This article, which was published in The New York Times on Sunday, November 12, discusses the American Medical Association’s recent plans to pull out of a deal that it had originally signed with the Sunbeam, Corp. and has signed a new deal to sell its subscription and membership list to a database marketing firm.
According to the article, The AMA will sale of the list of 650,000 doctors in the United States will be a joint venture also including HelathCarePro Connect and Acxiom Corp. Critics claim that the sale can encourage pharmaceutical and medical supply companies to utilize "questionable marketing practices" and it violates the AMA’s own ethical standards as well.
Such pharmaceutical and medical supply companies can used the detailed information regarding doctor specialties and drug prescription patterns, as well as other pertinent information, to push their products. The story published on Crain’s Chicago Business website reported that these companies can use this information combined with special gifts, promotions or dinners to sway the doctors in their business dealings. AMA officials supported and argued for the deal, stating that such information is not private and can actually be found through other sources and databases, making such a deal completely ethical.
Not all doctors disagree with the new deal and selling of such databases by the AMA. The system actually allows doctors to limit contact they have with marketers and can actually be removed from such lists. Also, by eliminating such a deal, the AMA loses funds that would be used to finance research and other programs subsidized by the AMA.
There are two aspects of the article that pertain to various class discussions. First of all, the use of such lists, directories and databases by sales associates of pharmaceutical and medical supply companies is one type of prospecting discussed in class. Some lists may include just names and telephone numbers of people within a particular industry or profession. However, other databases, including that which was being sold by the AMA can include more pertinent and valuable information to sales associates. These lists can help the associate in pursuing and qualifying leads, yet it should not be the sole source. Searching through these databases should be combined with other forms of prospecting such as networking, trade shows, promotional activities, or through satisfied customers.
Using a purchased database may not always prove to be fruitful and successful for the salesperson.
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