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BOIRON LOOKING AT EXPANDED TV PROMOTION FOR OSCILLOCOCCINUM HOMEOPATHIC

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

BOIRON LOOKING AT EXPANDED TV PROMOTION FOR OSCILLOCOCCINUM HOMEOPATHIC cold remedy by the end of the year. Currently, the French company's Philadelphia-based U.S. subsidiary, Boiron- Borneman, is test marketing commercials in the Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Norfolk, Va. areas. Assuming continued distribution growth, the company plans to expand its television ad campaign to Philadelphia with the goal of covering the northeast by the end of the calendar year. The Oscillococcinum test ads have been running in the mid- Atlantic region since 1990. Boiron said it would not be "out of the question" for the company to develop commercials for the remaining line of homeopathic cough/cold products, which include Chestal, Sinusitis, and Coldcalm. Boiron also markets a line of allergy products and an OTC homeopathic sleep-aid, Quietude. Print ads, developed by Boiron's U.S. ad agency, New York- based Marshall Jaccoma Mitchell, currently run monthly on a rotating basis in magazines including People, Washingtonian, Prevention, Let's Live, New Age and The Utne Reader. The Lyons, France-based homeopathic medicine manufacturer and marketer highlighted the company's U.S. expansion plans in its 1992 annual report. The company reported that it "is developing a promotional strategy concerning consumer specialties on the OTC market through health food stores and pharmaceutical chains" and that it will expand its advertising efforts beyond Oscillococcinum to other products in the company's homeopathic medicine line. Boiron predicted that this strategy "should lead to homeopathy's taking hold in medical circles." Boiron's line of products are already carried by big-name drug wholesalers such as McKesson and Bergen-Brunswig and by health food store distributors such as Tree of Life, Stow Mills and Cornucopia. Boiron products are carried in drug chains, such as Rite-Aid, CVS, People's, Safeway, Giant, Osco, Sav-0n, Thrifty, PayLess, Thrift, Eckerd, Duane Reade and health food stores including GNC, Nature Foods Centres, Fresh Fields, Mrs. Gooch's and Bread and Circus. Officials at Boiron's U.S. subsidiary report that a surge in homeopathic drug sales began in about 1989 and has experienced average growth of 25% each year since that time. In addition to reaching consumers, Boiron said it is interested in improving physician awareness of homeopathic medicine in the U.S. The company is looking to expand its educational programs about homeopathic drugs and will encourage them to be included in the curriculum of U.S. medical schools. Although not directly involved in the development of an alternative medicine program at Harvard Medical School that includes a segment on homeopathic drugs, Boiron touted the program as a "good first step." The month-long Harvard program, called "An Introduction to Nonconventional Therapy," was first taught last January and has been picked up by 11 other medical schools around the country. Boiron reported that worldwide consolidated sales increased 6.9% to $ 188 mil. in 1992 (based on the Dec. 31, 1992 exchange rate for French francs). Sales from foreign subsidiaries represented $ 29.3 mil. of Boiron's worldwide sales, up 13.4% from the year before. Net income for 1992 was $ 12.4 mil., up 54% over the previous year. Outside of France, Boiron markets its products through foreign subsidiaries in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Canada and the U.S. Thierry Montfort is president of the U.S. office, which Boiron opened in 1983. Montfort also holds the title of vice president of the Boiron Research Foundation, a non-profit organization which Boiron describes as "the largest information resource [on homeopathic medicine] for health care professionals around the world." FDA currently regulates homeopathic medicines under a 1988 policy guide that recognizes a separate statutory framework from conventional pharmaceutical products. The FD&C Act recognizes as "official" the drugs and standards in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States. The HPUS is a compilation of standards for source, composition and preparation of homeopathic medicines and contains monographs of both OTC and prescription ingredients used in homeopathic treatment.

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