Today, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association awarded its Ivan D. Combe Lifetime Achievement Award to longtime industry leader Jim Mackey at the opening session of its annual Self-Care Leadership Summit in Orlando, Fla. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. consumer healthcare industry, recognizing the outstanding work and contributions of individuals whose actions have impacted the industry and directly improved self-care for consumers.
The Ivan D. Combe Lifetime Achievement Award is named in honor of Ivan Combe, an industry pioneer and visionary who served on CHPA’s Board of Directors from 1958 until 2000. It is presented annually to one deserving individual who, through a lifetime commitment to advancing consumer health care, has exhibited three core attributes:
- Professional excellence and a passion for improving the lives of healthcare consumers
- Outstanding leadership and involvement in industry activities
- A commitment to giving back to the community
This year’s recipient, Jim Mackey, started his career as a sales merchandiser for the Sterling Drug Company before joining Whitehall Labs, a division of American Home Products, where he was named vice president of sales at the age of 28. In that role, Mackey helped launch perhaps one of the most successful Rx-to-OTC switches in U.S. history with the launch of Advil in 1984. Mackey’s success led him to Schering-Plough, where he spent nearly two decades of his career and helped bring two additional iconic switches to the OTC market with Claritin and MiraLAX. Today, these two products account for more than $1 billion in annual sales. Finally, following the acquisition of Schering-Plough by Merck in 2009, he capped off his corporate career by helping to negotiate one of the largest transactions in consumer healthcare history—the acquisition of Merk Consumer by Bayer in 2014.
“Jim's career accomplishments and personal attributes make him an extremely deserving recipient of this year’s Ivan D. Combe Lifetime Achievement Award,” said CHPA president and CEO Scott Melville. “During his extensive career, Jim helped lead and launch multiple Rx-to-OTC switches that provided consumers with new and innovative OTC options. Additionally, his service on CHPA’s board of directors, including as our chairman from 2013 to 2014, led to progress on key industry initiatives, including relaunching CHPA’s educational foundation and beginning the effort to modernize the OTC monograph system.”
“But perhaps his greatest industry legacy,” continued Melville, “was his leadership in organizing an industry response to the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, which placed OTC pseudoephedrine behind the counter and led to states to consider making PSE a prescription product. Through Jim’s efforts and leadership, pharmacies are now connected and able to monitor PSE sales in real time to stop diversion, allowing millions of consumers to benefit from continued non-prescription access to this popular and effective decongestant.”
Mackey also has made a lasting impact on his community, mentoring many, including next-generation consumer healthcare leaders. His volunteer work through nonprofit organizations, including the First Tee, has taught children life skills, self-confidence and resilience through golf lessons. Additionally, Mackey serves as an advisor and board member to Ways 2 Wellness, a publishing venture focused on improving the lives of seniors, their communities and caregivers.
Mackey received the Combe Award during CHPA’s SLS, which was attended by his family, peers and more than 300 leadership executives from the consumer healthcare industry.