Up on a pedestal of sorts, the conventional channel's stiff-lipped prescription gatekeepers have a lot more to offer than just your pills and when to swallow them. Yep, you got it, I'm talking about pharmacists.
Turns out, they also know a thing or two about the over-the-counter stuff everyone can get without a doctor's waiting room or pharmacy counter in sight (checkout counter notwithstanding). But for those who'd rather take a stab at their ailment with the FDA's next banned product than wait in that unthinkable line, pharmacists are now letting wellness-seekers in their little side door… virtually.
"U.S. News Health, in collaboration with Pharmacy Times, presents Top Recommended Health Products, a project aimed at getting that information into your hands," reports U.S. News. From cough suppressants and headache relief, to sleep aids and supplements, the two organizations harvested thousands of pharmacists' responses to a longstanding nationwide Pharmacy Times survey of top pharmacist-recommended over-the-counter products.
Previously only circulated within that professional community, now everyone has access to how different brands stack up in 148 over-the-counter product categories.
Though only one of the top vote-getters that appear below can be considered an alternative product, it's interesting to see that they've got a homeopathic category in there at all.
- Lactaid in "Lactose Intolerance Products" with a 98 percent recommendation
- Vicks VapoRub in "Topical Cough Suppressants—Ointments" with 90 percent
- Imodium in "Antidiarrheals" with 89 percent
- Debrox in "Ear Wax Removal" with 86 percent
- Breathe Right in "Snore Aids" with 85 percent
- Hyland’s Cough Syrup in "Homeopathic Cough Products" with 84 percent
- Crest 3D Whitestrips in "Teeth Whitening Products" with 83 percent
- Monistat in "Vaginal Antifungals" with 80 percent
- Abreva in "Cold Sore Treatments" with 79 percent
- Sensodyne in "Toothpaste—Sensitive Gums/Teeth" with 79 percent
- Prilosec OTC in "Proton Pump Inhibitors" with 78 percent
- Colace/Peri-Colace in "Stool Softeners" with 78 percent
- Bausch & Lomb Sensitive Eyes Plus Saline Solution in "Contact Lens Saline Solutions" with 77 percent
- Neosporin in "Topical Antibiotics/Antiseptics: with 73 percent
Also noteworthy: even though they're not always the most popular picks, natural channel representation is peppered throughout these conventional channel recommendations. In fact, Nature Made found its way into the following eight key vitamin and supplement segments as the number one suggested product: Letter Vitamins (A, B, C, D, and E), CoQ10, Omega-3/Fish Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Herbal Supplements, Diabetic Multivitamin, Garlic Supplements and Cholesterol Management - Natural.
Translation, pharmacists are starting to take a more natural stance, pointing shoppers in that direction. They're also making recommendations about vitamins and supplements—certainly more natural leaning than most categories—becoming a counterpart of sorts to the natural store's supplement support person.
What I'd love to know: registered dieticians and naturopaths' top recommendations for natural-channel products across these identical categories. How many of the same natural/conventional crossovers would appear on your list? And, taken one step further, how do those recommendations correlate to sales? Be on the lookout for a survey as we attempt to capture and deliver this data.
For now, it looks like shoppers at your natural store will still have to ask your staff directly, but that's what they're there for… and at least they won't have to stand in line to do it!