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Pharmavite to debut new product lines under Nature Made brand

BY Allison Cerra

DENVER — The maker of Nature Made has expanded the brand to include a total of 20 offerings across three new product lines.

Pharmavite unveiled its new product innovations at the 2012 National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Marketplace conference in Denver. The Nature Made portfolio now includes VitaMelts, full-strength minis and adult gummies, as well as Voots, a recent brand acquisition:

  • VitaMelts are tablets that dissolve in one’s mouth without water and is offered in a convenient on-the-go package. VitaMelts will launch with six initial product offerings: Vitamin C Immune Support, Energy with vitamin B-12, vitamin D3, zinc, sleep and relax;

  • Nature Made full-strength minis are the first line of vitamins to provide a full-strength dose in one small, easy-to-swallow softgel. Manufactured with a new proprietary technology, the size of the multivitamins are now 28% to 42% smaller. The minis line features four multivitamins, Multi Complete, Multi for Her, Multi for Her 50+ and Multi for Him and three complementary products: Super Omega-3, Super B Complex and Super D Immune Complex;

  • Nature Made adult gummies are a chewable option for taking vitamins, available in fruit flavors and backed by a "love them or they’re free" guarantee. The adult gummies line includes a multivitamin, fish oil, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, B-Complex and CoQ10; and

  • Voots is a children’s supplement made with 11 different fruits and vegetables that has the antioxidant power of three servings of fruits and vegetables available as a chewable tart, Pharmavite said.

The new products will ship nationwide starting with the release of adult gummies this month, full-strength minis in July, followed by VitaMelts and Voots in fall 2012.

"At Pharmavite we not only work to address consumers’ needs, but also to develop quality products that enhance the vitamin experience across delivery form, product size and taste," Pharmavite COO Mark Walsh said. "Our newest line extensions will drive category growth, serve to meet our business objectives and lay the framework for industry-changing innovations."


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McKesson’s ideaShare showcases innovation

BY Jim Frederick

LAS VEGAS — Three successful pharmacy innovators helped set a buoyant tone for the official kickoff of McKesson’s ideaShare 2012 conference here, as they shared success stories from their own community practice settings at a panel discussion hosted by Brian Tyler, president of McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical.

The three pharmacy owners — Christine Jacobson of Wasatch Pharmacy Care in Ogden, Utah; Jonathan Brunswig of Scott City-Wichita County and J&J Health Mart Pharmacy in Kansas; and Loren Pierce of Wender & Roberts in Atlanta — are putting advanced concepts of patient care into practice within their pharmacies. Their depictions of clinical practice in such areas as disease management and monitoring, wellness and prevention, immunizations and compounding gave hundreds of attendees at the opening general session of ideaShare a hopeful glimpse of pharmacy’s potential as both a health profession and a revenue generator, beyond basic dispensing and counseling.

“As pharmacists our knowledge is very important, and people are willing to pay for that,” asserted Jacobson, who has built a thriving — and profitable — practice in disease management, preventive care and advanced counseling among patients in Utah.

Being in a care-giving profession, she said, means “you want to take care of everybody” who comes in the store with an ailment. Traditionally, said Jacobson, community pharmacists have offered that care for free, but pharmacy must evolve as a professional practice and break its dependence on the dispensing of medications as its sole means of compensation in order to survive.

Wasatch Pharmacy appears to have succeeded. “If my attorney can charge me for sending an email, I can certainly charge for my knowledge,” Jacobson asserted. She told attendees at the kickoff session that she charges patients $150 for in-depth counseling, and has a two-month backlog of appointments.
Tyler, who moderated the discussion, pointed to other forces that he said are boosting the status and visibility of pharmacists as vital health resources in their communities. Among them: the tidal wave of generic drug introductions now sweeping through the nation’s pharmacies as a series of blockbuster drugs lose patent protection. “We’re at the crest of a generic wave,” said McKesson Pharmaceutical’s president, noting that pharmacies that do the best job of offering those lower-priced, higher-margin medicines will gain the most in patient loyalty and profitability.

Pierce said that providing his patients with the “savings opportunity” afforded by those generics “makes us shine” with those patients.

Brunswig agreed. “Patients are very aware of it … they understand that when a generic comes out, they’re going to save money,” he said. With McKesson’s One Stop generic program, he added, “We know we can get that generic out quickly,” as soon as it becomes available.

In his opening address to attendees, Paul Julian, McKesson Corp. executive VP and group president, stressed the key role that independent pharmacists play in the nation’s health system, and the value of interaction among those pharmacists. “That’s the purpose of ideaShare,” he said, “to provide you with a forum to generate ideas together that can ultimately help you drive your business forward.”

McKesson is a powerful ally, Julian noted. The company now delivers a third of all medicines used daily in North America, with 99.998% accuracy. Its claims processing network touches 90% of U.S. retail pharmacies. And the company is set to open the largest distribution center in its history at the end of the summer: a 630,000-sq.-ft. behemoth in Olive Branch, Miss.

IdeaShare’s opening session also gave the company a chance to honor some exemplary practitioners of community pharmacy. Named Pharmacy of the Year with the Overall Excellence Award was Gateway Pharmacy South in Bismarck, N.D., which has won the passionate loyalty of local consumers with a highly personalized brand of patient care and services like compounding and clinical care. Company president Mark Aurit credited McKesson for its support of those services, and said it was the reason he joined the Health Mart pharmacy network.

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ideaShare draws best, brightest of independent pharmacy owners

BY Jim Frederick

LAS VEGAS — Owning and operating a community pharmacy has never been the easiest way to prosper in the healthcare field. But in the face of unrelenting reimbursement challenges, big-chain competition and the pressures imposed by powerful pharmacy benefit managers that dictate take-it-or-leave-it contracts covering the majority of patients and prescriptions, it’s a safe bet that the vast majority of independent and small-chain pharmacy owner/operators wouldn’t trade places with any other health professional.

 

That goes double for the thousands of independent pharmacists packing the Venetian Hotel’s conference center here for McKesson’s ideaShare 2012 event.

“I love independent pharmacy,” asserted Jonathan Marquess, an attendee and Health Mart franchisee who owns and operates four McKesson-supported pharmacies in suburban Atlanta. “It’s been very successful for me, and it’s provided for my family. I wouldn’t do it any other way.”

Marquess and other attendees represent the cream of the crop of independent pharmacists – among the most motivated, the most innovative and the most passionate in their commitment to patient well-being and their concern for the future of the pharmacy profession. They’ve come to Las Vegas to express that concern, to share best practices with their peers, and to learn how best to confront the myriad of challenges posed by tight-fisted third-party payers, shrinking government expenditures for Medicare and Medicaid, and a healthcare system under severe duress and in desperate need of new solutions to patient access and affordability.

McKesson’s annual gathering of pharmacy owner/operators offers a rare chance to do all that, say attendees and panelists. “McKesson gives us so many opportunities … to do a lot of good business with our colleagues here,” noted Christine Jacobson, owner of Wasatch Pharmacy Care in Ogden, Utah.

Attendees also are looking to McKesson for answers. The event doesn’t let them down: ideaShare 2012 features dozens of expert-led sessions, including Continuing Education courses, a Public Policy Forum and an Ownership Transfer Luncheon, along with the Health Mart annual meeting. Also on tap: targeted interactive seminars to help pharmacies increase efficiency and profitability, with special emphasis on clinical services, reimbursement, front-end solutions, marketing, technology and pharmacy operations.

To Larry Hadley, co-owner of Wayne’s Pharmacy in Frankfort, Ky., ideaShare provides “the opportunity to see all the latest technology, solutions and tools that [McKesson] has, which will help me be more effective and more efficient in running my business.”

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