diabetes?” Lin chimed in saying, “We’re constantly looking at what we’re doing, what needs to come out and what needs to be put in,” she said. Finally, Sorensen acknowledged that while the school has added things to the curriculum, he said, “Unfortunately we don’t have as many examples of things we’ve removed. “That’s part of our conversations now. We need to continue to have new things, but we have to be better at sunsetting material that is less relevant for producing graduates who can succeed in an evolving healthcare system.” What educational topics are on pharmacy schools’ radar? Looking ahead, Sorensen said informatics is going to be a huge part of health care in the future. “It’s already growing. In some cases, we are not as far along as we should be in pharmacy with informatics,” he said. He also envisions digital health, particularly wearable technology, will be incorporated into pharmacy schools’ curricula. “How devices will support monitoring patient progress on a chronic health condition, and feed data directly into platforms so that practitioners can effectively and efficiently use that data to adapt therapy or coach patients in self-management strategies will expand greatly,” Sorensen said. Lin said pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine is not part of day-to-day practice yet, but pharmacists need to understand pharmacogenomics and genetics, “and how we use that to design drug regimens. Schools are incorporating that,” she said. Pharmacy schools, like Notre Dame of Maryland University, also are looking more closely at the topic of telehealth. “The pandemic caused us to rethink what we teach students about how to interact
with patients,” Lin said. “Previously, our focus was on how to interact with patients in person. With the increased use of telehealth, we now need to also teach students how to interact with patients using technology.” Lin also said that schools also are looking at how to incorporate issues regarding health disparities and systemic racism. “We’ve always had a public health course where we talk about social determinants of health and a course, “Care for Diverse Populations,' which is required,” she said. “It’s an entire course devoted to cultural competence, understanding how you approach the health of different groups. Issues of health disparities will come up in both classes.” Lin explained that students entering the school are assigned to a team to work with a nonprofit in the community that provides care to the underserved, such as homeless men, people with HIV or Head Start. “They provide health-related services that meet their needs,” Lin said. “It’s also part of understanding issues dealing with underserved people and how healthcare disparities are seen in the community. The goal is when students go out and practice, they will continue to be areas that are important that they will spend some time on, whether at their job or on a volunteer basis.” In addition to precision patient care, the future according to Strum will include artificial intelligence and how that is going to impact pharmacy practice. “We are beginning to look at what is happening in the whole artificial intelligence world and how that impacts drug discovery and treatment, and therapeutic decisions,” she said. Finally, Sorensen sees the future of pharmacy schools and the role of the pharmacist in this light: “What we have the challenge of doing is helping our students realize that pharmacy practice as they see it today is not going to be pharmacy practice they will experience in 10 or 15 years from now. The class that graduates from pharmacy school this year, if they work 40 years, will retire in 2065. Imagine what health care is going to look like in the last two decades of their period as being pharmacists, from 2045 to 2065. Remarkable change is going to occur, and we have to prepare them for that.” dsn
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PHARMACY | NEWS
Hikma Introduces Micafungin for Injection Hikma is offering micafungin for injection in dosage strengths of 50 mg and 100 mg. The medication is indicated for the treatment of candidemia, acute disseminated candidiasis, Candida peritonitis, abscesses in adult and pediatric patients aged 4 months old and older, esophageal candidiasis in adult and pediatric patients aged 4 months old and older, and prophylaxis of candida infections in adult and pediatric patients aged 4 months old and older undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Micafungin for injection had a market value of $132 million in the 12 months ending August 2021, according to IQVIA.
Dr. Reddy’s Unveils Generic BiCNU Dr. Reddy’s is launching carmustine for injection. The medication is the generic version of Heritage’s, which is doing business as Avet Pharmaceuticals, BiCNU, used to treat the symptoms of brain tumors, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin’s disease and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The BiCNU brand and generic had a market value of approximately $19.4 million for the most recent 12 months ending August 2021, according to IQVIA. Dr. Reddy’s carmustine for injection is a lyophilized powder available as a package, which includes a single-dose vial containing 100 mg of carmustine and a vial containing 3 ml of sterile diluent.
Boehringer Ingelheim Obtains FDA OK for Interchangeable Humira Biosimilar The Food and Drug Administration has approved Boehringer Ingelheim’s Cyltezo, or adalimumab-adbm, as the first interchangeable biosimilar with AbbVie’s Humira, or adalimumab. Originally approved in 2017, Cyltezo was designated for the treatment of multiple chronic inflammatory diseases, and this latest approval designates it as interchangeable across all of these indications. “We are proud to be the company driving the advancement of biosimilars and delivering the first and only Interchangeable biosimilar with Humira. It is a true milestone and an important step
forward for broader adoption in the U.S. and for patient access to affordable medicines,” said Thomas Seck, senior vice president of medicine and regulatory affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim. “The interchangeability status of Cyltezo reinforces our goal of expanding overall treatment options and contributing to the quality and sustainability of the U.S. healthcare system.” “As the first interchangeable biosimilar of Humira, Cyltezo (adalimumab-adbm) represents an important step toward bringing patients more affordable treatment options for complex, and often expensive, biologic reference products,” said Martin Alan Menter, chairman of the division of dermatology at Baylor University Medical Center. “This is incredibly important for patients, who can be confident that once available, citrate-free Cyltezo has the same efficacy and safety as the originator medicine with the added benefit of cost savings.” Cyltezo’s commercial license will begin on July 1, 2023.
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PHARMACY | NEWS
Dan Leonard Reflects on First Year as President of AAM Dan Leonard, president and CEO of the Association for Accessible Medicines, recently celebrated his first year leading the association. He reflected on some of the association’s accomplishments this past year in a post on AAM’s website. Leonard noted that one of the first things that he did was a media tour of over 25 markets around the country to talk about the incredible data contained in AAM’s 2020 annual savings report. “For someone like me, who spent many years working on the brand side of the pharmaceutical industry, that introduction to the generic and biosimilar side of the industry was eye-opening,” he said. “Innovation is important — to brands, patients and our industry — but a drug that a patient can’t afford does just as much good for that patient as a drug that does not exist. Our products are valuable not only because they are safe and effective, but also because the vast majority (92%) of them are available to patients at under $20 out-of-pocket.” He noted that he is excited to embark on his second annual media tour this month to talk about AAM’s latest savings report and the data it contains. “Savings to the American healthcare system was up nearly $25 billion dollars over 2019, meaning that Americans saved $338 billion in 2020 through the use of generic and biosimilar medicines,” he said. “ Our industry fills 90% of prescriptions, but accounts for only 18% of the total spending on prescription drugs in this country, all at an average co-pay of $6.61 compared to $55.82 for brand name drugs.” Leonard continued, “As policymakers are spending incredible amounts of time and energy working to solve the problem of outof-control drug prices, the data show that generics and biosimilars are the solution. But, while those data represent real savings, they are at the end of the day numbers on a page. The stories behind those numbers — the stories of real people whose lives
FDA Grants Zydus Cadila Tentative OK for Generic Epiduo Forte 60
are positively affected by the medicines our members produce — bring to life the full picture of the value our industry creates for America’s patients.” He said that one of his goals, when he came to AAM, was to bring the story of generics and biosimilars to life, “and not just the lifesaving medicines we produce. I wanted to go beyond the data to tell the story of the history of this industry and the hurdles we overcame to get to the point where we fill 90% of prescriptions, to talk about the incredible people who helped build this association and the people who make it work so well today, and to highlight the lives of patients that our medicines make better every day.” To accomplish that goal, he pointed to some of the changes made and new projects launched over the last year. “You may notice this year’s savings report is a little different than years past. We’ve focused this report completely on the data and created a separate annual report we will release each spring, Voices of Access, that is 100% focused on patients and the importance of generic and biosimilar medicines in their lives,” he said. AAM also launched the All Access podcast, “where I get to return to my roots as a broadcast journalist and have fascinating conversations with people from across the healthcare landscape,” he said. “Thus far, we’ve interviewed member CEOs like Vinita Gupta of Lupin and Jeff Watson of Apotex, policy experts like Avik Roy and former Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi, and industry veterans like Bob Billings, who was instrumental in making our association what it is today.” Looking ahead, Leonard said he is optimistic. “I am excited about the seeds that we’ve sown over my first year as AAM president and CEO, and I am thankful to all of my colleagues who welcomed me and have helped steer our association through what was a challenging year on many fronts. I am incredibly optimistic about the future of the generic and biosimilar industries, and the future of AAM itself, and I look forward to continuing to tell our story for years to come.”
Zydus Cadila has obtained the Food and Drug Administration’s tentative clearance for adapalene and benzoyl peroxide gel 0.3%/2.5%. The product is the generic of Epiduo Forte, which is used to treat acne. The medication works by killing the bacteria that cause acne and by keeping the skin pores clean. The drug will be manufactured at the group’s topical plant located in Ahmedabad.
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HEALTH | OTC
Over the Moon for OTC Several trends are converging and pushing OTC sales up By Carol Radice
ore than ever, consumers are relying on cost-effective, overthe-counter medications to address their health-andwellness needs. Like nearly everything else these days, the pandemic has had a hand in this, but so, too, has the rising geriatric population in the United States, a group that heavily depends on OTC products to maintain their health. According to Fortune Business Insights, the OTC market is expected to increase substantially from $157 billion in 2021 to $233 billion by 2028. The major areas of growth include analgesics, cough-cold and flu, vitamins and minerals (particularly those that offer immune-boosting properties), digestive aids, skin care, sleep aids, eye care, first aid, and weight loss. And, when you consider the expanding number of people interested in self-care, natural, organic and eco-sustainability, it becomes clear why the OTC category is seeing exponential growth as of late. Experts we spoke with said today’s younger generation possesses greater knowledge and understanding of their health-and-wellness needs, which has increased the demand for natural OTC products — especially homeopathics. A recent survey of over 5,000 natural product consumers found that 44% of participants are now taking more preventative health measures than they were a year ago. Nearly half said they will keep buying “healthier” products in the future. There’s no ignoring the fact that interest in self-care has exploded, said Nathan Jones, president of American Fork, Utah-based Xlear. As more people come to realize that there is a wide variety of products that can be used to lessen the incidence and severity of health concerns, including COVID, it has caused them to revisit existing products and be open to trying new ones as well, he said.
“As more studies highlight the efficacy of simple OTC products, such as nasal sprays and irrigations, people who were not regular shoppers in the category are seeking out these products,” Jones said. Ongoing pandemic, increased demand on medical resources and fears of exposure to COVID have curtailed the consumer’s desire and ability to walk in or schedule appointments for medical care, said Marsha Garcia, president of Doctor Easy Medical Products in Orange Park, Fla. For conditions where at-home solutions exist, she said consumers are increasingly opting to address health issues on their own. “For self-care treatments, consumers continue to seek out products that are convenient, easy to use and contain natural ingredients. Products made in the U.S. are once again gaining popularity as well,” Garcia said. These factors have contributed to significant growth in the ear care category. According to IRI, for the 52 weeks ending
Sept. 5, the category has experienced an almost 5% uptick in year-over-year growth. This unexpected rise has category managers and retail executives taking notice of the sometimes-sleepy ear category, she said. In addition to the rising cost of health care pushing more people to turn to OTCs, Ken Bianchi, executive vice president at Safetec of America, in Buffalo, N.Y., said increased access is also driving interest. “The average consumer today is looking for alternative treatments, cost-effective solutions and information that allows them to meet their wellness needs on their terms.” In examining the reasons behind the growing interest in OTCs, Ivan Balcarce, director of professional business development at Manhattan, N.Y.-based Rhinomed, said he sees a direct correlation between the attitude shift toward self-care and the prevalence of enormous medical bills and skyrocketing health insurance premiums. “People have been awakened to the fact
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HEALTH | OTC
STORE BRAND INTEREST PEAKS Sales of private label OTCs have been on the rise as value-seeking consumers continue to look for healthcare products at an affordable price point. More consumers have come to realize these products are just as effective as their namebrand counterparts. Consumers have grown increasingly comfortable buying private label OTC products online. A recent report found 25% of OTC sales take place online as convenience, breadth of products and the ability to price compare appeal to online shoppers. “A majority of U.S. brands are being overshadowed as more consumers are choosing to buy OTC medicine from private label brands,” said Chris Beland, vice president and analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner. “Such consumer trends have been reflected in the drastic increases in unit sales of private label OTC products and have also inspired new participants in the private label OTC space.” Key private label OTC segments growing in popularity include pain, cough-cold, allergy, digestive aids, sleep aides and smoking cessation products. “Consumers increased the number of private label products they purchased during the past year, making it almost essential for pharmacies to offer a comparable store brand,” said Ken Bianchi, executive vice president at Buffalo, N.Y.-based Safetec of America. He said this increased interest has led to a demand for more unique packaging options and sizes to help products stand out. Bianchi said he believes the pandemic has forever changed consumer buying habits. “The pandemic has fueled the buy local and U.S.-made brand trends, accelerated interest in private label offerings, and pushed more consumers to seek out free-from, vegan and natural formulations,” he said. Additionally, Bianchi sees more consumers looking to understand the ingredients in their topical ointments. “People are living differently, buying differently and, in many ways, thinking differently today. Consumers everywhere are looking at products and brands through a new lens,” he said.
For display purposes only. that the best way to care for themselves is to develop wellness habits that keep them out of the doctor’s office,” he said. “People feel empowered when the small changes they make help them feel better. The current pandemic has also accelerated and augmented what was an already growing awareness of how sleeping, breathing, eating and exercising affect our immune system and our long-term health.” Geolyn Gonzalez, vice president of sales and marketing at Total Resources International in Walnut, Calif., said today’s consumers are focused on two things — convenience and education. Products that make their life easier, safer, more secure and provide health-and-wellness benefits are their primary focus, she noted. More importantly, she said she believes consumers gravitate toward affordable and practical solutions designed with progress and innovation in mind. “Recent issues with supply chains have created a significant need for products built and manufactured in the U.S.,” Gonzalez said. “And if it gives back, contributes to a greater good, uplifts communities and transforms lives, you really can’t get any better than that.”
Buying Habits are Changing As consumers continue to adjust to the realities of the new world we live in, retailers and their supplier partners need to be mindful that these new habits are here to stay. Most notably is a renewed focus on personal accountability when it comes to health and wellness, said Susan Hanson, COO of The Relief Products company in Reno, Nev. “Consumers are looking for natural alternatives that can help maintain or improve overall health without the use of harsh chemicals or hidden ingredients,” she said. “For this reason, homeopathic products are appealing to an increasingly larger demographic based on three main factors: safety, effectiveness and the inclusion of natural, active ingredients.” While people have begun shopping in person again, Hanson said many will continue to shop online. Insightful brands will create a competitive advantage by working with retail partners to optimize e-commerce platforms for their customers, she said. Before the pandemic, consumers would head to the store to find a remedy for a cold or headache, but as Jones noted, shoppers are becoming more proactive about their health. “People have gone from buying products that treat the symptoms to buying products that can help to prevent getting sick in the first
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HEALTH | OTC
place,” Jones said. “The terms ‘getting sick’ have taken on a whole new meaning as a result of COVID. People are not willing to risk getting even the most mundane of illnesses anymore.” As people have become more mindful about the chemicals they put in and on
their bodies, they are open to trying drugfree solutions and natural products before seeking professional help. “People are more open to trying devices, such as nasal dilators, oral appliances and mouth tape, in an effort to better breathe through their nose and snore less so they can wake up
headache-free, dry-mouth-free and more refreshed,” Balcarce said. Louis Machin, managing director of Lifelab Health in Coconut Creek, Fla. said the demand for certified organic OTC products continues to escalate as consumers flock to products featuring simple profiles, natural
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
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ingredients and free-from labels. This past year, sales of the company’s Honeyworks USDA organic cough syrups and throat sprays saw a marked increase, which he surmised, had a lot to do with their on-trend ingredient profile, featuring a unique blend of dark honey, ivy leaf extract and zinc. “These products also provide immune support, another feature consumers demand,” he said. The company has recently launched BerryWorks, black elderberry chewable tablets for immune support for children and adults. When the WaxRx Ear Wash System was introduced in chain drug stores two years ago, it brought professional grade ear wax removal options that consumers had never seen. The timing could not have been more significant. “The new availability of a professional grade ear wax solution at the pharmacy created the opportunity for consumers to avoid the doctor’s office,” Garcia
said. Looking to offer comprehensive ear care solutions for home use, retailers have been expanding their ear care offerings to include Doctor Easy’s WaxRx Refill and Earvana Ear Rinse for itchy ears to their lineups in the past year. The pandemic provided valuable insight into the shifts in shopping behavior and the approach to mindful consumption. With e-commerce being the trustworthy hero throughout this pandemic, Gonzalez said it forced consumers to adapt. Online consumption quickly went from convenience to necessity because no other options were available, she said. “Society as a whole now has the time and resources to shop mindfully — educating themselves, doing research, reading reviews, comparing products and pricing online before making a purchase,” Gonzalez said. “More and more, we are seeing consumers want
products with clear, defined benefits in preparation for activities that fit their lifestyles.” Earlier this year, Total Resources International launched 13 new products at Walmart Outdoors under its Be Smart Get Prepared line. Gonzalez said the comprehensive set addresses the different needs of first aid, safety and emergency survival for any outdoor situation. Be Smart Get Prepared represents a significant opportunity to make first aid relevant by encouraging consumers to become proactive instead of reactive, according to Gonzalez. “With an elevated and curated direction for outdoor safety, supported with purposeful, functional and playful packaging, the line targets millennials and Gen Z families,” she said. “Road trips, camping, hiking, heat relief, personal hygiene, pet care, blisters and insect repellant — we identified all the gaps and filled them in accordingly.” dsn
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11/2/21 3:37 PM
HEALTH | IMMUNITY
Better off Safe than Sorry COVID-19 concerns and healthy food trends are driving immunity supplement sales By Carol Radice
n ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Ben Franklin told Philadelphians in 1736. Nearly 300 years later, his adage lives on, with COVID-19 continuing to heighten interest in supplements purported to boost immunity. In 2020, sales hit $6.58 billion, nearly a 12% increase over 2019 in a category that has traditionally experienced single digit annual growth, according to Nutrition Business Journal. This year should also be promising. Top-selling immune defense supplements and ingredients include old standbys like probiotics, zinc, and vitamins C and D3, as well as more recently popularized herbs such as turmeric and elderberry. There also is increased demand for all natural, plantbased supplement ingredients; new delivery forms like gummies, drinks and powders; and children’s immunity supplements. Private label is expanding, too. “During the pandemic, people increased awareness and concern for immune health,” said Maria Brous, director of communications at Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix. “We’ve experienced increased vitamin and supplement sales, specifically those with elderberry, zinc, and vitamins C and D. This was across brands, price points, [delivery] forms, and both single and blended formulas. We also saw digestive health and stress/sleep segments thrive for their correlation to immunity and well-being.” Immune supplements cannot prevent or cure COVID-19, but a healthy immune system may help avert serious illness if the virus is contracted. This thinking has attracted new users and driven sales. Piping Rock, for example, saw sales of its Nature’s Truth zinc supplements increase 454% for the four weeks ending Sept. 11, 2021 over the previous four-week period, said Kimberly Vigliante, senior vice president of wholesale sales and marketing. Vitamin D sales grew 100% while
elderberry products’ sales climbed 63%. Shoppers’ growing knowledge regarding natural foods and antioxidants is helping to drive growth as well. Research by probiotics supplier ADM Protexin identified health and immunity among 2021’s top five global food and beverage trends. It found that 31% of consumers buy healthier products and half prefer food and beverages containing naturally beneficial ingredients. “Consumers have increased daily fruit and vegetable intakes, looking for natural ways to increase their immunity,” said brand manager Alexa Wood. They want supplements with plant-based natural or organic ingredients. APAX’s Feel Good brand offers immune support, vitamin-enhanced supplements containing ingredients from real fruits and vegetables. “It’s not just about taking a vitamin,” said Mike Frink, vice president of sales. “Natural
and organic changed how people think. COVID amplified that. Even rural America is thinking twice about what they’re eating.” COVID-19 concerns and natural ingredients trends are attracting more young consumers to the immune defense segment. Historically, many supplement users have skewed older. “Customers have changed from being largely boomer age on up,” said Raj Konanahalli, a managing director in the consumer products practice at Alix Partners. “Millennials want this stuff; even kids talk about it. But it’s not one versus another demographic. While immunity supplements skew a bit towards higher income customers, they’re crossing all ethnicities and incomes.” dsn This article is an edited version of a longer piece. To read the entire article, visit drugstorenews.com.
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The Perfect Storm Navigating this highly complex holiday season By David Orgel
S David Orgel is an awardwinning business journalist, industry expert and speaker. He is currently the principal of David Orgel Consulting.
hortages of nationwide truck drivers. Bottlenecks in ports. Product unavailability. Price increases. This year’s severe supply chain challenges have been highly disruptive. Now combine this with the approaching holiday season, and we have a perfect storm for food and drug retailers without a proven road map. This phenomenon was described as the “Everything Shortage” in an Oct. 7, 2021 piece in The Atlantic by author Derek Thompson: “I visited CVS last week to pick up some at-home COVID-19 tests. They’d been sold out for a week, an employee told me. So I asked about paper towels. ‘We’re out of those too,’ he said. ‘Try Walgreens.’ I drove to a Walgreens that had paper towels. But when I asked a pharmacist to fill some very common prescriptions, he told me the store had run out. ‘Try the Target up the road,’ he suggested.”
Retailers need to pull out all the stops to reduce supply chain hurdles and reassure consumers. Product shortages of all kinds have led leaders in the U.S. government and business sectors to address national supply chain issues. However, we should not expect any quick fixes. Individual retailers will have to do the heavy lifting on their own for now. They need to react by pulling out all the stops to reduce hurdles. Here are some smart strategies you can use: Limiting items: In a move reminiscent of retailer strategies last year, Costco has reinstated purchase limits on items like toilet paper, cleaning products and bottled water. Buying early: Some retailers that have long relied on just-in-time supply chains have been ordering and bringing in inventory much earlier for the holidays to avoid falling short.
Hiring supply chain expertise: Target recently announced that it would add some 30,000 new supply chain jobs in the face of supply chain challenges. Meanwhile, Walmart was planning to add about 20,000 employees in distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation offices. Taking control of transportation: Walmart made a move to charter its own vessels to prepare for the complexities of shipping during the holidays. Costco has rented container ships and thousands of containers for similar purposes. These are all smart strategies to navigate supply chain complexities. Yet, more is required as well. Retailers will need to manage consumer expectations and experiences on everything from product availability to price increases. A new Oracle consumer study cited in Chain Store Age on Oct. 4, 2021 found that 63% of respondents want brands to provide more regular updates about shipping status, 59% want them to be more transparent about inventory and 54% want more transparency on potential supply chain issues. Eighty-four percent of respondents said delays would lead them to cancel an order, and 80% said delays or shortages would even prompt them to stop buying from a brand entirely. Retailers need to be transparent with consumers and other stakeholders about their strategies, and empathetic about the inconveniences. Walmart did a nice job in this regard, with a recent communications piece that struck a reassuring tone in outlining all the steps it’s taking to mitigate supply chain hurdles. There’s a decent chance this holiday season will be a good one for retailers, despite all the supply chain complexities and lingering consumer concerns about COVID. But that will only happen if retailers take proactive strategies. Moreover, supply chain disruptions are likely to remain until at least the spring, if not longer. So even as retailers come up with fixes for the fourth quarter, they should consider how to keep addressing supply chain hurdles past the holidays with creative longer-term solutions. dsn
November 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
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