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Apr-21-2010 13:16printcomments

Pharmaceutical Scents

Purdue's scent strategy involves a balmy bouquet smell in its exhibits.

Some things require a lot of perfume to cover up the real smell.

(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) - It takes ten to fifteen years to develop a drug. The cost has soared more than 300 percent since 1987 in the pharmaceutical industry's competitive landscape.

Marianne Skolek

According to Exhibitor Online, that’s why Purdue Pharma L.P., manufacturer of analgesics and other drugs, likes to create a sense of ease in its trade show exhibits and capture attendees’ attention by prescribing a bit of aromatherapy.

For years, the pharmaceutical company baked cookies in its booth.

But, with the 2002 tightening of the health-care industry’s “Pharma Code” that governs pharmaceutical companies’ marketing efforts and activities, Purdue decided to discontinue serving cookies.

When it started looking to reintroduce scent back into the booth, it wanted an approach that would be soothing, comforting, and warm.

A small in-house group tested 20 various scents, such as fresh-cut grass and lavender, on staff and customers. The favorite that emerged was a spa-like scent that suggested the ocean, orchids, and aloe vera.

The Food & Drug Administration confirms that they are aware of this "spa" deal made by Purdue.

Purdue introduced the scent into its 30-by-40-foot booth at the American Academy of Pain Medicine annual meeting. Evoking thoughts of azure seas and exquisite flowers, the scent helped put visitors at ease. Staff also used it as an icebreaker, asking visitors to tell them what they thought of the scent, and how they reacted to it. The scent strategy proved so successful, Purdue has continued using the balmy bouquet in its exhibits to this day.

Natural scents like the one Purdue used can extend dwell time by as much as 40 percent, according to Whiff-Guy C. Russell Brumfield, especially since the older demographic among the show’s audience — specifically attendees age 40 and older — are most likely to find such organic scents appealing. It’s likely that the average American has visited the ocean at some point and therefore may have formed pleasant associations about it when young — a key component in scent marketing. Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's who pled guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 7-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.
You can send Marianne an email at:

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