Pharmaceutical company Mylan Bertek turned to CRT/tanaka for public relations counsel just prior to gaining FDA approval for APOKYN, a drug designed to provide Parkinson’s patients relief from debilitating “off” episodes. The agency generated buzz about the new drug within the Parkinson’s community through a multiwave media relations campaign that reached national media outlets, wire services and medical publications and enabled reporters in cities with high patient populations to see the drug in action.
In partnership with the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, CRT/tanaka developed and implemented a series of “Rescue Summits,” where Parkinson’s experts educated patients, physicians and caregivers through discussions and presentations. The Rescue Summits enabled Mylan Bertek to reach more than 100 physicians and 300 patients in small group meetings. Survey results showed that 84 percent of attending patients indicated they planned to “speak with their physician about APOKYN.” In addition, the agency supported an outreach campaign to Parkinson’s support groups through webcasts, newsletter articles and presentations by APOKYN representatives.
APOKYN TO THE RESCUE
Mylan Bertek Pharmaceuticals turned to CRT/tanaka just prior to gaining FDA approval of the orphan drug APOKYN, the first therapy designed to rescue Parkinson’s patients from debilitating “off” episodes. Research showed there was widespread awareness of the medication among physicians, but not within the patient population. CRT/tanaka’s challenge was to create a buzz within the Parkinson’s community and to educate patients about the availability of the nation’s first rescue therapy.
To generate a buzz within the Parkinson’s community, CRT/tanaka first implemented a multiwave media relations campaign, reaching national media outlets, wire services and medical publications by leveraging the FDA approval announcement. The second wave focused on enabling reporters in high patient population cities to see the drug in action.
To supplement the media relations campaign, CRT/tanaka developed an “events” campaign that included efforts to leverage major Parkinson’s conferences, as well as the creation of a series of “Rescue Summits” in partnership with the American Parkinson’s Disease Association. Each summit included a physician-to-physician educational component where “off” episode experts could discuss the benefits of APOKYN, as well as a presentation by a Parkinson’s expert to patients and caregivers. The highlight of each presentation was a 15-minute video that showed APOKYN in action.
The effort also included strong outreach to Parkinson’s support groups through “off” episode webcasts, chapter newsletter articles covering “off” episodes and presentations by sales representatives to local chapters.
- Within one year of the launch, CRT/tanaka’s campaign reached more than 38 million consumers with a media value in excess of $1.7 million (a 500 percent return on investment).
- The highlight of the media relations effort was a live “before and after” demonstration on NBC’s “Today Show.” The patient showed a national audience the debilitating nature of “off” episodes and how APOKYN rescues a patient.
- The “events” campaign enabled Mylan Bertek to speak to more than 15,000 Parkinson’s patients and caregivers.
- The Rescue Summits enabled Mylan Bertek to reach more than 100 physicians and 300 patients in small group meetings. As a result of the patient meetings, survey results showed that 84 percent of attending patients indicated they planned to “speak with their physician about APOKYN,” and 88 percent of respondents said they planned to speak with a friend about the new therapy.