Practitioners looking to develop a private label line must weigh the factors and challenges before deciding to make an investment.
There has been a major shift in recent years to preventative care, and dietary supplements have become a huge part of it. In fact, according to the 2013 Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of U.S. adults take dietary supplements. The survey also reported that 85 percent of U.S. adults stand confident in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements.
In addition, Frost & Sullivan’s new economic report, “Smart Prevention-Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements,” which was funded through a grant from CRN Foundation, found that supplementation at preventative intake levels in high-risk populations can reduce the number of disease-associated medical events, representing the potential for hundreds of millions (and in some cases billions) of dollars of savings.
“This report provides one more reason for doctors and other health care practitioners to open a dialogue with their patients about incorporating supplement usage along with other healthy behaviors,” said Steve Mister, CRN Foundation president. “For consumers, it’s a wake-up call to talk to their doctor or nurse practitioner, their pharmacist or a registered dietitian about smart prevention, including which dietary supplements and what intake levels are right for their individual lifestyle.”
According to Dr. Isaac Eliaz, founder of California-based EcoNugenics, the supple ment industry in general is expanding significantly, and many more health practitioners are recommending supplements for treatment, prevention or as part of their overall health strategy for patients. Because of this, some practitioners are exploring the option of developing their own private label lines, which can not only boost a practitioner’s revenue, but can also create a sense of loyalty and trust between the practitioner and patient, as well as offer the patient the convenience of not having to go in search of the recommended supplements on his/her own.
“Private label lines can help develop a practitioner’s credibility,” said Dorene Petersen, founder and president of the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS). “The amount of research, time and resources that go into developing a private label line are significant. Not only does the practitioner hone their skills through the process, as well as knowledge of the products (e.g., cultivation, sustainability, etc.), he/she can also personally vouch for the quality of the product that bears his/her name.”
“Having a private label is not just an opportunity to increase revenue. It can be an opportunity to build trust with patients and position practitioners as innovative health providers and leaders in their field,” added Dr. Eliaz. “The exclusivity of having private label products increases patient loyalty and potential for referrals. End results are additional profit for the practice, and healthier, happier patients.”
When deciding on whether to proceed with beginning the process of developing a private label line, practitioners have a number of factors to consider. Dr. Eliaz suggested that practitioners evaluate what supplements they currently recommend to their patients, as well as which products can most support their patient base, while Petersen noted that practitioners should evaluate how individualized their patients’ treatment plans are.
“… All patients are individuals and thus require individual treatment protocols/an individual treatment plan; sometimes a private label line, whether it’s a blend or single botanicals or nutrients, can make individualization more difficult,” she explained.”Generally, though, private label lines provide a reliable, convenient way for patients to access nutrients and other remedies.”
Additionally, while offering a private label line in office can be highly convenient for patients, practitioners must contemplate the financial viability of the venture. Factors such as the initial cost of creating the line, what and how many products should be incorporated into it, what the required minimum per product will be, as well as what the cost will be for patients, should all be taken into account before taking the initial steps of development.
In the same regard, choosing the right private labeler to partner with is essential. According to ACHS’ Petersen, when choosing a private labeler, it is especially important for practitioners to take the time to do research and select a vendor that has a proven history of reliability and is consistently providing a high-quality product.”Decide what sells best in the practice and start there. Find a company that offers that category of product under private label,” noted Dr. Eliza. “Ask them to send you their policies on the private label program. It’s important to find out the art charges, set up charges, minimums for first and reorders, and ETA from order placement to shipping.”
Some of the key points to look for when selecting a vendor include:
• Adherence to good manufacturing practices (GMPs)
• Continuity of supply and quality of ingredients
• Consistent and reasonable pricing
• Provides product information and sales support
“It is essential to consider the name and experience behind the formulator, to ensure product safety, efficacy and innovation that can give the formulas an edge over other products,” said Dr. Eliza. “Published research on ingredients and formulas, raw material quality and integrity, finished product testing, marketing support and product availability are important factors to consider. Choose to work with a private labeler who makes the ordering, marketing and sales processes easy for you to set up and maintain. Look for a company with products that will fit into your medical practice seamlessly.”
The EcoNugenics line of private label products is designed and formulated by Dr. Eliza, who draws on more than 25 years of experience and research in the fields of traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicine, naturopathic and nutritional medicine, homeopathy and advancements in modern botanical research, to create highly effective formulas for health and wellness.
In addition, EcoNugenics is GMP certified and compliant, is registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and also maintains registration and certificates for Processed Food and Organic Processed Product with the California Department of Public Health/Food and Drug Branch. The company also adheres to written procedures based on applicable Subparts of the CFR Title 21, Part 111, cGMP in Manufacturing, Packaging, Labeling, or Holding Operations for Dietary Supplements.
EcoNugenics offers its flagship, highly researched products for private label including: PectaSol C Modified Citrus Pectin, PectaClear, Breast Defend, ProstaCaid, Padma Basic, MycoPhyto Complex and HonoPure, as well as other researched products. Further, the company only requires a minimum of 12 bottles per product for private labeling. “As a private label company, EcoNugenics has had great success helping practitioners launch our products into their own branded line, by providing individualized attention, marketing and design support, extensive product research and information and fast turnaround times,” said Dr. Eliza.
Step by Step
Once the research is done and a reputable private labeler has been chosen, practitioners must begin the process of developing the line. According to Dr. Eliza, the steps may vary depending on the type of clinic and the demographics of the patients. “The steps for developing a private label line depend on the product, such as a single nutrient versus a blend, a single botanical versus a blend,” added Petersen.
She went on to explain, in general, the steps of private development:
• Identify what the line is
• Create the formulas and review safety considerations
• Research and interview vendors
• Labeling-review legal considerations, such as FDA requirements and AHPA (American Herbal Products Association) recommendations
Petersen also advised that practitioners not only start with the products that they have extensive experience with, but that they should also look back at the treatment plans that they have developed over the past six months. If a practitioner is consistently prescribing a range of products, begin building the line from there. Dr. Eliza added that practitioners should be conservative by starting small and offering select items at first to see how well they are received before thinking about expanding the line.
Further, Petersen noted that looking into delivery options other than pills and capsules might be beneficial because people are busy and are more likely to stick to something that can be added into their daily routines seamlessly. “For example, there are new delivery mechanisms in the market,” she said. “Capsules for powders and herbs and capsules with liquids have been around awhile, but now I am seeing liquids in one or two sachets that can be added to a smoothie or quickly drunk. Sublingual is also a great option. If the material will deliver that way, it is quick and the patient can get on with their busy day.”
Marketing & Challenges
Thought must also be put into developing a plan on how to market the line. Dr. Eliza recommended placing informational materials, as well as creating a product display in the office. In addition, informing patients by direct mail postcard or an e-mail blast can help pique their interest.
Petersen suggested that practitioners think about offering a free month or a short-term discount to patients to introduce them to the line. This can result in repeat clients, which can strengthen the line. “When a practitioner is preparing a patient’s treatment plan, he/she should make private label recommendations. In addition, some practitioners will include a one-month supply of their private label products as part of the first visit consultation fee,” she explained. “He/she may also want to offer the second month of supplies at a discounted rate.”
However, following the steps to the letter does not always guarantee that there will be no obstacles to overcome. Dr. Eliza advised that practitioners just starting out, who do not have a large patient base, may want to hold off on plans for a private label line because it may be much more difficult to sell the line without an established group of patients.
Another challenge is maintaining inventory.”Few customers/patients want to buy the last item on the shelf-rather, most patients want to see a healthy selection of products,” he explained. “If you don’t have it, you can’t sell it. Nevertheless, most practitioners don’t want a big inventory, but private label manufacturers often have hefty minimum order requirements.”
Developing a private label line will take a lot of time and effort, but if a practitioner does the research and plans accordingly, it can become quite successful. “With the right manufacturers, a private label program can work well and become a nice profit center for the practice,” concluded Dr. Eliza. “Your patients will appreciate it as they trust their doctor and his/her recommendations, and purchasing from a doctor is easier than going to a retail location and trying to get info from someone you don’t have a trusted relationship with. After all, who can give you better, individualized health information than your trusted health practitioner?”
NeuroScience Offers New Online Dispensing and Delivery Service
Wisconsin-based Neuroscience, Inc. has announced the availability of a new patient online ordering and direct delivery service. Called the Authorized Patient Online Purchasing (APOP), the new service enables Neuroscience physicians to authorize customized products for their patients. Patients may then order via a secured password login and receive products directly through the mail.
Physicians control the process by authorizing each patient and his or her order. Physicians receive e-mail alerts of their patients’ orders, so that supplement intakes can be incorporated into medical protocols. Further, physicians may use their commission to benefit their practice, apply as a patient discount, or even donate to their favorite charity.
The system is a service of Arizona based Natural Partners, a full-service nutraceutical fulfillment service that offers health care providers a simple, turnkey approach to selling supplements to their patients.
“With APOP, Neuro Science health care providers can give their patients convenient, one-stop shopping, while improving compliance with recommended treatments,” said Bradley Bush, ND, director of clinician affairs at Neuro Science, Inc. “This service from Natural Partners is a great fit with the high customer service standards of Neuron Science.” “We are pleased to offer the APOP system,” added James Hodge, wellness consultant manager at Natural Partners.
“Online ordering and delivery saves a lot of headaches for both doctors and their patients.”
For more information, call (888) 342-7272 or visit www.neuroscienceinc.com.
Healthy Take Aways
■ The 2013 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements reported that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of U. S. adults take dietary supplements.
■ Having a private label can offer practitioners an opportunity to build trust with patients and position them as innovative health providers and leaders in their field.
■ The steps to developing a private label line may vary depending on the type of clinic and the demographics of the patients.
■ Practitioners should start their private label lines with the products with which they have extensive experience and results.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
■ American College of Healthcare Sciences, (800) 487-8839, www.achs.edu
■ Council for Responsible Nutrition, www.crnusa.org
■ EcoNugenics, Inc., (800) 308-5518, www.econugenics.com
Practitioners looking to develop a private label line must weigh the factors and challenges before deciding to make an investment.