Healthcare agency veteran Ahnal Purohit is stepping out on her own, shedding two-thirds of healthcare agency Donahoe Purohit Miller and rebranding her own organization as Purohit Navigation. The goal: to be a one-stop-shop for small to mid-size pharmas looking to promote their brands.
Last week, the newly christened company announced that it will promote the fact that it handles far more than just market research (its bread-and-butter service). President and CEO Purohit is banking on an all-in-one multitasking approach to promotion that includes branding, sales education, and public relations.
At a time when some large agencies are struggling to stay ahead, independents such as Purohit Navigation are becoming popular alternatives. The company is currently working with new drug firm Proumis Pharma to help launch three new brands.
“For the size of the brands that we have, large consumer-type advertising campaigns don’t make sense,” said Purohit. “We need to be much more targeted, and really look outside of the box with our campaigns.”
Purohit calls her approach “guerrilla direct-to-patient marketing.” For example, a few years back, Donahoe Purohit Miller was hired to promote Sanofi-Aventis’ nail fungus drug Penlac. Rather than hit the competition head-on with television ads, the company bought a truck (nicknamed “The Toe Truck”), loaded it with a pair of podiatrists, and sent it to marathons around the country to educate runners about the disease. The campaign worked, and a shot of the truck even ended up on one of the CSI programs.
So what happened to the rest of Donahoe Purohit Miller?
Ed Donahoe is recently retired and Mark Miller has started his own company, branching off from DPM’s CME business.
According to Purohit, the split was amicable. With recent regulations prohibiting medical education firms from partnering with advertising agencies, Purohit and Miller felt that it would be better to break into two separate companies, rather than maintaining firewalls between the two divisions.
“We wanted to be one of the first companies to demonstrate that we will comply with the guidelines,” Purohit said. “We felt that it made more sense to separate than build firewalls. So Mark will start a company with the clients we had on the CME side, and I decided to keep the promotional side of the business with our existing customers.”