Q&A: Promoting skin care
Stiefel Laboratories, a maker of OTC skin care products that treat such conditions as acne, eczema and itch, has evolved since its emergence in Europe in 1847 into a prosperous global dermatology company. Now, Stiefel is on the brink of entering a new chapter as its acquisition by GlaxoSmithKline is expected to close during the third quarter. Shayne Sundholm, Stiefel’s VP, North America consumer healthcare division, talked with Drug Store News about the company’s initiatives for 2009 and beyond.
Drug Store News: In recent years, Stiefel has repackaged its products, re-shot commercials and revamped the Web site—initiatives that resulted in double-digit growth. Can you provide a business update?
Shayne Sundholm: For the year, we ended up with a blended rate of 20% growth, which is excellent considering that most of the competition struggled and a lot of the industry suffered. We are going to continue to fuel the growth this year through strategic partnerships with key retailers, new product introductions and promotions to dermatologists, and we have extensive consumer campaigns that have won awards.… We anticipate the growth rate this year will be somewhere between 35% and 45%.
DrSN: Can you elaborate on the promotional efforts at the retail level?
Sundholm: We are working with our trade customers on rotos and circulars, and we will be doing a number of freestanding inserts.… Just an unprecedented amount of trade promotions going on this year, as well as unprecedented consumer and dermatological promoting.
DrSN: How will the GSK acquisition impact Stiefel?
Sundholm: Stiefel will become a specialist global business within GSK, operating under the name Stiefel. That combination is going to create a leading company in global dermatology with a strong presence in prescription consumer and aesthetic skin health markets around the world. By working with GSK, we actually are able to offer more top-quality products and enhance our development pipeline.
DrSN: What are some of the biggest product launches for 2009?
Sundholm: The Impruv dry skin product line is nationwide at Walgreens, for the most part. The Impruv Natural Repair lotion and cream [features] a patented and proven European technology that replenishes the lipids in your skin with six botanicals.… There will be a lot behind Impruv with national TV, Internet and print advertising. There will be an extensive public relations campaign, complete with dermatologist spokespeople.
What I also want to mention, because it’s new, is what could be a revolutionary new acne product. It is PanOxyl acne treatment foam. This product uses Stiefel’s patented VersaFoam-AF, a foam technology that will deliver 10% benzoyl peroxide to effectively penetrate the pores and kill the bacteria that causes acne.… It is the first foam in the OTC category for acne treatment.… Nationwide advertising for this product begins in July 2009.
DrSN: Looking ahead, what is Stiefel’s focus?
Sundholm: Stiefel is dedicated to providing exceptional skin care solutions around the world, and these long-standing initiatives with the dermatology community provide key insights and appreciation for the global skin care community.… We all relentlessly focus on delivering new and innovative skin care solutions, more of which you will see from us over the next nine, 12 or 18 months.
Kroger declares quarterly dividend
CINCINNATI The Kroger Co. announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 9 cents per share to be paid on Sept. 1 to shareholders of record at of the close of business on Aug. 14.
Kroger, one of the nation’s largest retail grocery chains, employs more than 326,000 associates, who serve customers in 2,475 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states.
On Thursday, the company announced that its president and COO Don McGeorge was retiring. McGeorge has been replaced by W. Rodney McMullen.
Walgreens to test diabetes care model
NEW YORK Walgreens continues to flesh out its revamped strategy to be the nation’s most convenient and accessible provider of pharmacy and health-and-wellness services.
The latest plank in that platform is its plan to test a pharmacy-driven outreach and support program for patients with diabetes.
Diabetic-care services and product presentations are nothing new in the nation’s chain and independent drug stores; every pharmacy leader knows that diabetes is a major, (often undiagnosed) health challenge and a “gateway” disease that usually subjects its sufferers to a slew of other related conditions involving the circulatory system, the skin and other organs. It’s also no secret that diabetics generate far more in annual drug store sales to treat these related conditions.
What makes Walgreens’ pilot program worthy of notice are two things.
First, with some 6,800 retail pharmacies, 350 in-store and worksite clinics and a network of specialty pharmacies across the United States, the company wields enormous potential power in the healthcare marketplace. If it expands its fledgling diabetes pilot beyond the test stage, it has thousands of “points of care” through which it could offer diabetes support programs and other disease management offerings. It’s a huge potential resource to offer diabetic patients and their employer-based or government-sponsored health plans, not to mention those patients’ overburdened, time-constrained primary care doctors.
Second, Walgreens is very deliberately positioning its diabetes care offering as a part of a much broader, integrated healthcare platform that links patients in the program to all the company’s health-and-wellness capabilities, said Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson. And it dovetails neatly with the Obama administration’s call for “more preventive care and better access,” in the words of Walgreens’ top manager.