Interesting snippets and products from the last Marketplace show — ever

BY Michael Johnsen

DENVER — This will be the last time I walk an NACDS Marketplace floor. Ever. I’m done.

Because next year, it will be the Total Store Expo, and I’m already getting a little jazzed about that. Here’s my thought process — is there an opportunity in sitting down with a retail pharmacy operation team along with an OTC buying team and exploring possible synergies between the two? Is there a value-add already built into this meeting?

I’ve been talking to quite a few of you on the supplier side. Some of you thought along the same lines (Can it happen?) and some of you perked up to the inherent potential (Will it happen?). And yes, some of you even expressed doubts (Should it happen?).

But I think it should happen. If for nothing else, to raise awareness across pharmacy operations around the full breadth of product offerings available just in front of the pharmacy counter. And with this meeting happening on an annual basis, it also will be an opportunity to inform the pharmacy operations teams on new product launches and line extensions even as they are being sold into the stores.

But I think more would come out of these meetings if the pharmacy and OTC teams sat at the same table, and I think it coincides with the direction that many pharmacy operators already are beginning to take in providing more services and information touch points in front of the pharmacy bench — you know, where the patient lives.

That’s a year away, yet. For now, let me share some snippets around some of the products and suppliers I found interesting making my last walkthroughs on the Marketplace show floor. Ever.

TheraPearl launched a licensed line of its hot and cold packs bearing the NFL Player’s Association seal. This is unique — it will be the only product in the healthcare space that can place the NFLPA symbol on its packaging.

A new company, Cancer in Plain English, featured an audio CD for newly diagnosed cancer patients. The audio was put together by an oncologist — and founder of the company — and provides cancer-specific information to patients in search of answers. Beyond CD sales, I think that could serve as an entry point into the pharmacist as that newly diagnosed cancer patient’s healthcare advocate.

Another new company, UrgentRx, fielded a whole line of flavored OTC remedies in powder formulation. The remedies represent a convenience proposition with only one dose per packet — which is flat — and a value proposition at only $1.39 suggested retail price, as compared with other single-dose OTC remedies.

Great idea for the convenience channel right? Except that’s not how they’re going to market. For example, they have an emergency aspirin dose (325 mg) that’s being carried by emergency medical technicians in 31 states. Beyond the checkstand, it may be a good proposition in sporting goods departments, too.

And Tattoo Goo, over at the Greenwood Group booth, looked interesting, too. It’s an after-care line of products for someone who just got a tattoo. And considering that tattoos today are not as taboo as they once were, this represents an incremental opportunity and a steady trip driver as one of the products is indicated to maintain the color of a tattoo if used regularly. And it sounds like it’s going into first aid sets, which makes a lot of sense. Today, tattoo artists recommend their clients apply a healthy dose of A & D ointment to their new tattoos.

There’s plenty of additional interesting products out there, I’m sure. Any thoughts or comments around the products I identified or around Total Expo meeting synergies, please drop me a line at!


Leave a Reply says:
Jun-27-2012 07:58 pm

Agreed! UrgentRx really made a statement at Marketplace and showed what innovation is all about. Great branding, great product.

Jun-26-2012 10:27 am

Congratulations to Jordan Eisenberg and his team at Urgent Rx, an exciting new brand that I had the pleasure of consulting last year. This is a winner!



Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?

Beauty is increasingly about value

BY Antoinette Alexander

DENVER — Another NACDS Marketplace is nearing an end, and as I think about all of the beauty products I’ve seen this year on the show floor, I come away with this thought: Beauty is not just about making women (and men), well, beautiful. But it is increasingly about providing consumers with solutions that will save them time and money, and, perhaps even more importantly, provide value.

Now, I know that I’m not necessarily breaking new ground or telling you something you probably haven’t already heard, but that is my key takeaway as I get ready to board a plane to New York and reflect on my time spent in Denver.

For example, manufacturers increasingly are jumping aboard the at-home gel manicure bandwagon, offering women an at-home solution at a fraction of the cost. Some manufacturers prominently displayed their launches at the show, while others whispered plans of soon coming to market with their own variations.

And what about BB creams? As previously reported, these relatively new, multifunctional products — also referred to as “blemish balms” or “beauty balms” — combine the functionality of primers, SPF and moisturizers with the anti-aging benefits of skin serums.

Then there are such products as Razor Shield, which is designed to extend the life of any razor blade up to four times. That could save a pretty penny, when you think about, because razor blades can get quite costly.

Those manufacturers who are bringing to market products that save consumers time and provide value are on target, as evidenced by the data from SymphonyIRI Group. During Monday morning’s presentation, “Inside the Mind of the Shopper: Understanding the Difference in Motivation by Generations,” Navin Gautam, principal of client services for SymphonyIRI Group, stressed the importance of “delivering truly shopper-centric value.” He also noted that 35% of shoppers reported turning to at-home beauty treatments to curb costs.

Gautam also said that 75% of shoppers described themselves as either “deal hunters” or “budget shoppers.”

And brand loyalty? Well, only about 4% are brand loyalists, Gautam said. That’s not a lot.

So, the bottom line is that there are new value-conscious consumers out there walking the beauty aisles, and those products that deliver value, help them save money and make their lives just a little bit easier stand to win big.


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Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?

McKesson e-nables community pharmacy patient-, peer-engagement through social, mobile and web technologies

BY Rob Eder

LAS VEGAS — McKesson, one of the largest healthcare services companies in the country, on Monday extended its technology solutions to change the way community pharmacies collaborate, communicate and share information with customers and peers.

The new offerings, which debuted at McKesson’s annual ideaShare Conference, here at Las Vegas’ Venetian Resort — including the rapid adoption of the McKesson Connect Community, a professional networking site for pharmacy staff, as well as the new mobile capabilities of ScriptAlert and Health Mart’s new digital offering Your Pharmacy Online — give community pharmacy owners additional tools to help improve the way they run their business and enhance the way they care for their patients.

“Retail pharmacists are quickly realizing that social, mobile and Web platforms enable them to become more efficient while delivering better care to their patients,” said Brian Tyler, president of McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical. “Community pharmacy owners continue to turn to McKesson to help them achieve better business health. By focusing on innovation and delivering technology solutions that are tailored for community pharmacy, our customers can connect with their patients and peers in entirely new ways.”

Taking a closer look, the new digital and mobile capabilities include:

• ScriptAlert: A new, robust direct-to-patient text messaging and mobile application that help independent pharmacy owners improve medication adherence, strengthen patient relationships and drive additional revenue with cost-effective technology. ScriptAlert provides patients with text-based refill reminders, refill notifications and auto-fill options, as well as a mobile prescription-management application that feeds directly into the pharmacy’s dispensing system.

"As we launch the ScriptAlert mobile application to give community pharmacies the ability to offer the convenience of on-the-go prescription management, we are very excited to highlight the pilot results, which show that patients using ScriptAlert could refill between one and two additional prescriptions a year*,” said Darren O’Neill, senior director of McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical.  “Not only does this demonstrate strong potential to improve patient adherence, but also represents a lift in prescription revenue.”

“I have patients of all ages who are embracing the convenience of technology,” said Shelley Bailey, owner of Central Drugs in Portland, Ore. “ScriptAlert will allow me to provide my patients with choice and convenience built on advanced technology that is easy to implement and cost-effective.”

• McKesson Connect Community: Since launching in fall 2011, McKesson Connect Community has connected more than 1,500 members, including community pharmacy owners, pharmacists and technicians. Members gain access to the McKesson Connect Community through McKesson Connect, McKesson’s online pharmaceutical-ordering portal.

Members from across the country have participated in more than 500 discussions on McKesson Connect Community, leveraging the platform to share knowledge on such key pharmacy issues as protecting their reimbursements, finding new sources of revenue with additional clinical and pharmacy services, and growing their customer base.

“I had been looking for a fast, easy way to connect with other Health Mart and independent-pharmacy owners to share information and best practices, as I have many ideas, but few peers nearby to ask questions and share feedback with,” said Tom Wullstein, Pharm.D., Brandon Health Mart in Brandon, S.D. “I jumped onto the McKesson Connect Community immediately after it was launched and was probably one of the first 20 pharmacists to join. Now, I regularly respond to inquiries from other members and post questions — the answers to which have generated several new marketing ideas that have dramatically improved my business. McKesson Connect Community is a great destination for pharmacists seeking answers and knowledge from a community of their peers.”

• Your Pharmacy Online: Health Mart’s new consumer-facing online platform enables pharmacy owners to stay better connected with their patients, while still allowing each Health Mart pharmacy owner to showcase their own pharmacy’s distinctive personality and services. Through Your Pharmacy Online, Health Mart owners can attract new customers by customizing their online presence to promote events and promotions; maximize the value of existing customers by giving them more options to connect and refill prescriptions from their mobile devices, and giving the pharmacy more ways to connect with them via text messages and email refill reminders; and enhances business efficiency by feeding online refills directly into their pharmacy-management systems.

For more information on all of McKesson’s announcements from McKesson ideaShare 2012, please visit McKesson’s online newsroom at

* SOURCE: McKesson Clinical Analytics 2012. Based on 596 enrolled patients.


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Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?