Leading industry execs gather for annual Diabetes Roundtable, Industry Issues Summit

NEW YORK — The entire retail store is a diabetes destination, and pharmacists are critical in educating and communicating with consumers to help them and their loved ones better manage the chronic disease. That was one of several important messages that industry leaders expressed during Drug Store News’ 8th Annual Diabetes Roundtable discussion on Tuesday in New York at the New York Athletic Club. More than 100 leading industry players gathered for the event, which also included the 12th Annual Industry Issues Summit in the afternoon.

Retail panelists for the Diabetes Roundtable included Bill Bergin of Rite Aid, John Carlo of Wegmans, Mark Gregory of Kerr Drug, Debbie Krasnow of Giant Eagle and Leon Nevers of H-E-B. Additionally, retail panelists for the Industry Issues Summit included, but were not limited to, Craig Norman of H-E-B, Vic Curtis of Costco, Barbara Zamudio of Ulta, Beth Arkes of Fred Meyer, Robert Bobber of Walgreens and Jason Reiser of Sam’s Club.

Over the years, the Diabetes Roundtable and Industry Issues Summit have become a critical industry event, but in recent years has proved to be especially important with healthcare reform, the economy, reshaping consumer shopping behavior and retail pharmacies increasingly taking a proactive role on the frontlines of U.S. health care.

This year’s event also featured guest speaker Larry Kudlow, CNBC anchor of “The Kudlow Report,” who discussed his optimistic outlook for the U.S. economy, advocating deficit reduction, deregulation and a strong dollar to promote economic growth while criticizing economic stimulus measures, such as the Obama administration’s stimulus package and the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policies, as well as the Bush administration’s bailout of the banking system. He also emphasized sectors of the economy that he said would help lead the economic recovery, including energy, manufacturing and health care.

“The private healthcare sector is one of the greatest job creators in America,” said Kudlow during his presentation “Never Sell America Short: Free-Market Capitalism & the American Economy.”

Topics ranged from innovation to medication therapy management to social media.

When asked about innovation, Gregg Johnson of Nipro Diagnostics said, “I think all of the innovation is going to come from monitoring and managing information flow.”

When asked about obesity, Bergin pointed to Rite Aid’s partnership with Lindora Health Clinic, whose services include an online program for weight loss.

Capping off the day’s events were the Industry Issues Summit panels on over the counter/health and beauty.

Private label, SKU rationalization and store execution were among the hot button issues discussed among the panelists. “As far as execution on programs it is important for suppliers to understand the business that they are dealing with to the extent that they can fully understand our business model and what we need to drive out productivity and profitability initiatives and that will make for a successful program,” said Norman, when asked about store execution.

Sponsors for the Diabetes Roundtable included Sanofi-Aventis, Takeda, Colgate, Nipro Diagnostics and TABS. Sponsors for the Industry Issues Summit included Catalina, Alberto Culver, Novartis, Pharmavite, Hyland’s, Kao Brands, GlaxoSmithKline, Pacific World and TABS.

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