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Prevention and Medical Economics Co. have reached a custom-publishing deal that will offer prescription-drug marketers exclusive ad space in supplements targeting both consumers and doctors.

The supplements, each devoted to a single disease or condition, will run in the Rodale consumer title and two Medical Economics publications: Patient Care, aimed at primary care physicians, and Drug Topics, targeted to pharmacists.

Some opponents of direct-to-consumer Rx advertising have argued the pitches catch doctors off-guard by prompting consumers to seek prescriptions. Executives at Prevention and Medical Economics contend their joint ad packages theoretically will give physicians a heads-up on what kinds of questions and prescription requests their patients will have.

"This is about keeping the physician in the loop to make sure the message is effective all the way through," said Terrence Meacock, VP-group publisher at Medical Economics.


Although some drug marketers, such as Pfizer, employ similar themes in their DTC and professional ads, most drug makers typically take vastly different tacks in trying to persuade physicians and consumers to use their products.

"If you look at the litany of advertising to doctors and consumers, if you've targeted the ad well, you'll still see two different ads," said Sander Flaum, chairman-CEO of agency Robert A. Becker/Euro RSCG, New York.


Still, Carol DiSanto, exec VP-director of client services at Pfizer agency Cline, Davis & Mann, New York, said the issue-specific supplements provide a needed opportunity.

"Physicians are consumers, too, and [since] you're making such an investment behind a consumer campaign, you get more for your money," she said.

Expected to begin appearing next year, the Prevention/Medical Economics supplements will be identical, except for a cover letter tailored to the individual audiences. Editorial content, expected to focus on treatment options and new research, will be jointly composed by the staffs of the three publications.

Supplement sizes most likely will be 16 pages, with five pages of advertising.

Ad rates aren't set, but space will cost more than purchasing individual pages in the respective publications, according to executives.

"It isn't a multibook discount," said Alan Reubel, Prevention's sales development director. "It's an educational resource spread across three titles."

The deal is aimed at attracting some of the money that drug marketers spend during an initial DTC ad push, Mr. Reubel said, though he also suggested over-

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