Adventurer Aron Ralston talks about challenges at Emerson Retail Industry Day
PHILADELPHIA — The 7th Annual Emerson Group Retail Industry Day kicked off with a moving and inspirational presentation by adventurer and wilderness advocate Aron Ralston, who not only shared his story of having to amputate his arm in order to free himself from a dislodged boulder while hiking in Utah’s remote canyon country, but also revealed what he gained from that fateful journey.
“Yes, when I walked out of that canyon 11 years ago, I left something behind, but I didn’t lose anything. The way I see this is that I only gained from what I went through, when I became trapped and had to amputate my arm and the subsequent recovery,” Ralston told attendees.
It was April 2003, when Ralston went for a hike in Utah’s Blue John Canyon. Seven miles into his journey — and roughly 70 miles from civilization — he accidentally dislodged a boulder that crushed and pinned his right hand. He would spend the next six days alone.
After six days of entrapment, a failed attempt to chip away at the boulder with a dull, cheap multi-tool knife and, with a depleted water supply, now forced to drink his own urine, Ralston freed himself by amputating his arm with that same dull knife. Bleeding, dehydrated and nearly 30 pounds lighter, Ralston then hiked mile after mile to a miraculous rescue.
“It might strike you as being one of the most horrific or potentially horrific experiences of your life, and yet it was not horrific for me at all. In fact, it was actually one of the most beautiful experiences of my life,” Ralston said. “Our boulders come with choices. You all have your boulders.”
Since his amputation, Ralston has written the best-selling book, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place," which became the basis of the movie “127 Hours,” directed by Danny Boyle and starring James Franco. The movie was nominated for six Oscars.
With new prosthetic arms that he designed, Ralston even returned to his outdoor passions. He finished climbing Colorado’s 59 “Fourteeners,” in winter, solo; he skied from the summit of Denali, North America’s highest mountain; and, he’s led a rafting expedition through the Grand Canyon.
“The [boulders] could be the most horrific experience of your life. They could also be the most beautiful experience in your life. The boulders come with gifts,” Ralston said.
“I came to understand that I was a lot more capable than what I would have imagined, and that’s usually the case. We are all capable of a lot more than what we imagine,” said Ralston. “We never really reach out potential either without the boulders.”
Emerson Group hosts record-breaking Retail Industry Day
PHILADELPHIA — Hundreds of attendees — ranging from Emerson Group clients, to retailers, to agencies, to members of the private equity community — gathered at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Philadelphia on Oct. 1 to attend the 7th Annual Emerson Group Retail Industry Day.
With a robust lineup of diverse, powerful speakers and record-breaking attendance, the day proved nothing short of impressive and delivered on the goal of providing on-trend, relative content to help brands navigate today's evolving retail landscape.
"The intent is really to be on trend with issues related to the changing dynamics in the consumer and the retail environment that help our clients continue to be competitive," said Matt Poli, VP of Emerson Marketing, a division of the Emerson Group. "… My hope is that our clients take one or two things out of the day that they could apply to help their business grow."
With attendance growing at a rate of 15% to 20% each year, the 2014 Retail Industry Day attracted a record-breaking 275 participants. While the day is designed for and geared toward Emerson Group clients, the company's expanding roster of relationships has no doubt resulted in a broader mix of both attendees and presenters compared with prior years. This year's event featured presentations by two well-known retailers: Alex Gourlay, EVP and president of customer intimacy and daily living at Walgreens, and Matthew Martin, VP of marketing at Family Dollar.
"It was really, really terrific for our clients to get two very disparate perspectives on [retailer] strategy, who their core shopper is and where they are headed," said Poli, who kicked off the day's events with opening remarks. "I really think the evolution is in the quality of subject matter experts, retailers' involvement and the content being more and more applicable to the client base."
Additional highlights from the day included:
- A moving presentation by guest speaker Aron Ralston, an adventurer and wilderness advocate who is known for amputating his arm after becoming trapped by a boulder while hiking in Utah's Blue John Canyon.
- An insightful session, titled "Finding Patterns in the Pixels: Connecting the Dots to Use Uncertainty to Your Advantage," by Vikram Mansharamani, author, global equity investor and lecturer at Yale University.
- A data-rich session by Bob Sanders, EVP healthcare practice leader for IRI, titled "The Data is Just the Beginning: How Syndicated Data Creates Fertile Ground for Fresh Insights."
- A dynamic presentation by Gary Vaynerchuck, entrepreneur, author and CEO of VaynerMedia, titled "On the Right Track but in the Wrong Race: How to Get Customers to Really Care About Your Brand."
"Building content that is specific and unique for small- to medium- sized brands competing in HBC is what is vital. … This day is about bringing new content to help our clients compete," Poli said. "So, content is always key."
CVS Health Research Institute examines tools to slow cost growth of specialty meds
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As specialty drug spending continues to rise and is predicted to grow by more than 16% annually from 2015 to 2018, CVS Health researchers examine the reasons for such dramatic increases in spending and discuss tools to help manage these escalating costs in an article published in the October issue of Health Affairs.
CVS Health data shows that between 2012 and 2013, spending on specialty drugs increased by 15.6%, while spending on traditional medications grew by only 0.8%. As noted, this trend is only expected to increase, with specialty drug spending predicted to grow by more than 16% annually from 2015 to 2018, ultimately accounting for approximately $235 billion, or more than 50%, of total drug spending by 2018.
“As specialty drugs begin to address the needs of an increasingly broad range of patients across several therapeutic areas, there is a growing need for solutions that drive the best patient outcomes at the lowest costs,” stated Alan M. Lotvin, EVP, CVS/specialty at CVS Health. “Significant opportunities exist to bend the cost curve of specialty medications by eliminating waste, inducing price competition and reducing or preventing costly complications.”
The article outlines drivers of rising costs, including the increasing complexity and effectiveness of new medications, the changing dynamics of target populations that broaden the pool of patients eligible for treatment and how and where specialty medications are delivered. It examines how approaches that have been successful in managing cost growth for traditional medications over the past 10 years could be applied to specialty medications, while ensuring adherence to clinical guidelines.
“Spending growth in specialty drugs is not a given,” stated Troyen A. Brennan, chief medical officer at CVS Health. “To slow cost growth, payers must be willing to embrace a variety of strategies used to manage traditional medications as well as some novel approaches that will require a multi-faceted and holistic approach including the collaboration of those who prescribe, dispense, deliver, pay for, and receive specialty medications.”
The authors share insights into cost management strategies that can help achieve the goal of balancing positive health outcomes with reducing sky-rocketing costs. These include applying traditional drug management plan design elements such as prior authorization and step therapy based on evidenced-based medicine, implementation of tiered formularies to stimulate price competition, and utilization of the lowest-cost site of care for delivery and administration of specialty medications.