Confronting a drug problem
Pittsburgh employers, like those across the country, are getting a headache from the cost of providing prescription drug benefits to their employees.
“For some of the employers in Pittsburgh, the drug costs have exceeded their in-patient costs,” says Chris Whipple, executive director of the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health, an organization made up of 42 large and mid-sized companies in the Pittsburgh area. The companies represent about 500,000 employees, retirees and dependents.
This year, the group has made prescription drug benefit programs and how to make them more effective the focus of its 2002 Health Care Symposium, scheduled for April 10 at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center. The all-day program will bring in national expert speakers to discuss changing behaviors to maximize plan designs and disease management and look at critical issues facing employers, including the impact of genomics on drug use, employee communications and data mining and information management.
One session will feature a General Motors Corp. presentation that will discuss the company’s success in increasing the use of generic drugs and the use of mail-order pharmacies. How to reach: For more information about the 2002 Health Care Symposium, e-mail [email protected].
Bathroom humor
The Allegheny County Health Department continues to take a humorous tack to getting people to wash their hands when visiting public restrooms.
The department is offering, at no charge, three posters designed to be displayed above urinals and inside stall doors. The posters parody literary works to communicate the importance of hand-washing.
“The Literary Classics-A New Kind of Reading Material for Public Restrooms,” is in its third volume and parodies “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”
Previous posters have included parodies of “Gone With the Wind,” “The Wizard of Oz” and other literary classics. The series of posters, designed pro bono by Marc Advertising, won ADDY Awards on the local, regional and national levels. They also earned the 1999 Howard Beard Award for excellence in public health.
The health department says the posters have increased hand-washing rates. A 1997 survey found that 67 percent of women and 50 percent of men washed their hands with soap and water in restrooms displaying the posters, compared to 52 percent and 20 percent, respectively, in restrooms with no posters. The health department says hand-washing rates remain “appallingly low” in restrooms with no posters.
The posters are free and available for use in any building with public or employee restrooms. The new posters, as well as the originals, may be requested by calling the Allegheny County Health Department at (412) 687-ACHD.
Bennett retires
Tilden Bennett has retired as president of DynaVox Systems but will remain as its chairman emeritus.
Bennett founded the company in 1983 as Sentient Systems Inc. DynaVox Systems designs and builds augmentative and alternative communication devices for individuals with communication disabilities.
Bennett and a team of executives from Sunrise Medical, the parent company of DynaVox Systems, selected Joe Swenson, former president and general manager for Hill-Rom Europe, a $200 million organization with locations in 10 European countries, to succeed Bennett.
Online job fair
The Team Pennsylvania Foundation is offering an online job and internship fair at
A free online event, the fair connects Pennsylvania employers with college students, recent graduates and young professionals. The program is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
Employers and candidates can register online. Registered organizations can post internship and job listings, as well as view the resumes of potential candidates.
The fair will operate until April 15.
Ad guys honored
Four icons of the Pittsburgh advertising community — all of whom launched their careers in the 1950s — have been inducted into the Pittsburgh Advertising Federation’s Hall of Fame.
Al Dudreck, Jack Goldsmith, Bill Sprague and Ray Werner were inducted at the Feb. 27 ADDY Awards the Pittsburgh Hilton.
Dudreck started as an office boy at the WS Hill Agency in 1950 and went on to become a founding partner of Dudreck, DePaul, Ficco & Morgan, a firm that became part of Hallmark Tassone, which since has become ten/united.
Goldsmith, with partner Lou Cardamone, helped found the agency that is now Marc USA. They proposed to offer a variety of services — marketing, advertising, research and consulting — to clients, thus the name MARC, an acronym to describe the firm’s areas of expertise.
Sprague started an ad agency in Cleveland in 1951, then moved to Pittsburgh in 1957 to spend two decades at what was then Ketchum, McLeod and Grove, rising to senior vice president and supervised accounts for clients including Westinghouse, PPG, Heinz and Alcoa.
Ray Werner started at BBDO as a copywriter, worked there for three years and moved on to Ketchum in 1970. He became the agency’s creative director, then started his own agency, Werner Brothers Inc., which became Werner Chepelsky when John Chepelsky came on board in 1987.
Branding test
Droz and Associates has introduced a series of self-assessments that allow individuals to test their marketing and branding savvy. Available on the marketing firm’s Web site,, the assessments include 10 true/false questions on a broad range of strategic and tactical issues.