PHARMACY

Q&A: Supporting wellness — Tom Finnegan, Homedics

BY Michael Johnsen

Drug Store News spoke with Tom Finnegan, VP sales, diagnostics and healthcare for Homedics, about how the company’s newly acquired line of Obus Forme backrest support products can help drug retailers position themselves as a wellness destination for customers.

Drug Store News: What does the acquisition of Obus Forme bring to the Homedics portfolio of products?

Tom Finnegan: The acquisition of Obus Forme is a natural for the Homedics family of health-and-wellness products. Obus Forme already enjoys a long-standing history and reputation across Canada for its renowned line of backrest supports, ergonomic seating and supportive sleep products. As the world’s No. 1 brand in consumer health and wellness, Homedics is widely known and respected. With the Obus Forme by Homedics brand, the marketplace benefits from a more inclusive product offering, and the two brands will benefit from the close synergies that exist.

DrSN: How do you see the brand fitting into the drug store environment?

Finnegan: The Obus Forme by Homedics brand is a great fit for today’s drug store environment on several fronts. More than ever, the consumer is looking for quality and affordability with every health-related purchase. Obus Forme by Homedics products are designed with a holistic approach in mind, applying a thorough understanding of the human anatomy to create the innovative products that address the complete wellness needs of the consumer.

As a brand, Obus Forme by Homedics is recommended by healthcare practitioners, as well as leading health-related associations across Canada, so it’s an established brand in the backrest support category. It’s a perfect fit for today’s drug retailers who want to provide a holistic approach to comfort, and [provide] health to their consumers.

DrSN: Do you think a better selection of backrest support and other wellness products can help position drug stores’ image as wellness centers?

Finnegan: Today’s drug store retailer offers shoppers the opportunity to review a wide range of products to meet their overall health needs, and Obus Forme by Homedics fills an important piece of that puzzle by serving as the “therapeutic” arm of the Homedics family of products. Prior to its acquisition by Homedics, Obus Forme maintained a well-deserved reputation for its respected line of medical and ergonomically based backrest supports, seating and supportive sleep products. The credibility of this line of noninvasive, highly effective products resonates with consumers and retailers, and allows drug stores a new opportunity to better meet the needs of their consumers. It’s a solid growth opportunity.

We have distribution through Cardinal Health, Complete Medical and H.D. Smith, and this allows us to penetrate more than 10,000 independent pharmacies and durable medical equipment dealers.

DrSN: With limited floor space, how can drug retailers gain a bigger share of this key business area, and how is Homedics helping them tailor their mix?

Finnegan: In today’s market, we feel the drug retailer has a wonderful opportunity to position itself as a destination for holistic health care. Today’s consumer is looking for ways to manage their health and wellness in a natural, noninvasive way. Obus Forme by Homedics products are based soundly in ergonomic principles that help the consumer achieve that goal. We take a hands-on approach to help the buyer choose the key items based on floor traffic, chain demographics and price to maximize turns.

DrSN: Are you seeing strong growth in the back-support products category, and who is your key customer?

Finnegan: Absolutely. We continue to see growth in the sales numbers of our line of products, as well as diversity among our core consumer base. Our Obus Forme by Homedics product line now is available throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Our customers include Rite Aid, Amazon.com and Walgreens.com, and we have distribution through Cardinal Health, Complete Medical and H.D. Smith.

DrSN: What’s in the future for licensed Obus Forme products?

Finnegan: Obus Forme by Homedics will continue its commitment to the most advanced research and development to provide an expanding assortment of innovative products designed to help consumers live more comfortable, active, productive and healthy lives. We continue to listen to the needs of our retailers and consumers, and respond accordingly using the latest technology in design and materials to find solutions to their needs.

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Walgreens offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens now is offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries at all of its more than 7,100 pharmacies throughout the country.

Following the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D insurance plans, Walgreens is assisting those beneficiaries who’ve made changes to their prescription drug coverage. Review sessions with Walgreens pharmacists are available daily by appointment through Jan. 31, and are designed to help patients maximize their plan benefits.

Review sessions include:

  • A review of beneficiary’s current medications, tiers within their selected plan, co-pays and cost-savings opportunities
  • Discussion of available health and wellness services including pneumonia and shingles vaccinations and 90-day prescription benefits
  • Checks for potential drug interactions

Customers can call their nearest Walgreens pharmacy to schedule an appointment. Visit www.walgreens.com or call 1-800-Walgreens for store locations and hours.

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Watson files FDA application for generic LoSeasonique

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Watson Labs, a subsidiary of specialty pharmaceutical company Watson Pharmaceuticals, has filed an abbreviated new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration for an oral contraceptive.

Watson is seeking approval to market its levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol (0.10-mg/0.02-mg) oral contraceptive product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545, which is owned by Duramed Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Teva.  Watson’s levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol product is a generic version of Teva’s LoSeasonique, which is indicated for the prevention of pregnancy.

On Nov. 23, 2009, pursuant to the Hatch-Waxman Act, Watson notified Duramed that its ANDA requesting approval from the FDA for a generic version of LoSeasonique contained a paragraph IV certification asserting that the LoSeasonique patent is invalid, unenforceable and/or not infringed.  Teva Women’s Health filed suit against Watson on Jan. 6, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey seeking to prevent Watson from commercializing its product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545.  Based on available information, Watson believes it may be entitled to 180 days of generic market exclusivity or shared exclusivity should its product receive approval.

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