NEWTON SQUARE, Pa. — Homeopathic medicine manufacturer Boiron Inc. celebrated the grand opening of its new headquarters here at 4 Campus Boulevard Tuesday, September 17. The new building is adjacent to the company’s old headquarters, but at some 32,000 square feet, is double the size.
Boiron, which has 3,700 employees and distribution in 59 countries, is best known for Oscillococcinum, a top-selling flu medicine, and its Arnicare line of gel, cream and oral pain relievers, which is one of the fastest-growing brands in the external pain category.
Founded in 1932 in Lyon, France, by twin brothers and pharmacists Jean and Henri Boiron, the company established its U.S. presence in 1983 when it acquired John A. Borneman & Sons Inc. in suburban Philadelphia.
Michèle Boiron, pharmacist and daughter of Jean Boiron, cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the new headquarters.
Looking for a new space to accommodate the growing company, Janick Boudazin, president and chief executive officer of Boiron USA, says he had time to find the right location because outgrowing the former building had been a gradual process. For this reason, Boudazin says the company had time to consider its priorities, such as retaining the talent that had contributed to Boiron’s growth. “The move to next door eliminated disrupting employees’ commutes and family routines,” he says. “Snapping up the vacant and suitably-sized building within our corporate campus also allows us to continue with the relationships we’ve built in the township offices and all our contacts here in Philadelphia’s backyard.”
One of the key features of the new headquarters, other than doubling the space, includes an open layout, which Boudazin says was adopted in order to facilitate collaboration and provide natural light for all employees. “Everyone, even me as CEO, has an open space,” he says, “or huddle areas.”
The new headquarters also features a café-styled cafeteria that Boudazin believes will attract millennial employees for fresh perspectives. “Investing in a large space and in barista décor for the cafeteria is also about changing habits,” he adds. “Stepping away from your desk for lunch and interacting with others is important for communication flow and the exchange of ideas.”
Other highlights of the new building include a training room that seats 80 and the space to further educate healthcare providers, retailers and consumers on the practice of homeopathy, which Boudazin notes has always been a key strategy for Boiron. “To move this educational effort into the digital age, we even devoted a small sound-proof room for FaceTime interviews, streaming webinars, and radio interviews,” he says.
And this educational capability is essential to the Boiron mission, Boudazin points out, as there is still skepticism surrounding homeopathic medicine, especially in the U.S., and educating Americans on the benefits of homeopathy has always been one of Boiron’s foundational pillars.
Homeopathy is a practice of alternative medicine dating back to 1796 when Samuel Hahnemann established the doctrine of “like cures like,” which posits that the same substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people can also cure similar symptoms in those who are sick.
“While we sample and educate target consumers at many events per year, our main strategy is to educate healthcare professionals and pharmacists who in turn recommend purchases of over-the-counter homeopathic medicines at convenient local chain drug stores,” Boudazin explains. “For example, many pharmacists are surprised to know clinical studies support our marketing of Oscillococcinum to shorten both the severity and duration of flu symptoms.”
Along with the company’s efforts, Boudazin says chain drug stores and mass marketers have helped tremendously to connect mainstream shoppers with homeopathic medicines as these products have gained shelf presence in recent years. “Polls have shown that trials of homeopathic products spur extraordinarily high word-of-mouth promotion,” Boudazin says. “These recommendations from trusted family and friends inspire purchases.”
As with all fields of medicine, those practicing homeopathy are well aware of the opioid crisis gripping America, which seems to be getting worse. Boudazin believes that homeopathy can play a role in addressing what many believe is America’s most pressing health crisis in that homeopathic remedies formulated to deal with pain could potentially be part of the solution.
To substantiate his argument, Boudazin cites a report from the Department of Health and Human Services released in December 2018. The department’s Draft Report on Pain Management Best Practices recommends a multimodal approach to acute pain relief, including internal and external O-T-C pain relievers.
“As such, Boiron will educate healthcare providers to discuss pain management options with their patients and explore if over-the-counter options with less risks, such as Arnicare, can be used as a first line treatment while reserving prescription medications for more serious flare-ups,” he says.