HEALTH

Bayer names new consumer health chief

BY Michael Johnsen

BASEL, Switzerland — Bayer on Friday announced the appointment of Sharon James as head global innovation and development (organization of the Consumer Health Division, effective Oct.  2, 2017.  James succeeds John O'Mullane, who will retire from the company on Dec. 31, 2017 after 30 years in the industry.

"With more than 25 years' experience in the fast-moving consumer goods and consumer product sector, Sharon has a proven record of developing and supporting products for leading consumer brands," stated Erica Mann, member board of management, Bayer, and president, Consumer Health Division, Bayer. "I am excited that Sharon is joining Consumer Health, and know that under her leadership Bayer will continue to successfully develop and deliver new innovative self-care solutions that help people around the world be a little healthier every day."

James joins Bayer from Reckitt Benckiser, where she most recently held the position of SVP head of global research and development, at the company's global headquarters in Slough, U.K. She also previously held various senior roles at PepsiCo and GlaxoSmithKline.

James' product development experience spans health, personal and home care categories where she has delivered transformative and consumer-loved innovation internationally. Known for embedding a "consumer-first" mindset in R&D, James is also a strong advocate of open innovation – collaborating extensively with a broad range of partners across the health industry.

James holds a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from University College London, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Biochemistry from University of London.

James will report to Mann and will be a member of the Consumer Health Executive Committee. She will be based in Basel, Switzerland.

O'Mullane joined Bayer in 2014 following the acquisition of Merck Consumer Care. Among his accomplishments leading global research and development organizations at Bayer, Merck as well as Schering-Plough and GlaxoSmithKline, was leading successful over-the-counter switches of prescription medicines, creating state-of-the-art consumer testing centers at company facilities and establishing consumer-centric design thinking methodologies across the function. Additionally, at Bayer, O'Mullane led a strategy to sharpen the division's focus and redesign its innovation and development operating model to better deliver bigger, better and faster innovation to consumers.

"Under John's leadership, the division is well-prepared to meet the needs and desires with new products that consumers demand," Mann said. "I would like to thank John for his passion and strong sense of purpose that has helped to put us on a path of even greater success with our innovation efforts."

 

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SDM’s new WellWise store will ‘change the conversation on how people age’

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO — Shoppers Drug Mart and its Shoppers Home Healthcare division recently announced a new retail concept called WellWise that breathes a little retail pizzazz into what has traditionally been a clinical retail shopping experience – DME centers – by fundamentally shifting the conversation from what are the products old people need as they get older to what are the solutions that can assist still-active seniors in aging gracefully.

The standalone, 3,500-sq.-ft. store’s inventory will encompass such categories as wellness (aromatherapy), recovery (first aid), mobility, home comfort, tools and gadgets, personal care and active living, which includes products for yoga, compression and light weights.

The concept officially debuts tomorrow, but in advance of the unveiling, Drug Store News sat down with WellWise archictect Theresa Firestone, SVP healthcare business, Shoppers Drug Mart, to get a sense of what Canadian consumers will see when they shop WellWise.

Drug Store News: What is WellWise?

Theresa Firestone: When we looked at this [home healthcare] business, we actually did a strategic review this past year, and one of the things that we found is that seniors wanted a different [concept] related to aging. So WellWise is really all about changing the conversation about aging. We found that people don't want to go to an "old people's" store; they don't want to talk about getting old. They want to talk about aging powerfully; they want to focus on health as opposed to illness. What WellWise is is essentially a new retail pilot, the first part being launched is our bricks-and-mortar opening on Saturday. We also have an ecommerce component that will be launched toward the end of October.

DSN: So how do you make "aging powerfully" pop in a retail outlet?

Firestone: We focus on three areas. One is the experience. It's a different shopping experience. Very bright. The categories are divided by color. It's a much more modern touch and feel type of store. We have a lot of the products out of the packages so people can experience them, so it focuses on experience. We also have a lot of focus on education. Our staff are trained on a lot of the conditions that would have coming to our store. I'll give you a couple of examples. We can have a construction worker who needs a hand brace [or] we can have somebody, it's trending much younger now, who needs a hip or knee replacement. So we would put together a package of five to six products related to the things you would need. The last part is we wanted to be more empowering, so that people can age powerfully as opposed to comfortably. It's all about being active. We'll have in-store programs to [help] people get active, walking in the community. We'll have dieticians that are available for consultation. The full gamut on wellness and the focus on keeping people active and healthy.

DSN: You had mentioned an ecommerce component, what is that?

Firestone: On that, one of the things that will be great for our clientelle is we will have a subscription service. Many of the products will be available online. … Currently we're operating in three provinces. So if your mother is in another province and she needs incontinence supplies during a snow storm, you don't have to worry because you can have a regular subscription. Those products will show up at her door in plain packaging so she doesn't have to worry about [people] knowing that she has incontinence supplies. Once we launch that, we'll have a number of products that can be supported through subscription.

DSN: And dieticians, why is it that they have been incorporated into the WellWise proposition?

Firestone: Our dieticians, who are consultants for our other [Shoppers Drug Mart] business, support people in identifying the right foods and meal planning. Their focus is not on the selling supplements per se, it's more on keeping people as they age.

DSN: What inspired WellWise?

Firestone: It comes back to the research. The feedback we got was that people wanted a different shopping experience. People don't want to focus on illness, they want to focus on wellness. Our Shoppers Home Healthcare stores are focused on helping people age comfortably. A lot of people come to our [Home Healthcare] stores because they've had a fall, so they need support and additional aides in their home. Whereas we like to change that thinking to get people to say [to themselves], "I don't want to end up with a walker, and if I use walking sticks now I have less chance of falling [and] I can be active." It's really helping people to live life differently in all stages of life.

DSN: What is the bottom line?

Firestone: We are going to change the conversation about how people age. People don't look forward to that part of life, this gives people an opportunity to look forward to that part of life because you can age powefully, you can take control and there are many ways to be super active and enjoy life.

 

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Homeopathic solutions resonate with OTC consumers

BY Michael Johnsen

Not only are “clean labeling” initiatives resonating with consumers across the food aisle, but the pull toward more natural remedies, including homeopathic solutions, is resonating with consumers shopping in the OTC aisles, as well, many suppliers shared with Drug Store News.

“The trend of consumers looking for natural and safe products continues to be strong and steady,” said Gary Wittenberg, VP of national accounts at Boiron. “This is especially true of mom looking for health options for her family. Placing more focus on the baby category is the next step in Boiron delivering the good-for-you products that today’s consumers want.”

Boiron, long known for its Oscillococcinum flu relief and Arnicare pain relief solutions, is planning to capitalize on new opportunities in the baby care aisle this fall with the help of targeted digital marketing, sampling moms at several baby-themed consumer expos, public relations efforts and social media tactics. “Sales also are driven though doctor recommendations,” Wittenberg said. “Boiron USA’s medical team makes office visits and attends roughly 50 medical trade shows per year, including pediatrician events for its new baby platform.”

“Homeopathy is becoming much more accepted by the general population. Consumers want more homeopathic products,” said Michael Hanson, sales coordinator at TRP.

TRP is known for its line of ear care products, but presently is focusing on launching three eye care items, including one that addresses poor night vision, called Aging Eye; one that addresses eye “floaters,” those clumps of proteins in the vitreous inside of the eye, called Eye Floaters Relief; and one called Twitching Eye Relief.

“Our goal is to give the American consumers choice,” said Dan Quail, Similasan’s president of North America. “A lot of people don’t like putting chemicals into their bodies, and we’re offering [a homeopathic alternative].”

Similasan is launching Dry Eye Easy Mist, which creates a dry eye solution users can spray on a closed eye lid and blink into the eye. In addition to making an appeal to those consumers who don’t want to put drops into their eyes, it also works with makeup, as it doesn’t cause makeup to run.

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