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White paper: Independent pharmacist recommendations drive sharper growth across certain OTCs

BY Michael Johnsen

WAUKESHA, Wis. — A significant growth opportunity for independent pharmacy may be in its sales of over-the-counter products, according to a recent white paper published by the Hamacher Resource Group. Patient access to pharmacists and their product recommendations contribute to improved OTC performance within independent pharmacy, the report noted.

Using first aid as an example, first aid bandages remained a strong category in chain pharmacy, however first aid treatments — antibiotics, skin treatments, wound cleansers and antiseptics — were stronger across independents. "The story that unfolds indicates that consumers tend to favor independent community pharmacies for medicinal or clinical-type purchases, but chain pharmacies for healthcare items that might be considered more mass market," the paper read.

According to the report, sales of treatment-focused OTC products represented a larger percentage of category sales within independent pharmacy, and increases in market basket can be attributed to companion product sales and category adjacencies.

“Growth Drivers” is a follow-up to HRG’s 2011 white paper “Supply Chain Collaboration: Maximizing Health, Beauty and Wellness Product Sales in Independent Pharmacy,” which addressed the relationships among suppliers, distributors and independent pharmacy. “Growth Drivers” is a more in-depth dissection of the reasons that certain categories outperformed in independent pharmacy over chain drug.

“These two studies have highlighted the importance of independent pharmacies and the growth potential of OTC remedies and certain categories at these retailers," stated HRG VP Dave Wendland. "Combining disciplined merchandising tactics and strategic store layout with ongoing pharmacist education will continue to drive growth in this channel."

Hamacher Resource Group published the white paper, titled “Growth Drivers: The Factors Behind Independent Pharmacy OTC Sales,” with the support of two trade associations — the Healthcare Distribution Management Association and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

Wendland presented the white paper on Monday at HDMA’s Business & Leadership Conference during the Health, Beauty and Wellness Products Forum in San Antonio, Texas.

The “Growth Drivers” white paper is available at no charge at Hamacher.com/GrowthDrivers.

Wendland also will present the findings from the “Supply Chain” and “Growth Drivers” white papers during an upcoming webinar sponsored by HDMA and CHPA.

 


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TABS study: Demand for fish oil and vitamin D flattening; vitamin B still strong

BY Michael Johnsen

SHELTON, Conn. — TABS Group on Thursday reported a small increase of 2% to $12.2 billion in vitamin sales for the 52 weeks ended in April, according to the "TABS Group Annual Vitamin Study," now in its fifth year.

This growth came despite the percentage of U.S. vitamin users in 2012 decreasing from 71% to 66%, according to the report, which cited trade-ups, price inflation and the increased usage emanating from current buyers purchasing more vitamins as drivers behind the growth.

While multivitamins remain most popular, with 75% of category buyers purchasing, others include fish oil (43%), calcium (33%), vitamins C and D (both at 32%) and vitamin B (23%).

However, buyer growth in fish oil and vitamin D, two high-growth areas in the past five years, has stopped according to the TABS report. Only vitamin B saw meaningful gains in the 52 weeks ended in April — 23% as compared with 20% in the year-ago period. “Except for vitamin B, there were no areas of growth in attracting additional buyers, which has implications for manufacturers and retailers over the next 18 to 24 months," noted Kurt Jetta, TABS Group CEO. "We project the category remains relatively flat, with growth coming from trading up existing customers."

The survey also revealed a shift from specialty retailers toward mainstream. Target, Walgreens, CVS and online sales were all big winners, with Walmart apparently stabilizing share, while catalog and nutritional specialty retailers lost share.

“Longer term, we are bullish on the category and view this as a short-term blip created primarily from unfavorable press," Jetta said. "Macro consumer trends — aging population, migration toward self-care, higher healthcare costs — point to solid gains over the next 10 years."

The TABS Group Annual Vitamin Study was conducted among 1,000 representative respondents ages 18 to 75 years.

 


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Novo Nordisk, JDRF team on Type 1 diabetes drug development

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Novo Nordisk and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on Wednesday announced the creation of a joint research and development team to discover and develop novel immunotherapies to prevent, treat and help cure Type 1 diabetes.

"JDRF is deeply committed to developing immunotherapies, and especially auto antigen-specific immunotherapies, for the prevention and cure of Type 1 diabetes," stated Richard Insel, JDRF’s chief scientific officer. "This collaboration with Novo Nordisk affords an exciting opportunity to accelerate the time frame when these therapies may prove to make an impact in Type 1 diabetes."

The collaboration with Novo Nordisk will be run out of the company’s newly opened Type 1 Diabetes Research and Development Center in Seattle. The center’s goal is to use translational research methods to rapidly move early-stage discovery projects in immunotherapy from animal models into small clinical exploratory trials.

"It is not a coincidence that we are opening our new Type 1 Diabetes Research and Development Center in Seattle at that same time that we announce a scientific partnership between our company and JDRF," stated Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, EVP and chief science officer for Novo Nordisk. "Our new R&D center is founded on the principle of reaching out to academia, biotechnology companies and other key players in the international immunotherapy research community in order to join forces to develop the next treatment advance in the management of Type 1 diabetes."

The collaboration will focus on research originating from academia and biotechnology companies, as well as from internal research projects at Novo Nordisk.

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