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A Prescription for Good Food

Megan O'Connor

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I spent a few days in the Finger Lakes last week at an event called Eat Retreat — a bit of a departure from digital pharma marketing, that’s for sure. But while my three days were full of great cooking and learning from other food lovers like me, one just can’t escape the day job and the passion that drives me to bring new ideas to pharma marketers and brands.

While hanging out at the retreat, I joined into a group talking about the issues surrounding "food deserts" — areas where affordable, healthy food is difficult to obtain. We discussed the complexity of getting good food into the American diet and the health issues that manifest from limited access to quality food. It got me thinking about the role that pharma plays in helping patients deal with individual health issues. I wondered, "Could pharma participate in the movement to bring quality food to consumers?"

I know it sounds a little crazy, but the more I thought about our clients and the passion that drives them to deliver treatments and support to patients who need it … well, why not? Truth is, our clients very much recognize that their brand or treatment is just one part of keeping patients healthy. The physician obviously plays a big role, but what about the groceries, the farms, the producers? How can all these aspects — the doctor, the medicine and the diet — come together for patients?

I can’t help but think that a prescription for good food could be the answer. What if, for example, your doctor or nutritionist could prescribe a diet for you that was delivered or purchased with help from managed care or even pharma? That diet could be prescribed based on your current health situation, the disease(s) you are challenged with, and the local food available to you. A diabetes patient, for example, might be asked to increase the healthy protein in their diet. A heart disease patient may benefit from specific food choices to decrease cholesterol.

If we truly believe in providing value "beyond the pill," if we believe that nutrition plays a role in an individual’s health (and I do), it might be time for the companies that work every day to make patients better to more actively participate in the diets of their patients.

Something tells me there are doctors, clinics and hospitals who would take notice.

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