Title:
Kit for promoting a product and related methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kit, system and method for promoting a product to healthcare professionals which contains healthcare professional-oriented information on a health condition experienced by some patients; a tool to assist the healthcare professional in performing a task, the task selected from the group consisting of diagnosis of the health condition, monitoring the health condition, counseling the patient with the health condition, and combinations thereof, and a product sample, which is useable by the patients to ameliorate the health condition. The product may be a nutritional solution for the condition, such products include functional foods or ingredients, medical foods or ingredients, or supplements for preventing, treating, or maintaining health conditions.



Inventors:
Desjardins, Donna L. (Lafayette Hill, PA, US)
Hirsch, Sandy (Lafayette Hill, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/091556
Publication Date:
10/13/2005
Filing Date:
03/28/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/890
International Classes:
G09F1/02; G09F5/02; G09F5/04; (IPC1-7): B65D79/00; B65D90/00
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Primary Examiner:
GRANO, ERNESTO ARTURIO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JOSEPH F. SHIRTZ (NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. A kit for promoting a product to healthcare professional, the kit comprising: healthcare professional-oriented information on a health condition experienced by some patients; a tool to assist the healthcare professional in performing a task, the task selected from the group consisting of diagnosis the health condition, monitoring the health condition, counseling the patient with the health condition, and combinations thereof, and a product sample, which is useable by the patients to ameliorate the health condition.

2. The kit of claim 1, wherein the product sample is provided in a single use package.

3. The kit of claim 2, wherein the kit further comprises a container for holding a plurality of single use packages.

4. The kit of claim 2, wherein the kit comprises patient-oriented information on the health condition.

5. The kit of claim 4, wherein the patient-oriented information is provided to the patient in the form of a brochure, a single sheet, a portable digital storage device, and combinations thereof.

6. The kit of claim 4, wherein the patient-oriented information further includes a coupon for applying a discount to a future purchase of the product.

7. The kit of claim 1, wherein tool comprises a counseling tip card providing advisory information for use by the healthcare professional in discussing the health condition with patients.

8. The kit of claim 1, wherein the kit further comprises a postage-paid return card for use by the healthcare professional to request additional product samples, patient-oriented information, or a combination thereof.

9. The kit of claim 8, wherein the postage-paid return card further comprises a set of survey questions for completion by the healthcare professional.

10. The kit of claim 1, wherein the product comprises a product available for sale to patients without a prescription.

11. The kit of claim 1, wherein the product comprises a nutritional product.

12. The kit of claim 1, wherein the health condition comprises obesity and the one or more samples comprises a sugar substitute.

13. The kit of claim 12, wherein the tool comprises a Body Mass. Index (BMI) measurement tool.

14. The kit of claim 12, wherein the tool further comprises instructions for measuring waist circumference and guidelines for determining if a patient has excess abdominal fat based upon the waist circumference measurement.

15. A kit for promoting a sugar substitute to healthcare professionals, the kit comprising: healthcare professional-oriented information on obesity; a tool to assist the healthcare professional in performing a task, the task selected from the group consisting of diagnosis the health condition, monitoring the health condition, counseling the patient with the health condition, and combinations thereof, the tool comprising a Body Mass Index (BMI) chart and instructions for measuring waist circumference along with guidelines for determining whether a patient has excess abdominal fat based upon the waist circumference measurement; a container of a plurality of loose single-serving packages of the sugar substitute, a display stand and patient-oriented brochures for display in the display stand, each patient-oriented brochure comprising information on weight control, one or more single-serving packages of the sugar substitute, and a coupon for applying a discount to a future purchase of the sugar substitute; a counseling tip card providing advisory information for use by the healthcare professional in discussing weight control with patients; and a postage-paid return card a for use by the healthcare professional to request additional samples of the sugar substitute, patient-oriented brochures, or a combination thereof, the return card comprising a set of survey questions for completion by the healthcare professional.

16. A method for marketing a product having benefits for ameliorating a health condition, the method comprising: providing to one or more healthcare professionals healthcare professional-oriented information on the health condition, a tool to assist the healthcare professional in performing a task, the task selected from the group consisting of diagnosing the health condition, monitoring the health condition, counseling the patient with the health condition, and combinations thereof, and a sample of the product.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising providing information to the healthcare professional on counseling patients about the health condition.

18. The method of claim 16, further comprising: providing to the healthcare professional with patient-oriented information about the health condition contained in the form of a brochure, a single sheet, a portable electronic file storage device, and combinations thereof for distribution to the patient, a sample of the product, and a coupon for a discount on a future purchase of the product.

19. The method of claim 17, further comprising: providing to the healthcare professional a means for requesting additional samples of the product.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein the health condition comprises obesity, the product comprises a sugar substitute, the tool is in the form of a measuring device or calculator for determining obesity and the sample of the product is in the form of single-serving packets of the sugar substitute.

21. The method of claim 16, wherein using the tool provides immediate results.

22. The method of claim 16 further comprising directly mailing the healthcare professional-oriented information, the tool, and the sample of the product to the healthcare professional in a kit.

23. The kit of claims 1, wherein the tool is adapted to allow immediate diagnosis of the condition by the healthcare professional without requiring additional testing.

24. The kit of claim 15, wherein the patient-oriented information includes a BMI chart and guidance similar to information provided on the counseling tip card.

25. The kit of claims 15, wherein the tool to assist the healthcare is adapted to allow immediate results.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/557,805, filed Mar. 30, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates systems, kits and methods for product promotion.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Direct product promotion to healthcare professionals is a practice that is common for prescription medicines. However, such product promotion for nutritional products is not as prevalent. With the growing number of nutritional products for ameliorating health conditions, such as, obesity, diabetes, inflammation, bone disease, cardiovascular disease, depression, and the like, direct promotion of such nutritional solutions to healthcare professionals is becoming more common. Healthcare professionals currently lack the tools and information about a nutritional solution to help their patients ameliorate a health conditions that a given patient may have.

For example, a health professional having a high weight patient may not have the tools needed to determine whether and to what extent that patient is overweight or obese, e.g., a Body Mass Index (BMI) chart is one such tool; may not have information about a nutritional solution to such ameliorate the obesity, e.g,, a sugar substitute, and may not have samples of the nutritional solution to give to the patient to use. The healthcare professional may not have patient counseling tools or tips.

The present invention provides these tools and tips to the healthcare professional. That is, the present invention provides healthcare professional-oriented information, a tool for diagnosing and monitoring the health condition and for counseling the patient, and samples of the nutritional solution product for the patient.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the invention comprises, consists of and/or consists essentially of a kit for promotion of a product to physicians or healthcare professionals. The kit comprises, consists of and/or consists essentially of physician or healthcare professional-oriented information on a health condition experienced by some patients; a tool to assist the physician or healthcare professional in accurately diagnosing and monitoring changes in the health condition in such patients, and one or more samples of the product, which is useable by patients to ameliorate the health condition.

Another aspect of the invention comprises, consists of and/or consists essentially of a kit for promotion to physicians or healthcare professional of a sugar substitute available without a prescription to patients. The kit comprises, consists of and/or consists essentially of physician or healthcare professional-oriented information on obesity or weight control in adult or pediatric patients, a tool to assist the physician or healthcare professional in accurately diagnosing and monitoring changes in obesity or weight control in such patients, a container of a plurality of loose single-serving packages of the sugar substitute, and a display stand comprising patient-oriented brochures for display in the display stand. The tool comprises, consists of and/or consists essentially of a laminated Body Mass Index (BMI) chart and instructions for measuring waist circumference along with guidelines for determining if a patient has excess abdominal fat based upon the waist circumference measurement. Each patient-oriented brochure provides information on obesity or weight control, a copy of the BMI chart, and has attached to it one or more single-serving packages of the sugar substitute and a coupon for applying a discount to a future purchase of the sugar substitute. A counseling tip card provides advisory information for use by the physician or healthcare professional in discussing obesity or weight control with patients. A postage-paid return card is also supplied for use by the physician or healthcare professional to request additional samples of the product and/or patient-oriented information. The return card further comprises a set of survey questions for completion by the physician or healthcare professional.

Yet another aspect of the invention comprises, consists of and/or consists essentially of a method for marketing a non-prescription product having benefits for ameliorating a health condition, the method comprising providing to one or more physicians or healthcare professionals a kit comprising physician- or healthcare professional oriented information on the health condition, a tool to assist the physician or healthcare professional in accurately diagnosing and monitoring changes in the health condition in such patients, whether adult or pediatric, and one or more samples of the product.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS AND APPENDICES

FIG. 1 is a perspective drawing of an exemplary kit, showing a mailer container and the position of selected components inside the mailer.

Appendix Sheet 1 is an example of physician or healthcare professional-oriented information supplied with the kit.

Appendix Sheet 2 is an exemplary Body Mass Index (BMI) chart.

Appendix Sheet 3 is exemplary information provided on the reverse side of the BMI chart.

Appendix Sheet 4 is one side of an exemplary patient-oriented brochure.

Appendix Sheet 5 is the opposite side of the exemplary patient-oriented brochure.

Appendix Sheet 6 is one side of an exemplary counseling tip card for physician or healthcare professional use.

Appendix Sheet 7 is the opposite side of the exemplary counseling tip card.

Appendix Sheet 8 is one side of an exemplary return card with survey questions.

Appendix Sheet 9 is the opposite side of the exemplary return card.

Appendix Sheet 10 is a graphics template for an exemplary display for the patient-oriented brochures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As used herein, the term healthcare professional means doctors, including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, physicians assistants and similarly situated individuals.

Referring now to the figures and appendix sheets, FIG. 1 shows a portion of an exemplary kit that may be provided to physicians or healthcare professionals in accordance with the present invention. The kit is assembled within a mailing box 10, such as a cardboard box having a base 11 and a lid 13, but the kit is not limited to any particular type of mailer construction. Inside mailing box 10 is a display 12 containing a plurality of patient-oriented brochures 24, a container 14 having an enclosed top section 18 and an openable bottom section 16, within which are contained a plurality of single-serving packets of a product, such as, SPLENDA® NO-CALORIE SWEETENER, which is a tabletop form of sucralose currently distributed by the McNeil Nutritionals, LLC. Spacers 20 and 22 keep display 12 and container 14 from moving about inside the box.

High intensity sweeteners are available as functional foods or ingredients and many are known to those skilled in the art and any can be used as sugar substitutes in the present invention. Among those in widespread use include aspartame, acesulfame, saccharine, cyclamate, taagatose, neotame, sucralose, brazien and other protein based sweeteners, stevia and other plant extracts, and various salts and derivatives of the thereof.

In one embodiment of the invention, a number of other documents are also included in the kit, as further described below, examples of which are provided in Appendix Sheets 1-9. Appendix Sheet 1 is an example of physician or healthcare professional-oriented information that may be supplied with the kit. The physician- or healthcare professional oriented information in this case is a letter that discusses generally the health condition of obesity and the problems associated with it. The physician or healthcare professional -oriented information further lists the contents of the kit and encourages physicians or healthcare professionals to help their patients address the obesity problem.

Health conditions within the scope of the present invention include but are not limited to overweight/obesity, diabetes, inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, bone diseases, e.g., osteoporosis, digestive disease, e.g., lactose intolerance.

Appendix Sheet 2 is an exemplary Body Mass Index (BMI) chart, which is one tool for diagnosing potential weight issues, whether under- or over-weight, including obesity. The chart is preferably laminated and on its reverse side may contain the information shown in Appendix Sheet 3. This information discusses another tool for diagnosing under- or over-weight, including obesity, namely a measurement of waist circumference and thresholds that indicate if a patient has excess abdominal fat based upon that measurement.

The information provided in an exemplary patient-oriented brochure 24 can be found on Appendix Sheets 4 and 5. As shown in Appendix Sheet 4, the patient-oriented brochure includes a BMI chart. As shown in Appendix Sheet 5, the brochure may also provide information on obesity and actions that can be taken to assist in weight control, including use of no-calorie sweeteners. An exemplary brochure may comprise a printed sheet of relatively heavy stock printed on one side with the copy shown in Appendix Sheet 4 and on the other side with the copy shown in Appendix Sheet 5. The brochure may then be folded along line B shown in Appendix Sheet 5 so that the copy shown in Sheet 5 is contained inside of the fold and lines A and C are aligned with one another. The brochure is then folded again along line A so that the front cover of the brochure is the section to the right of line A as shown in Appendix Sheet 4 and the back cover is the section to the left of line A as shown in Appendix Sheet 4. Inside the brochure, in the section located to the right of line C as shown in Appendix Sheet 5, is a coupon for a discount on future purchases of the product being promoted, as well as a free sample placed in location 50. The sample typically comprises a plastic enclosure glued to the brochure, the enclosure containing two single-serving packets of SPLENDA® NO-CALORIE SWEETENER.

Appendix Sheet 6 is one side of an exemplary counseling tip card that provides tips to be used by physicians or healthcare professionals to discuss weight control with patients. Appendix Sheet 7 is the opposite side of the exemplary counseling tip card. In this particular embodiment, the tips provided on the counseling tip card are repeated in the patient-oriented information brochure in the middle sections located between lines A and C as shown in Appendix Sheet 5.

Appendix Sheet 8 shows one side of an exemplary return card that may be used by the physician or healthcare professional to order additional samples and/or patient-oriented brochures. The return card also includes survey questions. Appendix Sheet 9 shows the opposite side of the exemplary return card, showing that the postage is prepaid for ease of use by the physician or healthcare professional. Other means for the physician or healthcare professional to order more samples and/or brochures may also be provided, such as but not limited to, a toll-free phone number or internet address that can be contacted.

Appendix Sheet 10 shows a graphics template for an exemplary display 12 for the patient-oriented brochures. The display comprises a front panel 100 and two side panels 102 and 104 that fold together with a back panel (not shown) to create a display for containing brochures 24. Each of the side front and back panels comprises a bottom flap (not shown), and the bottom flaps interface to create a bottom for the display, as is well known in the art. A top flap extending from the back panel contains a front portion for positioning behind the rearmost brochure in the box such that top panel 106 protrudes above the brochures and above the topmost point on the side panels, so that the printed message on the top panel is visible above the brochures in the display.

Although discussed herein with respect to a particular embodiment containing a number of components, it should be understood that kits containing greater or fewer components may also be provided. Also, although the particular embodiment discussed herein relates to a high-intensity sweetener or other sugar subsitutues, the method and system of the present invention is useful for promoting any type of health-related product for which a recommendation or reference from a physician or healthcare professional may be beneficial for promoting sales. Examples include but are not limited to systemic or non-systemic substances, such as, comestibles, prescription or non-prescription medicaments in any form—pill, tablet, capsule, caplet, gel, microsphere, liquid, suspension, patches, paste, and the like—whether applied to the skin or ingested, and medical accessories, such as, bandages, health monitoring equipment for blood sugar, cholesterol, and the like. The method and system or kit is ideally suited, however, for promotion of comestibles, including nutritional products, including, but not limited to, functional foods or ingredients, medical foods or ingredients, or supplements for preventing, treating, or maintaining health conditions. A sample of the comestible, including, a nutritional product, including, but not limited to, a functional food or ingredient, medical food or ingredient, or a supplement is provided in the method or system.

Furthermore, although in the specific examples provided herein, the physician or healthcare professional-oriented information and patient-oriented information is shown in a written format, e.g., brochure or single sheet, which may be from a tear-away pad, the invention is not limited to any particular format for presentation of information, and therefore the information may also or instead be provided as an audio or video tape, or on a digital storage device, such as a CD-ROM, a DVD, flash memory, and the like.

The kit described herein is preferably for direct mailing to physicians or healthcare professional, but may be provided to them by any other means known in the art. However, the kit described herein may also be delivered by sales representatives with and without a detail.

While preferred embodiments of the invention have been shown and described herein, it will be understood that such embodiments are provided by way of example only. Numerous variations, changes and substitutions will occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. Accordingly, it is intended that the appended claims cover all such variations as fall within the spirit and scope of the invention.