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Personalized wellness: Q&A with Ūnomi's Pam Helmly


Drug Store News caught up with Ūnomi founder and CSO Pam Helmly for a rundown on the brand and how it will change personalized wellness.

(To view the full OTC Category Review, click here.)

DSN: What is Ūnomi, and why should retailers be interested in getting involved?

Pam Machemehl Helmly: Ūnomi will change the paradigm in personalized wellness. We are a complete system that is not found on the market today. Retailers want to offer a true nutritional solution to common healthcare concerns, and that’s where we come in. ... Our at-home test kits check a multitude of deficiencies and issues that concern consumers, such as brain chemistry levels, testosterone levels, cholesterol, diabetes markers and many others. We’ve also made the system very turnkey: A consumer picks up their desired test at the store. The kits come complete with return postage, instructions and collection device. The consumer sends their sample to our lab where the test results are personally reviewed by one of our Ūnomi team of experts. When the results are ready to view, they receive an email notification. Their test results are available to view privately and securely online, along with their unique daily supplement plan recommendation.

For example, if LDL cholesterol comes back high, a recommendation of increasing aerobic exercise would be made, coupled with a decrease in bad fats, as well as a supplement regimen to help improve these levels. The end product ... is often additional testing that will help guide the consumer through a true wellness plan. Ūnomi is careful to not make recommendations to clients who need to seek a physician immediately.

DSN: How will Ūnomi change/grow the VMS category? How does it work?

Helmly: We have a very unique model of identifying problems and recommending solutions using independent, certified labs. Since our proprietary software offers a custom report to the consumer, the sale of specific formulas are part of the solution. Plus, the formulas are unique combinations not typically found on pharmacy shelves. We have an additional component to our software that is offered to pharmacies that choose to utilize our solution at retail. This additional software offers the upsell of the store brand supplementation when a pharmaceutical is dispensed that causes Drug Induced Nutrient Depletions (DINDs). Most pharmacists are aware of the DINDs, such as the B vitamins that are depleted with birth control pills or Co Q-10 that is depleted with statin medications.

DSN: Tell us about your target consumer. What healthcare trends does Ūnomi capitalize on?

Helmly: Our program is driven by science and is focused on making people feel better by guiding them to reversing nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, our target consumer is someone who frequents a pharmacy for guidance on improving their health and wellness, as well as those who take prescriptions. Many of these consumers may want to do additional testing between visits to their practitioner to see if the regimen that they are implementing with pharmaceuticals or nutritionals is effective, or perhaps they are uninsured and would like a cost-effective way to improve their health, since at-home testing is increasing at a rapid clip. Consumers are also driving natural health and wellness. We coupled those two economic trends with such health issues as prediabetes, heart disease support, hormonal fluctuations due to stress and many mood and focus issues.

DSN: What is the clinical support/evidence available to insure efficacy and quality?

Helmly: We are fully HIPAA compliant and use only FDA-certified labs and manufacturers. Our scientific knowledge bases include recommendations considered the best standard of care by the Institutes of Functional Medicine and American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, as well as The American Heart Association dietary and lifestyle recommendations. Since the solution includes retesting, appropriate recommendations can continually be included. The device that is being utilized has unique stability far and above the typical testing cards that have been utilized in the past by at-home testing companies. This device can separate whole blood from serum to allow for a variety of tests to be performed. Once the sample is removed from the at-home collection device, it is analyzed in the same manner as venipuncture derived blood.

DSN: How can large employer groups, such as national retailers, leverage Ūnomi for their employee populations?

Helmly: Ūnomi has a special portal for corporate wellness/employee populations. Custom test panels are available, as well as access to nutritionals. The data analytics available can be used for risk assessment and employee engagement.

We plan to be on-shelf in the first quarter of 2017. We look forward to our formal launch at NACDS TSE in Boston. We’re excited to work with our retailer-partners to dramatically impact the personalized wellness paradigm together, and we remain fully committed to “making people feel better.”

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