In this week’s Podcast: Tour Sponsor: Genexa―The Healthier Medicine we announce our newest kNew Vision Tour sponsor: Genexa, in a special interview with CEO David Johnson, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Menolascino, MD.
Genexa is the first non-GMO, organic micro-pharmaceutical company dedicated to making healthier over-the-counter medicines free from toxic fillers, artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, gluten, lactose, petroleum and other unsavory ingredients.
And they’re on a mission to educate consumers about what’s really hiding in their OTC medications.
If you’re a practitioner who recommends OTC medicines in conjunction with supplements, OR you’re a patient who uses OTC medicines for yourself or your children, you won’t want to miss this podcast.
Tune in today and learn all about it, including:
- How Genexa—the first organic, non-GMO micro-pharmaceutical company, got started
- Genexa’s mission to help educate the public on avoiding toxic ingredients in medicines
- An overview of their OTC line, including: like talc-free antacids, a menthol roll-on, disodium EDTA-free nasal sprays and clean laxative chewables for children and adults
- A crash-course in the toxic inactive medication fillers and preservatives found in nearly all OTC pharmaceuticals, and the non-toxic ingredients Genexa uses in place of these in their line
- How we’ll work with Genexa throughout the kNew Vision Tour to create a bridge to the 95% of Americans who rely on OTC medicines and know very little about functional medicine
- All about Genexa’s Healthcare Influencer Network, where you can promote your practice, find support, discounts for your patients, carry Genexa in-house and more
We are so excited about what this partnership will mean for the expansion of our community and the worldwide evolution of healthcare.
To learn more, listen, subscribe or read the transcript today.
Practitioners: to learn more about getting referrals, support, discounts for your patients, how to carry Genexa in-house and more, visit: goevomed.com/genexa.
Patients: if you’re interested in getting 2 free tickets to the kNew Vision Tour, courtesy of Genexa, visit: goevomed.com/tour, select your tour date/location and enter the code “Genexa” (first letter uppercase, the rest lowercase) to claim your two free tickets.
Resources Mentioned in this Podcast:
Genexa’s Healthcare Influencer Network (for practitioners)
For Audio Only:
James Maskell: Hello, and welcome to a very special episode of the Evolution of Medicine Podcast. We are on location in Beverly Hills, California. We’re at the offices of Genexa Health just down the road from where I live. I’m here with the CEO of Genexa Health David Johnson and also long time favorite of the Functional Forum and the Evolution of Medicine Mark Menolascino who’s the Chief Medical Officer. Really excited to have a conversation about how we’re going to evolve medicine and how we’re going to create a bridge to the 95% of Americans who don’t know anything about functional medicine and are currently just going straight to the pharma aisles and looking for OTC drugs.
So let’s start there, David. If it’s unlikely that we would have a conversation about pharmacology, which it is, we’ve never done this on the podcast before. It’s kind of unlikely to even start this kind of company. So how did you end up essentially starting an innovative pharma company?
David Johnson: That’s correct, James. It’s great to be here and thanks for coming out.
Being the son of two chiropractic physicians and naturopaths, taking/drinking honey and water and lemon and water to get better and to heal myself. That’s how I practice now with my two and my five year old and my wife as well. We always turn to healing instead of the OTC shelf. But what really this company was about is not that nuts and seeds household that I was grown up in. This company was formed to really help educate, like you said, the 95% of the American consumer that when their kids sick and they their eyes red and they can’t move and they’re coughing and they can’t get out of bed because of their feed, it’s where do they turn? They turn to the OTC shelf. So Genexa was formed to really help educate that consumer about what’s in their medicine, what’s behind everything that they’re giving their child, what they’re giving themselves, and what they’re giving their family because for us it’s that medicine can be cleaner. It’s everything that drives us daily.
James Maskell: So just to give a little context for our audience, what are some of the products that Genexa makes now that are a good fit for the community at home to be recommended?
David Johnson: So Genexa launched with 11 homeopathic skews. We launched with the homeopathic skews not only from a business standpoint, it being the largest growing sector of the OTC space, but we launched with the homeopathic skews because it really allowed us to focus on what the ingredients were, making sure they were organic, non-GMO, vegan, and gluten free.
From there, we’ve now started to expand into the overall OTC space, and that has lead us to create the first and only non-GMO, organic Tums that removes talc’s and dyes. We’ve launched a menthol roll on called Pain Crush that is like an Icy Hot. We have two nasal sprays that remove disodium, EDCA. On for infants and one for adults. The last current skews that are launching into the market are two laxatives. It’s not necessarily Pedialax, but it replaces Pedialax for children. It’s a chocolate chewable. Another laxative for adults.
We currently have about 28 products in R&D, and if Genexa can make it healthier and can put it on shelf, we’ll do that. We’ll make it cleaner and put it on shelf, we’ll do that. We really just want the customer, the consumer, the patient to know that when they see Genexa, it means that Genexa really put forth that effort to clean it.
James Maskell: Awesome. Absolutely. Yeah, it’s super exciting to be here and see the start of this. Mark, I know you’ve been involved now as the Chief Medical Officer. There’s a lot of opportunities on your plate, right? You’re leading the conversations with the Predicine Program, teaching doctors. There’s a lot of things that you could be doing. Why did this grab you in such a profound way?
Mark Menolascino: Well, like all three of us, I’m a dad as well. I really think that there’s a better option out there. I remember staring at the shelves looking for these options when my kids are sick and not knowing that this was coming. The fact that David and his partner, Max, put together the first organic, non-GMO pharmaceutical company in the world makes me want to get behind it. I think that’s the message that is so easy to share with all of us in functional medicine. That this is literally a no brainer. There is a cleaner option. There are better options out there. It’s nice that there is an opportunity to do better for ourselves, our families, our kids, and our patients.
James Maskell: Can you just talk me through because I know that they’re historically pharmaceutical companies didn’t have to disclose any of their ingredients, right? They could just do whatever they want. What are the things that are in pharmaceuticals now that shouldn’t be, and that if people are taking them are causing them harm?
Mark Menolascino: Well, it’s interesting, James, because as an integrative function medicine doctor, I was always concerned about dirty supplements. I think they’ve done a good job of cleaning up the supplement world. There are very high quality supplements out there that are very clean. We never turned our attention to medications. If you wonder why the anti-inflammatory blue or why that anti-acid is pink or why your thyroid medicine is blue, there’s a reason. These are dyes, preservatives, and a lot of the allergens we do so much work to avoid in our food are in our medications. The lactose, the dairy products, the glutens, the soys, and it’s really these synthetic preservatives, synthetic dyes and the fillers and binders, these are not things that our body can use as medication. These are things that are toxic to us. I never really thought toxicity was as big a deal as it was until Joe Pizzorno convinced me that it is. It is probably the biggest thing our plate as functional medicine doctors is helping the body to deal with toxicity and get rid of it.
This concept of toxic load is that we just want to not do anything that increases the toxic load already on us from our less than clean water, less than clean food, less than clean environment. So I think the idea of having an option when you do need a medication to have as a cleaner version in an organic, non-GMO base, is the key. So there’s a real difference between a GMO’d product versus something that is organically farmed in a conscious way, pesticide free in a non-GMO product. So whether it’s a tapioca starch binder from the middle of America with GMO processed tapioca base versus an organic pharma Brazil, they are not the same thing. Toxic ingredients such as magnesium stearate, if it’s a synthetic magnesium with a magnesium ion and two stearate acids added to it, that’s different than the one that’s derived naturally from a palm oil, particularly an organic, non-GMO form of palm oil. So they’re not the same thing.
James Maskell: Yeah, one thing I learned last night. We were at Dr. Hyla Cass has run the west side meet up for I think 30 years. I was actually one of the original sort of things that I saw that I was like why don’t they have in New York and it kind of was the beginning of the Functional Forum really because she had been running this group. We had the meeting last night. One of the things that blew me away was what percentage of the actual pill is the drug? Can you just share that with, David. I mean, the stats there, that blew me away. I had no idea that the active ingredient in some of these drugs represented what percent?
David Johnson: So it ranges but on average it’s about the active ingredient represents about 5%, 5%-10%. When you start to look into that, which we were driven by in the beginning, is you start to take the tablet, the liquid, whatever the delivery system is a part, and you realize that you can remove all of that and still deliver the reason that the drug exists. It’s so validating to see that you can remove the things that Mark just commented on because they’re unnecessary.
James Maskell: We’re in a situation where a vast, vast, vast majority of Americans are in the pharmaceutical game at some point. This is American’s the pharmaceutical capital of the world. So there’s a lot of people who are being exposed to these toxins I can imagine. What was the feedback from now speaking to 50 practitioners at Hyla’s thing last night?
Mark Menolascino: The data that we hear shocks is that the average woman puts on 120 chemicals before she leaves the house for the day. All of us that are in medicine that are trying to help our patients are realizing that there is an increasing burden of these chemicals. The more that you learn about this, the more frustrating you become that there wasn’t a better option. Really kudos to Dave and his team, they spent years looking for an inactive carrier. How do you carry the medication in a healthy way? That’s really been the code that they’ve cracked in their company Genexa. How do you deliver these medications and these active ingredients in a safe, natural, healthy and active carrier? Because so much of the medicine is fillers and binders. There’s also parabens and phthalates and multiple medications containing things that you can’t even pronounce. That’s one of my first messages to my patients. Turn the box over. If it says organic this, organic that, or whatever it says on the back of the Genexa box, those are what you want. If there are chemicals that you can’t pronounce or your kids can’t pronounce, those probably aren’t things you want to give to yourself or your kids.
James Maskell: Am I right in thinking that it was only in the last couple of years that you actually had to say what was in the medication? So now there’s this opportunity because it was kind of a black box before in a Tylenol world.
Mark Menolascino: Yeah, it’s not been as regulated as tightly as it is now. That’s one of the benefits of using a company like Genexa is you have the idea of what’s in the box and they have to tell you in the inactive ingredients. But it’s really looking at what those different ones are.
James Maskell: Absolutely. You want to follow on to that? I mean, what were some of the … When you start to build a company like this, what are some of the problems that you come across? What are some of the things that you see that this needs to be fixed?
David Johnson: Yeah, I think the problems you come across obviously is it’s been done for so long. There’s the big boys in the pharmaceutical industry and I respect so much of what they’ve already done and what they’ve accomplished and how many people they’ve helped and how many people they’ve saved. But specifically in the medicinal category, it’s important to recognize that the labeling is key to the consumer now. You never would have thought that 10 years ago the organic industry would be growing at 14% a year every year and become this major billion dollar industry. That coupled with the growth of organic supplements and healthier supplements to organic shampoos to non-GMO food, organic food, organic beverages. It’s just there’s such a movement, and the average consumer right now is really trying to figure out health. I mean, look at all the shifts from RX to OTC. Let’s get OTC to supplements. Let’s get supplements to hopefully nothing, right? That’s the overall goal here is to help people find their way and educate and be there for them.
James Maskell: That’s awesome. So as I started to come across you guys and what you’re doing and understand the mission and heard about it from Mark, I started to check out the Medical Advisory Board that you guys have pulled together for this business to take it forward and I got some of the details here. You’ve got Mark, obviously. You’ve got doctors like Taz Bhatia, Joel Kahn, Alejandro Junger, Deanna Minich, Kellyann Petrucci, Amy Shaw. I mean, these are people that are well known in the functional medicine industry and thought leaders in innovative and functional medicine. What was it about this community that you felt were sort of a grounding point for the sort of the genesis of Genexa?
David Johnson: Yeah. So every doctor on there is highly respected and in their own right has really effected so many individuals within their practices and around the world. Many of them are remarkable speakers, have gone in front of many TV shows and really capitalized on a macro level. Through that, us at Genexa, going back a step. I actually come from probably two of the first IFM participants. Both of my parents were IFM. They were there with Bland when it all launched.
James Maskell: Wow.
David Johnson: I had the privilege to see him recently and we talked about it. It was pretty special because to see where it’s evolved to today and how significant it’s becoming, it’s everything. But going back to the Medical Advisory Board, these individuals help Genexa really help out and capitalize on a macro level. Genexa’s already at the macro level, right? So we’re through out the United States. We’re expanding international countries. So what this team does is it helps us with not only credibility but just get the word out to more and more patients and consumers alike.
James Maskell: Tell us some of the stores where you guys are right now in America and where you hope to be at the end of the year.
David Johnson: Yeah. We’re in CVS, we’re in GNC. We have a launch in two months into Whole Foods. We’re currently in Sprouts. We launched into Sprouts about a month ago. We’re in Pharma integrated pharmacy. I mean, Fresh Time Markets, Lucky’s. We’re pretty much around the country.
James Maskell: You have such an elevation in the ability of the population to read labels, right? From the food movement and now I think it’s an obvious thing that these people want a differentiating factor. One thing I wanted to say, Mark, is that I think traditionally in the functional medicine space we’ve seen each other, we’ve seen ourselves as sort of the antithesis of pharma, right? That’s pharma over here and we’re functional medicine and we’re trying to get people off drugs. One of the things that really appeals to me about this is just starting to have someone in that corner who is obviously on the same team, right? Ultimately like if you’re parents or friends with Jeff Bland and going to the training at the beginning and you filled our Medical Advisory Board with functional medicine people, you obviously see a similar vision to what we see in functional medicine. I just love for you to talk into that a little bit.
Mark Menolascino: Well the world of function medicine is so exciting with the work of IFM and David’s parents as we had dinner with Jeff Bland. Jeff knew them, had them at one of his first conferences in the early ’90s when I think there were 35 or 40 people. Now the conference in two weeks is going to have 1100 people. It’s a tribe. What I love is the support of the tribe and that’s why the Medical Advisory Board is such a great cohesive group. They all have specific unique areas of excellence that they come together and bring this tidal wave of momentum. It’s kind of like your functional medicine meet ups, James. I’ve been to three different ones. There’s essentially one last night as well. This idea of communities of doctors working together. We’re stronger in our team than we are by ourselves. The information, the way we share things is not just this is what worked for me but this is what worked for me. Here’s exactly what I used. Here’s the protocol I used. Here’s my cell phone. Here’s my email. If it doesn’t work for you, let me know and I’ll help you fine tune it.
This is a movement. It’s not an us against them. It’s not the function med docs against the allopaths. Whether you’re a nutritionist, a physical therapist, a DIO, an MD, an ND, we’re all in the same tribe. That’s what I like about it is that there’s no bias there. It’s all about the patient. At the core, the messaging for Genexa’s products is that here’s a pharmaceutical company that’s all about your patient. It’s about providing a better option to them. When you go to the stores that David mentioned and pull both boxes and look at them, it’s going to be obvious which one you want to take home, which one you want to recommend to your patient. It’s literally a no brainer.
James Maskell: Yeah. I mean, one of the things that … Sorry.
David Johnson: No. A little more on that, I think going back to pharmacy versus IFM verse integrated, however you want to … Sorry, pharmaceutical to IFM to the integrative doc. Whatever you want to call it. I see Genexa as not being in corner. I see Genexa as really just about we have a customer, right? That customer can’t turn to a doctor. They can’t afford to turn to the doctor all the time. That customer is not the 1% of American that shops at Whole Foods, right? While that customer will buy the product because they’re looking already because they understand what they’re putting in their body. The real customer that wants to be touched is the one that is trying to educate and they’re trying to educate themselves based on they’ve had a reaction to this drug. This didn’t work for them. What Genexa does is it brings that to the forefront and it helps that person get answers. If someone emails us, we send it over to our doctor team. They’ve get a response. They didn’t pay for it, right? So we’re all about educating the customer, consumer, patient, whatever you want to call it, but it just doesn’t happen right now with the current industry as it is.
James Maskell: Yeah. Absolutely. So I’m interested in getting patients across and having them think about it. But I’m also interested in doctors. I mean, ultimately the evolution of medicine is about physicians and it’s about providing the spark that makes a physician think, “Okay. I want to practice differently.” I think maybe the share from the AAFP recently where they’re like, “Okay. Functional medicine. We’re kind of getting into it now.” That’s a big step in the right direction. It seems like a patient coming into the doctor’s office and saying, “Hey, what do you think about this,” might be a moment too because it seems like if the doctor realizes that people care about toxicity, now it starts a conversation about food. Now it starts a conversation about supplements. How do you see that this could help to bring the next generation of like doctors across to thinking in a more functional way?
Mark Menolascino: Well, I think the Institute for Functional Medicine did a great job of keeping their level of quality of training and certification high, and that’s why the American Academy of Family Practices has reached out and validated what they’re doing. It’s great to see this is a rising tide is lifting all boats. That level of quality of training is by osmosis. But really the core of what we’re seeing our clients, the consumers, the customers, as David mentioned, they are self educating. They are learning more. My daughter’s 16, I know we all have young kids. It’s that generation that really gets it. They are so information savvy that they know some of this already. My daughter’s a foodie, all of her friends are foodies. They’re looking for better options already.
So I think what we’re finding is that instead of the doctor sitting in the big chair and telling people what to do, there’s become this partnership and that’s what most people want is a partnership. David talks about that 99% that’s not shopping for organic food already, that doesn’t have that ability or awareness of that. Those are the people that I really hope with the IFM, with the Functional Forum, with Genexa, with our Advisory Board, those are the people I really want to speak out to and touch and help them to have better options. If I need a medication, I need a medication. I prescribed medications on a daily basis, but I want to know that there’s options. When there are options, I want their to be a cleaner option.
James Maskell: So what are the options for practitioners that are watching who are like, “Yeah, I want to make sure that if people are going to get … If they’re buying Tylenol now, they buy whatever we have over here.” What are the options for a practitioner to be able to make these recommendations that’s just like, “Go to CVS and get this.” How’s that working?
David Johnson: I think obviously they could recommend to go to Genexa’s website, type in a zip code, see where the closest store that’s located next to them, but I think what Genexa is willing to provide to any practitioner that wants to be involved with the company is we offer the doctor a bio and a picture on the website. Our website gets a lot of traffic. So we like to put that out there. We don’t mind if the doctor has a link to their personal website or anything like that. We offer codes to the practitioners so they’re able to sell those products if the person wants to purchase it through our website. We do offer discounts and we have a practitioner portal on our current website. Where practitioners can actually just go buy for wholesale and sell at their store if they have a store in the office. Then we do distribute through some practitioner channels. We can always provide that information.
James Maskell: Outside of the traffic from the blog, what are some benefits that the patients of the practitioners in our community will get from partnering with Genexa?
David Johnson: So the patients will all receive a code that will be specific to that practitioner. That practitioner, by giving them the code, will get the patient a certain discount on products that they purchase through the Genexa website.
James Maskell: Awesome. That’s one of the things I wanted to talk about actually to the community here is that the very, very beginning of the Functional Forum, I was blogging every day or every week actually on Mind, Body, Green. At that moment, Mind, Body, Green was hot. It was before the algorithm changed in Facebook. So it made a lot of sense for the practitioners in our community to go and blog there because there was great traffic. Every blog that was submitted was put on the Facebook and it got tons of likes and shares. Then the algorithm changed. It wasn’t so exciting. What I think there’s a great opportunity for all you practitioners at home is to partner up. If you go to goevoemed.com/Genexa, you can put in your details there and you can become part of the Genexa family and take advantage of the resources they’re going to create.
Ultimately, these guys already in so many distribution networks. There’s going to be a lot of people that are finding them and then looking for the next step. Ultimately, we want that next step to be the kind of practitioners in our community. So if you go to goevomed.com/Genexa, put in your details there. You can have a bio on the site. There can be a practitioner finder and an opportunity as this word gets out that they’ll be a lot more ways for them to end up in your practice, which is pretty exciting.
So I guess the last thing that I want talk about here today is the tour, right? We’re going out on tour June 25th this summer. We’re going to be going city to city across America sharing about functional medicine. One of the things that I was looking for with this tour was ways in which we could actually connect to a population out there that needs this that hasn’t found it yet. I mean, ultimately the need for lifestyle driven medicine is everywhere, and more here than in any other country. So my hope and my feeling is that this conversation about organic medicine can be a bride to bring consumers across who would never have thought of going to a function medicine doctor. Don’t know what it is. Right? In the 90% of people who have never heard of it. I think that’s the most exciting thing about this summer for me is just being able to go out, have these kind of conversations, and meet people where they are and then bring them along.
Mark Menolascino: Well, functional medicine really is the answer to chronic illness. The Cleveland Clinic believes in it. That’s why they put the clinic at the Cleveland Clinic. The messaging from Institute for Functional Medicine the training that they’re doing. What the future will be is not just medicine, it’ll be functional medicine. It is the cure for the chronic illness, and part of it is making good choices. I really feel the army that we have and I encourage you to share this message with three of your friends. Share it with your other doctor friends. Tell hem about the EvoMed mission, tell them about the Functional Forum. Find a meet up in your zip code, and look at the Genexa website. Be part of our mission, be part of our army, and together we’re going to help all of our clients, all of the consumers to raise their education level to help them to change the face of medicine. We’ll be their ally along the way.
James Maskell: If you change the medicine you’re taking, the next obvious step is to change the kind of doctor you want to engage with, right? The type of practice that you’re looking for. So yeah, it’s an exciting year. I can see so much coming from it. It’s been such a pleasure to get to know David and your family and what you guys are up here to. I would encourage everyone that’s at home, check out Genexa. Go to goevomed.com/Genexa. You can sign up to be a partner with it. You’ll be seeing Genexa all over the tour bus this summer, and we’ll be coming city to city coming to connect at a city hear you. It’s been really appreciate David just taking the lead on this area. We’re always looking for people that are stepping up to fill in a gap of where we believe where medicine has been and where it’s going. More than anything, I can see that Genexa could be an incredible catalyst to take this conversation forward. So thank you for the leadership and building this.
Mark, I can see that with the community that they’ve built and the Medical Advisory Board, this is something that will be really embraced by our community and something that will help to shift the conversation.
Mark Menolascino: The future is exciting. The future is functional medicine. We appreciate you leading the charge.
James Maskell: Thank you. Well, this has been the Evolution of Medicine Podcast. I’m here on location in Beverly Hills, California. I’m here with the Genexa team. Check out goevomed.com/Genexa. We’ll have all the details in the show notes. Thanks so much for watching, and we’ll see you next time.
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