At NACDS, there’s life after Boston

BY Steve Anderson

When NACDS Total Store Expo attendees depart Boston, the show is far from over. Just as preparation is essential for effectiveness, post-meeting follow-up and analysis are necessary to capitalize on the opportunities and firm up the results. There is another “must do” that can benefit your company after Boston, and it relates to the very thinking that went into the creation of this new tradeshow and
strategic exchange.

Put simply, we invite all retailers and suppliers to discover all that NACDS offers — beyond everything that you have experienced over the past several days in Boston.

In fact, NACDS’ programs and services beyond NACDS Total Store Expo are integral to the Total Store Expo experience. NACDS Total Store Expo was never intended to be a stand-alone event, but rather a vital piece of a comprehensive approach to advancing the industry and business objectives
through NACDS.

Some may not remember that the NACDS Total Store Expo merged three previously separate NACDS meetings into one for the purpose of facilitating cross-departmental — “total store” — discussions. And this unified NACDS Total Store Expo has been designed to fit into a newly aligned schedule of NACDS events throughout the year:

The calendar starts in February with the NACDS Regional Chain Conference. It continues in April with the NACDS Annual Meeting. These events bring together chains and suppliers for top-to-top meetings that set the stage for the
entire year;

The timing of the NACDS Total Store Expo in August allows for larger-team discussions, execution and
mid-course corrections;

NACDS Week in New York City in December puts an exclamation point on the year’s
results; and

I think it’s also important to note the importance of the NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill — held in Washington, D.C., in March — which contributes mightily to the grassroots advocacy that drives public policy success.

In addition to these events, NACDS offers even more to contribute to members’ success.

For example, this year we redesigned and redeveloped the NACDS Membership Directory, which is offered exclusively to the association’s members. The online directory includes contact information for 22,400 representatives of NACDS member companies, chains and associates alike. As we like to say, the directory includes “22,400-plus contacts — and the one who can say ‘yes.’”

The power of the directory’s new format lies not only in the information that members can access, but also the ways in which they can access it. The directory has been created using responsive web design, which means that it appears in a user-friendly manner on computers, tablets and smartphones alike. The directory is prominently featured on, and we hope you will pay it a visit.

When you think about it, NACDS does three things. NACDS advocates for the industry. NACDS communicates the value of the industry. And NACDS fosters business community and education through events and other programs and services throughout the year.

The biggest advice that I can give to any company within the industry is to join NACDS as a member and then to truly engage in your association. To me, “engagement” describes a commitment to make the most of the opportunity, and to identify and execute on the aspects of NACDS that relate directly to a company’s objectives.

The companies that gain the most out of their relationship with NACDS bring this sense of “engagement” to the equation. They are “all in.”

Thank you for contributing to the success of the NACDS Total Store Expo. NACDS’ commitment is that we will help you determine the methods of engagement that will add tremendous value to your company. In this way, we are convinced you will see the true power of the NACDS Total Store Expo: That it is just the beginning.

Steve Anderson, IOM, CAE, is president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.


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Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?

Hot Pharmacy and Technology products at NACDS Total Store Expo 2014 – Part 2

BY Jim Frederick

McKesson’s Adherence Performance Solution

McKesson’s Pharmacy Systems and Automation unit has developed a performance-enhancing solution to help pharmacies boost patient adherence, while also demonstrating added value to payers. 

The Adherence Performance Solution taps the data within the pharmacy management system to give pharmacists a window into patients’ adherence and return levels, by plan and by pharmacy. The dashboard system provides a view of patients’ adherence levels “across all of your pharmacies,” and identifies patients “who will positively impact your adherence performance the most,” according to the company.

The new software also lets pharmacies “show payers just how valuable your pharmacy is to their network,” McKesson said.


FastPak Elite

New from AmerisourceBergen Technology Group is an enhanced, intelligent, automated prescription-dispensing machine, FastPak Elite. The system is modular and scalable, allowing pharmacies to choose from three units holding either 520, 336 or 260 canisters — based on their volume and rapid dispensing needs. 

The FastPak Elite’s “smart” canisters count and dispense nearly all sizes and shapes of oral solid medications, according to ABC, and feature RFID chip and bar-code identification, as well as RFID technology to identify and track medications and canisters within the unit. A redesigned graphic user interface allows pharmacy staff to queue and prioritize “unlimited batches” of prescription orders for “unprecedented flexibility” in workload.



RxSAFE’s new RxASP 600 with an attached RxASP 20 stores up to 600 RFID canisters, with the robotic handler automatically exchanging the canisters on the ASP 20. Up to four packagers can be attached to a single ASP 600. The RxASP 20 also eliminates the need for remote filling stations, and features the smallest footprint of any automated unit-dose dispenser. It also provides automated restocking of drug inventory to avoid down time. The product line is 100%-designed and manufactured in the United States.




Mobile pharmacy platform developer mscripts is showcasing next-generation medication adherence solutions designed to move pharmacies and patients beyond current phone- and computer-based drug adherence programs. 

The new apps were developed to work on smartphones and tablets, and feature such tools as “educational videos, financial assistance, refill reminders … delivered directly to a patient’s phone, email or mobile app at critical points in therapy,” according to
the company.



Robotic Prescription Dispensing Systems

Pharmacy automation provider ScriptPro has unveiled new security options for its Robotic Prescription Dispensing Systems that enhance a pharmacy’s control over Schedule II narcotics and other medications with high abuse potential. 

Among the new features: electronic door locks designed to restrict access to drug stock in ScriptPro machines that requires an electronic PIN code and identifies the user who opened the doors, as well as the date and time of the occurrence. The new enhancements also include reinforced doors that partially conceal drug stock, an internal security camera package that records all activity when doors to the unit are open and a locking cell column feature for potentially dangerous or abuse-potential medicines.



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Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?

Hot OTC products at NACDS Total Store Expo 2014 – Part 3

BY Michael Johnsen

Similasan’s Arnica Active

Similasan introduced its new Similasan Arnica Active along with a packaging refresh for all of its items at this year’s NACDS TSE. The launch features a spray-on SKU, which differentiates the product from other arnica options on the market. In addition to pain relief, arnica is indicated for the relief of bruising, and is an ingredient that is becoming popular across external analgesic rubs as a natural alternative to internal analgesics. For the 52 weeks ended June 15, sales of the external analgesic rub category  reached $486.9 million, up 6.7%, across total U.S. multi-outlets according to IRI. 



Vapor Rub

Perfecta Products is showcasing its Zim’s Advanced Vapor Rub chest rub, featuring a roller applicator so users don’t have to use their hands to apply the mentholated cough suppressant to their child’s chest — or their own chest. The applicator innovation may help boost sales in the category, which was relatively flat through June 15, with sales of $88.6 million across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. A 4-oz. tube will retail for a suggested $11.99. In addition to natural menthol, the product contains organic arnica, beeswax, coconut oil and eucalyptus. 



VitaMelts Multivitamins

While the billion-dollar multivitamin business is relatively flat overall — growing at a 0.2% rate to $1.7 billion for the 52 weeks ended June 15 across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI — gummy vitamins and other alternatives to multivitamins in tablet form are trending. Capitalizing on that trend, Pharmavite extended its line of NatureMade VitaMelts with a Multivitamin SKU. The multivitamin is formulated with vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as B vitamins thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), folic acid (B-9) and B-12. The product comes in a tropical fruit flavor and sells for a suggested $5.99. 



Diabetes Smart Tracker

New to NACDS TSE, Vigilant is launching a line of connected devices designed to help Type 1 diabetics better manage their disease. Called the Bee, the Diabetes Smart Tracker serves as a cap for most insulin pens and allows users to track wirelessly how much insulin they’ve injected. Users turn on the Bee device and dial up the amount of insulin, and that information is relayed to the Vigilant Bee app. Blood-glucose readings from a separate blood-glucose meter also can be uploaded to the app using the device. 


True Metrix Self-Monitoring and Pro Professional Monitoring

Nipro Diagnostics launched the True Metrix Self-Monitoring blood-glucose system and the True Metrix Pro Professional Monitoring blood-glucose system meters at this year’s NACDS TSE. The meters feature pre- and post-meal tags that enable patients to mark blood-glucose results to see how food affects blood glucose. Additionally, the products allow patients to tie such notable events as exercise, medication and sickness — as well as other occasions — to blood-glucose readings in order to determine patterns and trends, resulting in better decision-making for diabetes management. True Metrix will be made available beginning in the fourth quarter under partner brands or under Nipro Diagnostics’ own True brand of products.


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Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?