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Preview: NACDS Total Store Expo

BY Carol Radice

Everyone under one roof.
That is what many suppliers said is the appeal of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo, set to kick off Aug. 25 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. The three-day event offers attendees a glimpse into the newest and best consumer goods and pharmacy technology products and services.

NACDS TSE also gives attendees the opportunity to stay abreast of the merging market, meet with key suppliers and their senior sales staff, and learn about new merchandising programs, promotions and market specials. A host of educational programs covering the latest in state-of-the art pharmacy operations also will be offered.

“TSE yields an exceptional return on investment and time,” said Rebecca Chater, director of clinical healthcare strategy at Mountain View, Calif.-based Omnicell. “Because it is so well-attended and structured for maximum productivity, I believe retailers have developed a confidence that this show will not be a waste of their time.”

Brian Budeselich, vice president of sales at PanTheryx in Boulder, Colo., said his company looks forward to exhibiting at Total Store Expo because it affords them one of the best chances of theyear to meet with retailers and establish relationships to help further grow their business.
Here’s a look at some of the key companies exhibiting at TSE this month:

Advantage Consumer Healthcare
Advantage Consumer Healthcare is an over-the-counter health care company whose focus is on helping bring new and unique products to market. The company is best known for such brands as Plan B One Step, Zicam, Mylicon, Mylanta and 23andMe, which the company said are all No. 1 items in their respective categories.

“We are proud of the fact that we have been a part of bringing so many new and significant brands to market,” said president and CEO Clark Brown. “Consumers are looking for better solutions to manage their healthcare outcomes. Together with our retail partners and our clients, we have been able to help millions of consumers find those solutions.”
At NACDS TSE, the company will be highlighting new innovation and important platforms for many of its top brands. Pain Relief with Pain Bloc24 is among the new items the company is revealing at expo, as well as an exciting launch in the ear care category.

American Greetings
Cleveland-based American Greetings will be highlighting a number of new products from its Papyrus, P.S. Hello, American Greetings Premier brands, as well as its click-and-collect offering.

Papyrus, the leader in premium card and gifting solutions, is introducing a line of fully coordinated desk accessories, entertaining products and iconic collaborations. For the first time, Papyrus is partnering with beloved characters from the Star Wars series and Mickey Mouse, delivering greeting cards with innovative treatments.

Its P.S. Hello line is proven to drive incremental purchases with bright, fun and relevant cards, while its American Greetings Premier collection fulfills the needs of shoppers looking for high-quality finishes, elaborate embellishments and warm, emotive messages. Officials at American Greetings also will be talking to retailers about its click-and-collect solutions.

“American Greetings is committed to restoring growth in the category and working together to provide solutions for engaging today’s consumer who likes to shop both in-store and online,” said Steve Laserson, senior vice president of North American sales.

Bavis
Officials at Maineville, Ohio-based Bavis will be presenting some of their custom-engineered, pharmacy-specific solutions that officials said are designed to improve accuracy, reliability and flow in drive-through.

For example, Bavis’ carrier system uniquely adjusts to different heights, allowing pharmacists to service any lane regardless of vehicle size. Large, fragile and awkwardly-sized items can be transported without issue in its high-capacity Transaction Drawer, while remote delivery is handled via its Captive Carrier.

In addition, the company’s B.E.A.M. audio system enables the retailer and patient to clearly and discreetly communicate by intelligently suppressing noise unrelated to the conversation. Finally, its system allows the patient to complete card-based/signature payments at any lane.
“Change is long overdue — we understand the mounting frustration pharmacists face when concerns of time and money are met with failed patchwork solutions,” said Ed Arwine, director of marketing and media at Bavis. “Let’s face it, it’s aggravating to deliver product through drawers that have inadequate capacity — sometimes causing 2-to-3 times as many actions to perform a single delivery. Garbled speech and the inability to hear due to generic speakers and poor-quality microphones can result in security issues — an incredibly disruptive, potentially dangerous and overall uncomfortable situation for patients.”

Boiron
Boiron is best known for such pharmaceutical grade-quality OTC products as its Arnicare line of pain relievers and Oscillococcinum flu medicine. Founded in 1932, Boiron is the largest pharmaceutical company in its home country of France. With subsidiaries in 18 countries, including the United States and Canada, Boiron distributes products in 59 countries in such categories as analgesic and arthritis, cough-cold, flu and allergies, first aid, baby and children’s, oral and eye care, indigestion, sleep aids and women’s health.

“Many shoppers are purchasing wellness OTC products in nontraditional channels, yet value being able to find them more conveniently in the places they shop the most,” said Gary Wittenberg, vice president of national accounts at the Newtown Square, Pa.-based company. “Our research shows there is an opportunity for retailers to bring over the wellness-minded shopper to capture new over-the-counter product sales and drive incremental business by stocking homeopathic medicines.”

At NACDS TSE, Boiron will be showcasing some of its best-selling products, as well as introducing some of its latest offerings, including new Arnicare line extensions — Arnicare Roll-On and Arnicare Leg Cramps chewable lemon-flavored tablets.

Elsevier
Elsevier’s drug clinical decision support solutions help pharmacists provide medication alternatives and patient education solutions, which can help reduce costs and readmissions.

With its True Daily Updates, Elsevier said it is able to process drug data on the same day it is received. Elsevier’s clinical data is managed exclusively by pharmacists, most of whom are Board of Pharmacy Specialties certified. Its PharmDs manage the clinical content for their areas of expertise, which officials said is what sets Elsevier apart from other drug compendia.

“Elsevier exclusively delivers the most current and complete drug pricing and analysis tools through True Daily Updates — improving operations and performance across the drug supply chain by supporting business decisions, competitive intelligence and cost control,” said Kay Morgan, vice president of drug products and industry standards at the Philadelphia-based company.

Elsevier’s drug information experts will be on-hand at the show to discuss how its Gold Standard Drug database can help retailers see immediate and long-term clinical, IT and operational gains.

NasoNeb
NasoNeb is best known for its patented Sinus Therapy System, an intranasal drug delivery system for people with allergies and other sinus conditions. Officials at the Medina, Ohio-based company said its NasoNeb Sinus Therapy System is preferred by customers over uncomfortable irrigation bottles, neti pots and powered irrigation devices.

“The NasoNeb Sinus Therapy System moved from prescription-only to OTC in 2018, so we are excited to be able to feature it at TSE this year,” said Bill Flickinger, president of NasoNeb. Moving from prescription-only to OTC enables retailers to improve access to the NasoNeb Sinus Therapy System by placing it in their cough-cold section, he said, along with the NasoNeb Moisturizing Nasal Solution.
The unique combination of airflow, particle size and fluid volume delivered via the NasoNeb Sinus Therapy System ensures the delivery of a high concentration of drug throughout the nasal and paranasal sinus cavities, Flickinger said. The NasoNeb Sinus Therapy System can be used with saline products, as well as prescription medications.

Olly
Officials at Olly said they’ve made it their mission to make it easier for people to shop the dietary supplement aisle. The company has a full range of benefit-driven gummy supplements tailored to unique and relevant needs, along with a line of daily multivitamins. Olly was co-founded in 2014 by Eric Ryan, the co-founder of Method Home Products.

The San Francisco-based company has extended its innovation to protein with a line of plant-based protein powders and a recently launched line of plant-based protein bars made with real food nutrition as rolled oats, chia and flax seeds.
“The distinct flavors and round design, along with the key nutritional ingredients, differentiate Olly’s new bars from other snack bars on the market,” said an Olly representative. “Our bars are non-GMO, gluten-free, and, like all Olly products, free from artificial sweeteners or flavors.” Available initially as a four-pack, the bars will be available individually in eight-count caddies.

Omnicell
Omnicell is a healthcare technology company that provides a full suite of scalable adherent solutions the company said are designed to help pharmacies reach their business goals and improve patient outcomes.

At the show, officials will be talking to attendees about the new features that have been added to Omnicell’s Patient Engagement platform, including a next generation medication therapy management solution and a health plan dashboard that will allow pharmacies to implement a comprehensive DIR mitigation strategy. Officials also will be talking about their targeted patient intervention module that assists pharmacies in reaching out to such high-value, high-risk patients as those with chronic disease to drive their education and adherence.
Also new is Omnicell’s flexible, scalable, hosted interactive voice response solution that the company said offers users enhanced efficiency and reduced costs, while being HIPPA/HITECH compliant.

PanTheryx
PanTheryx is a Boulder, Colo.-based medical nutrition company focused on developing
nutrition-based interventions to address a wide range of serious GI microbiome-related health conditions, according to company officials.
Since its inception, PanTheryx has been dedicated to developing its DiaResQ, advancing clinical testing and the commercialization of its products that both address the specific dietary needs of adults and children with diarrhea, while supporting consumers’ over-
all intestinal health.

As vice president of sales Brian Budeselich said, DiaResQ works differently than other products designed to address diarrhea, many of which seek to alleviate one’s symptoms, which can end up delaying recovery.

“It is neither a drug or antibiotic, but a food for special dietary use that provides nutrients for people with diarrhea,” Budeselich said. “Rather than impeding the body’s natural immune response, DiaResQ provides nutrients and immune factors that help support the body’s response, and rapidly restores normal intestinal function — providing fast, safe relief from diarrhea.”

Supplylogix
Headquartered in Las Colinas, Texas, Supplylogix offers supply chain solutions that help pharmacies reduce operating costs. According to Jody Harvey, vice president of sales and account management, the company’s suite of tools and strategic account management team give pharmacies the ability to maximize their replenishment activities, increase efficiencies and minimize losses from returns.

Company officials said that event attendees will learn about Supplylogix’s web platform, which optimizes inventory operations. They also will be able to explore complementary technology solutions to address pharmacy workflow, transaction processing and central pharmacy operations.
Expanding on the Pinpoint solutions suite, Supplylogix said it would be debuting the enhanced version of its Pinpoint Count technology with greater reporting and filter capabilities for improved visibility of historic counts and count scheduling. Supplylogix officials also will be showcasing its new product linking capabilities, which will help pharmacies ensure preferred generics are purchased for inventory replenishment.

Supplylogix has partnered with other McKesson technology businesses to incorporate the supply chain analytics into numerous pharmacy solutions. Of note is a close collaboration with McKesson’s High Volume Solutions that includes the ability to transfer inventory between retail sites and a central pharmacy location using the Supplylogix-patented Pinpoint Transfer software.
Harvey said users of both Supplylogix and HVS can increase inventory savings and ROI with higher sell-through rates by transferring through a single distribution point, rather than multiple store-to-store transfers.

TCGRx
Although TCGRx is a smaller company, it is poised to provide solutions in almost every area of pharmacy automation. With the push toward patient adherence, the goal for officials at TCGRx is to make products that are convenient for the pharmacy, as well as their customers.
Given that all of its automation is scalable, an owner or chain can start with one machine with a few canisters and grow as large as a central-fill pharmacy, all with TCGRx as their automation provider.

In addition to its ATP packaging solution, the company is launching LocalRx, a line that it said was designed to make pharmacy will-call pickup faster, with most transactions completed in less than 15 seconds. This product is designed to sit inside the pharmacy area, where the pharmacy counter might be closed, but the store remains open.

Customers can still pick up their scripts, talk with a pharmacist via phone/video and even pick up OTC meds through the LocalRx OTC. “Add adherence packaging into the mix and pharmacies are now getting more guaranteed scheduled refills each month, plus patients can now walk in, pick up once a month and be on their way,” said Duane Chudy, executive chairman of the Powers Lake, Wis.-based company.

Wax-Rx
Company officials said that Wax-Rx is a safe, pain-free cleaning system that optimizes hearing and ear health that was developed by former owner of the Meadowlands Medical Center Marsha Garcia and Florida physician Teddy Garcia. Together, the pair has more than 20 years of experience developing professional spray ear washers for the medical community.

Marcia Garcia, who serves as vice president at the Orange Park, Fla.,-based company, said that Wax-Rx was created following feedback from patients who said their at-home ear cleaning systems weren’t working.

The Garcias set out to create an effective, affordable, clinically proven product for ear health that consumers would be able to use at home, incorporating the same technology they invented
for professional use.

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H-E-B names head of digital products

BY David Salazar

H-E-B has named Mike Georgoff its chief product officer, H-E-B digital, the company announced recently. In his role, Georgoff will help drive the omnichannel growth by heading up the digital-product strategy, design and development, the San Antonio, Texas-based retailer said.

“This is an industry-leading company that is strategically positioned to deliver a cutting-edge digital experience to customers,” Georgoff said. “I am thrilled for the opportunity to join such a talented team focused on bringing innovation, growth and success to H-E-B.”

Georgoff, who will report to H-E-B chief digital officer Jag Bath, was most recently chief product officer at Austin, Texas-based digital marketing firm Main Street Hub. He also previously held positions at Redbox and RetailMeNot, working to grow them from early-stage businesses to larger, public companies.

The appointment of Georgoff comes as H-E-B makes investments into enhancing its digital offerings, including its acquisition of on-demand delivery service Favor and its rollout of H-E-B Delivery and H-E-B Curbside, which is set to hit 165 stores in 2018, according to H-E-B.

“Mike is a highly respected veteran of product development in the digital space and someone with his expertise strengthens our commitment to building out H-E-B’s omnichannel services,” Bath said. “He has a proven track record leading successful product and design teams, which puts him in a position to help us build the ultimate digital experience for our customers to go along with the unparalleled service of our world-class stores.”

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Walmart completes $16B Flipkart buy

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart has completed the largest acquisition in its history — and gained more firepower in its fight against Amazon.

The discounter has completed its $16 billion investment in Flipkart, making Walmart the largest shareholder in the company with a 77% share. Flipkart is the largest e-commerce player in India, where online sales are expected to exceed $73 billion by 2022. It is touted as a direct competitor to Amazon, which considers India one of its key global markets. The online giant was also reportedly looking to acquire the Indian company.

Walmart’s investment includes $2 billion of new equity funding to help accelerate the growth of the Flipkart business. Both companies will retain their own brands and operating structures in India. Moving forward, Flipkart’s financials will be reported as part of Walmart’s International business segment.

Flipkart’s existing management team will continue to lead the business. Tencent Holdings Limited and Tiger Global Management will remain represented on the Flipkart board, in addition to independent board members, and will be joined by new members from Walmart. The remainder of the business that is not owned by Walmart is held by other shareholders, including Flipkart co-founder and group CEO Binny Bansal, Tencent, Tiger Global and Microsoft.

Founded in 2007, Flipkart has led India’s e-commerce revolution. Flipkart’s supply chain arm, eKart, serves more than 800 cities, making 500,000 deliveries daily.

“Walmart and Flipkart will achieve more together than each of us could accomplish separately to contribute to the economic growth of India, creating a strong local business powered by Walmart,” Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart International, said. “Our investment will benefit India by providing quality, affordable goods for customers, while creating new skilled jobs and opportunities for suppliers. As a company, we are transforming globally to make life even easier for customers, and we are delighted to learn from, contribute to and work with Flipkart to grow in India, one of the fastest-growing and most attractive retail markets in world.”

The Flipkart investment enhances Walmart’s position in a country with more than 1.3 billion people, strong GDP growth, a growing middle class and significant runway for smartphone, Internet and e-commerce penetration. As Walmart scales in India, the company said it will continue to partner to create sustained economic growth across agriculture, food and retail.

“We are poised and ready to deliver the full value of this partnership for India,” Bansal said. “By combining Walmart’s omnichannel retail expertise, supply chain knowledge and financial strength with Flipkart’s talent, technology and local insights, we are confident that together we can drive the next wave of retail in India.”

Walmart first announced it would acquire Flipkart in May. It estimated the deal would have a negative impact of $0.25-$0.30 on earnings per share for fiscal 2019.

A local trader body, the Confederation of All India Traders, or CAIT, has opposed the Walmart-Flipkart deal from the start, saying it would create unfair competition and drive local convenience stores out of business. The group plans a protest across India on September 28.

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