Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Baby Boomers Make Fools of Themselves in Patti LaBelle "Prank" to Promote Pfizer's Pneumonia Vaccine

Baby Boomers Make Fools of Themselves in Patti LaBelle "Prank" to Promote Pfizer's Pneumonia Vaccine | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Pfizer has tapped a legendary singer to raise awareness about the risk of pneumococcal pneumonia for older adults. In an online video, Patti LaBelle plays judge for a fake backup singer audition. Baby boomer singers take the stage to perform, but there's one catch: The microphones have been rigged to make it sound like the singers have pneumococcal pneumonia, with coughing and wheezing overtaking their songs.

 

LaBelle clues in the singers with an “I got you,” while a voiceover explains the risk for people over 65 and encourages them to get a “new attitude”—one of LaBelle’s most popular songs—and talk to their doctor about vaccination.

 

The awareness effort is called “All About Your Boom,” and it will appear online at the campaign website allaboutyourboom.com as well as on social channels, including Facebook and YouTube.

 

Pfizer chose LaBelle, 73, because “she embodied what it means to be a boomer. … She wants to remind fellow boomers that a big part of staying healthy that is often overlooked is staying up-to-date on CDC-recommended adult vaccinations,” the Pfizer spokeswoman said.

 

The campaign comes as flu season begins, a time when many people aged 65 and older go to their doctor for a flu shot, so the reminder to ask about the pneumonia vaccine is meant to coincide with that, she said.

 

Pfizer’s vaccination for pneumococcal pneumonia is Prevnar 13, which in branded TV advertising has tallied $30.3 million in national spending so far this year, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv. The bulk of that was spent in the first four months of the year, with a break for the summer, and ads just recently came back on the air at the beginning of September.

 

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Ken Griffey Sr. is a Spokesman for Bayer's Men Who Speak Up Prostate Cancer Awareness program

Ken Griffey Sr. is an advocate for cancer screening and a spokesman for Bayer’s Men Who Speak Up campaign.

 

As part of Bayer's Baseball All-Star and prostate cancer survivor Ken Griffey Sr. and Dr. Neal Shore, Medical Director of the Carolina Urologic Research Center, discuss the importance of speaking up about advanced prostate cancer and the symptoms men may experience.

 

See the Gallery of Drug Advertising Celebrities for other pharma spokespeople.

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Social Media Failed, DTC Advertising Failed. Now Biogen Tries Daytime Soap Celebrities to Boost Tecfidera Sales

Social Media Failed, DTC Advertising Failed. Now Biogen Tries Daytime Soap Celebrities to Boost Tecfidera Sales | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Biogen enlisted TV actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler in a new phase of a campaign for its multiple-sclerosis drug Tecfidera just months after it stopped running a DTC ad for the same drug.

 

The Reimagine MySelf campaign consists of a website and Biogen-hosted local events in Los Angeles and Houston, featuring its celebrity spokespeople.

 

Biogen ended its DTC campaign for Tecfidera in July, when executives said the campaign did not boost prescriptions for the drug. A former Biogen patient consultant had criticized the ad saying that it misrepresents the disease (read “Biogen Ends Controversial Tecfidera DTC TV Ads. Coincidently, CEO Steps Down”; http://sco.lt/6vTKVd).

 

The Reimagine MySelf campaign originally launched on the health magazine Self's website in June 2015. The new phase of the campaign launched in September when Sigler joined as a paid spokesperson.

 

The site also features two other spokespeople for the campaign: Jeannie Mai from daytime TV show “The Real,” and chef Ben Ford. Sigler has written four blog posts on the website and said in her first post that she uses Tecfidera to treat her relapsing-remitting sclerosis. Sigler revealed in January that she had been diagnosed with the disease 15 years ago. A Biogen spokesperson confirmed she has been taking Tecfidera since December 2013.

 

Biogen has more than tripled its advertising spending for Tecfidera this year, doling out $62 million in the first half of 2016, while it spent just $17 million in the same six-month period last year, according to Kantar Media.

 

Tecfidera brought in U.S. sales of $1.5 billion for the first six months of 2016, compared to $1.3 billion in the same period in 2015. Biogen attributed the rise in Tecfidera's U.S. revenue to an increase in price.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Also read "Social Media Failed to Do the Job, So Biogen Turned to DTC to Promote Tecfidera"; http://sco.lt/98a1ZZ 

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Celebrities Who Shill for #Pharma

Pharmaguy’s all-time favorite celebrity appearances in direct-to consumer advertising.

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Novo Nordisk and Indy Driver Charlie Kimball: Perhaps the Longest Lasting Celebrity-Pharma Partnership!

Novo Nordisk and Indy Driver Charlie Kimball: Perhaps the Longest Lasting Celebrity-Pharma Partnership! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Every racecar driver has sponsors. But not every driver depends on its car sponsor the way Charlie Kimball does: He has type 1 diabetes and uses Novo Nordisk ($NVO) meds daily. And not every sponsor gets the articulate marketing backup that Kimball provides.

 

Last weekend, Kimball finished his 100th race in the Novo Nordisk IndyCar with no signs of slowing down the successful partnership.

 

Kimball first met with Novo Nordisk in 2008, introduced by his endocrinologist a year after finding out at that he had Type 1 diabetes. He was already using Novo treatments, and so his doctor thought the pharma might be interested in the young race car driver's story. The company was. Novo Nordisk and Kimball struck a partnership in 2009, starting with the brand on his racing suit and a few speaking engagements.

 

Novo first signed on as Kimball's primary car sponsor in 2011 under the Chip Ganassi Racing team. While details of that deal aren't public, Bloomberg estimates that the cost of a primary Indy car sponsorship starts at $5 million to $9 million for the side pod, another $1 million to $2 million for the front wind and $300,000-$900,000 for the cockpit and tail.

 

But the team-up soon expanded beyond paint colors and car logos. Impressed with Kimball's combination of driving grit and genuine dedication to fans and diabetes awareness, Novo rolled out the “Race With Insulin” education campaign in 2013 [This is incorrect. Pharmaguy blogged about the @racewithinsulin campaign back in 2009. See here; http://bit.ly/3SM9wL Also, listen to this 2009 interview: “Novo Nordisk's Race With Insulin Campaign: It's Not Just About Twitter”; http://sco.lt/8GXLJh ]. That same year, Kimball became the first driver with Type 1 diabetes to win a major IndyCar race.

 

Celebrity endorsements are not always so cohesive and effective. Brands can run into issues that cause celebs to disavow them, as Sarah Jessica Parker recently did with Mylan's EpiPen amid the company's pricing debacle. Other times, as Novo knows, celebrities' behavior can cause a rift: The Danish drugmaker faced negative publicity and a split with Paula Deen after she admitted to using racist language [read “Should Novo Nordisk Dump Deen?; http://bit.ly/10gwOFW - They did!].

 

Meanwhile, November is Diabetes Awareness Month, coming just after the season ends, and Kimball will spend the month traveling with Novo Nordisk and other ambassadors, including basketball player Dominque Wilkins, country music singer RaeLynn, actor Ben Vereen and rapper Rev Run, sharing their stories at speaking engagements and events.  

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Sarah Jessica Parker to Stop Shilling for Mylan Because of EpiPen Pricing: What Did She Expect?

Sarah Jessica Parker to Stop Shilling for Mylan Because of EpiPen Pricing: What Did She Expect? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Under fire for aggressively hiking the price of the EpiPen device, Mylan Pharmaceuticals has now lost an influential advocate: Sarah Jessica Parker.

 

The actress said on her verified Instagram account Thursday that she has ended her relationship as a paid spokeswoman for the drug maker “as a direct result” of the price increases. Parker wrote that she is “disappointed, saddened and deeply concerned by Mylan’s actions” and called on the company to “take swift action to lower the cost to be more affordable for whom it is a life-saving necessity.”

 

Parker has been the celebrity face since May of an unbranded ad campaign funded by Mylan to raise awareness of about the risks of anaphylaxis. The EpiPen, which has gone up in price by 400 percent since 2007, is the dominant treatment for the life-threatening allergic reaction.

 

Drug makers often use unbranded campaigns to promote their products without mentioning them by name. One advantage: Image-conscious celebrities are more willing to tie themselves to a campaign focused on raising awareness of a health condition, as opposed to promoting a product.

 

On Thursday, for instance, the drug maker Shire announced that actress Jennifer Aniston will serve as a spokeswoman for an unbranded ad campaign around dry eye — a condition that Shire just happens to have a new drug to treat (read “Jennifer Aniston is Shilling for Shire!”; http://sco.lt/5G686T).

Pharma Guy's insight:

Aren't we all tired of holier-than-thou celebrities that make a deal with the "devil" (for $ mostly) and then get all upset when the devil makes them look bad by acting badly? I know I am! My advice to celebs thinking of shilling for pharma: Just Don't Do It!

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The ADHD #Pharma | Psychiatrist | Celebrity | Patient Complex

The ADHD #Pharma | Psychiatrist | Celebrity | Patient Complex | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

While other books have probed the historical roots of America’s love affair with amphetamines — notably Nicolas Rasmussen’s “On Speed,” published in 2008 — “ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic” focuses on an unholy alliance between drugmakers, academic psychiatrists, policy makers and celebrity shills like Glenn Beck that Schwarz brands the “A.D.H.D. industrial complex.” The insidious genius of this alliance, he points out, was selling the disorder rather than the drugs, in the guise of promoting A.D.H.D. “awareness.” By bankrolling studies, cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with psychopharmacologists at prestigious universities like Harvard and laundering its marketing messages through trusted agencies like the World Health Organization, the pharmaceutical industry created what Schwarz aptly terms “a self-affirming circle of science, one that quashed all dissent.”

 

In a narrative that unfolds with the momentum of a thriller, he depicts pediatricians’ waiting rooms snowed under with pharma-funded brochures, parents clamoring to turn their allegedly underachieving children into academic superstars and kids showered with pills whose long-term effects on the developing brain (particularly when taken in combination) are still barely understood. In one especially harrowing section of the book, Schwarz traces the Icarus-like trajectory of Richard Fee, an aspiring medical student who fakes the symptoms of A.D.H.D. to get access to drugs that will help him cope with academic pressure. When he eventually descends into amphetamine psychosis, his father tells his doctor that if he doesn’t stop furnishing his son with Adderall, he’ll die. Two weeks after burning through his supply, Fee hanged himself in a closet.

 

“ADHD Nation” should be required reading for those who seek to understand how a field that once aimed to ameliorate the behavioral problems of children in a broad therapeutic context abdicated its mission to the stockholders of corporations like Shire and Lilly. Schwarz is sounding an alarm for a fire that looks nowhere near abating.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Speaking of celebrities, read "Patient Testimonials aka Anecdotal Experience #Pharma Marketing"; http://www.pharma-mkting.com/news/pmn1308-article01.htm 

 

Meanwhile, not only does Shire, which markets an ADHD treatment, "oversell" the product, it also has been caught marketing it illegally as it did on September 25, 2008, for a video testimonial featuring Ty Pennington posted on youtube.com. See here: http://bit.ly/KnLZqj 

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Dorothy R. Cook 's curator insight, June 26, 7:28 AM

There is room and reason for Street legalized pharmacies. There will be more options for customers as well as contract opportunities as well. Which could lower the cost of the drugs or atleast keep them at a fair price. Street cost v. Government cost.

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Are Pharma Drug Ads Better or Worse With Celebrity Endorsers? Some Rules to Apply.

Are Pharma Drug Ads Better or Worse With Celebrity Endorsers? Some Rules to Apply. | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Signing celebrities to market a drug can be like playing with fire, as some companies know well. But there are things drugmakers can do to minimize risk and get the most from their celeb endorsers, marketing experts say.

 

Before a company even considers using celebs in their direct-to-consumer ads, they need to have a great idea, Howard Courtemanche, CEO of pharma marketing company J. Walter Thompson Health, told an audience at the recent DTC National Conference in Boston. Then, a drugmaker should implement the “minus one, multiply by 20 rule" to see if the celeb is the right fit.

 

“Will that idea be less, or minus one, without a celebrity? That’s the first gut check," Courtemanche said. "The second check is, if you have a celebrity at hand, are there 20 other celebrities that could do the job just as well? Then you realize that you don’t have the right celebrity," Courtemanche said.

 

Sometimes companies run into problems once a campaign has launched. For a prime example, look no further than Duchesnay’s marketing debacle last summer after celebutante Kim Kardashian endorsed its morning sickness med on Instagram. The Canadian pharma was forced to pull its ads and run a correction after the FDA sent it a scathing warning letter.

 

“Most brands do an excellent job working with celebrities. There is a happy ending.”

 

[Bada Bing!]

Pharma Guy's insight:

I like the "Happy Ending" quote at the end of this story :)

 

One rule or test this advice from a marketing company does not mention is if the endorsement passes the "authenticity smell test." For more on that read this: http://sco.lt/7FpJwH 

 

Kim Kardashian dis NOT pass this test. But she was not the most egregious pharma celebrity endorser. That distinction had to go to Paula Deen who, "yes, of course" used the "N" word. See my Gallery of Favorite Drug Ad Celebrities: http://bit.ly/pgfavoritecelebs 

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Another Buzzword: "Influencer Marketing." Does It Pass the "Authenticity" Smell Test?

Another Buzzword: "Influencer Marketing." Does It Pass the "Authenticity" Smell Test? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

With it’s massive growth, proliferation on difficult-to-control social media platforms, and the oftentimes contradictory language from influencer marketers themselves, influencer marketing has become something of a wild west—something that, if influencers and marketers aren’t careful, could end up hurting the longterm prospects of the industry as a whole.

 

The practice is another form of native advertising, except it relies on social media influencers rather than in-house advertorial. Native advertising on publisher sites has come under fire for sometimes deceiving and confusing readers. Our 2015 study, showed that 48 percent of respondents felt deceived by native advertising.

 

So far, influencer marketing has escaped much of the same criticism.

 

In December, the FTC finally released an updated version of guidelines for native advertising, asking publishers to include a variation of “Ad,” “Advertisement,” “Paid Advertisement,” or “Sponsored Advertising Content” in the beginning of an article or video. Most framed the guidelines as an attempt to reign in native advertising on digital publications. (The FTC’s use of “native advertising” as an umbrella term for any sort of promotional material that’s not a traditional ad probably didn’t help.)

 

In a Digiday article, Todd Krizelman, co-founder and CEO of MediaRadar, an ad data firm, estimated that only 30 percent of publishers were in compliance with the rules and that 26 percent do not disclose at all.

 

But few considered the ramifications of the new guidelines on influencer marketing, which is subject to the same rules.

 

“They are looking for very explicit call-outs,” Krizelman said. “They want to see the words ‘This is an ad’ or ‘Paid advertisement.’ They do not want to see things like, ‘Presented by.’ Today, if Kim Kardashian is posting [an ad], she may just post it. No one would know if she was paid or not paid.”

 

“The FTC and other regulatory authorities are very concerned about influencer and native advertising,” said Andrew Lustigman, an attorney at Olshan Frome Wolosky who specializes in advertising and marketing. “Because the message is now coming from a third party, regulators want to make sure that consumers know that there is business relationship between the parties so that they can evaluate the message with that in mind.”

 

Unfortunately, this is anything but standard practice.

 

When you browse influencer marketing best practices, “trust” and “authenticity,” are two words that constantly appear. A February 2016 study by eMarketer suggested that influencer marketing has become more popular, in part, because of young people’s trust in social media stars, who they tend to see as more authentic than a brand or an advertisement.

 

“The key word that I’m coming back to in everything I talk about with influencers is authenticity,” said Todd Cameron, head of content and strategy at influencer marketing software company TapInfluence.

 

Trustworthy influencer marketing is only possible when social influencers disclose, boldly and proudly, that what they’re doing is a paid advertisement. If the brand or the influencer try to hide this fact, they risk undermining consumer trust for both parties.

 

Even if influencers and marketers continue to deceive consumers, there’s little doubt that more regulation—and better clarified regulation—from the FTC is coming.

Pharma Guy's insight:

I've docmented many cases where pharma uses celebrities to market its products. But when social media is involved, other influencers -- e.g., patient bloggers -- are also employed. For more on that read "Transparency is Good in Theory, But Not in Practice"; http://bit.ly/bloggertransparency 

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Friilance's curator insight, May 6, 2016 3:47 PM

Another Buzzword: "Influencer Marketing." Does It Pass the "Authenticity" Smell Test?

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50 Celebrities Who Shilled for #Pharma. Oh, No! Et Tu, Wonder Woman?

50 Celebrities Who Shilled for #Pharma. Oh, No! Et Tu, Wonder Woman? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

A semi-comprehensive list of past/present celebrity endorsements of pharma/healthcare products.


This is a pretty lackluster list of celebrity names and the products they endorsed. For a much more entertaining and informative list, see my "All-Time My Favorite Drug Ad Celebrities" Powerpoint presentation here: http://bit.ly/pgfavoritecelebs 

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Celebrities + Social Media: Balancing Benefits and Risks

Celebrities + Social Media: Balancing Benefits and Risks | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

This article focuses on the risks and benefits of using celebrities and social media to promote pharma brands and proposes that it may be time for the pharma industry to disclose the details of payments made to celebrities as they now are required to do for physician payments.


Topics (partial list):

  • Paula Deen & Victoza: Brilliant or Dumb?
  • Mickelson's Enbrel Shill Audition
  • The Kardashian Kerfuffle
  • Fast Acting FDA!
  • Corrective Social Media Messages
  • The ROI of Social Media
  • It's Time For Celebrity Payment "Sunshine"
  • Chart: The Pharma Social Media Hype Cycle
  • Chart: Pharma Paid Celebrity Best Practices Survey Results


Download the full pdf version of this article here.

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Pharma Guy's curator insight, September 10, 2015 7:34 AM

Practically every other day you hear that a celebrity has teamed up with a pharmaceutical company to promote an Rx drug or raise awareness about a medical condition treated by a drug of the sponsoring company. The Kim Kardashian Instagram Kerfuffle is just an extreme case where a social media branded endorsement by a celebrity was cited as violative by the FDA. Did it hurt or benefit the brand?


The other good vs bad issue of  celebrity endorsements is the PR they are able to generate, This PR, of course, van help the brand, but it can also hurt the reputation of the drug industry as pharma "buys" the opinion of more and more celebrities. Inevitably, consumers will want to know how much these celebrities are being paid. That information is kept by pharma as a closely guarded secret just as it used to keep secret the payments made to physicians. Will there be a political backlash where lawmakers suggest a Celebrity Sunshine Law? 


I believe in transparency, so I hope the industry discloses payments to celebrities without the necessity of further regulations/laws. But I'm also a pessimist when it comes from lawmakers who receive a lot of financial support from celebrities, which is another area that needs transparency!

Celebrities News's curator insight, April 19, 2017 2:31 AM
Celebrities News's curator insight, April 19, 2017 2:31 AM
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25% More People Think They Have PBA After Seeing Danny Glover Laughing Uncontrollably!

25% More People Think They Have PBA After Seeing Danny Glover Laughing Uncontrollably! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Actors cry and laugh on command, but people who have pseudobulbar affect (PBA) can't control their crying jags or laughing fits. That's the central idea of Avanir's new PBA awareness effort, starring actor Danny Glover.


When Avanir, which makes PBA treatment Nuedexta, started working on the unbranded campaign, the company knew it had to be simple, but also credible. After all, as sales-and-marketing SVP Michael McFadden told FiercePharmaMarketing, this real neurologic condition "sounds like an imaginary disease."


The creative team, which included agency Advance MarketWoRx, came up with the idea of using an actor and went looking for a spokesperson. They found Glover, who now stars in its PBA Facts campaign in TV, print and digital. In the TV spot, he demonstrates how he can turn tears and laughter on and off, ending with the message: "Choosing to laugh or cry should be up to you, not PBA."


Glover's reputation and gravitas "brings dignity, credibility and importance to this condition," McFadden said in an email interview. And success, apparently. After just a few weeks of running, the Glover TV spot drove up awareness by 20 percentage points. More symptomatic people were driven to speak with their doctors as well, with that measure up by 25 percentage points.

Pharma Guy's insight:


BTW, I took  the PBA assessment "tool," which was developed by "healthcare professionals and is called the Center for Neurologic Study-Lability Scale (CNS-LS)." I was assured that my answers to the seven "simple questions will help your doctor determine if [I] could have PBA." Of course, I scored way above the cutoff score of 13, which "accurately predicted neurologists’ diagnoses for 82% of participants" in the above cited study. Or, as Avanir says, "may suggest PBA symptoms and should be discussed with your doctor." http://bit.ly/1eogmrR 

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Benefits of Celebrity Drug Ads Do Not Justify the Cost

Benefits of Celebrity Drug Ads Do Not Justify the Cost | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
Do ads in which celebrities discuss specific diseases – but not specific medicines - really influence consumer behavior toward prescription drugs? Although well-known personalities may lend some credibility and prompt consumers to pay closer attention to the messages, a recent study suggests that such advertising does not really make much of a difference when it comes to seeking a medicine.
Pharma Guy's insight:


The authors of the study, which you can find here, conclude that such ads are not worth the cost -- something I blogged about months ago (although I was talking about branded ads) - read 


Pharma: Your Brand Celebrity Spokespersons Are Worthless!


Authors conclusion:


"While consumers paid more attention to the celebrity-containing ads and viewed them as more credible, this did not translate into significant effects on the outcome dependent variables of consumer attitudes toward the ad and company, behavioral intentions and information search behavior. As previous literature has suggested, level of disease state involvement was a significant predictor of respondent outcomes. Overall, pharmaceutical manufacturers might want to re-evaluate using a celebrity endorser in disease-specific ads, as this research shows the benefits/outcomes may not justify the cost."


But brand managers hobnobbing with the glitterati? Priceless!

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How a DTC Campaign for a Drug to Treat Laughing & Crying Sent Sales Soaring

How a DTC Campaign for a Drug to Treat Laughing & Crying Sent Sales Soaring | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

An overhead light drawing attention to his face, the actor Danny Glover drops his head into one hand and starts to cry. Then, he abruptly switches to deep belly laughs, before resuming a straight face.

 

“When I act, if I do this, it’s totally in my control,” he says into the camera. “But for someone with pseudobulbar affect, choosing to cry or laugh may not be your decision.”

 

The 60-second TV advertisement, aired widely until late last year, has raised questions about the role of direct-to-consumer advertising — typified by ads that call on you to “ask your doctor” about possible treatment — in promoting the use of medicines for uncommon conditions far beyond the narrow population of people who most benefit from them.

 

Pseudobulbar affect, or PBA, is a neurological condition characterized by inappropriate, uncontrolled outbursts of laughing or crying. The ad did not mention any drug by name. But it was sponsored by Avanir Pharmaceuticals, the California firm that manufactures Nuedexta, a medicine that targets the disorder. The ad ends by referring viewers to a “Facts About PBA” website and a toll-free number.

 

PBA mostly affects those with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, a recent stroke or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Because the definition of the condition is ambiguous, estimates of its prevalence vary. Doctors may find PBA common or uncommon, depending on their specialty. Avanir sets the number at two million Americans.

 

The market has proved lucrative. Nuedexta’s sales rose to $218 million last year from about $37 million in 2012, according to EvaluatePharma, which tracks pharmaceutical pricing and markets.

 

“I suspect this disease is being redefined to include overly emotional people” through advertising, said Adriane Fugh-Berman, a doctor who teaches at Georgetown University Medical Center and has investigated pharmaceutical marketing practices. The United States is one of two countries that allows advertising of prescription drugs.

 

Nuedexta has also attracted attention because it is expensive, more than $700 a month for a supply of twice-a-day pills. The drug is a combination of two low-cost ingredients — an over-the-counter cough medicine and a generic heart drug — that, purchased separately, would run roughly $20 a month, according to online cost estimators.

 

Nuedexta doesn’t cure PBA, but it must be taken for the rest of a patient’s life to help reduce episodes of laughing or crying. While it’s the only drug approved specifically for PBA by the Food and Drug Administration, doctors have successfully used several less expensive treatments, all antidepressants, to treat the condition.

 

“The cost for mixing two old drugs together is unconscionable,” said Dr. Jerome Avorn, a professor at Harvard Medical School and the chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

 

The strategic marketing of Nuedexta is part of a trend in which even small pharmaceutical firms turn to the airwaves to encourage use of their products. Pharmaceutical industry spending on television ads has been on the rise — up 62 percent since 2012 to an estimated $6.4 billion — even as TV advertising for other product types has stayed flat, according to Kantar Media, a firm that tracks multimedia advertising.

 

By last year, drug ads were the sixth-most-common category of television advertisement — behind cars and restaurants — up from 12th just five years ago. A number of the ads, like Nuedexta’s, promote medication for unusual conditions, such as a sleep disorder that affects only people who are blind. Others target more common conditions, such as opioid-induced constipation.

 

After F.D.A. approval of the drug, 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,” Keith A. Katkin, the chief executive at the time, told investors that year.

 

But after marketing surveys found that only about one-third of potential patients and primary-care doctors who treat such patients knew about PBA, Avanir enlisted Mr. Glover’s celebrity firepower, said Lauren D’Angelo, the senior director of marketing for Avanir. The advertisement featuring Mr. Glover, who doesn’t have PBA, appeared on cable and national news programs in 2015 and through the end of last year. Mr. Glover’s publicist said he didn’t have any comment on the campaign.

 

After the ad ran, a subsequent survey found that awareness among primary-care doctors rose to 72 percent, and to 52 percent among patients (read “25% More People Think They Have PBA After Seeing Danny Glover Laughing Uncontrollably!”; http://sco.lt/7jJfRx).

 

“It was an extremely successful campaign,” Ms. D’Angelo said. “We drove a lot of patients into doctors’ offices. The challenge was that they did not ask for Nuedexta by name.”

 

For sales, that was a problem. Instead of receiving Nuedexta, some patients were prescribed an antidepressant or received an incorrect diagnosis, she said.

 

So in 2017, the drug maker unveiled a new advertising campaign. This one, currently running on prime-time TV, features a man bursting into tears at a child’s birthday party. It specifically calls on viewers to “ask about Nuedexta.”

 

“We are mimicking what we want them to do — to ask about PBA and ask about Nuedexta,” Ms. D’Angelo said.

Pharma Guy's insight:

BTW, I took the PBA assessment "tool," which was developed by "healthcare professionals and is called the Center for Neurologic Study-Lability Scale (CNS-LS)." I was assured that my answers to the seven "simple questions will help your doctor determine if [I] could have PBA." Of course, I scored way above the cutoff score of 13, which "accurately predicted neurologists’ diagnoses for 82% of participants" in the above cited study. Or, as Avanir says, "may suggest PBA symptoms and should be discussed with your doctor." http://bit.ly/1eogmrR 

 

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Dorothy R. Cook 's curator insight, February 14, 2:33 PM

Laughter is good medicine. As I visited with someone yesterday that was not in his healthiest state but him and his sister was saying smart things which made him laugh during his time of need for laughter as medicine and though I did not know what was said to be true as a servant of God i laughed with them not in agreement to what was said but in agreement that God would use the laughter in conversation as medicine to not only heal his body but to heal his family members in each and every way God knew there was need of for both their individual needs and collectively together. As I was ask all that will to pray for Mr. Pittman and his entire family. For 1 can put a thousand to flight but two can put ten thousand to flight and we ask you to pray for restoration of God health for Mr. Pittman and that God bless his Mother in such special ways that God knows she has need of in each and every area of her life. 


 


Thanks to all be cause God is able.

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Pharmaguy's Top Five 2017 New Year's Resolutions for the Pharma Industry

Pharmaguy's Top Five 2017 New Year's Resolutions for the Pharma Industry | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

As is my tradition – as well as the tradition for many other editors/pundits – it’s time for me to tell pharma what I’d like to see included in its list of 2017 New Year's Resolutions.

Last year I noted that 2015 wasn’t an especially good year considering that “the media and politicians have found a face for evil pharma and rising drug prices: Martin Shkreli!” (here).

It’s déjà vu all over again! Only this time many more evil pharma faces have come forward including the CEO of Mylan, aka “Pharma Sis” (read “Mylan ‘Gamed the System’ and Refuses to Testify at Senate Hearing About EpiPen Costs to Medicaid”), and top executives at “Crooked Valeant” (read “More Top Executives Flee Sinking Crooked Valeant Ship with $ Millions in Bonuses In Tow”).

 

Before getting to this year's resolutions, let's see if the industry followed any of the resolutions I suggested for 2016. More...

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Roche’s Genentech Taps Morgan Freeman for Stand Up to Cancer PSA Ad & Social Media Campaign

Roche’s Genentech Taps Morgan Freeman for Stand Up to Cancer PSA Ad & Social Media Campaign | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Roche's Genentech and partner Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) have enlisted one of Hollywood’s most famous voices for a new cancer PSA. Actor Morgan Freeman, along with cancer survivor Tonya Peat, star in TV and print ads that celebrate the progress against cancer but also encourage people to get involved in clinical trials, screenings and prevention.

The new PSAs with Freeman are an extension of Genentech and SU2C's co-created education campaign “Be the Breakthrough,” launched in May. The new push includes a social media component that asks people to share their stories on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #CancerBreakthrough.

Roche may need all the star power it can get as it steps into the next-generation cancer ring with its drug Tecentriq, which is up against Bristol Myers-Squibb's Opdivo and Merck's Keytruda.

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Allergan See's Shire's Aniston and Raises Tomei to Promote Restasis

Allergan See's Shire's Aniston and Raises Tomei to Promote Restasis | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Is there an Oscar for best dry eye awareness performance in pharma? Actress Marisa Tomei is speaking up about the disease as Allergan's spokesperson for its branded Restasis marketing, while Shire has tapped actress Jennifer Aniston to front its disease awareness TV campaign (read “Jennifer Aniston is Shilling for Shire!”; http://sco.lt/5G686T). Tomei signed on as an ambassador for Restasis in July, talking to news and TV media outlets about her own experience with the disease, and Aniston joined Shire's unbranded effort in August.

 

Tomei also teamed up with Guide Dogs for the Blind and will contribute $1 for every person who takes the Restasis dry eye quiz on its website through the end of the year. So far, more than 40,000 people have done so. Traffic to the Restasis website has also increased by 50% since the campaign began, Herm Cukier, senior vice president for U.S. eye care at Allergan, told FiercePharma.

 

Restasis is the market share leader in dry eye prescription treatments, launched first in 2003. But it recently got its first category competition with Shire’s launch of Xiidra. To promote the newer drug, Shire is running two ad campaigns, the unbranded dry eye disease awareness campaign featuring Aniston, and another branded Xiidra campaign that began in September.

 

While the two compete in the dry eye treatment market, they have different indications. Xiidra is approved for dry eye disease, while Restasis’ indication is for increasing tear production. A Bernstein analyst noted recently that while Shire has the full dry eye label advantage, Allergan “enjoys the power of incumbency,” including contracts, sales and an established patient pool.

Pharma Guy's insight:

I just added Tomei to my gallery of  “Celebrities Who Shill for #Pharma”; http://sco.lt/5mzajZ

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Are We at the Saturation Point Viz-a-Viz Celebrity Pharma Endorsements?

Are We at the Saturation Point Viz-a-Viz Celebrity Pharma Endorsements? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

I read with interest today's email missive from Bob Ehrlich, Chairman of DTC Perspectives. He was talking about the "Dry Eye DTC Battle" between Allergan's Restasis and the new kid on the bloc: Shire's Xiidra (two i's - get it? aka two "eyes").

 

Ehrlich pointed out that Shire enlisting Jennifer Aniston is a "big get. Getting a movie star to promote the dry eye condition must have cost Shire a lot in talent fees," said Ehrlich.

 

"Obviously they think she is worth it. Her ad just went on air under the 'myeyelove' title" (read "Jennifer Aniston is Shilling for Shire!").

 

Ehrlich noted that Aniston is getting "lots of commercial endorsements these days. She is touting skin care brand Aveeno and plugging the comforts of Emirate Airways. I am sure Shire considered whether we at a Jennifer saturation point. My feeling is we can take a couple more campaigns before she gets overused."

 

My view is that celebs are being overused by pharma marketers these days. Why? Find out here...

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Jennifer Aniston is Shilling for Shire!

Jennifer Aniston is Shilling for Shire! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Shire is expected to unveil a new disease awareness campaign Thursday featuring actress Jennifer Aniston as it prepares to introduce its new dry-eye drug to the U.S. market.

 

The drugmaker expects the multi-channel initiative to lay its foundation in the ophthalmology market, following the approval in July of its chronic dry eye drug, Xiidra. The campaign will also set the stage for Shire to compete with the current market leader, Allergan's Restasis. Xiidra is expected to be available in pharmacies later this month.

 

This is the rare-disease maker's first move into the eye care market and its CEO Flemming Ørnskov told investors during the company's earnings call earlier this month that he considers the launch of Xiidra to be the company's biggest to date. Xiidra represents a new venture from a drugmaker that bills itself as a global biotech focused on rare diseases — given the many millions of people affected by dry-eye disease.

 

“Shire is making a big entry into the eye care space at a time when there's a little bit of churn within the leadership [of the category],” said Vic Noble, head of marketing, ophthalmics, for Shire. “This is what market leaders, and want-to-be market leaders, do — they show a big commitment to health.”

 

The company is indeed making a big commitment, pulling in TV and movie star Jennifer Aniston as the face of the campaign. She will be featured in TV spots for eyelove and will also be involved in consumer PR outreach. Shire hired Digitas Health LifeBrands as the creative agency for campaign, and Edelman is leading social media, experiential events, and consumer PR.

 

“We picked up a magazine and there was a story about Jennifer [Aniston] and she mentioned that she's addicted to eye drops,” Noble said. A few phone calls later and she was on board, Noble noted, adding that “this is an issue she's been dealing with for a while.”

 

Allergan has been preparing for the competition. Its chief commercial officer, Bill Meury, said during an earnings call in August that they expect growth for Restasis to “moderate” with the introduction of Xiidra, as well as the fact that “Shire is going to, of course, be sampling the product heavily.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

Why do drug marketers always claim that they read about celebrities with exactly the health problem their drug treats BEFORE they hire them to shill for the product? Also, you might think disease awareness ads will help the market leader (Restasis) more than Shire's product, but the secret is "heavy" sampling - Free stuff!

NOTE: “Allergan See's Shire's Aniston and Raises Tomei to Promote Restasis”; http://sco.lt/8r5bxB

 

Shire enlisting Jennifer Aniston is a big get, according to Bob Ehrlich, Chairman of DTC Perspectives. "Getting a movie star to promote the dry eye condition must have cost Shire a lot in talent fees. Obviously they think she is worth it. Her ad just went on air under the "myeyelove" title."

"Jennifer Aniston is getting lots of commercial endorsements these days," Said Ehrlich. "She is touting skin care brand Aveeno and plugging the comforts of Emirate Airways. I am sure Shire considered whether we at a Jennifer saturation point. My feeling is we can take a couple more campaigns before she gets overused."

 

My feeling is that I'm at the saturation popint viz-a-viz celebrity pharma endorsements. And the fact that Aniston is plugging other products only goes to prove my point that her people probably approached Shire rather than Shire just stumbling upon a story about her dry eyes in a magazine - in fact I bet that story was an "audition" for the part!

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Women A-List Celebs Hold a Special Place in Allergan's Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

Women A-List Celebs Hold a Special Place in Allergan's Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

As it looks for new ways to connect consumers with its dermatology, women's health, and aesthetics portfolios, Allergan is increasingly calling on celebrity heavyweights to promote its products. In the past year alone, the drugmaker has partnered with TV and stage star Lea Michele, movie star Kate Bosworth, and reality-TV personality Khloé Kardashian.

Allergan, which estimates that 62% of its customers are women, sees the celebrity involvement as a way to create authenticity and draw attention to its brands.“It's part of a multi-channel strategy,” said Jag Dosanjh, SVP, medical dermatology for Allergan, who developed the partnership with Kate Bosworth for its acne treatment Aczone. “People consume their media in many ways, they look for different sources. Whether it's in their Facebook feeds or anything else, having other ways to connect with consumers — so they can understand the issues — is important for us to look at.”

Celebrity partnerships are an important part of the media mix for Allergan because they help break down stigmas around certain disorders, Dosanjh added. 

Last July, Allergan launched #ActuallySheCan, a campaign that was directed at millennial women (read“Allergan's #ActuallySheCan Campaign: Brand Promotion Disguised as Social Media”; http://sco.lt/684Xhp). That initiative drew on a network of female celebrities, including Michele, to foster a discussion among women. Other popular celebrities, like Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”) and model Miranda Kerr, posted content with the hashtag in support of the campaign. While an unbranded initiative, ActuallySheCan's website featured product information for the company's birth control pill Lo Loestrin Fe.

Kardashian, for her part, helped kicked off the Live Chin Up campaign in March for Kybella, a chin fat reducing injection, at a New York event (read“Khloé Kardashian Shills for Kybella at Dermatologists' Offices & Soon on TV”; http://sco.lt/6TW6qX). There, she moderated a panel, which also featured a dermatologist and a patient, who discussed her experiences with submental fullness — commonly referred to as a double chin.

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Khloé Kardashian Shills for Kybella at Dermatologists' Offices & Soon on TV

Khloé Kardashian Shills for Kybella at Dermatologists' Offices & Soon on TV | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Kybella, Allergan’s med for excess chin fat, is already in the middle of a successful launch. But the company is by no means stopping there, execs said Tuesday.

 

So far, the Dublin drugmaker has trained more than 4,000 providers to inject the drug--in other words, nearly half the product’s potential user base, commercial chief Bill Meury told investors on the company’s Q1 conference call. And of those trainees, 3,000 have already placed orders for the fat-fighter.

 

But Allergan knows it’s up to its own marketing ranks to lay “the groundwork in the creation and development of this new market for injectables,” Meury said--and so it plans to keep the push going strong. Later this year, the company will roll out a DTC campaign for Kybella, which will follow up on marketing activities that have included a partnership with Khloé Kardashian.

Pharma Guy's insight:

I knew a Kardashian was going to shill for Allergans "chin" buster drug (read "Pfizer May Own Your Penis, But Allergan, Maker of Botox & Kybella, Owns Your Face"; http://sco.lt/8osXGD). But I thought it would be Kim and her fat ass as in this Kybella FAQ:

 

Could the drug help destroy fat cells in other areas of the body?

Like Kim Kardashian's ass?

 

BTW, Khloé easily competes with her sister ass-size-wise!

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As Big Pharma's Rep Drops, Celebrities Add False Credibility to Health Claims

As Big Pharma's Rep Drops, Celebrities Add False Credibility to Health Claims | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Canadian lawyer Tim Caulfield has made it his mission to expose fraudulent health advice — particularly when it comes from Hollywood stars. He’s a relentless debunker on Twitter. And his book “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?” marshals boatloads of scientific evidence to skewer the long parade of celebrities who tout magical cures that will supposedly keep us all cellulite-free and young forever.

 

Why is a health law professor from Canada obsessed with Gwyneth Paltrow? Did something specific trigger your ire?

 

I do get asked that a lot. One reporter joked that maybe I was secretly in love with her. That’s not the case.

 

We seem to be in a unique period in cultural history where we have more tolerance for pseudoscience and what I call bunk. This has made room for celebrities to step in. Gwyneth is an icon in the world of fashion and a movie star, but increasingly, her brand is dispensing health advice.

 

There is a plague of celebrity culture in the area of health and science, and Gwyneth is really the queen of this realm.

 

Why have the voices of celebrities in the health arena become so loud and powerful?

 

There’s interesting speculation we might be predisposed to emulate people with prestige. In the past maybe it was good hunters, today it’s Kardashians. What makes this era different is because of social media and reality TV, celebrities are simply everywhere; they are closer to us. Grace Kelly existed in a different realm, while Kim Kardashian is part of daily life.

 

The other thing that’s going on right now is distrust in traditional sources of scientific information. People think big pharma and industry have corrupted science. The public hears about the problems scientists have not being able to replicate their studies. One day they hear wine is good for you, the next day it’s bad. They say, “You scientists can’t make up your minds.” That’s all created a lot of space for celebrities.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Pharma use of celebrities in its DTC advertising is partly to blame for providing credence to celebrities' opinions on health, IMHO. See "My Favorite Drug Ad Celebrities"; http://bit.ly/pgfavoritecelebs 

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The History, Effectiveness & Ethics of Celebrity Drug Endorsement

The History, Effectiveness & Ethics of Celebrity Drug Endorsement | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
Drug companies pay big money for celebrities to raise awareness of drugs and diseases. Critics question the motives of the stars, and academics wonder if it’s worth the financial cost.


In 1958, Milton Berle became one of the first celebrities to promote a pharmaceutical drug, according to a review published in the American Journal of Public Health. Calling himself “Miltown Berle,” the comedian joked about his use of a depressant called Miltown, and the makers of the drug — Carter Products — promoted Berle’s jokes to gossip columnists.


Companies soon began hiring journalists to promote drugs in columns even as the writers presented themselves as objective, unbiased reporters, according to the AJPH review. And so began the rapid advancement of marketing tactics and promotion of pharmaceuticals by celebrities.


Pharmaceutical companies are very, very good at advertising and marketing their drugs. The industry’s 10 highest grossing companies spent $98.3 billion on marketing in 2014. They brought in a combined $429.4 billion in sales that year.


“Celebrity spokespersons provide many advantages when working with a pharmaceutical company,” Amy Doner, president and founder of the Amy Doner Group, said. “Most important, the right spokesperson with a personal genuine connection can help motivate people to sit up, take notice and take action when dealing with their own health or the health of loved ones.”


Although past research indicated celebrities could raise awareness, research doesn’t show clear proof that celebrity endorsements change consumer behavior.


A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing found celebrity promotions of disease awareness did not affect consumer’s views of an advertisement or the company being advertised. The ads didn’t affect consumer behavior either. The study did find consumers paid more attention to ads with celebrities and found the ads to be more credible.


“There is nothing unethical about using your celebrity status to motivate people to see their doctor,” Doner said, speaking about the ethics of celebrity endorsements in general. “They are not claiming to be doctors nor are they offering medical advice. They are simply using their voice to reach as many people as they can with important health information that can save a life.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

"In many situations, celebrities promote drugs that ease symptoms, save lives and rarely cause harmful side effects. They just have to play by the same rules that Big Pharma has to play by and make sure they aren’t breaking the law."


But when social media is involved, it is easier for celebrities to skirt -- and even break -- the law and reach many more people for a lot less money. For more on that, read "Celebrities + Social Media"; http://bit.ly/pmn140602p 

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Boehringer Ingelheim Supports Undocumented Immigrants & Sides with Latino TV vs. Donald Trump. Bravo!

Boehringer Ingelheim Supports Undocumented Immigrants & Sides with Latino TV vs. Donald Trump. Bravo! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Two stories caught my attention yesterday:

One involved drug company Boehringer Ingelheim and Spanish-language television network Telemundo.

The other involved Donald Trump and another Spanish-language television network - Univision.

In the first case, a major (non-US) pharma company has the courage to support “illegal” Mexican immigrants and at the same time raise awareness of diabetes among the U.S. Latino public, whether they are illegal or not (read the press release here).

In the second case, Donald Trump evades questions about his Mexican deportation plans from Univision Spanish-language news anchor Jorge Ramos and kicks him out of a press conference with the words “Go Back To Univision” (read the story here).

How does Boehringer support “illegal” Mexicans in this country?


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Pharma Guy's insight:

An interesting way to support a political cause and promote good health at the same time. Also good for the bottom line, I suppose - not that there's anything wrong with that!

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Article: Online e-Patient & Celebrity Patient Video Testimonials: Anecdotal Experience Marketing

Article: Online e-Patient & Celebrity Patient Video Testimonials: Anecdotal Experience Marketing | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
This article asks the question: Can anecdotal 'evidence'/experiences mentioned in patient videos -- even unbranded videos -- cause unnecessary visits to the doctor's office and over prescribing of drugs with serious side effects?
Pharma Guy's insight:


Topics include (partial list):

  • Real Stories from Real Moms & Daughters
  • Symptoms & Undocumented Anecdotal Evidence
  • The Selling of ADHD and Ethics of Disease Awareness Advertising
  • Persuasive Celebrity Patient Video Testimonials
  • Overstating Efficacy
  • Declaration of Health Data Rights
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