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New York City health educators use drug marketers' techniques

New York Times, April 14, 2009

Free pens litter doctors' offices all across New York, part of an often-criticized strategy by drug company sales representatives known as detailers, who traditionally go from waiting room to waiting room giving gifts to entice doctors to prescribe their products. Now in New York City, there is a new kind of detailer: people who are part of a campaign by the city to use pharmaceutical industry marketing savvy to spread the word about healthy practices to doctors in neighborhoods where patients often have the least access to the latest news in healthcare. In the last 10 months, the city has spent nearly $900,000 on half a dozen detailing campaigns, including ones about influenza and pneumococcal vaccine distribution and education, colon and rectal cancer screening and smoking cessation.