HEALTH

Pain relief sales rise as consumers turn to OTC

BY Michael Johnsen

Back pain is one of the leading reasons adults under the age of 45 years call in sick to work, second only to the common cold, according to the American Pain Foundation. All told, back pain results in about 83 million lost work days each year and is cited as one of the more common work-related injuries, especially among those working in physically demanding jobs, and the leading cause of job-related disability and work limitations in those under 45 years of age.


And yet, according to a 2011 CareerBuilder survey, almost 72% of all workers typically go to work when they’d otherwise call in sick, which suggests a lot more people are suffering through the pain at work than nursing those sore muscles or bad back at home. That might explain at least some of the recent growth across external pain relief solutions. Across analgesic rubs, hot/cold packs, and muscle and body support devices, sales at food, drug and mass (minus Walmart) are up almost 5% with more than $830 million in collective sales, according to SymphonyIRI Group data. 


New product introductions in the second half of 2011 included McNeil Consumer’s BenGay Cold Therapy and both Performance Health’s Perform Pain Relieving Spray and Perform Pain Relieving Singles.

 

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete External Pain Relief Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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Where are the ‘integration sweet spots’ for your brand?

BY Rob Eder

“How does that help me sell more cases, pallets and truckloads?” That’s a question I have been asked repeatedly, particularly as the world of retail pharmacy has evolved to play a larger role in health care. With that, the business that we cover in Drug Store News has become incredibly more complicated.


Case in point: The story that appears on the cover of this issue. CVS Caremark is an exponentially more complex company than it was when I first started covering it for DSN 15 years ago — that was just before CVS purchased Revco, and in the very earliest days of a new, homegrown pharmacy benefit management business it called Pharmacare back then. Today, it is a $120 billion healthcare goliath made up of three core businesses: more than 7,300 CVS/pharmacy stores, 650 MinuteClinics and the second-biggest PBM in the country.


Yet, I just know it’s only a matter of time before someone says to me, “Hey Rob, that’s great — but how does that help me sell more cases, pallets and truckloads?” And hey, I get it; if you’re a supplier in this industry, it’s a valid question.


The answer is simple. If you ask any retailer, “What’s the first thing a new vendor needs to do if they want to get into your stores?” The very first thing any of them will tell you is: “Know my company.” If you don’t understand the chains that you’re selling to; if you don’t know who they are; how they see themselves; what the vision is for their stores; who they think their core customer is; and how they expect that to change, how can you ever expect to be a relevant part of their future?


Case in point: CVS Caremark. Not to be lost in any of this analysis about CVS Caremark’s integration sweet spots is that the largest of these businesses continues to be the company’s 7,400 CVS/pharmacy stores. And make no mistake, CVS merchants still are actively trying to grow market share in all of its core front-end businesses. That hasn’t changed. If anything, the company looks at each of its businesses for opportunities for any one to grow the other two.


So, having read our exclusive “Category of One” report, and knowing what you now know about the overall “good trend/bad trend” strategy that CVS Caremark is applying to its businesses to better manage costs and improve patient outcomes for payers, where does your brand fit in? Where is the “integration sweet spot” in CVS Caremark for your brand?


Maintenance Choice is bringing more patients back into its stores. These are patients that are battling some form of a chronic condition. If you’re an Rx or OTC company, what is the opportunity for your brand? Pharmacy Advisor is addressing nonadherence and identifying gaps in therapy for patients with diabetes. This spring, CVS Caremark is going to expand that program into high cholesterol, and into asthma/COPD by the end of the year, with a number of other disease states coming in 2013 and beyond. Where could your brand fit here?


And what about the clinics? Expanding into chronic care and wellness is going to create more opportunities for MinuteClinic practitioners to make product recommendations for brands that will help manage a patient’s condition. According to our 2011 Retail Clinician "Annual Reader Survey," 62% of NPs in retail clinics already are talking to all or most of their patients about their chronic conditions, regardless of the nature of the visit; 75% said the clinics they work for already have programs in place around disease state management and/or wellness/prevention, including hypertension (53%), smoking cessation (43%), diabetes (40%) and weight management (28%). During these visits, NPs are recommending an OTC item at least 40% of the time; 60% of the time these visits end with a prescription and an OTC recommendation; and about 60% of the time, they recommend vitamins and supplements.


So, how does any of this help you sell more cases, pallets and truckloads? Find the “integration sweet spots” for your brand. That’s how.


Rob Eder is the editor in chief of The Drug Store News Group, publishers of Drug Store News, DSN Collaborative Care and Specialty Pharmacy magazines. You can contact him at [email protected].

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FDA clears Abbott’s FreeStyle InsuLinx blood-glucose monitoring system

BY Allison Cerra

ALAMEDA, Calif. — A blood-glucose monitoring system created by Abbott has received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration.

Abbott said the FDA has approved the FreeStyle InsuLinx blood-glucose monitoring system, which includes a touchscreen interface, automated logbook and several personalization features designed to improve the diabetes management experience for patients. What’s more, the device also is equipped with built-in FreeStyle Auto-Assist software that enables patients to track progress, analyze trends and easily display data for their healthcare providers.

"The new FreeStyle InsuLinx System represents Abbott’s latest advancement in delivering innovative products for people with diabetes who use insulin," Abbott Diabetes Care SVP Heather Mason said. "The improved functionality, data sharing tools and personalization features are designed to improve the diabetes management experience for patients. We are excited to make this product available to diabetes patients in the United States."

The FreeStyle InsuLinx aystem will be available to U.S. consumers within the coming months.


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