New OTC counseling tool helps clinicians SMART-en up
In a move that may help drive recommendations of nonprescription medicines, SMARTcare last month announced the creation of a new counseling tool specifically designed to provide retail clinicians with education around over-the-counter medicines for some of the most popular conditions that retail clinicians see.
“Our offering has been built with the professional clinicians and the consumers they see in mind,” Ken DeBaene, chief marketing officer at SMARTcare, told Drug Store News. “As the clinics and the emerging care model structure expand out into other areas, our intent is to make sure that we’ve got educational content for the consumer that the practitioner can use in [his or her] diagnosis and treatment conversations with those patients.”
“Our launch partner was the [Convenient Care Association],” noted Ted Lawless, director of sales at SMARTcare. “We’re still very much in [the] launch phase,” he said, but initial feedback from both clinicians and potential manufacturer sponsors has been extremely positive.
The business model is supported through sponsorships by OTC manufacturers that are then able to reach consumers at the point of care. “The brands benefit from their exposure to healthcare professionals,” DeBaene said. “And the recommendation of their product, along with a purchase incentive, really delivers strong consumer [activity].”
There are five general categories included as part of the SMARTcare offering today, including such respiratory conditions as allergies and cold/flu; such health management as arthritis pain and heart health; such common illnesses as ear infections and heart-burn; such skin conditions as acne and athlete’s foot; and such minor injuries as burns and tick removal.
The Foundation for HealthSMART Consumers, a not-for-profit organization, provides the SMARTcare educational content. The foundation leads a social program to engage healthcare consumers through information and education.
Pittsburgh Business Group on Health’s LivingMyLife program to expand
PITTSBURGH The Pittsburgh Business Group on Health’s LivingMyLife program, which helps diabetes patients with disease management through the use of “coach pharmacists,” will soon do the same for those with other diseases, according to published reports.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday that LivingMyLife also would help patients with asthma and heart disease. The program, which began in 2006, allows patients to manage their disease with visits to pharmacies, mostly Giant Eagle, Kmart and some independents.
The announcement was made at the annual healthcare symposium of the group and involved more than 100 attendees, the newspaper reported.
DSC debunks industry misconceptions at briefing
WASHINGTON The Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, in cooperation with two trade associations representing the dietary supplement industry — the Natural Products Association and the Council for Responsible Nutrition — held a briefing on Capitol Hill Thursday in an effort to debunk some of the untruths and misconceptions about the dietary supplement industry and its role in Americans’ wellness regimens.
“It’s all about prevention. Prevention is the new mantra among consumers,” suggested guest speaker Patrick Rea, publisher and editorial director of Nutrition Business Journal.
Speaking to an audience of staff members from the House of Representatives and Senate, Rea said that even during tough economic times, consumers turn to dietary supplements as an important part of their immunity and prevention plan.
“Consumers looked at supplements as one way through the recession to help take care of themselves. Health is recession resilient, and the sales over time support this fact,” Rea said.
Rea addressed several “industry myths” –– including the notions that dietary supplements are unnecessary because people get what they need from food, that people really do not want to take supplements, that the pharmaceutical industry will destroy the dietary supplement industry and that the industry is unregulated.
“Our numbers show that somewhere between 60% to 80% of Americans take supplements, and 48% of them consider themselves regular users,” Rea said.
Rea also mentioned the growing acceptance of dietary supplements among conventional health practitioners, and the growing trend among pharmaceutical companies to develop their own versions of products usually sold as supplements.
“In a study of healthcare professionals, 72% of physicians and 89% of nurses are dietary supplement consumers, and 79% of physicians and 82% of nurses recommend dietary supplements to their patients,” Rea noted.
Regarding industry regulation, Rea countered that the supplement industry is one of the more highly regulated industries and that the industry welcomes those regulations. “[For example], a lot of the [dietary supplement] companies are rallying behind the [good manufacturing practices] regulations,” he said. “They want it to be known that they are a GMP-compliant company. And, the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act made claims rules clear and has really helped the industry focus and develop.”