Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Prilosec OTC, Bunco, Wine and Cheese

Last week I was conducting enrollment meetings for a client. Yes, I do my own meetings because my clients hire me not a service rep. There are a number of hourly employees earning $9-$12 per hour at this company and many are single parents who need guidance. I decided to spend a bit more time sharing specific ways they could reduce their out of pocket expenses under the health plan relating two examples of common presciption drugs with good over the counter (OTC) alternatives, the versions of Prilosec and Claritin. All I did was spend 2 minutes making four points that also lightened the mood and kept the men awake.
  1. I take an OTC generic version of claritin with the same active ingredient as claritin and it costs me $6 for a 90 day supply. It works as well for me as the OTC claritin since its identical chemically. It is far more cost effective than a branded non-drowsy antihistamine.
  2. There is an OTC version of prilosec which is identical to nexium the only difference being that nexium becomes active when it hits the bloodstream which makes a difference for 5% of the population but does not effect the 95% for which OTC prilosec works fine.
  3. Can anyone tell me what the lady featured here does? Yes she is a cheerleader for The Tennessee Titans on Sundays but during the week she is a pharmacuetical rep. Ladies, would your Doctor see her? Most of the responses were"No, she was hired for her looks to sell." Guys, would your doctor see her and if so how much would he retain about her product. Most of the responses were "Yes, he would see her and no he probably would not remember the specifics of her product but would give out her samples so she kept coming back! (click here for details on Traci above).
  4. Does Traci hand out generic or tier III Brand samples? "Brands!, people would buy the generics"

Well you would have thought by the reaction I was explaining how to determine with 100% certainty the winning Lotto numbers. I had numerous questions. Many employees were shocked there are actual OTC chemical equivalents to their antihistamines and acid reflux drugs and kept me for 15 minutes asking questions.

Now I just noticed that Prilosec OTC is hosting a $50,000 World Bunco Championship, which also raises money for breast cancer and the details are here. I thought this comment was incisive because my wife always has reflux when she comes home from the wine and cheese bunco party;
"We found that twice as many frequent heartburn suffers play Bunco regularly compared to the general population," said Karen Klei, Brand Manager of Prilosec OTC. "We know women talk about health issues when they get together, so this has been a great way to educate them about how they can avoid frequent heartburn, and reward them with an opportunity to win $50,000 and be crowned Prilosec OTC Bunco World Champion!"

Prior to Wal-Mart's $4 generic campaign last fall I do not think we would have seen such a focused effort to publicize an OTC drug that has outstanding clinical outcomes. Oh and by the way its not on the formulary because its an OTC drug so if you do not have a group guy designing and communicating highly utilized OTC generics during your enrollment meetings your drug spend probably does not look so good. Which is also why my clients hire me to do the design and the enrollment.

Hat tip to Elana at funny business for pointing me to the cheerleaders


Elana said...

Thanks for the Hat Tip!Your post was very informative -- so glad that my little story on cheerleaders was an inspiration. That's the goal ( also to make folks smile)
I plan to visit on a regular basis.


Anonymous said...

FYI: Prilosec & Nexium are NOT exactly the same - nexium is a different salt and works slightly different - all intensive purposes - they're almost the same but not the same