Quest Diagnostics is a New Jersey-based company offering laboratory tests and services, developing testing equipment and reagents, and providing laboratory services for clinical research trials on new drugs. 
"With $4.7 billion in annual revenues, Quest Diagnostics offers the broadest access to clinical testing services through its national network of 30-plus regional laboratories, approximately 155 rapid response laboratories and almost 2,000 patient service centers," its website states.  "Today, Quest Diagnostics performs testing for more than 500,000 patients each day, serving approximately half of the physicians and hospitals in the United States." 
Internationally, the company operates laboratories in the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Puerto Rico; supports clinical drug trials in Belgium, France and the UK; and carries out research via Nichols Institute Diagnostics outposts in France and Germany. Quest Diagnostics also "performs specialized testing for hospitals and laboratories" in countries on every continent, besides Africa. 
Among the tests Quest Diagnostics offers for primary care physicians is ImmunoCAP (R), a blood test for allergies.  The test was developed by Pharmacia Diagnostics, which announced in March 2001 that "the ImmunoCAP Allergy Blood Test became the first and only allergy test to be accepted as a truly quantitative test by the United States Food and Drug Administration." 
In May 2004, Pharmacia and Quest announced a partnership, to educate "primary care physicians about the benefits of Specific IgE blood testing using ImmunoCAP." From a May 18, 2004, press release on PR Newswire:
- "Quest Diagnostics is well-positioned to inform physicians about the role, value and use of diagnostic markers as they move into mainstream medical practice. That's what's happening now with allergy blood testing," said Joyce G. Schwartz, M.D., Vice President and Chief Laboratory Officer of Quest Diagnostics. "Together with Pharmacia Diagnostics, we want to help primary care physicians better understand how they can improve patient care through the appropriate use of allergy blood testing."
In April 2003, Quest's Ken Freeman called the ImmunoCAP partnership with Pharmacia a "national co-marketing initiative" (transcript from "Event Brief of Q1 2003 Quest Diagnostics Earnings Conference Call"). In April 2004, the company reported to investors, "The co. is experiencing growth from the HPV DNA Cervical Cancer Screening Test, ImmunoCAP Allergy Test, and Insure Colorectal Cancer Screening Test" (transcript of "Event Brief of Q1 2004 Quest Diagnostics Earnings Conference Call").
In January 2005, Quest CEO Surya Mohapatra, PhD said (transcript of "Q4 2004 Quest Diagnostics Earnings Conference Call"):
- We continued to expand our sales force particularly in high-growth specialty areas. We are giving them better tools and training as well as new products to sell. Our sales reps' knowledge of new and innovative products is also an invaluable source of information for doctors to improve patient care. Our campaign to inform doctors about the benefits of various tests, such as (indiscernible) primary service of cancer screening, the use of ImmunoCAP for allergy testing, and tests to determine (indiscernible) are improving patient sales and driving growth.
Mohapatra's July 2005 remarks suggest that ImmunoCAP marketing was expanding (transcript of "Q2 2005 Quest Diagnostics Earnings Conference Call"):
- We have seen a significant increase in demand for ImmunoCAP allergy testing, more than 20 million Americans suffer from asthma; allergies that trigger for asthma patients who are diagnosed with asthma should be tested for allergy but most are not. Now we are educating physicians about the benefits of ImmunoCAP testing for asthma patients.
Another Co-Marketing Agreement
Evan Jones, Digene Corporation's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer was quoted in a February 2004 press release as saying, "We signed a three year supply agreement with Quest Diagnostics under which we also will work with Quest to promote the benefits of high-risk HPV DNA testing in routine cervical cancer screening with our DNAwithPap Test" (Digene press release via PR Newswire, "Digene Reports Record Revenues and Net Earnings For Second Quarter Fiscal 2004; Revenues Up 46% to $21.1 Million; Net Income Reaches$0.9 Million, or $0.05 per Diluted Share," Febuary 3, 2004).
The Logic of Co-Marketing
Investor's Business Daily described the logic of co-marketing, especially for smaller companies that manufacture lab tests (Gloria Lau, "QUEST DIAGNOSTICS INC. Teterboro, New Jersey Gene-Based Lab Tests Fetch High Returns Here," Investor's Business Daily, January 8, 2002):
- Tiny test makers want Quest and Lab Corp. to promote their products. Quest's sales reps often visit doctors' offices to explain the nature and use of dozens of tests, and it costs nothing more for the reps to mention a few more. Large lab companies also employ "reimbursement specialists," who work to convince insurers to pay for the tests they sell. This also helps the small test maker, who doesn't have the money to sway the opinions of insurers or doctors.
Quest Diagnostics' political action committee, Quest PAC, is headed by Kristen Cusick. The company's outside consultants include Colling Murphy Swift Hynes Selfridge, according to the online database Lobbyist.info (accessed January 18, 2006). In the 2004 election cycle, Quest PAC donated $78,000 to federal candidates, 32% to Democrats and 68% to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics 
According to the Center for Public Integrity, Quest Diagnostics spent $689,892 on lobbying from 1998 to 2004. In addition to the Colling Murphy Swift Hynes Selfridge lobbying firm, Quest employed Bergner, Bockorny, Castagnetti, Hawkins & Brain and Policy Directions Inc over that time period. 
According to PR Week, GolinHarris designed an "employee ambassador initiative" for Quest. The goal was to "familiarize workers with, and gain their support for, the company's brand, values, and vision for the future." The effort was important to Quest, as "a series of acquisitions that has left it with 37,000 employees in more than 2,000 facilities across the country" and "75% of its employees are hourly workers." 
GolinHarris and InsideEdge also carried out a PR campaign for Quest called, "Quest Diagnostics: Understanding the Patient Experience." 
DWJ "produced a video news release for Quest Diagnostics to get the facts out about a new testing procedure for leukemia and lymphoma patients," reported Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter (March 16, 2005).
Quest has used the Quantum and LehmanMillet medical advertising firms, according to Med Ad News (April 1, 2005, No. 4, Vol. 24). Quest also works with the "medical education" firms Euro RSCG Life Genecom in New York and Medical Education Group in Pennsylvania (Medical Marketing & Media, August 1, 2003), and Seldier Bernstein in Massachusetts (Medical Marketing & Media, July 1, 2003).
NPR Questions Quest PR
On July 22, 2004, the Minnesota Public Radio show Marketplace aired a segment that began:
- Today, a company called Quest Diagnostics released a report with disturbing findings for employers. The survey suggests methamphetamine is becoming a major problem in the workplace. Last year, meth use by workers and job applicants jumped 68 percent. Something else about this survey caught our eye. In the press release, Quest Diagnostics describes itself as the leading provider of employer drug-testing services in the country. So we wondered, is this information or marketing?
Reporter Helen Palmer concluded that the survey did help Quest to "build their brand, establish their competence and probably sell more tests." But, she added, "It's not fair to single out Quest Diagnostics. The same thinking informs almost every survey or poll or report that's released."
Quest Diagnostics Corporate Headquarters
1290 Wall Street West
Lyndhurst, NJ 07071
- "Employee Communications Campaign of the Year," PR Week (sub req'd).