2020: A Year of Resiliency and Determination

By Mark Land, AAHP President

As remarkable as the limitations of this pandemic year have been, I am also astonished by the resiliency of people, technology, and organizations including AAHP. Despite challenges in travel, communications, and interactions brought on by the pandemic AAHP will remember 2020 as one of its most successful years.

This was the sixth year in a cycle of regulatory review of homeopathic drug product labeling, safety, and quality. AAHP has been there as an advocate and representative of the industry over that time. In 2020 AAHP’s representation and thought leadership included comments filed with FDA regarding the revised draft guidance. AAHP presented its second Quality and Regulatory Summit with the help of scientists from the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States and FDA’s Francis Godwin. This work continues to build on earlier compliance dialog with FDA, with the goal of moving the conversation with FDA and among members from enforcement to compliance.

In June the Association engaged in frank and open discussion with FDA’s Office of Compliance related to enforcement action against homeopathic injectable products. Understanding from that conversation that FDA’s principal concern of safety, AAHP filed an amicus curiae brief with the court of jurisdiction in this matter in support of the safety of homeopathic medicines in general.

Moving to commerce, AAHP conducted original research among homeopathic consumers regarding shopping habits during the pandemic. A great deal of insight was gained regarding shopping channels, price elasticity, and opportunities for members to improve their communication with consumers. The study results were presented during a live complimentary panel discussion by influential moms and practitioners whose voices represented national consumer groups. Hosted by Andrea Fallin of Chain Drug Review, the event attracted a couple of retailers and CVS requested the report, which can be downloaded here. It was a great way to present the study results and strengthen homeopathic manufacturers’ relationship with both retailers and the homeopathic consumers’ associations.

Staying on the theme of shoppers, AAHP hosted our second annual Integrative Retailer of the Year Award Ceremony. Derrick Shaffer, Rite Aid Corporation’s category manager for homeopathic OTCs and other products, accepted the award. The national drug chain announced this year a change in its business to focus even more on meeting the needs of its consumers. One of its initiatives is to refresh merchandise with an emphasis on products that promote health and wellness and that are better-for-you and better for the environment.

AAHP embarked on a consumer outreach campaign to generate awareness and a positive image of homeopathy among mainstream consumers. Recognizing the benefits of increased awareness, the board authorized the development of messaging and a plan to engage consumers in a meaningful way. Cullen + Rose, our marketing partner on this project, presented their plan to AAHP membership at our September biannual meeting. We hope to launch a pilot of the campaign in January to evaluate reach and effectiveness.

The resiliency, creativity, and dedication of all AAHP volunteers and partners in support of our members enabled AAHP to achieve these accomplishments. These accomplishments would be remarkable in any year but are even more so in the current environment. Thank you, everyone.