In all, SMDC employees have turned in more than 18,700 items, including clocks, mugs, surgical caps, calculators, tape dispensers, and a stress-relieving squeeze toy made to look like a red blood cell.
The idea is to reduce the subliminal influence of ubiquitous drug company logos around the provider's premises.
The loss of all this swag will not likely reduce health care costs on the clinic side, even though they will now have to pay up for pens, pads and other formerly pharmaceutical paraphernalia. Nor will it cut marketing spending by the drug companies. They'll just find some other ways to promote their wares.
Nor is this good news for doctors, because it means they are likely to receive even more of this stuff at home.
On any given day, the mail to our household might contain a CD-ROM, 10 copies of Fit Pregnancy magazine, a calculator, or the ever-popular pen (I am set for life, thanks). My Lexapro travel mug is quite nice, but I have to be careful showing up at client meetings bearing coffee in mug hyping an anti-depressant.
The oddest freebie was a Zenergy chime bearing the brand of a hormone replacement. Since it strikes an A note, a handy tuning reference, I keep it on the piano.
I have a few other pharma collectibles, such as the pen styled as a hypodermic needle that fills with red fluid. I imagine some day — if not already — people will collect this stuff.
But I prefer to focus on the golden era of advertising specialties, specifically, mechanical pencils. I love finding 1950s-era milk cartons stuck on top, pistons floating in oil or seed corn encased in plastic. Generations later, we still know what that stuff is (though I wonder if sales at Ohio Piston Company saw much of a boost from the giveaway).
But who will fondly recall Activell or Prometrium?