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Executive Summary

SEN. KENNEDY SEEKS DRUG COMPANY DETAIL FORCE SIZES as part of the continuing preparation for threatened Senate Labor & Human Resources Committee hearings this summer on pharmaceutical promotional promotional and pricing practices. In June letters and telephone calls, the Massachusetts Democrat's committee staff has canvassed the drug industry for information on the size of detail forces in two benchmark years, 1985 and 1990. That type of specific inquiry is the kind that could lead to an instant chart or comparison to spice up an investigation nearing completion. Detail force sizes have been growing so rapidly and steadily during the 1980s that some management consultants are questioning the value of such large investments (See story, p. 16) The committee's chief investigator, Walter Sheridan, continues to head the pharmaceutical inquiry. Sheridan, who conducted the Kennedy investigations into pharmaceutical promotions in the 1970s, is being aided in the current effort by Mark Childress, a counsel to the committee. Kennedy also recently asked FDA for information on 20 prescription drugs. The committee requested NDA approval letters, official labeling and any documents pertaining to the advertising of the products. The FDA request sends a different type of signal on the status of the investigation. The broad inquiry indicates a continuing fishing trip for information. The Kennedy investigatory staff developed a reputation in the 1970's for carefully masking the thrust of hearings until the last moment. PMA has begun to prepare for potential hearings by reviewing the aggregate data on promotional activities already sent to Kennedy. The association reportedly held a meeting during the week of June 11-15 to review marketing practices with a representative group of senior marketing execs.

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