P&G Pharma Names Roska Direct

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Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals has named Roska Direct to handle relationship marketing for Asacol, an ulcerative colitis prescription drug, and the brand's Web site at www.living-better.com.

Several agencies fought for the P&G business, which was valued at $7 million to $10 million. Incumbents on the account were Frontier, Philadelphia, and Northlich Stolley LaWarre, Cincinnati.

"The client is primarily focused on how to improve their direct-to-patient communications using interactive media to enhance patient relationships, compliance and profitability," said Jay Bolling, executive vice president at Roska Direct, Montgomeryville, PA.

P&G produces healthcare and oral care products, food, over-the-counter drugs and prescription medication.

Roska has been charged with creating targeted direct marketing for Asacol, a drug that aims to quell debilitating inflammation of the colon.

Efforts are to include interactive media for patient relationship initiatives as well as online and offline media for patient acquisition.

"Our goal as part of the relationship program," Bolling said, "is to help patients understand all aspects of their disease and to assist in their self-management, not just in times of [colon] flare when they need it most, but also in times of remission to help decrease the potential for additional flare-ups."

Roska's more than 10 years of experience in direct-to-patient relationship marketing and its familiarity with online marketing were cited as reasons for P&G Pharmaceuticals' choice of agency. Roska is a full-service direct marketing agency with clients involved in e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, insurance, technology, financial services and publishing.

Accounts handled by the agency include Thomas Register, Aegon Insurance, Pfizer and PetFoodDirect.com. Billings last year totaled $50 million.

According to Roska, the Internet is the fastest-growing medium for direct-to-patient marketing. A USA Today report stated that in 1998 more than 22 million adults in the United States visited nearly 15,000 health-related sites. Another report by Cyber Dialogue, New York, found that 10 million Americans go online to find pharmaceutical information.

These individuals will spend an estimated $150 billion offline for health-related services. Cyber Dialogue predicts that by 2005 there will be close to 90 million Internet health consumers.

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