PHYSICIANS' SAMPLE HOTLINE IN CANADA IS OWNED BY MEDICAL COMMUNICATIONS
PHYSICIANS' SAMPLE HOTLINE IN CANADA IS OWNED BY MEDICAL COMMUNICATIONS Group and is unrelated to Sample Control Systems, which is offering a similar service in the U.S. ("The Pink Sheet" June 11, T&G-13). The U.S. firm, Sample Control Systems, in partnership with Montreal-based Health Marketing Resources, is currently in the midst of launching a phone-in prescription sampling service in the U.S. similar to the sample hotline Medical Communication Group has operated in Canada since 1986. In a letter to "The Pink Sheet," Medical Communications Group President Daryl Erickson stated that "Health Marketing Resources does not operate a physician sampling service nor does it have anything to do with the Physicians' Sample Hotline in Canada. My company, Medical Communications Group, operates and owns the Physicians' Sample Hotline in Canada." Erickson added that "the basic procedures outlined in [the June 11 story in "The Pink Sheet"] is the system we currently use with our program which was developed and is owned by my firm in its entirety." Erickson also pointed out that the Canadian firm currently deals with products from "15-20 firms in Canada" and not 25-30 firms as reported in "The Pink Sheet." In addition, Erickson stated: "We have not dealt with Johnson & Johnson, we do not handle any products for Lilly nor do we handle products for Upjohn." The winter-spring catalog for Physicians' Sample Hotline does not include any products from either Lilly or Upjohn, but does include two products marketed in the U.S. by J&J subsidiary Janssen -- Nizoral 2% cream and Hismanal. The principals in Management Communications Group and Health Marketing Resources were initially involved in developing the phone-in sampling service that was introduced in Canada in 1986, according to Sample Control Systems. However, Healthcare Marketing Services sold its interest in the business in 1988. The firm later approached the direct mail advertising firm Clark-O'Neill with a proposal to establish a similar program in the U.S. Although Clark-O'Neill declined to get into the business, former IMS America Senior VP James Manion and former Fisher Stevens/Clark-O'Neill exec Duke Powell entered into a partnership with Health Marketing Resources to establish a phone-in sampling service in the U.S. The June 11 story in "The Pink Sheet" was based on a brochure put out by Sample Control Systems for its phone-in sampling service, which will be called "The Physician's Sample Hotline," and from information provided by the company's management. The draft brochure did not contain any reference to Medical Communications Group or mention that Physicians' Sample Hotline in Canada is unrelated to the U.S. operation. However, Sample Control Systems has recently revised its brochure to state that "Healthcare Marketing Resources Inc. originated and developed the concept in Canada [but sold] all interests...in 1988."
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