Magazine article Drug Topics

Rx Firms Unleash DTC Ads and Corporate Image Campaigns

Magazine article Drug Topics

Rx Firms Unleash DTC Ads and Corporate Image Campaigns

Article excerpt

The pharmaceutical industry is aggressively forging ahead with direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising campaigns for several prescription drugs. Pharmacists can expect to receive questions from consumers in the wake of these ads.

Medicus Communications New York, which landed the marketing account for Wilmington, Del.-based Zeneca Pharmaceutical's Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate), plans to kick off DTC ads by early 1999, provided the Food & Drug Administration gives tamoxifen the green light to be used as a preventive medicine. Tamoxifen is awaiting final FDA approval for the reduction of the incidence of breast cancer in women who are at increased risk, as defined by the National Cancer Institute/National Surgical Adjuvant Breast & Bowel Project's Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (Drug Topics, Sept. 21).

Mary Lynn Carver, communications program manager for Zeneca, said, "Our plan is to fully educate physicians and healthcare professionals first. Once we think they are educated about breast cancer risk reduction and new trial results, we'll move on to educate women with direct-toconsumer ads in the first part of 1999."

Carver added, "Education is key in the consumer campaign. This is a landmark indication. Nothing has existed that can prevent or reduce the risk of breast cancer. We will focus on information and education. Women don't know what puts them at higher risk. Most women can pick one factorfamily history We'll educate them about other factors."

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. recently kicked off a three-week test pilot consumer TV ad campaign for its Rx antidepressant Prozac. Three 60-second spots created by Leo Burnett, Chicago, began airing in September on various cable networks, including the Discovery, Channel, the USA Network, CNBC, and Lifetime. Each spot focuses on the barriers that keep people from seeking treatment for clinical depression and urges patients to seek help.

The spots, entitled "Illness," "Reflections," and "Checklist," encourage viewers to call a toll-free number for more information about the illness and effective treatments. According to a company spokesman, the firm is evaluating the effectiveness of the spots. …

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