Friday, January 18, 2008

Duluth Bans Tchotchkes -- That's Snot Funny!

According to a report in the The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a Duluth-based health system is declaring a ban on drug-logo freebies, no matter how small. That includes, according to the report, a disembodied stuffed nose from Allegra that exclaims, "That's snot funny!"

I guess the pharmaceutical industry also doesn't find it funny that more and more hospitals and health systems are banning freebies (aka tchotchkes) that their sales reps give to physicians. See also "Minnesota Limit on Gifts to Doctors May Catch On."

Pharmaceutical companies claim that many "freebies" are actually educational. Perhaps the "snot funny" nose with the Allegra logo on it is educational; after all, it coveys an important message that allergies are not funny and may a major cause of the dreaded Runny Nose Syndrome (RNS), which sadly afflicts many millions of Americans. No doubt it's secondary purpose is to remind docs to prescribe Allegra (isn't there a generic version? Oh yeah, generic companies don't give away tchotchkes).

Tchotchkes can also make subtle claims about a drug's efficacy or indication that may violate FDA regulations. In November 2006, for example, J&J's Scios unit was cited for "inappropriate reminder labeling" by the FDA for distributing a Natrecor heart failure drug computer mouse pad and pen to physicians (see "The Natrecor Waterboard Tortured Tchotchke").

Not too long ago, I hosted an online survey and a Pharma Marketing Expert Roundtable discussion on the topic of gifts to physicians. The article "Free Gifts to Physicians: What's the Big Deal?" summarizes the findings of that survey and includes comments and insights from Roundtable members.

In case you're too cheap to buy the reprint, you can access the de-identified survey results here.

BTW, I tried to find a photo of the talking Allegra nose tchotchke via a Google search and over at the Drug Rep Toys blog, but could only come up with this YouTube Moose video, which I hope you enjoy:

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:05 AM

    His all story is very emblishing wish he all the best.


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