PHARMACY

SIRI and NACDS webinar discusses how HBC is turning to wellness

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK —Welcome to the new “business as unusual” where shoppers have their sights set on health and wellness, self-treatment and better living with a view of the world through a “lens of affordability,” said Thom Blischok of SymphonyIRI Group during a recent industry webinar co-hosted by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. The story, as Blischok suggested, is one of significance and lasting change.

“The economy is still center stage in the hearts and minds of the shopper with the potential of a double-dip recession. Many of our houses continue to be underwater, and the job front has only slightly improved,” said Blischok, global president of innovation and strategy for SymphonyIRI Group. “We continue to live in quite uncertain times.”

It is because of this that the shopper is more discerning than ever before. Today, the American dream is not about getting rich, as it was several years ago, but instead is about living better—for less. In order to live better, shoppers today are highly focused on health-and-wellness simplicity.

“Shoppers want to be educated, especially in health and wellness, and if there’s anything that I want you to write down, it is that health-and-wellness education is probably one of the single most important steps that you can take to change the velocity of your products in the market,” Blischok told attendees of the May 26 webinar dubbed, “2010 Business as Unusual.”

There’s no doubt that affordable health care is paramount for today’s shoppers, but that doesn’t just mean cheaper prescription medications or having insurance; many of today’s shoppers are looking at health and wellness in a holistic fashion—lifestyle, exercise, diet and stress management—because many believe that they cannot afford to become ill.

“Shoppers are self-treating in today’s economic environment.… Education and self-treatment are going hand-in-hand, so it is important to begin to think about packaging to help people understand how to self-treat,” said Blischok, noting that a survey of more than 1,400 shoppers revealed that 38% of shoppers are selecting over-the-counter medications to self-treat, driven by the need to save money.

Research also has shown that trips to drug stores for OTC medications will slightly outpace trips to supercenters for OTCs in the next six months. This fact, coupled with the fact that consumers are increasingly self-treating, truly highlights the critical role of the pharmacist.

“Recognize that you as manufacturers and retailers need to be enhancing the value of the pharmacist as a primary vehicle to help educate consumers,” Blischok said.

In addition, more shoppers will be opting for store-brand OTC medications, vitamins and supplements in the next six months as they look for ways to manage expenses; however, beauty is a bit of a different story.

According to research, 92% of beauty shoppers indicated that they would stay with the trusted brands they have purchased in the past. However, channel surfing will remain alive and well as beauty shoppers search for the best prices.

“We are seeing the reinvention of a traditional [health-and-beauty-care department]. Two weeks ago, we announced the renaming of HBC to HBW—health, beauty and wellness—at the FMI Health and Wellness Conference. We believe that this is a significant move that manufacturers and retailers must both consider in order to be in tune with the changing health and wellness and beauty shopper,” Blischok said. “What’s important here is that the first stage of health and wellness is, in fact, beauty. So people want to look good to feel good.”

Prevalence of serious diseases in the United States

*In millions** In billions Source: SymphonyIRI Group, 2010
Disease #of U.S. households* Annual OTC market potential**
High cholesterol 50.5 $8.1
High blood pressure/hypertension 49.9 7.8
Asthma/bronchitis 30.9 4.5
Obesity 27.7 4.0
Heart problems or stroke 26.6 4.2
Diabetes 22.7 3.4
Arthritis—rheumatoid 19.4 2.9
Heart problems—other 17.6 2.8
Osteoporosis 16.9 3.0

Prevalence of chronic moderate ailments in the United States

*In millions** In billions Source: SymphonyIRI Group, 2010
Ailment #of U.S. households* Annual OTC market potential**
Allergies 74.8 $11.7
Headaches 73.9 10.1
Muscle/joint pain 52.4 8.2
Heartburn/acid indigestion 49.1 7.6
Pain management 45.5 7.1
Acne 41.2 5.2
Arthritis—osteoporosis 39.1 6.6
Insomnia/sleeplessness 34.5 5.3
GERD/reflux 33.1 5.6
Constipation 33.0 5.3
Anxiety 31.5 4.4

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Pennsylvania boosts pharmacists’ role; NACDS hails bid for collaboration

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. In a gesture hailed by retail pharmacy advocates, the Keystone State is moving to expand the role its pharmacists play in improving patient health and outcomes.

The move comes with enactment of a Pennsylvania law, H.B. 1041, which will open new opportunities for collaborative medication therapy management between physicians and pharmacists on behalf of patients in a community pharmacy setting. Previously, such team approaches were permitted only in such institutional settings as hospitals and nursing homes in the state. 

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores had high praise for the new law, calling it an “important victory,” and citing the efforts made by the Pennsylvania Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association toward its passage. “With the enactment of this legislation, Pennsylvania has said ‘yes’ to improving the health and lives of patients, and to reducing overall healthcare costs,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “This new law recognizes the expertise of pharmacists, the accessibility of community pharmacy and the ability of pharmacists to help patients properly manage their health conditions for the well-being of patients and for the good of society.”

Pennsylvania is the 33rd state to allow collaborative drug therapy management in the community setting, according to NACDS research. “Nine states allow it in institutional settings only, and eight do not allow it at all,” noted the group Friday.

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Taro receives FDA approval for Kytril generic

BY Alaric DeArment

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. Taro Pharmaceutical Industries has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market its generic version of a drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting in patients on chemotherapy, the Israeli generic drug maker said Friday.

The FDA approved Taro’s granisetron hydrochloride tablets in the 1-mg strength. The tablets are a generic version of Roche’s Kytril tablets.

Granisetron tablets had sales of around $15 million in 2009, according to unnamed industry sources cited by Taro.

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