Inoculation and Mutation
Scientific rigidity aside, there is some leeway in the code as to what kinds of products can be used in marketing campaigns. “The real strict [guidelines] are for what the pharmaceutical rep gives the doctor,” said Shevin-Sandy. “The ones that go out to the patient, they’re a little bit more lenient. You can still use a pen if it’s in a jotter, like a patient-care kit, so the patient has a little journal to write down when they took their medication or how they’re feeling or whatever they need to keep track of.” In addition, promotional items can provide necessary education and support. She pointed to an injection kit that helps patients recall the correct way to administer shots once at home and away from a doctor’s supervision.
Shevin-Sandy also emphasized the overall opportunity for growth within the PhRMA code. “For me, I’m not interested in doing five million pens,” she said. “I’m more interested in doing an educational piece where the distributor and supplier can both actually make a little bit of profit, and not have it be a price war against five other suppliers and five other distributors.” The creative challenge was something else she welcomed: “You need to think about how to use the drug, what can be done for the doctor to teach the patient about the drug and how [the patient] cares for themselves afterwards. So there are several different approaches to it.”