Dura plans to field an acute care division

June 1, 1999

Pharmaceutical Representative

As part of an effort to assume full promotional responsibility for two popular anti-infective products, Dura Pharmaceuticals announced plans to add an acute care division to its sales force.

As part of an effort to assume full promotional responsibility for two popular anti-infective products, Dura Pharmaceuticals announced plans to add an acute care division to its sales force.

The San Diego-based company, which fielded approximately 450 sales reps at the turn of the year, is the U.S. distributor of Maxipime® (cefepime hydrochloride) and Azactam® (aztreonam), both of which were developed and are manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Currently, more than 500 Bristol-Myers Squibb sales reps promote Maxipime and Azactam, but Dura's new acute care division will assume these responsibilities by the end of the year. The exact size of the new sales force was not disclosed, although it is expected to be at least 100 strong.

"Today's hospital market requires pharmaceuticals and technologies to treat patients suffering from life-threatening conditions, especially difficult-to-treat infections," said Robert Whitehead, president of Dura, in a formal statement. "Dura's acute care division is designed to provide products [that will] maximize hospitalized patient outcomes."

Accordingly, the new sales force will call on the hospital market, primarily physicians working with critically ill patients. Dura made the decision to take this approach after hearing from physicians that they are encountering more difficult patient populations and treating patients with higher, more severe cases of infection.

In order to accomplish its strategy - to "continue to identify products that offer significant benefits to the critically ill population" - the acute care division will field a sales force composed of seasoned sales professionals with a minimum of four years' hospital experience.

Dura will also employ a group of medical science liaisons (see related story, p. 20), who will share information about clinical studies and other information about the division's products with physicians. For the foundation of the division, Dura has already recruited senior marketing and sales management leaders from top pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Dura's latest sales force addition brings the company to a size 40 times bigger than its original team of 10 sales reps. The company has doubled or tripled its sales force every year since it opened for business in 1990. Specializing in pharmaceutical treatments for allergies, asthma, pneumonia and related respiratory conditions, Dura sells and markets 32 products, several of which it has acquired from companies such as Eli Lilly and Co., Procter & Gamble and Roche Group. PR