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Moving beyond disease state management


Walmart’s Annie Walker

How can retailers and manufacturers work together to not only be partners in managing consumers’ disease states, but also to help educate a new generation about the importance of prevention? This was the driving question a panel of leading consumer health executives tackled in June, at a special one-day thought leadership conference in Bentonville, Ark., co-hosted by Drug Store News and Mack Elevation Forum.

(To view the full Special Report, click here.)

Challenged to think beyond current disease-state management solutions, the panel — anchored by Walmart VP OTC merchandising Annie Walker, and featuring Medline chief marketing officer Stu Schneider, Kimberly-Clark senior director of shopper engagement Liz Metz, Johnson & Johnson health and wellness solutions president Len Greer, RB North America president Alexander Lacik, Bausch + Lomb’s VP marketing OTC vitamins John Ferris — examined the opportunities to disrupt customer habits and move beyond treatment to a mind-set on prevention.

“If people think that the solution is going to happen in the store, on the shelf, that’s not going to be the game-changer,” Walker said, challenging both the vendors on the panel and the others in the audience to stop addressing these challenges individually and to tap into the “collective power of the breadth of the box,” and help customers understand the total solutions that are available to them across the store. “Sometimes in retail we get all focused on [tactics]. We’ll do a solution endcap — a very tactical solution to this broad discussion. And it’s not going to happen tactically,” she said.

Walker invited the group to approach the solution from a “knowledge standpoint” to engage the customer at different touchpoints in their healthcare journey. “How do we disrupt customer habits? So, does that mean disrupting them when they’re building their shopping lists? How do we give them suggestions, ideas, information — is that at the shelf?”

In a wide-open exchange that ranged from the rise of healthcare consumerism to how to engage customers and caregivers, panelists talked about how each of their companies were trying to change the conversation from disease management to disease prevention. In the next few pages, DSN examines some best practices and emerging strategies from leading consumer health companies.

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