DTC Case Study: Nuedexta

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KEY TAKEAWAY: DTC TV ads can produce results, but it’s essential to drive patients into the doctor to ask for your drug while educating physicians on the telltale symptoms of the disease state you are marketing to.

Drug: Nuedexta

1ne: Overview/Challenges:only about one-third of potential patients and primary-care doctors who treat such patients knew about PBA.

2wo: TV ad, featuring Danny Glover raised awareness.  After the ad ran, a subsequent survey found that awareness among primary- care doctors rose to 72 percent, and to 52 percent among patients.

3hree: They drove a lot of patients into the doctor’s office, but the patients did not ask for the drug by name and some HCP’s prescribed antidepressants or other drugs.

4our: New ads are running featuring the drug name but is it too late?

Results: Avanir began its pitch to consumers with a 2013 ad campaign online and on television that directed viewers to the PBA facts website. The campaign produced “an overwhelming” response, with “350,000 new unique visitors to the website or calls to the hotline.  Nuedexta’s sales rose to $218 million last year from about $37 million in 2012, according to EvaluatePharma, which tracks pharmaceutical pricing and markets.

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Evaluation: The campaign did what it was supposed to do which is raising awareness of a disease state that affect 2 million people in the US.  However, the disconnect of driving people into their doctor and not asking for the drug by name was a major mistake.  The campaign should have reached peak reach and frequency only AFTER physicians were fully detailed and the unbranded site should have been more fully integrated with the non-branded site.

The drug is inexpensive to manufacture, however the cost of clinical development and approval are still very high.  Since the market is only 2 million people can we really afford to drive people into the doctor twice to ask about a specific product and do physicians really believe that this is a treatable health problem.