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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.

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