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Nicholas Hall event highlights a healthy category

The second annual Nicholas Hall/Everything Health North American OTC Conference in late June once again brought the OTC industry together to discuss industry challenges and opportunities. The two-day event saw roughly 120 attendees, who absorbed content and networking opportunities around this year’s overarching theme — the Future of Consumer Self Care: New OTC Solutions.

Panels and talks around the theme included Hamacher Resource Group’s Dave Wendland dispelling myths about the independent pharmacy world; Greenwood Group founder Pat O’Leary outlining selected brick-and-mortar retailer strategies to combat Amazon; and GSK’s Vidhu Dev outlining the OTC industry’s wish list for the Food and Drug Administration, among others. During the second day keynote, Coleman Bigelow from Google vividly described the potential for patient journey magic within the digital experience. He described what consumers are seeking no matter where they are — the best products delivered in our world of now.

A good portion of the event was dedicated to discussion of Rx-to-OTC switches. Naloxone — now widely offered by pharmacies — was highlighted as a potential switch candidate for its potential to save lives if easily accessible. Separate discussions at the event also turned to naloxone both as an example of stakeholder collaboration and a prime switch opportunity.

As part of a day one panel about the new healthcare ecosystem, Kroger pharmacy and the Little Clinic president Colleen Lindholz; UnitedHealth Group senior director of retail strategic partnerships and alliances Shannon Huneke; and Johnson & Johnson director of retail health and wellness Chris Jobes highlighted the ways that major industry players are cooperating across value and information chains to make naloxone more widely available. On day two, Michael Hufford of Harm Reduction Therapeutics made a strong case for affordable OTC naloxone and participated in a panel on Rx-to-OTC switches. The panel Hufford participated in, which offered a general review of the changing switch world given new technologies, had conference organizer Mary Alice Lawless also focused on the switch world, inviting brand owners to join a Biograph

Consortium. The consortium will focus on chronic condition switches and leverage a proprietary health data management tool, Lawless said.
In addition to the opioid crisis, the public health issues of diabetes, obesity and nicotine were addressed. Ted Kyle, founder of ConscienHealth, featured a compelling presentation that detailed the U.S.’s obesity and diabetes crisis, while Joe Gitchell of Pinney Associates reviewed how the FDA is potentially taking a new look at nicotine and self-care avenues. The Nutritional and Natural products world also were covered. LPS Health Discovery’s Jennifer Cooper tied nutrition to personalized medicine, while Nutrition Business Journal co-founder Thomas Aarts surveyed the industry’s present status.

Leveraging the two years of success outside the United States, the combined forces of Nicholas Hall, xPotential and Rowland Global — of which I am principal and founder — announced the launch of the CHC Training Institute of North America with the first open session slated for Sept. 24 to 25. The two-day session will include a full day of how to win in pharmacy, and adapting global content to U.S. realities. Day two will feature what U.S. executives can learn from the rest of the world. Speakers from Canada, Mexico and elsewhere will discuss the present market environment using real world real-time case studies.


Ed Rowland is a Drug Store News Contributing Editor covering global issues. As the principal of Rowland Global LLC ( he believes in the promise of global business and supports companies in their strategy, tactics and execution of international growth initiatives.
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