Direct to Consumer: A Q&A with Jim Hoyes - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Direct to Consumer: A Q&A with Jim Hoyes
Targeted Patient Education; Multiple sclerosis patients can benefit from a new kind of support system.


Pharmaceutical Executive


How do you find patients who could benefit from the program?

Our sales team and our field nurses are communicating the products and services that we offer. When we give a presentation in a neurology office, we make it a point to teach both the nursing staff (whose job it is to train patients on the therapy), as well as the office staff associated with the billing and reimbursement, about the mission of the MSLifeLines program. That way, everyone understands the goals we are trying to achieve. We also have a very comprehensive patient resource kit, which is distributed to patients at the time of their initial diagnosis or when the physician has recommended a therapy. The kit offers everything from background on MS to information on the different therapies that exist. While communications are directed at physicians and nurses, the resource kit is really for the patients. We have also run TV ads as a public service featuring Teri Garr, our celebrity-patient Ambassador with MS, as well as radio ads through Business Talk Radio Network.

How is the MSLifeLines program different from other patient-education programs?

The comprehensive nature of our program is our strength. Most companies have a call center or a basic customer service center. But we have all of our communications linked—we are able to take a call and then triage it to a specific area, as well as target both new starts and those continuing therapy. Plus, we have both internal support and external field nurses. We cover all aspects of the disease—from the first injection of Rebif to various compliance and persistence initiatives. We also added a component that focuses on friends and family of people with MS, as they too require support.

How can you determine whether the program is meeting its intended goals?

We track our call volume and the number of our patients who stay on therapy. We have seen a large improvement in patients' adherence to therapy since the first six months post-launch. We also do tracking studies for market research. We found that over 90 percent of patients are satisfied with their phone representation. Of that population, 85 percent said they were extremely satisfied with the information they receive from the program and almost 90 percent said they were satisfied with its Web component.

How do you expect to further develop this resource?

We are going to focus on strengthening the relationship with our existing customer base by offering them more customized communications. We'll also consider offering more lifestyle-support-oriented services, such as programs focused on diet, exercise, and work-related issues.

Launches




The American Heart Association launched a self-directed CPR training program. • PacifiCare launched a new campaign for its Medicare Part D effort, featuring characters from "I Love Lucy."

The International Osteoperosis Foundation debuted a campaign of celebrity public service announcements. • The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology launched http://rtanswers.com/, to teach patients about radiation therapy. • The Society for Women's Health Research launched a campaign to improve women's health literacy.

Accounts

BioElectronics selected Wolf Strategic Communications to handle communications for ActiPatch.

• Bausch & Lomb selected Integrated Communications as its agency of record for prescription eyedrops.

People

David Schemelia was hired as vice president, media director at HealthSTAR. • JWT Chicago hired Ros King as president. • Abelson-Taylor promoted Molly McNally to account supervisor for Amgen's direct-to-consumer campaigns. • Xchange hired Celeste Cafiero as executive vice president, managing director.


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