HEALTH

Retailers look to increase interaction with OTC marketers

BY Michael Johnsen

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. U.S. drug retailers are looking for a more interactive relationship with over-the-counter drug marketers and have indentified “gold standards” to help define that marketer/retailer relationship, based on communication and sales support, according to the latest research from research firm Kline & Co.

According to Kline’s U.S. Retailers’ Perceptions of OTC Drug Marketers 2008, while most marketers earn high points for product quality and performance, retailers would like to see more in the way of category leadership and a more hands-on approach at the store level.

”Most of the store-level managers we spoke with said they felt left out when it comes to the sharing of market and consumer insights, and that most of this takes place at the corporate level,” stated Laura Mahecha, industry manager of the Healthcare practice for Kline’s research group. 

In addition to more local-level interaction, retailers identified other key attributes that make up the gold standard for retailer/OTC marketer relationships. These include having a better appreciation for the retailer’s business, valuing personal relationships, and fostering brand awareness among consumers to help keep products moving off the shelf.

“This gold standard list is enlightening because these were unprompted responses from the retailers,” Mahecha said. “These were open-ended feedback opportunities and the data we collected reveals what they really want.”

To gather the most up-to-date responses, Kline interviewed more than 300 executives and managers from drug stores, food stores, mass merchandisers, and other retail channels from February through April of this year. The data represents feedback from leaders in each channel, including drug stores such as CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens; mass merchandisers Wal-Mart, Target, and K-Mart; food stores such as Food Lion, Kroger, and Safeway; and other outlets including Costco, Sam’s Club, Family Dollar and drugstore.com.

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Unilever reports new appetite-reducing weight-loss drink

BY Michael Johnsen

GENEVA Unilever may soon introduce a new weight-loss drink that significantly reduces appetite, Reuters reported last week, citing research that was presented before the 2008 European Congress on Obesity.

A study showed that the drink, which works by trapping gas in foods to make people feel full, worked even better than the company’s Slim-Fast weight-loss drink, researchers reported.

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Wal-Mart to carry Hooper Holmes’ hemoglobin A1 test

BY Michael Johnsen

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. Hooper Holmes earlier this month launched a new home-testing product under Wal-Mart’s store brand, Roy Bubbs, Hooper president and chief executive officer, told analysts during a conference call last week.

“Our first product is a hemoglobin A1 test which helps diabetics measure the effectiveness of their treatment plan every two to three months,” he said. “While this will not contribute significantly in new revenues in ‘08, we’re excited that Wal-Mart has taken our product line into their stores which will appear under their own brand name. And in fact, it should be reaching their shelves very soon.”

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