Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, Medical Director of Crutchfield Dermatology (Eagan, Minnesota) and member of the board of The Ethical Cosmetic Surgery Association is sending out a warning to all medical and surgical practices to beware of devious marketing techniques by pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical companies are now soliciting contact and demographic information from patients so that they can market directly to patients without physician involvement. These efforts are often disguised as the pharmaceutical company offering “loyalty gifts” to the patients in exchange for personal information. Dr. Crutchfield calls this behavior “Trojan Horse Marketing”.
“This is something that has been going on in the non-pharmaceutical arena for years,” says Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, Medical Director of Crutchfield Dermatology. “For example, when you buy a small appliance, you are asked to fill out a warranty card, but the warranty card asks for much more than the product name and model number. It asks address, age, income level, and lots of personal information that the manufacturers use for future marketing.”
Recently, the “ABC Cosmetic Company” (a fictitious name) who, a few years ago, approached Crutchfield and said that they wanted to help him with his cosmetic patient retention.
“ABC Cosmetic Company” collected patient email information in exchange for sending them ‘loyalty gifts’ items like sunglasses, a small cosmetics purse, cosmetic creams, and cooling eye pads – things of that nature.
To Crutchfield's shock and disappointment, the "ABC Cosmetic Company” recently sent out emails to several hundred of his patients introducing a new cosmetic filler, maintaining it was from the company and Dr. Crutchfield. In addition to announcing a new product, they also offered a coupon for a discount to be used at any physician's office offering the new wrinkle filler. No permission was given for use of his name or his endorsement.
“This “Trojan Horse Marketing” is a very real, clear and present danger, maintains Dr. Barry Lycka president of The Ethical Cosmetic Surgery Association. Drs. Lycka and Crutchfield urge all doctors to protect their patient information and realize it is their most valuable resource.
For more information contact The Ethical Cosmetic Surgery Association. 1-866-291-7728 or Dr. Crutchfield at www.CrutchfieldDermatology.com