Energy segment boost
It may be time to start carving out more real estate for single-serve energy shots, or more appropriately for the food, drug and mass channel two-packs and four-packs of shots. Living Essentials can be credited with creating the category, and between its 5 Hour Energy and 5 Hour Energy Extra Strength, the company still drives the category with an 82.1% dollar share, according to SymphonyIRI Group data for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 4 across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart).
Living Essentials and others are targeting that adult need for an energy boost. Living Essentials does it with its frequently parodied “Got that 2:30 feeling?” commercials and a sampling event at, of all places, the annual convention of the AARP.
And now Campbell Soup is throwing its energy hat in the ring with plans announced this summer to expand its V8 franchise into the energy shot space. Campbell will be positioning its V8 brands — which resonate well among seniors — as healthier alternatives to most energy drinks on the market today.
Parlaying off of the success of those energy shots is iChill Beverages, which hopes to offer a relaxation alternative. The iChill shot contains ingredients like melatonin and valerian root to help people with high stress, or people who have trouble sleeping, to relax.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Sports Nutrition Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.
Virtual health care at the forefront of Pharmacy 2.0
Technology in retail pharmacies has traditionally meant the adoption of robotic dispensing systems and electronic health records, but in recent years, pharmacy retailers have been bringing technology to the consumer level.
In September, Rite Aid teamed up with OptumHealth to become the first to provide “virtual clinics” in a retail pharmacy setting in some stores in the Detroit area.
NowClinic allows customers at stores to interact in real time with doctors and OptumHealth nurses, using the Internet to have private consultations with doctors about symptoms and obtaining guidance, diagnoses and even prescriptions for some medications. Customers also can have conversations with nurses, who can provide basic healthcare education, information on common medical problems and identification of appropriate provider options for care. Afterward, customers can obtain a record of each interaction.
Online virtual doctor visits have been around for some time. Zipnosis.com, for example, allows patients to log onto the site, answer the same questions a healthcare provider would ask a patient and, once the evaluation is complete, receive a response from a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
Depending on the condition and the interview, a patient can receive anything from advice to a referral or even an electronic prescription. Zipnosis plans to expand to 10 states by the end of this year.
What makes Rite Aid’s collaboration with OptumHealth significant is that it brings these services into the store, giving the patient immediate access to the pharmacy, offering access to expertise from physicians, nurses and pharmacists — without the need to have the former two physically present in the store — and, if patients receive prescriptions, it offers the convenience of the pharmacy literally just a few steps away.
The “virtual clinic” services echo services already offered at Rite Aid’s Wellness stores, where patients can visit a private consultation room and interact via webcam with pharmacists who specialize in medication therapy management and various disease states.
But Pharmacy 2.0 is by no means the sole preserve of Rite Aid. Walgreens also has launched an initiative designed to enhance its technology infrastructure, including a scalable healthcare platform that will use new technology to support its goal of becoming a destination for health and daily living. Recently, the chain found itself in 29th place of the InformationWeek 500 list of the top technology innovators in the country, being the highest-ranking company in the retail and general merchandising category.
One company that brings pharmacy technology to the customer in a big way is PharmaSmart, which introduced its BPT-Rx medication therapy management software in August. The software integrates into the pharmacy software system and links blood-pressure results collected from PharmaSmart monitors directly to an enrolled patient’s electronic profile.
The efforts of Rite Aid and Walgreens, and the products and services of companies like PharmaSmart, are helping to transform pharmacy from the place to get medicines to a one-stop destination for health care.
DSN guest moderates Congressional briefing
WASHINGTON — The Drug Store News Group editor Rob Eder moderated a special Congressional briefing hosted by the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists on Sept. 27 for U.S. House of Representatives staffers.
Eder, who presented on current retail trends in homeopathic remedy sales, Americans’ growing interest in self-care and implications for U.S. health care, also moderated a panel discussion of experts, including AAHP president Mark Land and legal counsel Al Lorman, as well as Wayne Jonas, president and CEO of Samueli Institute.
Citing data from SPINS/Nielsen, Eder noted that sales for homeopathic remedies across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart) and natural supermarkets (excluding Whole Foods) reached more than $173 million, up more than 15% for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 6.
Land, who also is VP operations and regulatory affairs for homeopathic remedy maker Boiron, talked about the origins of homeopathic medicine in America, and underlying industry economics. Lorman followed with a discussion of the regulatory environment for homeopathic medicines.
Jonas — whose resume includes the National Institutes of Health, the Walter Reed Institute and the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy — talked about leading research that has been compiled on the safety and efficacy of homeopathic remedies.