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Healthcare Promotions: A Prescription for Change

By Rich Butler

For years, doctors and medical professionals received a broad range of non-medically related logoed gifts and incentive perks meant to entice the prescribing of a certain brand of drugs. Pharmaceutical drug sales reps have had a rather healthy "carte-blanche" approach to wooing doctors with lavish five-star dinners, front row theater and ballgame tickets, not to mention subsidized get-away excursions to exotic destinations. But as of July 1, 2002, this all came to a crashing halt!

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) revised its code of ethics to ban the use of certain promotional products for physicians. The new code does not eliminate the use of promotional products, but rather it provides a guideline for what is and what is not considered "appropriate."

The new code makes it crystal clear the interactions of drug company sales representatives with healthcare professionals are to "benefit patients and enhance the practice of medicine."

The code specifies items primarily for the benefit of patients may be offered to healthcare professionals if they are not of substantial value ($100 or less). For example, the code states products used in an examination room (such as alcohol prep pads and antibacterial wipes) and primarily involves a patient benefit, whereas baseballs caps and golf balls do not.

A Medically Relevant Promotional Products Solution
Pharmaceuticals merely need to rethink the types of promotional products meeting the new PhRMA guidelines. Products such as PromoSoap™ Line antibacterial hand soaps, waterless hand gels, alcohol prep pads, antibacterial towelettes and antiseptic hand sprays all offer uniquely beneficial and thoughtful ways to communicate a brand logo or message. They are "medically relevant" and of significant value to the medical environment and patient.

Why Hand Care Products?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, "Hand washing is one of the most important means of preventing the spread of infection. It is the first line of defense for infectious diseases, including respiratory infections and gastrointestinal disorders."

Tips For Hand Soaps And Antibacterial Products
Doctors are trained to wash their hands after each patient contact. What promotional product offers more daily multiple advertising exposures than a strategically placed bottle of hand soap decorated "compliments of" that certain drug brand?

How about a custom molded soap dispenser bottle in the shape of a "nose" for that new allergy drug brand or a capsule-shaped pump bottle for that new heartburn medication?

For times when conventional hand washing is not convenient or accessible, a cleverly decorated bottle of antibacterial waterless hand gel or an antibacterial skin cleanser spray tube gets the job done. Suitable for reception areas, nurses' stations, doctors' desks, exam rooms or even pockets, customized antibacterial gels and sprays are effective brand reminders sure to be used and noticed.

Alcohol Prep Pads and antibacterial towelettes provide tons of advertising space for literally pennies an exposure. These medical staples are found in every doctor's office.

COPYRIGHT © 2002 PPAI. All Rights Reserved.
Rich Butler is the owner of PPAI supplier member The W.I.S.E. Group

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