DTC Review: Nucala

THE SHORT: According to Medical News Today “in the United States (U.S.), an estimated 25.7 million people have some form of asthma, and 15 percent of these people have severe asthma that is difficult to control with standard medications. In the population as a whole, eosinophilic asthma is rare, affecting only 5 percent of adults with asthma or about 1.2 million people. Does TV DTC make sense to reach such a small audience?

The Nucala website clearly informs people about severe asthma, but the criteria seem to be very liberal. There is a physician discussion guide, but the key question is, can this discussion be had online, or does it require an office visit?

It seems the website is trying to Bothe educate patients about severe asthma and Nucala, which isn’t a bad thing, but why use TV for such a small group of patients?

The money that GSK is using on TV ads for this product could have used to develop a real kick-ass digital program. For example, an interactive ad that allows asthma sufferers to take a quick quiz via the ad could be a great way to educate patients and bring them into the brand.

One of the features I do like is the “find a doctor” feature. The online health seeker just enters his/her zip code and can find a doctor to help diagnose possible sever asthma.

I had a chance to talk to my local physicians group about the product/DTC and they had mixed emotions. They were concerned about patients potentially self diagnosing and just asking for the medication when another option might be to switch inhalers. One physician also said that he was sure insurers would require other, less expensive treatments first before Nucala.

Can TV be effective for a small audience? Possibly but I would pull the TV ads a soon as awareness reached a certain point and go to digital ads (not programmatic digital ads).

Interestingly as well, Nucala did not show up on organic search within Google. That’s a major issue, given that online health-seekers tend to trust organic search over paid search results.

The DTC strategy for Nucala seems to have a lot of holes and be all over the place. An unbranded website could have been a great way to educate and inform patients.