Feb. 11, 2020 – John Kamp, who served for 16 years as the executive director of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, last week was inducted into the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame (MAHF) and given the MAHF’s 2020 Service to Industry Award.
“John is a wise, shrewd, and articulate defender of the First Amendment right to market pharmaceuticals and of the practical value of accurate promotion in helping to bring innovative drugs from clinical trials to clinical use,” said Coalition for Healthcare Communication Executive Director Jon Bigelow said. “The work he did made it possible for the people in this industry to do their jobs, which is why we should all be proud of him.”
Kamp worked at the Federal Communications Commission from June 1980 to October 1989 and then moved to the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) Washington office where he served as senior vice president from 1990 to 2000. He helped to found the Coalition for Healthcare Communication in 1991 and subsequently joined law firm Wiley Rein LLP. In 2002, he became the Coalition’s executive director. He retired from Wiley Rein in 2017 and retired as the CHC’s executive director in 2018. He remains associated with the Coalition as Washington Counsel.
Kamp has been known throughout his storied career as a staunch supporter of the Constitution and a vocal advocate for the First Amendment, and he has worked for decades to educate regulatory agencies and members of Congress about the benefits of manufacturers sharing information with healthcare professionals and with consumers through direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising.
Initially there was a clash between factions of the industry and regulators about these communications. “It became really important that we build a coalition from our side of the business to make sure our freedom of speech was protected,” said Sharon Callahan, chief client officer, Omnicom; CEO, TBWA\WorldHealth, in a video shown at the Feb. 6 event. “John was the perfect person to lead that coalition. He has been an amazing leader and an amazing contributor to our industry.”
Bigelow explained that the Coalition for Healthcare Communication was founded to represent the industry voice in issues in marketing and in particular, “to protect the free and unfettered flow of accurate and credible healthcare information.”
Peter Frishauf, founder of Medscape, stated in the tribute video that to understand Kamp’s proactive stance regarding the First Amendment, people need to know he is “a First Amendment absolutist.” Jay Carter, RPh, EVP/Director of Business Development, AbelsonTaylor, concurred, saying that “philosophically I think that John is a patriot and truly a lover of the Constitution.”
Nick Colucci, COO: North America, Publicis Communications, noted that in addition to Kamp’s contributions on the policy front, “he created and saved thousands of jobs – thousands of jobs. Think about where we would be today if there was no [DTC] advertising for health products at all.”
Carter, who was recently named chair of the CHC Executive Committee, summed up the impact that Kamp has had during his career: “Here’s how I look at the criteria for the Hall of Fame. These are people who made a difference in the industry and effectively changed the trajectory of it, and John fulfills that to a ‘T.’”