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Making OTC an impulse buy

BY DSN STAFF

UrgentRx’s fast powder OTC treatments are beginning to show up at the check-stand. As a brand offering, it represents a unique delivery format with unique merchandising opportunities. DSN sought out founder and president Jordan Eisenberg for the details.

DSN: What is the point of differentiation for the line?

Jordan Eisenberg: UrgentRx makes a line of flavored powder OTCs … to treat things ranging from headaches to a heart attack. Because they’re flavored powders, you pour them directly into your mouth. They don’t need liquid, and they work a lot faster than pills.

DSN: Is this a new purchase opportunity or an alternative to traditional, say, analgesics?

Eisenberg: The whole premise of UrgentRx is that it’s an incremental purchase. It is not a cannibalistic purchase; it is actually a supplemental purchase. We are not trying to replace [the OTCs] in your cabinet. … We’re really designed for placement at impulse locations in the store.

DSN: How do you help create that impulse purchase excitement?

Eisenberg: What you’ll see in our merchandising is we’ve got a really strong stop statement that says, "Right Now Relief Center." And "Right Now" and "Relief" is very bold to the consumer and really grabs their attention. Then when you look at the actual line of products, you’ll see that we carry through this very bold, very "in your face" packaging that the consumer can’t help but read.

DSN: We’ve heard EMS units carry UrgentRx Aspirin. How did that come about?

Eisenberg: I had watched my father, who’s in good health but in his 60s, take aspirin wrapped in cellophane and put it in his wallet in case he had a heart attack. If you take aspirin during a heart attack, you’re about 23% more likely to survive. But of course heart attacks don’t take place while you’re standing in a store, but rather while you’re out living you’re life. … To date, we’ve saved more than a dozen lives that we know of, but probably many more because we’re also now carried on ambulances across the country. Outside of our retail expansion, we’ve been really successful with the emergency medical side of things. … We’re also carried by several airlines, like American Airlines, and pretty much every ski patrol across the country.

DSN: What are your plans for this year?

Eisenberg: We’ve got some pretty aggressive plans to launch nationally with some major national retailers. We’re pretty far down the line, with a number of them looking to roll out probably this summer or early fall. Our goal is to be in 25,000 to 27,000 doors by that time. From there, we have a pretty aggressive marketing campaign that we’re spooling up right now to support that distribution.

For the full audio Q&A, click here.

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PharmaSmart kiosks advance patient self-diagnosis

BY Michael Johnsen

The Food and Drug Administration over the past year has been exploring ways to further increase the value of the over-the-counter medicine space through the utilization of technology to support new Rx-to-OTC switches. In-store diagnostic tools that help improve compliance, contribute to a HIPPA-compliant health record and increase interception opportunities between pharmacists and patients, like those fielded by PharmaSmart, are the kind of in-store support tools that the FDA is reviewing.

And any question that in-store kiosks are not reliable diagnostic tools that can be a part of a total regular healthcare regiment were put to rest by the December 2012 issue of Blood Pressure Monitoring. The peer-reviewed survey singled out PharmaSmart’s kiosk as compliant with the AAMI/ISO international accuracy standard.

"We have a live [electronic medical record] today that’s actually sending patients data from the pharmacy directly into the patient’s health record at the physician’s office," noted Ashton Maaraba, GM and COO of PharmaSmart International. PharmaSmart has been featuring a kiosk that integrates a "Smart Card" functionality to enable the transfer of blood-pressure and pulse readings through a secure HIPAA-compliant server and into an online patient health portal.

Late last year PharmaSmart got a visit from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he visited companies recognized as leading the way in the state’s economic development. PharmaSmart is one of 20 companies across New York to become part of Cuomo’s Empire State Development Program.

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Medagate’s health card combines incentives with functionality

BY Michael Johnsen

Programs incentivizing health care won’t be effective if they’re not intuitive and easy to use. That’s why Medagate’s MasterCard Dual Value Health Card, which enables employers and health plans to combine a member/employee healthcare funding purse with a restricted-spend purse for targeted items and incentives, is so important.

It enables that OTC value to be realized at the point of sale. "Effective participation in wellness programs requires advanced functionality and deeper levels of member engagement," said Devin Wade, CEO of Medagate. "The drive toward rewarding healthy behavior will be accommodated by a new generation of customizable payment tools linked to familiar debit and prepaid cards that provide instant rewards and discounts at the point of sale," he said. "Our experience in Medicare and Medicaid markets has shown that the availability of a targeted benefit can have a measurable impact on health behavior."

The OTC applications can range from supplementing the purchase of prenatal vitamins to smoking-cessation products. Retailers and benefit providers also can offer coupons or special promotions to specific populations — for example, known allergy sufferers on the first day of hay fever season. Funds and items on defined contribution and controlled spend lists can be reloaded and redefined at any time.

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