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DECEMBER 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM INSIDE Consumers say goodbye to ‘empty calories’ Page 66 DRUG STORE NEWS PHARMACY INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR 2022 Supermarket chain takes patient care and pharmacy services to new heights during critical time for retail pharmacy 2022 OF THE YEAR

Our patented blend of probiotics for your mouth crowds out the bad bacteria that cause oral health problems.

Try ProBiora for fresher breath, whiter teeth, and healthier teeth & gums. Notice a difference in 30 days or your money back.

Contact: Walter Haug whaug@probiorahealth.com

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The Oral Care category is projected to grow 8%+ through the year 2030¹ as more people look for natural solutions, like ProBiora, that really work — and bring incremental sales to the shelf. probiorahealth.com

1—Mintel, “US Oral Care Market Report 2021”
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6 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM 40 INSIDE BEAUTY Sign of the Times Customized cosmetics, skin care lead 2022 trends 42 Beauty News You Need to Know 44 INSIDE BEAUTY 3 Brands to Watch in 2023 Young consumers seek out emerging brands disrupting the beauty industry 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. 44 No 12, December 2022. Copyright © 2022 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved. Vol. 44 No. 12 DEPARTMENTS 8 EDITOR’S NOTE 10 INDUSTRY NEWS 14 CBD NEWS 16 PRODUCTS TO WATCH 26 WOMEN IN THE NEWS COLUMNS Facebook.com/DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/DrugStoreNews FEATURES 18 GUEST COLUMN By Greg Page, pharmacist-incharge, 5th Avenue Pharmacy 20 ONE-ON-ONE With Kristen Abreu, vice president customer development, drug channel, CROSSMARK 24 ONE-ON-ONE With Dawn Garvey, chief financial officer, Designer Greetings 50 LAST WORD By Kristin Hornberger, executive vice president and practice leader, healthcare, IRI 30 47 CONSUMABLES: HEALTHY SNACKS Goodbye, ‘Empty Calories’ Many of today’s consumers crave tasty but healthy snacks that help them meet their wellness goals 45 HEALTH: CARDIOLOGY Heart Health and Hope From CoQ10 to omega-3s, supplements for the heart are supported by compelling research DRUG STORE NEWS PHARMACY INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR 2022 Supermarket chain takes patient care and pharmacy services to new heights during critical time for retail pharmacy 2022 OF THE YEAR

Year in Review, Year Ahead

Challenges lay ahead, but retail pharmacy has a bright spot

By all accounts, 2022 was rough, but it could have been worse.

The unemployment rate is relatively stable, hiring is still strong and a 6.5% mortgage rate is not as good as 3.5%, but it isn’t terrible when you compare it to 1981 when a home mortgage would have set you back by a cool 16.6%.

In Q3 2022, the real gross domestic product rebounded at a 2.6% annualized rate on the strength of net exports. The U.S. Census Bureau said retail sales surged 1.3% month-over-month in October, the strongest increase in eight months, after a flat reading in September. Sales at motor vehicle dealers were up 1.3% as supply chain constraints eased, while rising gasoline costs pushed sales at stations 4.1% higher.

Additionally, there were other increases for sales at food services and drinking places (1.6%), food and beverages stores (1.4%), nonstore retailers (1.2%), furniture (1.1%), building materials (1.1%) and health and personal care (0.5%).

Still, 2023 could be bumpy. The Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group expects declines in residential fixed and business investment, as well as slowing personal consumption growth, which is likely to tip the U.S. economy into a modest recession in the first quarter of 2023.

So what will that mean for retail pharmacy?

The industry will not be immune to these economic forces, as well as the other issues it is facing. But there is a bright spot amid the clouds: In a tight market where value is king, what can be more valuable than value-based healthcare at a retail pharmacy? Offering a portfolio of services, like disease management, test-to-treat, vaccines, etc., is a smart play. Fortunately, the industry is already leaning in that direction. It just has to lean a little further. dsn

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8 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM EDITOR’S NOTE
A TIGHT MARKET WHERE VALUE
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CVS Builds Affordable Housing in Two States

offer a community center and supportive services to residents, including workshops on financial management, identity protection, detailing plans for success in housing and fire prevention. Additionally, HSR residents will benefit from the Beef for Seniors program, where beef from local farms is purchased by banks and community members through donations after the county fair. The beef is then distributed to senior citizen apartment buildings in the area at no cost to residents.

CVS Health will invest $6.2 million with Homestead Affordable Housing and WNC to build 36 new affordable housing units in Bel Aire, Kan. The effort is part of the company’s commitment to advancing health equity by addressing social determinants of health at the local level.

“When people have access to high-quality affordable housing and supportive services, they are able to focus on taking care of their mental and physical health,” said Jane Brown, Aetna Better Health of Kansas CEO. “Our investment in Kansas will help improve health outcomes for seniors and provide them a space to feel connected to their community.”

The nine one-story four-plex buildings, called Homestead Senior Residences Bel Aire, will be located at the corner of Oliver Street and E. 53 Street North in Sedgwick County. It will

Target Stores Get a Makeover

Target is debuting a reimagined store design and layout. “Our new store layout is bigger than our previous stores, and that extra space and optimized layout ensures our team can offer the very best of Target to our guests, whether they’re shopping online or in our stores,” said John Conlin, senior vice president, properties at Target. “Guests are turning to us for more things now than they ever did before — more joy, more inspiration, more fulfillment options, and this new store design enables us to even more easily and efficiently deliver for our guests all those things and more, now and into the future.”

To help bring the latest evolution of Target’s store design to life, the retailer built and tested the concept using virtual reality.

“For the first time, Target’s store design team created a fully virtual, life-size representation of the reimagined store,

CVS Health also is making a $14.3 million investment with Chief Seattle Club and Raymond James Affordable Housing Investments to build 120 affordable housing units in Seattle, Wash.

The five-story development called Sacred Medicine House will be located at 14315 Lake City Way NE in King County. It will offer on-site counseling, a healing garden, preventive healthcare services, and will have a community room where residents can engage in traditional healing ceremonies, such as drumming, singing, storytelling and talking circles.

According to the King County Department of Community and Human Services Cross Systems Homelessness Analysis, the number of King County homeless is up nearly 14% since 2020 and 57% remain unsheltered. Additionally, 15% of people experiencing homelessness in King Country identify as American Indian, Alaskan Native or Indigenous, but that group makes up only 1% of King County’s population.

allowing them to analyze and redesign features in real time while virtually ‘walking’ the store to ensure the enhancements would work for guests and team members,” the retailer said.

The optimized store size and updated store design can be experienced at its new store outside Houston in Katy, Texas. Starting next year, more than half of Target’s expected 200 full store remodels and almost all its approximately 30 new stores will feature elements of this new design. Beginning in 2024, all of its remodels and new stores will feature the majority of these reimagined store design elements, Target said.

10 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM INDUSTRY NEWS

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Walgreens Boots Alliance Strengthens Disability Representation

Walgreens Boots Alliance is strengthening its commitment to increasing the representation of people with disabilities at all levels across the company’s U.S. segments and redesigning its annual bonus plan in the United States to include a disability representation metric to drive this commitment.

The company will be the first in the S&P 500 to include disability representation as a separate, standalone metric within a disclosed incentive plan.

Walgreens said the effort is a core component of the company’s expanded U.S. health equity performance goal, which focuses on positively impacting key areas of health and wellbeing, especially for underserved communities, including women, people of color and people with disabilities.

“We are very proud of our pioneering leadership in disability inclusion,” said Holly May, executive vice president and global chief human resources officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “By increasing our representation of people with disabilities, we are continuing to unlock a critical talent pipeline, providing sustainable work to this underrepresented community, and as such helping to address a number of social determinants of health including economic instability, social isolation and unemployment.”

To further support these efforts, the company has formed a partnership with Neurodiversity in the Workplace, which designs plans and programs for companies to recruit, attract, hire and retain neurodiverse talent. The first cohort is expected to begin work at WBA’s global support office in Deerfield, Ill., in early 2023.

These new initiatives build upon Walgreens’ commitment to hiring people with disabilities and complement the company’s existing retail and distribution center programs — Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative and the Transitional Work Group program.

The REDI program began in Dallas in 2010 and expanded nationally in 2012. TWG began in 2007 at a Walgreens distribution center in Anderson, S.C., has since expanded to 12 Walgreens distribution centers, and is now being implemented across Walgreens microfulfillment centers.

Ahold Delhaize USA’s CEO to Retire

Ahold

12, 2023.

Ahold Delhaize will nominate JJ Fleeman as a member of the Ahold Delhaize management board and CEO of Ahold Delhaize USA at the AGM.

Fleeman’s appointment to the management board of Ahold Delhaize is subject to shareholder approval at the AGM. After the AGM, Kevin will remain with Ahold Delhaize USA in an advisory capacity until he retires at the end of 2023, to ensure a seamless transition.

Fleeman has served as president of Peapod Digital Labs and chief commercial and digital officer of Ahold Delhaize USA since May 2018. Through Peapod Digital Labs, a center that drives digital and e-commerce innovation and technology, Fleeman is responsible for enabling the local brands of Ahold Delhaize USA to deliver an unparalleled omnichannel grocery experience, the company said.

“JJ is an inspiring leader who will advance the U.S. businesses through omnichannel market share growth and who will continue to deliver on the Connected Customer strategy that Kevin has so carefully developed and implemented with the team over the past few years,” said Peter Agnefjäll, chair of the supervisory board of Ahold Delhaize. “It is a testament to Kevin’s leadership that we were able to select his successor from our own ranks.”

12 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM INDUSTRY NEWS
Delhaize announced that Kevin Holt, CEO of Ahold Delhaize USA, plans to retire and step down from the Ahold Delhaize management board when his term expires at the Annual General Meeting of shareholders on April

Sky Wellness’s D Oh Gee and EquineX Wins 2022 World CBD Awards

Sky Wellness’s D Oh Gee and EquineX have been announced as winners of the 2022 World CBD Awards for Best Pet Range.

The company was recognized for its CBD pet wellness products, including CBD Dog Oil Drops, CBD Daily Duck Bites, CBD Daily Turkey Chewies (also the winner of the 2022 Product of the Year award by Kantar in the CBD Pet category), CBD Horse Supplement Granules, CBD Horse Muscle & Joint Rub and CBD Horse Bites.

The World CBD Award certificate of excellence was given to Thom Brodeur, CEO of Sky Wellness, during the organization’s annual gala and awards ceremony in Barcelona, Spain.

“To see our work recognized by such an esteemed organization and awards program is an honor,” said Sky Wellness CEO Thom Brodeur. “Thirteen finalist placements and this win for our D Oh Gee and EquineX pet brands speak to our team’s dedication to the science and compliance rigor required to meet this important market need of CBD for pets. This is the second award

Sunmed | Your CBD Store Reveals New Wellness Product Offerings

Sunmed | Your CBD Store has launched two new products: Energy Water Enhancer and TRIM Gummies. Available exclusively at Your CBD Store retail locations, these new offerings expand existing Sunmed lines. The company said the new products were developed to encompass a wide range of vehicles for CBD to provide benefits for every individual, no matter where they are in their wellness journey.

“Sunmed | Your CBD Store is committed to consistently bring new and innovative products to our customers, backed by extensive third-party market research,” said Marcus Quinn, CEO and co-founder of Sunmed | Your CBD Store.

Sunmed Energy joins the water-soluble, water enhancer product line to make it easier to enjoy the benefits of CBD on the go, with 10 mg of total cannabinoids per serving. Perfect to kickstart the workday or power through the mid-day slump, Sunmed Energy features a power blend with caffeine, taurine and guarana extract, as well as vitamin C, B6 and B12 for added wellness support. Other water enhancer products include Sunmed Wellness with vitamin C, B6 and B12, and Sunmed Hydrate for active lifestyles, packed with added vitamin B6 and B12 and electrolytes including calcium, potassium, sodium, chloride and magnesium.

Featuring full-spectrum hemp, the new TRIM Gummies feature NITRO-V extract, turmeric and apple cider vinegar to support weight loss, the company said. The remaining TRIM line includes softgels and a tincture, all of which feature THC-V and CBD-V.

this year for D Oh Gee, a remarkable product line with sell-throughs leading in all the channels we are in.”

The company said the event celebrated excellent CBD and hemp products that have been deemed safe, compliant and effective for the customers. Brands across the globe were nominated and honors were awarded to “those who go the ‘extra mile’ making the industry a safe and respected marketplace; showing they operate with integrity, transparency and ethical business practices,” the World CBD Awards’ said.

Bloomios Completes Acquisition of Upexi

Bloomios, a private-label manufacturer and wholesaler of hemp-derived nutraceutical, cosmetics and pet products, has acquired Infusionz, a wholly owned subsidiary of Upexi.

Moving forward, Bloomios will manufacture products retained by Upexi and Upexi has provided significant financing to enable this transaction. The acquisition includes Infusionz’s portfolio of CBD gummy brands and customers, along with its associated order flow, product formulations, manufacturing operations, equipment and sales team, the companies said.

“This acquisition is highly accretive and we believe that it will position Bloomios to uplist to Nasdaq,” said Barrett Evans, president and chief strategy officer of Bloomios. “Further, it will allow the company to acquire additional complementary manufacturing operations and brands.”

The total purchase consideration of approximately $23.5 million consisted of $5.5 million in cash and $18 million of non-cash consideration.

The added operations are expected to more than double Bloomios’s current production capacity across key production lines, while reducing redundant costs across both the acquired and existing operations.

14 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM CBD NEWS
REACHES YOUR TARGET MARKET Drug Store News Connect With Your Customers 17,906 Social Followers 35,000 Circulation 211 Avg Webinar Registrants 102,504 Avg Monthly Website Users 77,243 Unique e-newsletter recipients 212,515 Audience Visit drugstorenews.com/media-planners to learn about available advertising programs.

New & Noteworthy

five notable products from November 2022

Product introductions saw a huge jump in late 2022 as Wall Street rebounded and inflation pressures eased slightly. For the month of November, suppliers introduced 249 products, which is almost double the amount (137) they introduced in October.

Waukesha, Wis.-based HRG reviewed 62 products in the health category, 66 in the wellness sector and 121 items in the beauty category to see which ones stood out as Products to Watch. Here is what they found:

1. DenTek Fresh Protect Disposable Dental Guards

Medtech Products’ DenTek Fresh Protect Disposable Dental Guards are ready to use, no boiling or biting required. The manufacturer claims the guards reduce bacteria buildup over time. Designed for comfort, the ultra-thin material is crafted to be strong, durable and protect all teeth, not just molars, from grinding, the company said. Available in one size for all users, the product comes in a 32-ct. pack.

2. Coppertone Every Tone Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 from Beiersdorf

Made for all skin tones, Beiersdorf’s Coppertone Every Tone is a lightweight, broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen lotion that is designed to blend in clear and remain water resistant for 80 minutes, the maker said. Formulated with vitamin E, the lotion is free from oil, fragrance, oxybenzone, octinoxate, PABA and phthalates. It comes in a 7-oz. bottle.

3. Afrin No Drip Severe Congestion 12-hour Spray

Bayer’s Afrin No Drip Severe Congestion 12-hour Spray is designed to deliver fast, powerful congestion relief from colds and allergies, the company said. It’s formulated with oxymetazoline and menthol to shrink nasal membranes in a no-drip bottle design. Bayer said the spray provides relief for 12 hours. It comes in a 15-ml bottle.

4. Motrin Arthritis Pain Reliever Gel

Motrin Arthritis Pain Reliever Gel from Johnson & Johnson is a nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory topical gel that the brand said has been clinically proven to relieve joint pain, reduce stiffness and improve mobility associated with arthritis. Developed to be nongreasy and fragrance free, it contains 1% of diclofenac sodium at full prescription strength. The bottle is 1.76 oz.

5. CleanLife No Rinse Foaming Body Wash

CleanLife’s No Rinse Foaming Body Wash is a ready-to use product that is designed to leave skin clean, refreshed and moisturized without water, the brand said. The parabenand alcohol-free formula can be applied to a clean cloth and used to eliminate odors on adults and children. The wash can be a solution when there is a lack of facilities, physical limitation, discomfort or fear of bathing. The company said the product is safe and effective as a perineal cleaner as well. It comes in 8 oz. dsn

16 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM PRODUCTS TO WATCH
HRG’s
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My Small-town Pharmacy’s Big-time Innovation

Here’s what happened when we tested out new software to streamline our pharmacy workflow

“sigs,” into our pharmacy management systems.

Nothing about 5th Avenue Pharmacy or the town of Glasgow says, “test market.”

With only about 3,000 residents, our town is nestled in the northeast corner of Montana. We were amused when The Washington Post officially proclaimed Glasgow as America’s “middle of nowhere” because the town is the furthest distance away from the nearest metropolitan area.

We share a building with Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital, a 25-bed full-service facility that owns the pharmacy. We’re the kind of place that will stay open an extra half hour to fill a prescription for a local farmer working late in the field or a patient traveling from a neighboring town.

We serve neighboring communities beyond Glasgow — a long-term care facility, assisted living center and group homes, filling more than 300 prescriptions daily and even twice that much on some days. Our clinical services, which include asthma education, medication synchronization, vaccinations and medication adherence reviews, bring great value to the community but also require additional face-to-face time with patients.

We continually look for innovative ways to streamline our dayto-day operations to free up more time for direct patient care for our three full-time pharmacists and five certified pharmacy technicians.

That’s why we were intrigued a few years back when we were asked by SpeedScript, our pharmacy management system, to partner with them in a pilot program to test new software from DrFirst to streamline our pharmacy workflow.

After several conversations with DrFirst, we saw how much we stood to gain and took the leap. We started working with their AI-enhanced program that translates prescription instructions from the doctors’ prescribing software into language that works in our pharmacy management system.

People who don’t work in pharmacies are surprised to learn that even with electronic prescribing, pharmacy staff still manually enter much of a prescription’s contents, including the instructions, called

This time-consuming task is more than inefficient; it’s an opportunity to introduce keyboard errors that could harm patients. Yet it’s necessary for 84% of all prescriptions, according to a recent study. That’s because electronic health record systems don’t speak the same language as pharmacy systems or patients, which means the sigs arrive as blocks of text instead of in discrete fields that populate our software and use terms that are hard for patients to understand.

The new software, which integrated easily into our existing SpeedScript pharmacy management system, helped immediately. For example, our hospital typically writes sigs in strength sizes, such as “take 40 mg,” which is confusing for patients. This program automatically converts the sigs to simpler language, such as “take one tablet,” which is easier for patients to understand, increases efficiency and significantly reduces opportunities for keyboard errors.

This was followed by a program that integrates patient allergy information from an electronic prescription right into our dispensing system and flags potentially dangerous contraindications. We can then contact the prescriber before the patient arrives and decide the best course of action.

The vendor was great to work with, and we’re proud that we provided feedback to help refine such valuable tools. We’re working more efficiently than ever and have more time for customer service and patient care.

In most instances, I’d be wary of saying what works in Glasgow will work anywhere, but in this case, I’m going to make an exception. My message for other independent pharmacies is to embrace innovative and practical AI technology. Tools like these help you make the most of your limited resources and deliver better service to your patients. So, whether your pharmacy is in a small town or a big city, it can have an outsized impact on health and well-being in your community. dsn

5th Avenue Pharmacy and Gifts is a DrFirst 2022 Healthiverse Hero Award winner for its innovative use of technology to transform health care to improve patient outcomes.

18 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM GUEST COLUMN
“Tools like these help you make the most of your limited resources and deliver better service to your patients.”

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Making a Mark

CROSSMARK invests in technology and tools to help retail brands understand shopper trends

Established more than a century ago, CROSSMARK is a full-service agency that provides consumer packaged goods companies with sales, retail and marketing services to help them grow their businesses. Utilizing insights and analytics, the company continues to expand its capabilities to meet the challenges of retail brands today.

Drug Store News talked with Kristen Abreu, vice president customer development, drug channel, about what she sees for the future of the drug channel and the opportunities her company provides to help make sense of it all.

Drug Store News: How do you see the role of the drug channel in meeting consumer needs today?

Kristen Abreu: Retailers in the drug class of trade are positioned as healthcare providers. Given the high cost of health care and the need to improve accessibility, this should be welcomed by consumers. Sales data indicates that shoppers already think of the drug retailers first when looking to purchase healthcare items, as 47% of drug channel sales are from healthcare categories, compared to only 10% for total MULO.

That being said, as drug retailers expand on healthcare offerings, they will need to do so while being mindful that shoppers also enjoy their outlets for everyday needs. Almost $10 billion is spent in the drug channel annually in beauty categories and over $6 billion on consumables, including some not-so-healthy options. This balance of health care and fun will enable drug channel retailers to meet shoppers where they are, whether on starting a healthcare journey or just in need of a pick me up.

DSN: What are some shopper trends in health care that you are seeing?

KA: A trend that is here to stay is the selfadministered healthcare test. There were over $4 billion worth of home healthcare kits sold over the last 12 months, an increase of over 40%. Now that at-home COVID-19 testing has become the norm, it can be expected that consumers will demand the same convenience for other conditions as well. It is easy to envision a future where common ailments such as flu, strep throat and pink eye are all easily diagnosable at home.

DSN: How is CROSSMARK leveraging on-demand data to understand these trends?

KA: CROSSMARK has invested heavily in technology and tools. Even before the pandemic, we realized that having an advanced analytic platform is key to driving faster and better decisions. CROSSMARK’s Accelerator drives efficiency and speed to insights, allowing our sales teams to have the data and insights at their fingertips so they can implement or revise plans, make decisions and recommendations to our clients and retailers, without any time lag. Accelerator has on-demand performance dashboards, but also a machine learning/AI component that allows for better predictive promotional planning and execution.

DSN: What do you think pharmacies should be doing to attract customers, particularly the younger shoppers?

KA: I will refer back to a study conducted by Drug Store News where young women were asked what they want from retail pharmacy. Their responses were insightful but not surprising. It comes down to convenience and making the shopping experience enjoyable for “me.” The challenge for retailers is that the definition of what looks good for “me” to Gen Z shoppers is as unique as the 65 million people who fall into that generation.

Generally speaking, Gen Z is likely to respond well to leveraging drug retailers for their healthcare offerings. Gen Z is quite self-sufficient and will be keen to try at-home health testing for more ailments as the tests become available. They will also appreciate the convenience of on-demand access to pharmacists, who are readily available for consultation at brickand-mortar locations. dsn

20 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM ONE-ON-ONE
Kristen
DSN WEBINARS REACH, TEACH & INFLUENCE YOUR CUSTOMERS • Webinar Sponsors Reached over 25k 2021 Retail Pharmacy Registered Attendees! • Webinar Sponsors Spent an average of 43 minutes per webinar with retail pharmacy attendees and customers! CONTACT YOUR SALES REP TO LEARN HOW YOUR BRANDS CAN DELIVER VALUABLE INSIGHTS AND SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR RETAIL PHARMACY CUSTOMERS! Alex Tomas Sales Account Manager 212.756.5155 atomas@drugstorenews.com Steven Werner Regional Manager 312-961-7162 swerner@drugstorenews.com

AN OPEN LETTER TO PHARMACISTS

As a fellow pharmacist, I’m thrilled to see how the profession has embraced clinical services in the retail space. Going beyond immunizations into areas such as Test-to-Treat for infectious disease and prescribing hormonal contraceptives is reaching a scale never seen in our industry. This rapid growth has caused other stakeholders, such as payers, to ask how pharmacists should be reimbursed for clinical services.

Ultimately, the “pharmacist-as-provider” movement has always been simple: treat pharmacists like other providers. The practical application of this movement means that pharmacists may be subject to credentialling and payer enrollment. Additionally, the process of determining patient benefit coverage and clinical eligibility, and performing medical billing using pharmacist-level NPIs poses new challenges within the typical pharmacy workflow.

Pharmacists should be able to provide patient care without focusing heavily on clinical documentation or medical billing. That means the claims process—whether medical or pharmacy—should have similar “clean claim rates” and require the same or less operational time as pharmacy benefit claims. For pharmacists to adopt clinical services at scale, key capabilities must be addressed and made available within the pharmacy workflow including 1) patient financial and clinical clearance integrated into patient scheduling and pharmacy workflow; 2) provider credentialing and eligibility; 3) simplified clinical documentation that informs the claim; and 4) compliant and timely billing.

As the payer and regulatory landscapes evolve to encompass pharmacy-based clinical services, pharmacy organizations that choose to offer clinical services will be better able to respond quickly if they have revenue cycle functionality fully integrated into their clinical care delivery solution and have access to both pharmacy and medical billing pathways embedded within the pharmacist’s workflow.

I’m excited to say nearly half the pharmacy market is currently implementing an EHR purpose-built for the pharmacy that simplifies the complexities of medical billing (and related clinical documentation) and can handle both the medical- and pharmacy pathway—all within the pharmacy workflow.

After decades of proof points and lobbying, pharmacists have a seat at the table for delivering new clinical services. Pharmacists have evolved to become the tip of the spear for healthcare delivery today. Are you and your organization ready? Whether clinical claims are reimbursed through the pharmacy or the medical benefit, OmniSYS can help.

Go to www.omnisys.com to learn more or to schedule a meeting.

David Pope, PharmD, CDE, Chief Pharmacy Officer, OmniSYS, a XIFIN Company

© 2022 OmniSYS, a XIFIN, Inc. company. All rights reserved.

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In the Cards

Greetings talks about evolution and revolution in the card market

Greetings Cards continue to thrive in the face of widespread technology, apps and web services, as consumers still turn to cards for expressing gratitude, thanks and condolences at special moments.

Designer Greetings, a 40-year-old family-owned and operated company, remains bullish on the category and sees a bright future it.

Drug Store News recently spoke with Dawn Garvey, chief financial officer, about the company’s anniversary, its future and where the greeting cards category is headed.

Drug Store News: Designer Greetings has been around for 40 years; how has the business changed and how has it remained the same?

Dawn Garvey: From the day we opened until today the customer is the focus and is why Designer Greetings has thrived in business for over 40 years. Our long-standing relationships with our satisfied retail partners enabled us to grow and become one of the nation’s leading greeting card publishers. That has remained the same, servicing the independent and small chain drug store. How it’s changed is that the end consumer is more demanding. People want great quality with embellishments such as specialized attachments, jewel gems, sequins, foils and die cuts. A betterquality card at a great price. Designer Greetings provides both!

DSN: How will greeting cards evolve for an increasingly technological world?

DG: Industry data show that in this technological world, greeting cards remain relevant. Tactile does not replace digital. The culture of sending cards for birthdays and all occasions as well as Christmas and all seasons hasn’t changed. People are sending cards to express their feelings in a way that digital, i.e., email, social media, cannot.

DSN: You have launched something called CardSmart. Can you explain the concept?

DG: CardSmart has made a name for itself as becoming North America’s first and only national discount card and gift shop chain to provide quality products at value prices. During recent times, Designer Greetings has launched CardSmart’s

Store-in-a-Store concept as a response to market demands for a new way to provide the CardSmart experience within an existing retail environment. This Store-in-a-Store model has been a proven success. CardSmart offers something CVS and Walgreens cannot: high-quality cards at 50% off. CardSmart out-values the big chains.

DSN: What do you see as the future of greeting cards?

SC: The customers’ demand for the humorous genre, as well as special interactive and pop-up cards, will continue to grow in various ways. Given that the world has evolved with less live interaction and touch, despite this trend, the greeting card will remain a perfect tangible keepsake to express the sender’s thoughts to the recipient. dsn

24 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM ONE-ON-ONE
Dawn Designer
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Health Care for All

Alethia Jackson puts sustainability and health equity front and center at Walgreens

In October, Alethia Jackson was named Walgreens Boots Alliance’s senior vice president, ESG (environmental, social and governance) and chief DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) officer for the U.S. Joining Walgreens in 2011, Jackson most recently served as vice president, federal government relations for the company.

Drug Store News talked with Jackson about what’s to come in her new role. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Drug Store News: Why has sustainability become top of mind for Walgreens and what initiatives do you plan to pursue in this area? Will you seek any partnerships to make headway in this area?

Alethia Jackson: Sustainability has become top of mind for Walgreens because we know that human activities cause climate change, which negatively impacts human health. All companies must do their part to safeguard a healthy planet, which is particularly important for us as a healthcare company.

There are several priorities I am excited about pursuing that center sustainability, and we undoubtedly cannot pursue them without our partners. I’ll start with these three priorities: Health Equity, Environmental Justice and Supplier Diversity.

Health Equity

With our large footprint in communities in every corner of the country, we have a unique ability to reach people where they are, which is what we did with the Vaccine Equity clinic. Globally, we need to apply that same sense of urgency from vaccine equity to health equity because it is crucial. It has always been critical. People are dying every day, and that is why we’re going to underserved communities to provide them with the treatments

and care they need so we can knock down access barriers and affordability issues.

We’re also addressing health equity through our 8+-year partnership with Vitamin Angels. This partnership has helped over 350 million women and children access essential health care by providing vitamins and minerals to fight against malnutrition worldwide.

Environmental Justice

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Black, Hispanic and Indigenous communities and amplified how systemic racism has led to health disparities in communities of color. Relatedly, climate change has also disproportionately impacted socially vulnerable populations in the United States. One of the reasons is the lack of access to clean water, proximity to environmental hazards, and lack of green space in urban areas. Those things take a significant toll on health, and as one of our partners likes to say, “You can’t have healthy people on a sick planet.”

26 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM WOMEN IN THE NEWS
“Supplier diversity is also an opportunity for many diverse business owners to build generational wealth and economic sustainability for themselves, their families and their communities.”
— Alethia Jackson

Through our global, enterprise-wide climate target, we pledged to reduce our absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the end of fiscal 2030, compared with a 2019 baseline. With nearly 9,000 retail pharmacy locations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, we’re investing heavily in energy efficiency projects and energy management systems for Walgreens. We’re making good progress. In 2021, we cut carbon emissions by 14.9% — improving on an 8.3% reduction the previous year.

Supplier Diversity

At Walgreens, our mission is to thread diversity into everything we do. When our shelves reflect our local communities, it benefits everyone, providing customers with access to a broader selection of

products and services while expanding our network of diverse suppliers. Last year, our textured hair care business grew 14% year to date versus the prior year, and this year, we are introducing even more textured hair care brands. In fiscal year 2021, we spent more than $520 million with diverse suppliers, including Mielle Organics, Black Girl Sunscreen and Lorenzo’s Frozen Pudding.

DSN: Why is it important for WBA to have a chief officer dedicated to DEI?

AJ: Diversity, equity and inclusion are in our DNA and reflect our mission. At WBA, we know that diverse teams improve our performance, drive our growth and enhance engagement among ourselves and our customers, suppliers

and the communities we serve. I am here to help WBA maintain a healthy and inclusive workplace and reimagine health care and well-being for all.

DSN: How do you advocate for healthcare inclusivity and foster women’s leadership?

AJ: Before my new role, I served as Walgreens vice president, federal government relations and chair of its task force to deliver COVID-19 vaccine equity. We knew our pharmacists would be at the center of helping the world fight the pandemic. We rapidly implemented a vaccine equity taskforce in the U.S., which held more than 1,200 vaccine events in medically underserved locations. We set up mobile vaccination clinics in 18 cities across the U.S. and have also installed programs to combat

28 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM WOMEN IN THE NEWS
TO: ME, WITH LOVE Treat yourself to feeling your best.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. ®

pediatric asthma and Type 2 diabetes in the most vulnerable communities in Chicago.

As chair, I led efforts to provide education and information via Walgreens pharmacists alongside organizations like the League of United Latin American Citizens, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Faith for Black Lives, local National Urban League chapters and more than 600 different churches, community groups and elected officials.

As captured in a recent study, COVID19 vaccine hesitancy among communities of color has dropped since the start of efforts like the Walgreens Vaccine Equity Initiative in December 2020.

I consider it my purpose to champion women inside and outside of WBA, whether through increasing the representation of

women in leadership at WBA or as a mentor to young women. As an active member of the Women of WBA Business Resource Group leadership team, I led efforts supporting its objective to drive and inspire inclusivity, advancement and development opportunities for women.

Women need to see themselves in leadership roles. I’ve benefited by having women mentors who served in leadership roles in Washington, as well as having male allies. We need more women leaders because women are consensus builders, insightful and have the ability to truly see the outliers.

DSN: What’s the most important advice for others seeking to promote inclusivity and diversity?

AJ: I believe that everyone should be

heard. Whether you’re a leader or a contributor, I recommend connecting with people from all different walks of life to understand their perspectives, needs, ambitions and desires. I believe diverse perspectives help make for better collective ideas and a solution-driven approach.

DSN: As the year draws to an end, if you could make one wish for 2023, what would it be?

AJ: I wish for access to health care for all. Every year, millions of U.S. adults skip a medical visit, test, treatment, follow-up or prescription fill because of cost. At WBA, we’re committed to championing all patients’ health and becoming the leading partner in reimagining local health care and well-being by making health care more accessible and affordable. dsn

DRUGSTORENEWS.COM December 2022 29
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Supermarket

DRUG STORE NEWS PHARMACY INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR 2022

From offering point-of-care testing to offering a specialty medicine platform for mental health, Albertsons Companies, which operates 2,272 retail food and drug stores with 1,722 pharmacies, has emerged as a frontrunner during one of the most challenging times for pharmacies.

The Boise, Idaho-based company’s banner stores include Safeway, Albertsons, Acme, Vons, Pavilions, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Tom Thumb and United Supermarkets.

Albertsons’ focus on providing patient-centric, integrated healthcare services and its strategic partnerships aimed at eliminating healthcare accessibility barriers and improving outcomes are among the reasons Albertsons has been named the 2022 Drug Store News Pharmacy Innovator of the Year.

COVER STORY
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One of the company’s strengths, according to Omer Gajial, chief digital officer and executive vice president of health, is its frontline associates and their deep commitment to the health and well-being of the customers and communities that Albertsons serve.

One just has to take a close look at how Albertsons’ pharmacists and technicians stepped up in the unchartered waters of the COVID-19 pandemic to see this commitment. “They were on the front lines at more than 1,700 pharmacy locations providing essential and lifesaving healthcare services,” Gajial said, noting that the company’s pharmacists have administered nearly 16 million COVID-19 immunizations to patients across the country.

“During the pandemic, we were able to demonstrate our deep commitment to taking care of neighbors and communities,” added Tony DalPonte, general vice president of pharmacy. “We saw what our patients needed and responded with timely and effective solutions.”

In addition to providing access to COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, in many cities, Albertsons began offering pharmacy delivery to customers. “We also continued to expand affordable access to healthier meals by accepting supplemental benefits that can be used to purchase fresh produce and wellness products at our stores,” DalPonte said.

Pointing out that the pandemic accelerated technological improvements from a customer and staff experience perspective, DalPonte said, “We began building digital solutions for customers to access healthcare services during the pandemic. In this post-pandemic environment, we are continuing to invest in technology and patient services while expanding and improving our customer experience to provide quality patient-centric, integrated health care to our communities.”

Albertsons’ digital solutions include launching a new digital platform this year, which enables pharmacy customers to refill, transfer and manage their prescriptions from its unified mobile grocery app. Customers also can pay and get their prescriptions delivered through the digital platform.

Additionally, Albertsons created a scheduling tool that makes it easier for patients to book appointments and receive COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, as well as vaccines for flu, pneumonia, tetanus and shingles.

“To date, 40% of COVID-19 vaccines have been scheduled using the scheduler, which reduces customer wait and paper waste and creates more time for our frontline staff to offer care solutions,” said Srisankar Kunniyur, vice president of product management, pharmacy and health.

Customers also can book appointments for up to five immunizations together using the online scheduler, which also sorts and recommends vaccines that are relevant by age. In the scheduler patients may request to pick up home antigen COVID-19 tests as part of their vaccine appointment.

“We know that individuals and families have busy lives and are sometimes juggling many roles and responsibilities, so we doubled-down on our efforts to develop convenient, customer-centric online web and app experiences that seamlessly integrates our pharmacy offerings into our grocery app, making it easy and more convenient for our patients to schedule vaccinations, COVID-19 tests and medication refills, as well as prescription transfers,” said Francisco Bram, vice president of marketing health, pharmacy and nutrition. “This eliminates the need for customers to manage two separate apps while engaging with our stores and pharmacies.”

The new digital experience enables customers to access their prescription medication history, enroll in automatic refills and schedule reminders for when to take their medicine and access medication-specific information such as medication guides and drug interactions. “To encourage customers to stay protected and up to date with their health needs while alleviating some of the burden of rising food prices, we began offering rewards that can be redeemed both digitally and in store,” Bram said.

Additionally, for every immunization received at an Albertsons pharmacy, recipients receive 10% off a future grocery purchase, with up to $20 off, and access to a free digital vaccine record. In many states,

32 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM COVER STORY
2022 OF THE YEAR

CI, 19.7-29.1]

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Wider outer cover easier to attach to pen device Larger, green, inner needle shield easier to grip and remove before an injection Contoured needle base provides greater comfort and compensates for injection force variability, supporting more reliable subcutaneous injections #1 Selling pen needles just got even better.1,2* Patient-preferred BD Nano™ 2nd Gen Pen Needles2* The unique features of BD Nano™ 2nd Gen 4mm Pen Needles offer a number of potential benefits, including: • Reduction in injection pain6† • Less force required to deliver the full dose4‡ • Greater confidence that the full dose has been delivered compared to other pen needles studied4§|| Patented features include:2,3 Existing proven benefits of BD Ultra-Fine™ PentaPoint™ Comfort and EasyFlow™ Technology4,5 4 mm x 32G BD Nano™ 2nd Gen Pen Needles NDC/HRI #: 08290-3205-50 BD Nano™ 2nd Gen Pen Needles NDC/HRI #: 08290-3205-50 will replace BD Nano™ Ultra-Fine™ Pen Needles NDC/HRI #: 08290-3201-22 Available through your preferred wholesaler today! Compatible with widely used pen injection devices7 Covered by most health plans across Commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D¶ 3 embecta, formerly part of BD *226 patients with diabetes on insulin treatment were studied with a 150 mm visual analog scale (mean scores of >0 mm; clinically significant difference of ≥5 mm). BD Nano™ 2nd Gen demonstrated superiority vs. BD Nano™ for overall preference.†Single-blind, randomized, control trial of 209 patients with diabetes where each completed 6 pairs of abdominal injections of 0.3 mL sterile saline in random order and utilized a 150mm visual analog scale (mean scores of >0mm; clinically significant difference of ≥5mm). BD Nano™ 2nd Gen 32Gx4mm demonstrated superiority vs each comparator group for less injection pain. [(P <0.01) (Artsana 33Gx4mm mean +17.4 mm, 95% CI, +11.3 to +23.5mm); (Artsana 34Gx3.5mm mean +17.6mm, 95% CI, +11.4 to +23.7mm); (Comfort EZ 33Gx4mm mean +9.1mm, 95% CI, +3.1 to +15.3mm); (Terumo 34Gx4mm mean +7.3mm, 95% CI, +2.2 to +12.4mm)]. ‡Single-blind, randomized, control trial of 209 patients with diabetes where each
posted hub (Artsana 33Gx4mm, 6.2%; P<0.001); (Artsana 34Gx3.5mm, 18.8%; P 0.026); (No significant difference vs Comfort EZ 33Gx4mm). ¶Fingertip Formulary, as of 1/27/2022. 1. IQVIA XPT Device Retail TRx Data. United States, Nov 2020- Oct 2021. 2. Whooley S, Briskin T, Gibney MA, et al. Evaluating the User Performance and Experience with a Re-Engineered 4 mm x 32G Pen Needle: A Randomized Trial with Similar Length/Gauge Needles. Diabetes Ther. 2019;10(2):697-712 3. Rini CR, Roberts BC, Morel D, Klug R, Selvage B, Pettis RJ. Evaluating the Impact of Human Factors and Pen Needle Design on Insulin Pen Injection. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2019; doi: 10.1177/1932296819836987. 4. Aronson R, Gibney M, Oza K, Berube J, Kassler-Taub K, Hirsch L. Insulin pen needles: effects of extra-thin wall needle technology. Clin Ther. 2013;35(7):923-933 5. Hirsch L, Gibney M, Berube J, Manocchio J. Impact of a modified needle tip geometry on penetration force as well as acceptability, preference, and perceived pain in subjects with diabetes. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2012;6(2):328-335. 6. Gibney M., Fitz-Patrick D., Klonoff D., Whooley S., Lu B., Yue W., Glezer S. User experiences with second-generation 32-gauge × 4 mm vs. thinner comparator pen needles: A
Randomized Trial. Current Medical Research and Opinion, DOI:
2020. 7. BD Compatibility Confirmation
Pen
Pen
Document
Ver S,
embecta, formerly part of BD. BD is the manufacturer of the advertised products. embecta and the embecta logo are trademarks of Embecta Corp. BD and the BD Logo are trademarks of Becton, Dickinson and Company. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2022 Embecta Corp. All rights reserved. U.S.
and other patents
go.embecta.com/pharmacypartner
completed 6 pairs of abdominal injections of 0.3 mL sterile saline in random order and utilized a Likert Scale where ratings range from -2 to 2; positive scores reflect less thumb force for BD Nano and negative scores reflect less thumb force for the comparator pen needle. Scores of 0 indicate no difference. BD Nano™ 2nd Gen 32Gx4mm contoured hub 5-bevel extra thin wall demonstrated superiority vs each comparator group for less injection force. [(P <0.01) (Artsana 33Gx4mm mean +0.80, 95% CI, +0.62 to +0.98); (Artsana 34Gx3.5mm mean +0.98, 95% CI, +0.80 to +1.16); (Comfort EZ 33Gx4mm mean +0.31, 95% CI, +0.13 to +0.49); (Terumo 34Gx4mm mean +0.21, 95% CI, +0.07 to +0.35)]. §198 patients with diabetes were included in this prospective, multicenter, randomized, open-label, 2-period, crossover study to evaluate differences in confidence that the full dose of insulin was delivered between the participants’ usual pen needle (PN) and the corresponding extra-thin wall (XTW) PN. Confidence in delivering the full dose of insulin was assessed with the use of a visual analog scale (VAS). Confidence results would be considered statistically significant if the 95% CI for the mean VAS score was either positive (XTW preferred) or negative (current PN preferred). XTW PNs had statistically significantly increased confidence that the full dose was delivered by
([95%
[P<0.001]). ||Single-blind, randomized, control trial of 154 patients with diabetes where each completed 6 pairs of abdominal injections of 0.3 mL sterile saline. Leakage was measured with a calibrated analytical scale. The occurrence of leakage from the needle tip and the injection site (measurements combined) was defined as wet weight equivalent to ≥5% of the injection volume, [equivalent to ≥0.015 g (0.015 mL)]. Leakage frequency for BD Nano™ 2nd Gen 32Gx4mm contoured hub 5-bevel extra thin wall was 0.4% vs 3-bevel
Prospective
0.1080/03007995.2020.1803248,
for
Needles and
Injector Manufacturers,
Number: 149OTH-0004-20,
Dated 3 February 2021.
Patent Nos. D787054, D825749, D804023
pending. 2203772033N1SADDSN

Albertsons also offers digital coupons of up to $75 off groceries to eligible customers who transfer and fill their scripts consistently with its pharmacies.

“Our long-term vision will be to expand these digital rewards to more health and wellness services, encouraging customers to manage their overall health more effectively and with ease,” Bram said.

Albertsons also has been incorporating innovative technology solutions to help support its pharmacists and staff so that they have the time they need to focus on patient care services.

“Through centralized prescription processing, we introduced additional support for our pharmacy teams,” Kunniyur said. “For example, many non-patient facing tasks, such as typing and checking prescriptions, can now be completed centrally to allow pharmacists to focus on providing high-quality care to our patients.”

Albertsons also has responded to the needs of patients with complex chronic conditions by creating a streamlined and customer-focused specialty care platform to meet the needs of its patients and provider partners. “Patients can visualize where their medication is in the specialty care process,” Gajial said.

Patients also can gain insights into prior authorization statuses and obtain co-pay and foundation assistance, and they also

are connected to a care coordinator from the convenience of their phone. “Providers can access real-time patient updates on specialty care therapies as well as utilize a two-way messaging system with our care coordinators,” Gajial said.

“We understand the healthcare needs of our patients who are living with complex conditions such as cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel, migraine, mental health, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and substance abuse recovery,” said Erin Shaal, vice president of specialty pharmacy and procurement. “We offer personalized support, expert pharmaceutical care and comprehensive medical administration services and medication-specific programs to help make it easier for our patients, as well as caregivers, to manage their health.”

Albertsons delivers these prescriptions to the patient’s door, their local Albertsons pharmacy or their prescriber’s office. The company also provides proactive refill reminders, identifies adherence barriers and helps with patient-tailored adherence aids. “In addition, Albertsons helps patients navigate their insurance by providing expert advice to keep out-of-pocket costs low and coordinate financial assistance, if needed,” Shaal said.

The ability to form strategic partnerships aimed at reducing accessibility barriers is another area in which Albertsons

OF THE YEAR

excels, as evidenced by a recent partnership with WinnCompanies, a leader in affordable, mixed-income and market-rate housing that will bring essential services directly to more than 133,000 residents across 520 properties nationally. The collaboration will provide on-site vaccination opportunities as well as prescriptions and groceries to seniors and families.

Another prime example is a partnership in Arizona with Native American Connections, an organization based in the Southwest region that assists with multiple tribal nations and touches about 10,000 lives. “As part of the partnership, our pharmacies assist by dispensing and delivering recovery injectable medications to their inpatient recovery facilities in Phoenix. We also are reaching out to patients living in more remote areas by making it easy for them to transfer their prescriptions and establish continuity of care,” Gajial said.

Beyond these innovations, Albertsons is leading the pack when it comes to telehealth services and the company has entered several partnerships to stand out in this area.

34 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
In this post-pandemic environment, we are continuing to invest in technology and patient services while expanding and improving our customer experience to provide quality patient-centric, integrated health care to our communities.
COVER STORY
- TONY DALPONTE, GENERAL VICE PRESIDENT OF PHARMACY, ALBERTSONS
2022
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Telehealth services include general care, chronic care, behavioral health, children’s health and more. In addition to customized treatment plans, patients can request prescriptions to be sent electronically to any of the company’s local pharmacies.

“We understand the importance and value of patient relationships with care providers and strive to build relationships with and connect our customers to local care and providers whenever possible,” Gajial said. “Our partnerships are key to helping us provide quality healthcare services and more options that fit our patients’ needs. In addition, our partnerships help us to provide access and convenience for those in the communities we serve.”

To that end, Albertsons is partnering with a prominent local health system in Washington state to offer convenient, on-demand virtual care services. Customers can connect with a nurse practitioner within minutes to discuss possible COVID19-related symptoms, general care, chronic care and behavioral health.

Additionally, Albertsons launched a telemedicine initiative this past summer in Washington state, for which people who have tested positive for COVID-19 can receive prescriptions for therapeutics.

“To operationalize this effort, we are working with one of their partners to offer prescription pickup. The goal of the effort is to bring equity to community care, specifically rural areas where in-person visits may be more challenging,” Gajial said.

If that weren’t enough, Albertsons also has two partnerships that provide substance use recovery medication administration services for telehealth providers within select communities. “Our two partners offer telehealth consults, and then they send patient referrals to our specialty care teams. We then coordinate with the patient and their insurance to have the medication covered and administered at our pharmacy,” Gajial said.

“Through one of our key partnerships, we are able to offer personalized, on-demand virtual care for our patients. It’s convenient and easy to schedule on our website. Patients can get connected to

a board-certified healthcare professional in minutes without leaving their home,” Gajial said.

Albertsons recently piloted mobile vet clinics in Texas to provide exams and low-cost vaccinations for dogs and cats, and it has partnered with a pet telehealth program in California, offering customers a reduced subscription rate that includes 24/7 telehealth consultations with licensed veterinarians and monthly store credit on pet products for the first year.

Albertsons’ expansion into pet health also includes the ability for its pharmacists nationwide to fill pet prescriptions, including veterinary-grade medications, and the company offers customers a free Pet Health Savings Card for pet medications.

Additional areas in which Albertsons has expanded include mental health and substance use recovery services for patients, including long-acting injectables in a stigma-free environment.

The company also offers travel vaccinations and travel medications prior to traveling overseas, at convenient times,

36 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM COVER STORY
Albertsons helps patients navigate their insurance by providing expert advice to keep out-of-pocket costs low and coordinate financial assistance, if needed.
2022
OF THE YEAR

including evenings and weekends.

It has expanded its prescriptive services in its pharmacies, depending on state allowances, to offer strep and flu treatment prescribing, naloxone, birth control prescribing, PREP/PEP services, cold sore treatment and UTI medications.

Albertsons is a standout in providing point-of-care testing for seasonal flu and diagnostics/treatment for strep throat, thyroid function, cholesterol and more. “Our pharmacy teams can assist customers with the next steps in addressing the issue and taking care of their health, including appropriate referrals to healthcare providers,” Gajial said.

Lastly, Albertsons’ pharmacists play a role in helping patients in the grocery store.

Earlier this year, the company announced that customers can now use supplemental benefits to purchase over-the-counter medications and fresh produce in its banner stores. This program provides convenient access to customers using prepaid cards funded by Medicare Advantage plans, employer incentives, healthcare providers or local governments. “Our pharmacists also are available to assist shoppers with their health and pharmacy needs by providing recommendations and consultations on OTC medications,” Gajial said.

With so many hours in a day and a goal

2022

OF THE YEAR

to offer patients access to a plethora of services, training has become an essential key to Albertsons pharmacies’ operations.

The company trains its pharmacy technicians so they are able to assist pharmacists by administering vaccines, assisting in the prescription filling process, preparing for clinical consultation services and providing point-of-care testing in several states.

“They are an invaluable resource for our patients while also enabling our pharmacists to spend more time caring for patients,” Gajial said.

Trevor Ennis, vice president of human resources, pharmacy and health, said that Albertsons provides enhanced pharmacist and technician training programs to understand the day-today operations of its pharmacies but to also encourage and grow leadership and management skills.

“Our pharmacists and technicians receive immunization training and CPR training, and we are proud to provide medication administration enhanced training for our pharmacists to administer long-acting

injectable therapies,” Ennis said.

Albertsons’ pharmacy intern programs help develop PharmD students while in pharmacy school. And its post-graduate residency programs help educate and train pharmacists in patient care, leadership and management, advancement of practice, teaching, education and dissemination of knowledge.

Lastly, supporting pharmacists is crucial to Albertsons’ success in enabling them to provide the full range of services to patients.

“We continue working on simplifying the workflows of our pharmacists to increase the time spent by the pharmacists on patient care and prescriptive services,” DalPonte added.

Albertsons also supports its pharmacy teams by providing clinical service guides, training and implementation information for every clinical program initiated.

“We listen to our frontline staff through roundtables and, as a result, we work to continuously make improvements at our pharmacies,” Gajial said. “We share best practices among our banner stores across the country to constantly improve our clinical practices and work environment. We empower our pharmacists to work to the top of their licensure and be recognized as an integral part of the healthcare team.”

What does the future hold for Albertsons’ pharmacies?

The company’s goals, Gajial said, include providing 50 million evidencebased nutrition recommendations to digital customers by 2024 to help them make healthier choices while shopping with Albertsons banner stores, and launching six health campaigns by 2025 to increase awareness of MyPlate Dietary Guidelines, established by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

“We recognize that Albertsons’ pharmacies play a vital and expanding role in our healthcare system and the health of our communities across the country,” Gajial said. “Our focus is to continue building a patient-centric, integrated healthcare business that unlocks convenient care, access and affordability for millions of Americans.” dsn

38 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM COVER STORY
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Sign of the Times

Customized cosmetics, skin care lead 2022 trends

As the year to comes to an end, beauty trends have also come and gone. There’s been a huge shift in the way consumers learn and shop for their new favorite must-haves, thanks to platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. The leading brands have been doing their best to keep up for the last 12 months.

Though, it all hasn’t been just about creating new products for consumers. Major players in the beauty space, including CoverGirl, NYX Professional Makeup, e.l.f. Cosmetics and essence Cosmetics, among others, have worked to reinvent themselves by ensuring their products are cruelty free, certified by a clean organization, or find a way to marry the worlds of skin care and makeup.

According to Kantar’s Finding the Future Beauty and Cosmetics Trends report, foundation and face powders have seen a dramatic rise in interest from consumers — specifically Gen Z — and they have also been on the hunt for products that produce less waste. This includes foundation sticks, refillable products and those that come with their own reusable beauty sponges.

In addition, there has been a huge surge in enhancing and protecting the skin. Gone are the days of heavy or caked-on

foundation. Consumers are now opting for products that leave a dewy complexion, enhance one’s appearance and protect from harmful environmental pollutants by offering some type of SPF protection in foundations or BB creams.

“By applying the lens of changing needs, we see a move toward protection and status identity through cosmetics,” Kantar said in its report.

On the other hand, Mintel’s Beauty and Personal Care Trends report mentions how beauty has begun to play a vital role in how people look as well as how they feel, which allows for a massive increase in freedom of expression when it comes to cosmetics.

Sixty percent of those surveyed in the United States admitted to caring about using brands and products that align with their values. Aligning with values also means that brands have had to find ways to make their products inclusive and customizable to each individual.

“In beauty, today’s communication and expression are heading toward authenticity without perfection, to layer onto connection, openness and engagement,” Mintel noted.

of Mintel a to

Customizable beauty may sound like a task almost impossible to accomplish, but meeting

40 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM

NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Pencil

SRP: $7

Designed to help shape, highlight and conceal, NYX Professional Makeup’s Wonder Pencil comes in five matte and shimmer color-coordinated shade pairings. Perfect to use on the lower brow arch for a lifting effect and on the waterline to make the eyes appear bigger, this pencil is vegan and cruelty free.

Unhidden Beauty

Pop Culture Eyeshadow Palette Collection

SRP: $28 for an eight-shadow palette and $36 for a 12-shadow palette These pigmented eye shadows come in nine designs that channel iconic celebrity figures and moments that range from Harry Styles to Lizzo. Made using ethically sourced mica, the shadows sit in recycled and recyclable packaging that is refillable. Consumers can opt to customize the existing palettes with shades that range from matte to duo chrome, metallic, shimmer, glitter, bronze and satin.

those needs may include finding new ways to reduce packaging, as sustainability has become a huge trend in the space.

Sustainability has been a major push for such brands as Biossance, Caudalie and Youth to The People, among others, which have pledged that their product packaging will be more planet-friendly by 2025.

“Circularity for the beauty industry requires more than the existing quantification of goals and metrics; more importantly, it is an invitation for a fundamental shift in business normality and for brands to reimagine their relationships with their suppliers, consumers and even with one another as organizations,” Mintel stated in its report.

Brands are looking toward consumers to help guide them in the next direction, and thanks to social media, maintaining an almost personal and constant contact with the average shopper is now easier than ever.

“The differentiating point for brands moving forward lies in putting emotions and brand community high on the agenda, no longer treating diversity as a

E.l.f.

Cosmetics Putty Bronzer

SRP: $7

Featuring a pigmented and creamy formula, the Putty Bronzer transforms from a cream to a semimatte powder finish that melts into the skin for a natural glow. Containing argan oil and vitamin E for hydration, it can be applied either with the hands or a brush for a natural bronze or soft contour.

Essence Cosmetics what the fake! Extreme Plumping Lip Filler SRP: $4.99

Infused with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E for an instant plumping effect that is spiced with chili extract for an extra tingle and plump, the what the fake! Extreme Lip Filler is vegan, gluten free, paraben free and oil free.

marketing ploy but instead recognizing the need for diverse teams and perspectives from consumers to design products aimed at a diverse audience right from the start,” Mintel notes.

Diversity also has been a huge push for leading beauty retailers who have pledged to put more BIPOC-owned brands on their shelves and even launched beauty accelerator programs to help accomplish this goal.

No matter how you look at it, in 2022 just as trends changed from slicked back hair and minimal makeup to siren and doe eye-inspired looks, brands needed to find a way to keep up but continue innovating a space they have inhabited for quite some time. dsn

DRUGSTORENEWS.COM December 2022 41

Beauty News You Need to Know

Mielle

Organics Grows

Rosemary Mint Collection

Mielle Organics is expanding its Rosemary Mint collection with the launch of a new strengthening conditioner.

Designed to complement its previously launched strengthening shampoo, the product looks to provide users with strength and moisture to aid in improving the overall condition of the hair and scalp, as well as support longer and healthier hair, the company said.

“At Mielle, we take great pride in producing top-quality, innovative and effective hair care products, and we are so thrilled to now have the No. 1 best-selling product for textured hair,” said Monique Rodriguez, founder and CEO of Mielle Organics. “Our Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil has amassed an incredible fan following since it was introduced in 2018, and we are excited to extend this collection with the launch of the new Rosemary Mint Strengthening Conditioner.”

Infused with biotin, the conditioner is designed to deliver shine, and soften and detangle tresses, the company said. It’s made without parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, DEA or animal testing. It retails for $9.99.

Dr. Squatch Enters Skin Care Aisle With Hand, Body Lotion

Dr. Squatch is expanding its offerings beyond men’s natural soap and personal care products with the debut of a new hand and body lotion.

Available in three scents — Fresh Falls, Pine Tar and Cool Fresh Aloe — the lotion is made with natural ingredients, is free of harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients, and it contains shea butter, vitamin E and coconut oil, the company said.

“The launch of our natural men’s lotion is an exciting milestone for Dr. Squatch, and supports our goal of providing high-quality, natural personal care products for everyday guys,” said Josh Friedman, chief marketing officer at the company. “Our customers have been asking us for years to create a lotion, and we are excited to deliver it to Squatch Nation. Men tend to follow a reactive approach to skin care and lack education on the benefits of using body lotion on a regular basis. Dr. Squatch wants to flip this narrative by educating men on the benefits of using lotion regularly, not just for dry skin, because all people deserve to have soft, healthy skin.”

Featuring a lightweight consistency, the lotion is absorbed quickly into the skin and is available for purchase online.

Kiss Lashes Launches 1st Influencer Collab

Kiss is launching a limited-edition holiday lash collection that marks its firstever influencer product collaboration.

The Meredith Duxbury x Kiss Limited Edition

Holiday line, which was inspired by Duxbury’s glam makeup looks, consists of lashes that are full of volume and can help elevate any beauty look, the company said.

“We are incredibly proud to be partnering with the phenomenal beauty creator Meredith Duxbury on our first-ever influencer collaboration for Kiss lashes,” said Annette Devita-Goldstein, senior vice president of global marketing. “Together we have created a truly glamorous collection of lashes designed to inspire all

beauty enthusiasts to lash up this holiday with stunning lashes and a wink to the ‘70’s disco era.”

Duxbury, a content creator on TikTok, boasts 17 million followers and has been a longtime fan of the brand.

“I have been wearing Kiss Lashes for years and am so excited to be partnering with the brand on their firstever lash collaboration!” Duxbury said. “I genuinely love the styles we designed and am so excited for everyone to finally check them out.”

The collection features eight lash styles that retail for $8.99 each and can be found in store and online at Ulta Beauty, Walmart, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens. dsn

42 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM

3 Brands to Watch in 2023

They’re not shopping at their moms’ makeup counter anymore. Gen Z and Gen Y consumers use Instagram and TikTok to seek out smaller, niche brands that typically build up a fanbase and sell online before launching into retail. Here are three exciting brands to watch in 2023.

Wisnewski Beauty

After years of using a toothbrush to do her eyebrows, Lisa Rose Wisnewski decided to create a more specialized tool and leave the toothbrush to her dental care. Months of experimentation in her garage with handles, bristles and brows led Wisnewski to a patented product and the launch of her beauty brand, Wisnewski Beauty, in October 2022.

With her No. 9 Brow Brush in tow, Wisnewski moved to Los Angeles to connect with professionals who possess a collective experience of more than 90 years in the beauty industry working with big names such as MAC and Merle Norman.

Wisnewski Beauty’s brow-formulated line of products seeks to offer an all-inone solution to care for the health of the eyebrow and provide an effortless ability to shape and design its appearance.

The No. 9 Brow Brush features an angled crescent shape and synthetic bristles that contours to the eyebrow and the eyebrow bone for easy application and maneuverability.

The Wisnewski Beauty Gel is a clear

eyebrow gel that goes on smooth and holds gently. The gel works to keep the brow shape and contains panthenol to heal and protect hair. Made in Milan, Italy, it’s vegan and free of parabens, silicones and fragrances.

designs by minority artists and creatives. Each set features 24 almond-shaped luxury faux nails, one nail file/buffer, one cuticle stick and one nail glue.

In 2019, Pear Nova Studio opened in Chicago as a nail salon, beauty lounge and safe space to bridge the gap between beauty and community.

Rude Cosmetics

@rudecosmetics

Pear Nova

@pearnova

Founder and CEO Rachel James created Pear Nova to bridge the gap between beauty and function with luxury lacquers and nail care.

Armed with a degree in fashion merchandising and a background in beauty, James noticed a void in the representation of medium to dark skin tones in the nail world and committed to bridging that gap. She spent a year formulating a long-wearing polish formula that’s suitable for a spectrum of complexions.

The brand also has 10 nail care and body care products to pamper from head to toe. The products are vegan, cruelty free and nontoxic.

The brand in October launched its first collection of Layovers — luxury faux nails — as a collaboration with Marvel Studios’ film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The collaboration features three sets of Layovers showcasing custom nail

Brian and Stacey Lee launched Rude Cosmetics with the belief that makeup is the best tool to “express your inner you.” The couple are former beauty distributors for Morphe, NYX and other beauty companies, which led them to start their own brand in 2018.

The Los Angelesbased company offers cutting-edge products targeted to the millennial and Gen Z beauty consumer. The collections and collaborations feature fun packaging, with the false lash sets as a fan favorite.

The brand’s motto of “Makeup with Attitude” shows through in its large collection of products that use highly pigmented shades and glitters. The full cosmetics line, which includes makeup for eyes, face and lip, provides quality formulas at affordable prices.

The brand also offers a skin care essentials line with facial mists, setting sprays, primers, masks and moisturizers — all vegan, cruelty free and paraben free.

In December, the brand will launch its EDM Palettes (six shades), Be Squared Palettes (four shades) and Berry Juice Lip Trios at Hy-Vee stores. dsn

44 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM
Young consumers seek out emerging brands disrupting the beauty industry

Heart Health and Hope

From CoQ10 to omega-3s, supplements for the heart are supported by compelling research

The supplement shelves in your store offer customers more than vitamins and minerals: They also offer hope — for better health, more energy and a longer life, just to start. And one category of supplements also offers solid research to back up those promises: products for heart health.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

The human body makes its own CoQ10, a substance that protects cells from oxidative damage, fights chronic inflammation, regulates genes that control cellular growth and maintenance, and supports the production of adenosine triphosphate, the energy molecules that fuel cellular activity.

But at around age 40, that production begins to

decline, said internist Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, and that’s associated with everything from diabetes mellitus to cardiovascular disease. In fact, threequarters of people with cardiovascular diseases have low levels of CoQ10.

Boosting the body’s CoQ10 with supplements offers a variety of potential benefits:

• Lower risk of death. In a study published in the Journal of Cardiology, more than 200 people aged 70 and older took either a supplement with CoQ10 and selenium or a placebo. Nine years later, those taking the supplement had half the rate of death from cardiovascular disease.

• Improved exercise capacity. In a

DRUGSTORENEWS.COM December 2022 45 HEALTH: CARDIOLOGY
“If a patient is taking a statin, they should also take 200 mg daily of CoQ10.”
— Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

meta-analysis of 14 randomized, placebo-controlled studies involving more than 2,100 people with congestive heart failure, supplementing the diet with CoQ10 reduced mortality by 39% and improved exercise capacity.

• Reduced statin side effects. CoQ10 can reduce the common statin side effect of muscle pain and exercise intolerance. In a study published in Medical Science Monitor, people who took 100 mg of CoQ10 daily with their statins had a 26% reduction in the intensity of muscle pain and a 35% reduction in the interference of pain in daily activities. “If a patient is taking a statin, they should also take 200 mg daily of CoQ10,” concluded Teitelbaum.

• Lower blood pressure. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published in September reported that CoQ10 supplementation significantly reduced systolic blood pressure in patients with cardiometabolic diseases.

Garlic

Farther down the supplement aisle, customers can find another cardiovascular powerhouse: Allium sativum (garlic). Consumers can choose traditional garlic pills or aged black garlic, which is raw garlic that has been exposed to high heat and humidity for up to a month. Studies suggest that aged black garlic has more watersoluble antioxidant compounds than fresh garlic.

• A systematic review in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found that garlic consumption lowers triglycerides and inflammatory markers; reduces total cholesterol and lowdensity lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol while increasing highdensity lipoprotein (HDL; “good” cholesterol); and inhibits the progression of coronary artery calcification.

• A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Nutrition with more than 900 participants showed that garlic lowered both systolic blood pressure (by an average of 8.6 mm HG) and diastolic blood pressure (6.1 mm HM) in people with hypertension.

People who take blood thinners, statins or hypertension medications should not take garlic without talking to their physician or pharmacists first, says cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, founder of the Heart MD Institute.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

For decades, studies have supported a link between omega-3 fatty acids and a lower rate of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. These acids include eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, found in fish and fish oil, and alphalinolenic acid, found in plants.

• A meta-analysis that included 149,359 participants found that omega-3 consumption was associated with a 13% reduction in heart attacks, a 35% reduction in heart attack deaths and a 9% reduction in coronary heart disease mortality.

• Higher blood levels of both fish- and plant-based omega-3s help lower the odds of a poor prognosis in the years following a heart attack.

• Omega-3s lower levels of triglycerides, which have been linked with fatty buildup in the artery walls that increases the risk of heart attack.

• Omega-3s have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and may also improve the function of the endothelial cells that line blood vessels.

• Omega-3 consumption may reduce the risk of heart arrhythmia and slightly lower blood pressure.

In April, researchers noted in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that “Impressive scientific evidence continues to accumulate supporting the use of omega-3 in the treatment and/or prevention of heart failure.” The researchers mused, “It is perplexing why this safe and inexpensive therapy has not been adopted as a component of guideline-directed medical therapy for [heart failure].”

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a host of ailments, including cardiovascular disease. The results of a study recently published in the European Heart Journal suggested that people with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have cardiovascular disease and hypertension. People with the lowest concentrations of vitamin D had double the risk of cardiovascular disease compared with people with optimal levels.

While it appears beneficial to correct deficiencies, there is no evidence that mega doses of the vitamin offer superior protection, according to researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital who work on the ongoing VITAL study, which involves more than 25,000 people. (VITAL stands for VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL.)

Customers should work with their physicians to identify and treat any vitamin D deficiency.

COVID-19’s Impact

Boosting heart health isn’t just important for the elderly. After a steady prepandemic decline, the number of cardiovascular deaths is rising among people of all ages, researchers from Cedars-Sinai’s Smidt Heart Institute reported in the Journal of Medical Virology. The deaths appear to be linked to spikes in the COVID-19 pandemic and are striking people as young as 25. By the second year of the pandemic, the predicted versus observed rates of heart attack deaths had increased by 29.9% for people ages 25 to 44, by 19.6% for people ages 45 to 64, and by 13.7% for people age 65 and older.

COVID-19 could trigger or accelerate existing coronary artery disease, the researchers noted, demonstrating the importance of taking all steps to boost heart health now more than ever. dsn

46 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM HEALTH: CARDIOLOGY

Goodbye, ‘Empty Calories’

Consumer demand for healthy snacks is strong and shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. In fact, an August 2022 report from Newark, Del.-based Future Market Insights (“Better for You Snacks Market by Type, Sales Channel & Region — Forecast 2022 – 2032”) indicates that the global better-for-you snacks market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% between 2022 and 2032 to reach $70 billion.

Many of today’s consumers are saying goodbye to “empty calories” when it comes to snacking. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted consumer behavior toward nostalgia and healthier alternatives, said Nikki Azzara, founder and CEO of Denver-based P.S. Snacks Co. “Now in this post-COVID era, people have set higher expectations for health, taste [and] snacking in general.” Brand innovation and discoverability tied to TikTok, Instagram and other marketing channels, too, are driving healthy snacking trends, Azzara added.

Cut the Carbs

Consumers differ, of course, as to how they define a healthy snack. But most healthy snack-seekers are looking for products that mesh with one or more of today’s significant market trends. Carbcutting is one such trend.

Many consumers are opting for snacks with fewer carbs/less sugar, Azzara said. To meet this trend, her company recently launched low-sugar, low-carb cookie dough bites with no artificial

DRUGSTORENEWS.COM December 2022 47
“Consumers of the younger generations — millennials, Gen Z, etc. — are demanding products with ingredients they recognize, that are plant-based and sustainable.”
— Carla King, director of marketing, Mary’s Gone Crackers
Many of today’s consumers crave tasty but healthy snacks that help them meet their wellness goals
CONSUMABLES: HEALTHY SNACKS
Kathie Canning

Hippeas Veggie Straws

SRP:$3.99

Hippeas says it launched Hippeas Veggie Straws in three flavors: Straight Up Sea Salt, Rockin’ Ranch and Sour Cream and Onion. Made from a blend of veggies that includes yellow peas (first ingredient), tomatoes, beets, spinach and kale, the salty snacks feature 3 g of protein and only 140 calories per 1-oz. serving. The yellow peas are farmed using practices such as conservation tillage to improve soil erosion and crop rotations for soil health. The company noted that peas naturally use less fertilizer by pulling nitrogen from the air, helping to lower the brand’s carbon footprint. The gluten-free offerings, which comes in a 3.75-oz. bag, are vegan and Non-GMO Project Verified.

GOOD PLANeT

SRP: $1.99

New from Bellevue, Wash.-based GOOD PLANeT Foods are GOOD PLANeT Snack

Packs featuring plant-based cheese, nuts and dried fruit. Designed for on-the-go convenience, the individually packaged snacks come in two flavors: Smoked Gouda with Dried Cranberries and Almonds, and Cheddar with Dried Cranberries and Cashews. The products feature simple, clean ingredients and are vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, lactose free, allergen free, Non-GMO Project Verified and ketocertified. They come in a 1.5-oz. package.

flavors or “junky” fillers or preservatives. The plant-based, gluten-free bites are made from chickpeas and covered in chocolate. They represent a modern take on nostalgic movie theater bites and do not compromise on taste, she said.

Hitesh Hajarnavis, managing partner of Free2b Foods, a New York-based creator of allergy-friendly snacks, agreed that the trend is moving toward less sugar. He noted that Free2b Dark Chocolate Sunflower Butter Mini Sun Cups align particularly well with this trend. They contain 44% less sugar than the leading mini peanut butter cup.

Mind the Keto and Protein Pushes

Going hand in hand with the low-carb/low-sugar trend is the move toward keto diet-friendly offerings, said Janet Levi, PR manager for Hauppauge, N.Y.-based Shrewd Food. Such offerings tend to be low in carbs and high in protein and/or fat and appeal to consumers who want to lose weight — often, a lot of weight.

“It has been proven that keto works for those who are very overweight,” Levi said. “Shrewd Food jumped on the keto train almost three years ago, and we have seen a significant growth in that area of sales.”

The company offers two keto-friendly products: Keto Dippers (in Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate varieties) and Keto Krac Bars (in a Milk Chocolate variety). In addition, it will be adding a new “game-changing” Peanut Butter flavor to that lineup soon, Levi added.

Originally of interest mainly to bodybuilders and other athletes, protein-packed snacks also have gained traction among other consumers in recent years, Levi said. To help meet demand here, Shrewd Foods recently added three new flavors

to its Protein Puffs lineup: Sweet Thai Chili, Caramel Apple Pie and Totally Taco. The snacks boast 14 grams of protein but only 2 grams of carbs, per serving.

For many Americans, snacks are replacing meals more often, Hajarnavis added. Protein certainly comes into play here. He said his company’s Crunchsters sprouted mung beans provide the protein and nutrition these consumers are seeking.

Think Functional — and Beyond

Functional ingredients such as vegetables, mushrooms and superfoods also boast appeal, Azzara said. Carla King, director of marketing for Mary’s Gone Crackers in Reno, Nev., agreed that there is rising interest in functional ingredients, but added other attributes to the on-trend list.

“The pandemic raised awareness of the value of healthy eating,” King said. “Consumers of the younger generations — millennials, Gen Z, etc. — are demanding products with ingredients they recognize, that are plant-based and sustainable.”

King noted that Mary’s Gone Crackers recently introduced Mary’s Gone Kookies Graham-style Snacks and Mary’s Gone Cheezee Crackers with plant-based cheese. Like the company’s other products, they are organic, non-GMO and gluten free.

Snack offerings designed for consumers with food allergies or sensitivities also are gaining in appeal, Hajarnavis said.

“Half of all U.S. consumers avoid one of the top common food allergens either because of a serious allergy, a family member with an allergy or multiple other reasons,” he said. “Increasing your allergy-friendly offerings, particularly in the snack aisle, creates a more inclusive shelf set, bringing new shoppers and incremental sales.”

CONSUMABLES: HEALTHY SNACKS 48 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM

Show Them Off

It is important for drug stores to offer the on-trend healthy snacks consumers crave. It is also crucial, however, that consumers are able to locate such products, so placement within the store counts.

“We believe that healthy snacks should be placed in a high-traffic area of the store that sits right there with the protein bars and protein shakes,” Levi said. “Shrewd Food isn’t expecting to gain a customer who was originally going to buy Doritos.”

King agreed that placement matters. “It’s important to offer healthy alternatives to traditional snacks in places where [consumers] are already seeking health remedies.” dsn

Top Performers: Healthy Snacks

Better Than Good Foods

Variety Pack Keto Protein Puffs (9-pack)

SRP: $2.99 to $3.50

The idea behind Better Than Good Foods started when the founders’ four-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer and his chemotherapy treatments made him crave chips and junk food. They searched for a healthier snack high in protein, low in carbs and sugar, with fruits and veggies that still tasted like the junk food their son loved. When they couldn’t find one, they decided to create their own! Keto Protein Puffs have just three to four ingredients that are all-natural and free of gluten, nuts, soy and GMOs, with 25% of recommended daily vitamins. A portion of net proceeds is donated to help families going through childhood cancer.

Plant Snacks

Plant Thins 5 oz. SRP: $4.49

Plant Snacks is on a mission to bridge the gap between plant-based snacks and conventional taste. Its Plant Thins 5-oz. snack line is crafted with a special plantbased flour blend of whole grain corn, cassava root, psyllium husk, pea protein and mushroom powder. Plant Thins are vegan, plant-based, certified gluten free, Non-GMO Project Verified and free of allergens and added sugars. Additionally, they are a good source of fiber and vitamin D, and have 50% more protein (3 g) than most chips. Most importantly, they have a craveable crunch and come in four flavors.

Pop Art Snacks

Rosemary Truffle with Olive Oil SRP: $4.49

Pop Art Snacks knows how beautifully unique consumers are, and their courage to stand out inspired the brand to create delicious salty snacks with bold and innovative flavors. They strive to remind us all that when you inspire greatness in yourself, you inspire greatness in others! Plain popcorn is boring. Rosemary and Truffle Popcorn is not. This vegan snack is flavored with olive oil, sea salt, rosemary and black summer truffle, and is certified nonGMO, gluten free, kosher and whole grain.

Methodology: The products selected are RangeMe Verified™ brands that received the highest positive buyer interaction scores within the Snacks category — a score that represents a combination of buyer views, messages, saves, sample requests and purchases of the product. The RangeMe verification process confirms that brands and products meet certain standards and requirements that RangeMe’s retail partners look for before doing business with a brand. For the Healthy Snacks category, selected brands must have had one or more of the following keywords in their RangeMe profile: non-GMO, organic, keto, paleo, gluten free, vegan or sugar free.

DRUGSTORENEWS.COM December 2022 49
Source: Future Market Insights
The global better-for-you snacks market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of between 2022 and 2032 to reach

While

Capturing Growth in Consumer Health Care

shoppers navigate inflation, there remains pockets of omnichannel opportunity in consumer health care

Consumers are becoming health-conscious as interest in self-care continues to rise. Many consumers are becoming their own health advocates as they seek new ways to improve their well-being.

There were early indicators of this before the pandemic, but the public health crisis accelerated the shift. As shoppers flocked to stores to purchase COVID-19 supplies and many other OTC products in 2020, consumer health care enjoyed a heady 6.7% sales growth. Many reluctant shoppers tried online ordering for the first time, and became regular e-commerce consumers. In 2021, omnichannel sales in the consumer health category saw 12% growth to the tune of $105 billion, outpacing total store sales (5.3%), with e-commerce sales growing 27%.

As innovative leaders strive to capture sustainable growth in 2022 and beyond, there are pockets of omnichannel opportunity in consumer health care.

Is the Price Right in Personal Care?

Now more than ever, consumers are on the hunt for cost-effective personal care products and OTC medications to address their health-andwellness needs. The OTC/personal care category saw impressive growth throughout 2021, bringing in $2.3 billion dollars in sales. Price was a large factor in this 6% increase, driving 90% of growth according to IRI’s 2021 market data.

While price is still on the rise, a strong 2021-2022 cold season led to strong growth in the cold and cough sectors. Cold and cough accounted for more than 50% of the OTC growth in season.

Retail drug stores continue to rebound, with 49 million more trips in 2021 versus 2020. E-commerce OTC sales are on the rise, as many consumers appreciate the ability to price-compare to find the best deal on a digital platform.

Most shoppers purchase both online and in-store, and last year saw strong omnichannel sales growth for OTC products such as suntan items (26.3%) and sleep aids. Manufacturers should focus on the rightvalue proposition that allows consumers’ to manage their self-care needs and their budget.

Navigating Demand for Nutritionals

Nutritionals saw great success in 2021 with 10% growth. Increased demand drove about 77% of this growth, as consumers became increasingly interested in products that offer ingredients to boost health, immunity and offer other functional benefits. Weight control liquids and powders was the leading product type in this category, followed by supplements.

However, in the Latest 52 weeks ending July, we are beginning to see growth slow for nutritionals, posting only 7% growth with price increase now driving approximately 43% of that growth. Despite great success during the pandemic, nutritionals may face headwinds moving forward.

Innovation Drives Medical Device Sales COVID-19 revolutionized the medical device industry, as new consumer needs spurred innovation and technological advances. Throughout 2021, medical device sales increased by 8% ($1.2 billion) as new COVID-19 testing solutions emerged.

At-home testing kits were the highest-selling new products in 2021, with BinaxNOW tests garnering a whopping $677 million in sales, according to IRI’s market data. Consistent with 2021, innovation in COVID-19 testing kits remains the primary driver of growth in the medical device sales category.

The Future of the Consumer Healthcare Market

Today’s consumers have more places to shop and more ways to connect, and as more people adopt e-commerce ordering and delivery, a deep understanding of omnichannel is essential.

Manufacturers can leverage detailed profiles of high-value shoppers to optimize specific promotions and offers to each group, focus on creating a sustainable consumer experience and double down on social media, especially platforms like TikTok.

By understanding the needs of shopper groups and knowing how to respond to shifting shopper demands, leaders will have a path forward to achieve outsized growth in 2022 and beyond. dsn

50 December 2022 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM LAST WORD
Kristin Hornberger is the executive vice president and practice leader, healthcare for IRI.
“Now more than ever, consumers are on the hunt for cost-effective personal care products and OTC medications to address their healthand-wellness needs.”
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