There’s more to that little box of pen needles than meets the eye, according to Holly Hartshorn of UltiMed. In early March, UltiMed launched a 50-count box of UltiCare pen needles into the marketplace. We spoke to Holly to find out exactly what kind of thought goes into such a product before it appears on pharmacy shelves.
Holly told us that previously, pen needles came only in 100-count boxes except at one retailer, which marketed a 50-count box under a private label. UltiMed saw an opportunity to introduce 50-count boxes into the broader market. When they researched a little deeper, they found that the average insurance copay for items in the tier 2 category, which includes pen needles, is just over $21.00. Holly says, “So we knew that there was an opportunity to go out there with a product that quite frankly could be sold as a cash transaction, without being processed through your insurance, often for less than your copay.”
UltiMed also researched what a pharmacist wants in a pen needle box. According to Holly, “pharmacists have the greatest influence over the brand being dispensed”. Pharmacists wanted a small box that would fit in their limited shelf space and could be stacked in any number of orientations. They also emphasized that no matter how they oriented the boxes on their shelf, they needed to be able to see three key elements on the label: the gauge, length, and quantity.
So UltiMed designed their 50-count box with those imperatives in mind, and then they went a little farther. Holly says, “The box itself has a soft touch coating put over it through the printing process, so it’s one of those subliminal things when it’s handled by a pharmacist and even the actual end user. It feels really soft and smooth, and we wanted that to go hand in hand with the fact that you want to feel good about what you’re using and have it have a higher perceived value.”
The company also worked with a creative group to come up with packaging that would contrast to the “drab, boring, and medicinal” look of other pen needle packaging. Holly says, “We were trying to look more updated and current, with a fresh look and feel that would really set us apart when you looked at the box on the pharmacy shelf.”
Holly notes that UltiMed, a privately held company, has been in business for over 25 years, and owns and operates two manufacturing facilities. “All of our pen needles are assembled in the USA”.