Pharmacist link strengthened

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For companies such as Health Resource Publishing Co., pharmacists are the messengers for drug and healthcare marketers trying to target their communications to consumers.

Seven months ago, the division of Catalina Marketing created Compliance Direct, a pharmacy-operated program that lets drug marketers communicate with patients via letters from their pharmacists.


Without revealing to advertisers who is taking their medication, Compliance Direct allows drug companies to pay for compliance letters, which remind patients to refill a specific medication, provide information about patient support groups or give details about new drugs that might have a compliance benefit such as reducing a daily dosage from three pills a day to one.

"Ideally, what manufacturers are after is increased sales," says Don Dietz, VP at consultancy Pharmacy Compliance Solutions. "[Compliance marketing] is a more targeted approach for advertising a product."

Mr. Dietz says programs like Compliance Direct also help pharmacies by boosting return visits and patients by providing reminders about refills and information on drug education programs.


The letters, printed on the pharmacy's letterhead, explain which drug company paid for the letter and assure the recipient that their patient information isn't shared with the drug marketer.

With 10 pharmacy retail chains currently signed on, Compliance Direct expects to mail more than 2 million letters to patients taking a variety of branded drugs, says Ed Rhoads, senior VP-marketing and new business development at Health Resource.

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