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GPhA names new SVP government affairs

BY David Salazar

WASHINGTON — The Generic Pharmaceutical Association on Tuesday announced the addition of Chris Bowlin, who will serve as the organization’s SVP government affairs. Bowlin has worked for more than 25 years in different roles in the private sector, the executive branch and Congress. He joins GPhA at a time that president and CEO Chip Davis called one of “unprecedented opportunities and challenges for the generic drug industry.”
 
“Chris has been at the forefront of many of the most critical health care debates over the last two decades and will be a strong addition to the GPhA leadership team,” Davis said. “He brings strong relationships and deep experience at all levels of government, and will be a tremendous asset to the association and our members as we continue to advocate for policies and programs that save patients and the U.S. health system billions of dollars, promote pharmaceutical competition and expand access to more affordable generic medicines.” 
 
Formerly, Bowlin has been the chief health policy advisor to Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., and was on former Speaker John Boehner’s House Education and Workforce Committee. He has also been the Department of Health and Human Service’s deputy assistant secretary for legislation, working with secretary Michael Leavitt on issues surrounding the FDA, Medicare and Medicaid. He has worked in government relations for such organizations as the American Medical Association, the Health Insurance Association of America and the National Association of Manufacturers. 
 
“This role presents a unique opportunity for me, both personally and professionally, to find innovative policy solutions that will positively impact patient health in fiscally responsible ways,” Bowlin said. “I look forward to working with the team to ensure that patients and providers have access to safe, effective and affordable generic and biosimilar medicines in an expeditious manner.”
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Vitamin sales drop online, rebound at brick-and-mortar retailers

BY Michael Johnsen

Vitamins have made a comeback. The category was in a major lull, according to Kurt Jetta, CEO of TABS Group, but has since rebounded to historical growth rates of between 5% and 7% in brick-and-mortar stores.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

A lot of that has to do with the fact that many of the broad-based players — Pharmavite, Nature’s Bounty and Natrol — have started promoting heavily again and are driving incremental purchases.

And brick-and-mortar outlets are gaining ground on online VMS vendors, according to TABS Group’s Eighth Vitamin and Sports Nutrition Study released earlier this year. Although the total of all online VMS sales continue to outstrip all specific brick-and-mortar outlets, Amazon and other online retailers saw a share drop in category sales for the first time in eight years.

TABS Group found overall VMS sales were up 3% versus 2014 levels, and were being driven by gains in mass market outlets particularly from Walmart, Costco and Rite Aid.

According to the TABS Group, there are several reasons for consumers to gravitate toward mass market outlets for their vitamin purchase. First, these outlets are much more convenient and accessible than specialty outlets. The survey also points to some heavy buyers (defined as purchasing three to five types of vitamins) dropping down to being light buyers (defined as purchasing one to two types of vitamins), who are more likely to shop at mass market outlets.

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Success is ‘in the cards’

BY Rob Eder

This (see photo) was the very first card my wife and I received this holiday season. If you can’t make out the signatures, it’s handwritten from Chewy.com co-founders Ryan Cohen and Michael Day.

In fairness, we spend a good amount on Chewy.com; our rapidly growing baby bulldog Spanky goes through a lot of kibble, and who wants to haul 50-pound bags of dog food in Manhattan?

But Chewy is a great example of the kinds of companies we feature in this issue. It was founded a few years ago with the initial goal of selling pet food online and using the proceeds to help fund animal shelters, and it has since exploded, with 2014 sales of about $200 million and a recent influx of venture capital. One of the reasons Chewy is winning is that it continues to stay true to its roots.

This is the second time we have received a handwritten note from Chewy. The first time was about one year ago; they sent us a sympathy card when we lost our 12-year-old bulldog Petey last December. They also credited our last order and told us to donate any of the unused food to an animal shelter or a pet hospital in our area.

Nine-of-10 consumers say it’s important that what a brand stands for aligns with their own values. Companies like Chewy, and the many others featured in this issue, get that.

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