No More Drug Company Pens To Steal From Your Doctor's Office? Invention Has Solution to Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Dilemma

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Changes in PhRMA code discourage pharmaceutical sales representatives from providing promotional gifts in Doctor's office and instead recommend quality educational materials for distribution. New Jersey inventors, Mary and Gregg Pembleton created Medicine Thumball, a tool to educate health care professionals and patients about medications with the toss of a ball.

enhance these essential company-physician interactions and reinforce the integrity of information about our medicines

Creative genius is alive and well as newlywed couple, Mary and Gregg Pembleton launch their latest invention- Medicine Thumball™.
A press release dated July 10, 2008 by PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America indicates the revised code "prohibits distribution of non-educational items (such as pens, mugs and other reminder objects typically adorned with a company or product logo) to health care providers and their staff." The day of dinners, golf outings and promotional prizes to encourage sales, "will be replaced by creative and effective campaigns of high quality educational materials about new research and prescription medications." states Mary Pembleton, President of Answers In Motion.

In an effort to "ensure that pharmaceutical marketing practice comply with the highest ethical standards", changes in the code have been established by PhRMA, . The organization seeks to reexamine ways to "enhance these essential company-physician interactions and reinforce the integrity of information about our medicines". The Pembletons observe that a coffee mug with a product name does little to improve recall of a medication's particular properties..

Award Winning Tool and Game:
A "pleasingly squeezable" ball with information printed on each of its panels. Players throw it, catch it and respond to the panel under their thumb. Medicine Thumball™ transforms the ball, the classic toy everyone knows and loves, into an interactive teaching method, Given a choice of a 3, 4 or 6-inch ball with 12 to 32 panels; researchers and developers of medications provide specific information to be imprinted on each panel.

"Medicine Thumball™ makes meaningful learning experiences as easy as playing ball… states Gregg Pembleton, co-creator of Thumball™, and it is already an award winning tool for diabetes instruction (Gold Marcom Creative Awards 2007; Gold National Health Information Award 2007; Gold Rx Club Award)." It is currently being used for hemophilia education at summer camps.

Thumball™ Improves Attention:
Medicine Thumball™ gets everyone actively involved in learning vital information about prescription drugs: the benefits, side effects, interactions, instructions, conditions, research and recommended usage. A game of catch energizes the education process and helps health care professionals make informed decisions about treatment options. People find the use of a ball interesting so they respond with increased attention; an alert brain is more likely to understand, assimilate and retain new information.

Thumball™ Origins:
Mary Pembleton (née Miller), a speech therapist for students with special needs, came up with the original Thumball™ concept one day when she realized her students were bored with the daily lessons and valuable time was wasted in policing behavior. Seeking to add an element of fun, Pembleton introduced a hand-made ball with vocabulary words written out in marker and then encouraged playing ball in class. Thumball's reception was tremendous with improved motivation and performance by her students.

First friends, then business partners, and now spouses, Gregg and Mary Pembleton developed the concept & patent, and found a way to have Thumball™ manufactured. An opportunity arose to audition the original Thumball™ game for QVC and the Oprah Winfrey show. "Now there exists an occasion to create the same excitement outside the home and classroom in every health care setting out there." exclaims Mary Pembleton.

There is a diverse range of Thumball™products with eighteen designs to suit every age and setting being sold online at, in catalogs and at retail stores across the country. Medicine Thumball™ is the newest innovation, and Mary Pembleton reports "there is a growing buzz in the pharmaceutical industry about this product because it is unlike anything else."

The Future for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Sales Rep Educators:
Medicine Thumball™ provides physicians with an instant resource easily kept in the office and an ideal gift for patients to take home. A novel way to reinforce important details about a medication's benefits, side effects and the conditions they treat.

Answers In Motion sees it as their obligation to contribute to the new generation of educational materials needed for sales reps to inform health care professionals in a powerful and fun way. Pens and mugs are useful as token reminders but Medicine Thumball™ can profoundly influence the safety and quality of people's health.

For more information, visit or call 732-267-7792.

For complete PhRMA press release, visit


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