Pri-Med sold; John Mooney returns as CEO

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Pri-Med founder John Mooney and his former management team have returned to the firm, which is under new ownership following M|C Holding's sale of Pri-Med's US assets to Canadian event and media producer Diversified Business Communications.

The new executive team, being announced today by Pri-Med, features Mooney as CEO and his former management team of Lynn Long, COO and Dix Wheelock, SVP of sales. Marissa Seligman, PharmD, former chief clinical & regulatory affairs and compliance officer, M|C Holding, and SVP, pmiCME, also remains as compliance officer and chief of clinical & regulatory affairs.

Terms of the sale, disclosed Monday by Diversified Business Communications, have not been released by the privately held company. Going forward, M|C Holding will continue to run NJ-based Physicians Weekly and Patient Education Center, which provides newsletters for physician offices, as well as Pri-Med's operations in Germany and the UK.

Under new ownership, Pri-Med said it will focus on incorporating team-based care and patient-centric education into healthcare delivery.

“Physicians understand that this is the way medicine is today, this team-based approach,” said Long. “That's everything from how they practice to how they get reimbursed. If they don't do it as a team, there are implications.”

Going forward, she said, patient- and specialist-oriented education will be introduced on the Pri-Med platform. Targeting a collaborative audience would mean an expansion beyond the company's internist-only focus. It also represents the reprisal of an idea which Mooney attempted once already but which did not prove commercially viable.

After founding M|C Communications and Pri-Med in 1994, and serving as CEO until the company's acquisition by Bain Capital in 2004, Mooney left in 2007. (After a succession of CEOs, Dara Warn held the top post at M|C from Sept. 1 until Nov. 18 of this year.) In 2010 Mooney started a new venture called Medical Exchange that sought to move beyond Pri-Med's focus on primary care physicians.

Mooney, along with Long and Wheelock, assembled a CME meeting to address three audiences: specialists, primary care doctors and patients. They also tested a new business model that eschewed pharma grants in favor of promotional dollars—exhibitors and advertisers only. The meeting, dubbed the CollaborativeCARE Conference (C3), received considerable interest from physicians and healthcare providers but could not gain traction with pharmaceutical product managers.

“The biggest hurdle we had as far as getting that [C3] launch was that ‘wait and see,'" recalled Long. "It was an unknown brand…[Pharma product managers] wanted us to prove concept before they could jump on board." C3 was dissolved in September.

Management strongly believes that, this time around, the pharmaceutical industry will support the concept. "The nice thing about Pri-Med is it's a well-known, well-respected brand [to pharmas and medical communications companies]," said Long. "We've had conversations about adding the specialty [education], and the response has been, ‘If you can do it at the caliber that you've doing with primary care, then we're on board.'”

She added, “A lot of drugs that are being released specifically target specialists. The specialist or PCP might be on the front line and see that patient...and needs to refer to the specialist. In a lot of instances, the pharmaceutical company needs to reach both audiences.”

Pri-Med will continue to strengthen its PCP offering, eventually adding med ed for hospitalists and other specialists, along with NPs/PAs, pharmacists and patients to its offerings, Long said. Harvard will continue to provide content, and Lighthouse Learning, the pharma-free content company Medical Exchange had been using for C3's curriculum, may partner in the future.

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