ABBOTT's NEW NATIONAL HEALTH CARE ACCOUNTS UNIT
ABBOTT's NEW NATIONAL HEALTH CARE ACCOUNTS UNIT will develop pharmaceutical marketing and customer service programs for HMOs, nursing homes, drug wholesalers and chain and independent drugstores, the company announced Feb. 3. "The creation of the managed health care/national accounts business unit will dramatically increase our customer orientation," Abbott VP-Pharmaceutical Operations Paul Clark commented. "Abbott will be in closer contact with these markets, allowing us to be more responsive to our customers' needs." The national accounts unit includes two specialized sales groups. A seven-person group, which has been operating for about two years to service wholesaler and chain accounts, will add responsibility for nursing home business. A second three-man group will be responsible for HMO accounts. The unit is headed by Richard Haiduck, whose 12 year career at Abbott includes general manager experience in the Far East. Most recently, he was Abbott's director of sales and marketing operations. The special sales staff has been recruited from within the company and includes personnel with experience at the district manager level. Abbott is joining a growing number of pharmaceutical firms that are setting up national accounts units to compete for the managed health system business. The national accounts structure allows drug firms to tailor products and service packages to meet the individual needs of national buying entities. "Due to the tremendous changes that have occurred in the health care system, many parties in addition to the physician make decisions regarding prescription medications," the release states. "In today's health care environment, it is not enough for a medication to be safe and efficacious. The drug must also be cost-effective." Sandoz implemented a similar program in 1986, and the firm expects to increase the number of account managers, currently at 15, to approximately 45 within the next two years. SmithKline's recent supply contract with Hospital Corporation of America was arranged by its corporate accounts office ("The Pink Sheet" Jan. 25, T&G-10). "The managed health care/national accounts group" will allow "greater focus and understanding of the critical issues facing our pharmaceutical customers," Haiduck said. "This field sales organization will be assisted by a headquarters support group that includes personnel dedicated to marketing, pharmacy information and customer service."
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