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Drug Store News' Industry Issues Summit, Diabetes Roundtable discuss critical role of retailers in health care


NEW YORK With healthcare reform hanging in the balance, the turbulent economy reshaping consumer shopping behavior and retail pharmacies increasingly taking a proactive role on the frontlines of U.S. health care, it couldn’t have been a better time for key industry leaders to convene here once again for Drug Store News’ 11th Annual Industry Issues Summit.

Roughly 150 leading industry players gathered for the event, which was held at the New York Athletic Club.

Kicking off the session was a presentation by Dan O’Connor, president and CEO of RetailNet Group, who provided attendees with a look into the future of retailing. Capping off the day was the 7th Annual Diabetes Leadership Roundtable followed by a panel discussion on specialty pharmacy.

Retail participants for the Industry Issues Summit panel discussions included Bryan Shirtliff of Rite Aid, David Fong of Safeway, Charlie Burnett of Costco, Dewayne Rabon of Winn-Dixie, Craig Norman of HEB, Barbara Zamudio of Ulta Beauty and Bill Bergin of Rite Aid. Supplier panelists included John Sullivan of Kao Brands, Mike Voaden of Alberto-Culver, Joel Carden of Pacific World, Scott Patricki of Pharmavite, David Howenstine of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Mark Cieslinski of Mentholatum and Sharon Glass of Catalina Marketing.

The panel discussions hit on a wide variety of topics, including SKU rationalization, how companies are reevaluating their business in light of the economy, what role social media is playing, and how to optimize front-end sales and keep consumers engaged in health, beauty and wellness.

Some common themes that emerged from the discussions: Both retailers and suppliers agree that increasing consumer education is critical, especially as it relates to health and wellness; retailers are increasingly turning away from cookie-cutter boxes and are looking more toward segmentation; and, while social media like Facebook and Twitter are important, retailers and suppliers are still trying to figure out how to best leverage it.

To discuss the critical issue of diabetes and what role suppliers and retailers are playing in helping their patients better manage their diabetes, Dave Wendland, VP Hamacher Resource Group, moderated the Diabetes Roundtable.

Diabetes Roundtable participants included Robb Ayshford of Sears/Kmart, Tim Canning of McKesson’s Health Mart, Ric Clarke of Rite Aid, Lisa Frasher of Cardinal Health, Debbie Krasnow of Giant Eagle, Leon Nevers of HEB, Ceci Zeigler of AmerisourceBergen, Mark Gregory of Kerr Drug, Fotinos Panagakos of Colgate-Palmolive, Mike Caracci of Takeda, Rachel Sosalski of Novo Nordisk, Brahim Zabeli of BD Medical and Wai Wu of Abbott Diabetes Care.

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