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COVID-19 Pharma News Monthly Roundup – An initiative to keep marketers updated on how pharma is adapting its marketing strategies during the novel coronavirus
With the COVID-19 pandemic creating havoc across industries. It will be interesting to know how pharma brands are responding to the current pandemic. Pharma and healthcare companies have geared up activities in the digital domain to launch brands, communicate information to doctors, reach patients, and stay connected with their customers. This dedicated coronavirus monthly pharma news roundup section will give you a crisp summary on all of this.
Here are some interesting examples of the recent digital initiatives and marketing programs by pharmaceutical companies during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus Pharmaceutical Marketing News Roundup
Aug Coronavirus Pharmaceutical Marketing News Roundup
An app that can estimate the risk of delaying cancer treatment during pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, cancer patients are seen to delay their treatment, which is further posing them to increased risks and complications.
And as hospitals stop cancer surgeries and reduce radiation treatments during the pandemic – one major question has been – Is it right to delay their treatment ?
To address this concern, the team of data scientists and cancer doctors from Michigan Public Health and the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center have developed a free, web-based application that helps doctors evaluate a patient’s risk with immediate vs. delayed treatment.
People all over the world have been accessing this app. You can check The OncCOVID model at http://onccovid.med.umich.edu/
July’s Coronavirus Pharmaceutical Marketing News Roundup
31st July 2020
>> Digital Diabetes Prevention Program, proves to keep diabetics healthy at home
>> Podcasts seems to be catching up with HCPs and the general populations
>> FDA debuts its own COVID-19 podcast series
>> Search for cancer-related information rise during the pandemic
>> “I Was Scared I Might Die Alone”: A study on the experiences of COVID-19 Survivors
>> A FDA app that allows doctors to share experiences on COVID-19 treatments
>> WHO partners with Facebook, Watsapp, and Viber
>> A video game that is helping teens cope with COVID-19
>> ‘Virtual Waiting Rooms’ are reinventing point of care for better patient experiences
>> Osmotica Pharmaceuticals, bypasses pharmacies to launch its eye drops for droopy eyelids
>> Katie Couric Explores: Cancer During COVID-19
>> Germany’s coronavirus response is a master class in science communication, says CNBC
And if you missed some of our other interesting Coronavirus Pharma Marketing News Roundup from April to June 2020
Digital Diabetes Prevention Program, proves to keep diabetics healthy at home
As access to primary care physicians is becoming challenging for patients during the COVID-19 crisis, digital health is catching up in a big way.
Digital care through a virtual set up is no more an idea but a reality that is finding good acceptance given the current scenario, especially helping to expand reach to the undeserved population.
Delivering and managing patient care with remote tools to the at-risk patients is more important than ever before.
The digital health start up, Lark Health, released a study on the adult Type 2 diabetic patients which has shown promising results.
Larks, AI-based Diabetes Management Program is a big step in
chronic care management. Using AI, patients are monitored through connected devices – that provide data and health insights.
The program helps to keep patients healthy while at home, to aid their weight loss, help control diabetes and hypertension, and also promoting behavioral changes. The support of a 24 /7 coach on the phone is also being offered.
The company’s diabetes prevention program has received Full Recognition status from CDC.
Podcasts seems to be catching up with HCPs and the general populations
A series of Healio podcasts has taken to trend – prominent among them being Rheuminations, Eye Care Out Loud, Gut Talk and Unmasking COVID-19 and Oncology Overdrive
Podcasts provide content in easy digestible format and helps fill the knowledge gap in a non-traditional content format.
Listening to conversations on the podcast helps to address the current content fatigue with the other digital channels and is said to drive more connection with the listeners.
>>> Pfizer also has its special podcast series to discuss COVID-19 issues.
Interestingly this mini-series covers range of topics given the current pandemic.
A 25-year CDC veteran who had worked on Ebola and MERS responses, shares his thoughts. Right from learning’s about the past viral out-breaks, to the the science around the virus and concerns and hopes for what happens next.
Pfizer plans to bring a more thoughtful discussion around vaccines to the public by providing accurate information.
FDA debuts its own COVID-19 podcast series
To educate and address issues around COVID-19, FDA launches a new podcast – “FDA INSIGHT” for patients, consumers and the healthcare community.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, and FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs Dr. Anand Shah discuss FDA’s COVID-19 efforts, including the drug development process for a COVID-19 treatment.
The first episode focused on the basics of what the FDA does—and even explains healthcare terms and topics around COVID-19, such as clinical trials, antivirals, investigational drugs and emergency use authorizations.
You can listen to their first episode here
Search for cancer-related information rise during the pandemic
Patient Power, is a cancer community and information website, that has come into the spotlight of many pharma firms during the pandemic.
There was a good 40% rise in its website traffic, with website visits being as high as 6,000/day in May.
So what was the trigger?
The Patient Power’s 30 min webinar series, called “Answers Now”, which addressed concerns around COVID-19 for the different types of cancer.
Pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, Incyte, AbbVie and Roche’s Genentech, immediately took notice of this and and signed on as sponsors for these videos.
At a time when content creators were busy addressing issues about precautions for people with diabetes or heart conditions or the elderly population. There was a dearth of information for the cancer patients. No one was paying attention to this kind of content.
Patient Power, tapped into their need for more informative, inspiring and uplifting content for this community of patients.
“I Was Scared I Might Die Alone”: A study on the experiences of COVID-19 Survivors
A study on participants (COVID-19 survivors) within the range of 20-95 years of age, from over 15 countries and 5 continents, has addressed psychological impacts associated with the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The participants were shown to have a negative mental health experiences such as being scared, having anxious, guilty feelings, and worrying about their recovery.
The study urges psychological interventions to be included in the management of COVID-19 patients and survivors.
A FDA app that allows doctors to share experiences on COVID-19 treatments
The CureID app , has been created by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
What is so special about this app?
The app makes it easier for doctors to connect on a global level to share and discuss challenging clinical cases.
And to basically understand the clinical outcomes when doctors are trying meds with unapproved use on their affected patients.
Doctors can enter data related to COVID-19 treatments and also their adverse events which then gets shared with Medwatch.
This app serves as an an important educational platform for clinicians who want to stay up to date on treatment approaches for their patients.
WHO partners with Facebook, Watsapp, and Viber
There are still lot of rumors, misleading and false information on coronavirus that is circulating on the web. WHO has termed the spread of this misinformation as an ‘infodemic’.
With the need for more credible content,
And to provide information based on facts, directly into the hands of the people that need it and to keep people safe, WHO partnered with widely popular social channels like Facebook, Watspp and Viber.
WHO intends to reach 2 billion people with this easy to use messaging service.
Click on this link to activate the service by just typing ‘Hi’ and get your coronavirus related queries answered.
A video game that is helping teens cope with COVID-19
Imagine a game that enables players to save a city giving them tools to help recover the beauty and bring back its life and brightness.
Originally created for kids and teens coping with loneliness and social isolation because of chronic illness,
This app is also finding increased usage during the COVID 19, to help people manage their emotions of loneliness. The free mobile app, is called as Shadow’s Edge and has being approved by psychologists.
‘Virtual Waiting Rooms’ are reinventing point of care for better patient experiences
At a time when telemedicine adoption has skyrocketed, Outcome health has introduced the novel concept of integrating virtual waiting room with telemedicine services.
What do patients do during their waiting time here?
The patients are offered a resource of educational content, customized to the doctor’s specialty. Some of the content on the coronavirus FAQs, also helps save doctors’ consultation time.
With more empathetic understanding of delivering content at the point of care, patients’ leave with a very different and pleasant experience of their remote consultation.
Check out their video –
Osmotica Pharmaceuticals, bypasses pharmacies to launch its eye drops for droopy eyelids
Upneeq, is the brand of oxymetazoline hydrochloride, that is being marketed as the first-ever treatment for adults with acquired blepharoptosis, or droopy eyelid.
And the med, has been studied to offer greater improvement in vision.
The company Osmotica Pharmaceuticals, will be targeting high prescribing eye specialists through in-person rep visits.
The patients will be given a 15-day trial supply of Upneeq, with a patient information literature on their condition and the drug details.
Katie Couric Explores: Cancer During COVID-19
Courtic, the well-known journalist has partnered with Merck to produce a web series about being treated for cancer during the pandemic.
Bringing to light the experiences of the cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, the series is an effort to get closer to the lives of those living with cancer during these difficult times – understanding their challenges, pains and worries and sharing it with the those, who would benefit from it.
This idea was born, with Merck wanting to create a meaningful presence in the lives of people by delivering content that was relevant and which also added value.
The debut series is on Sarah, who was diagnosed with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of breast cancer -just couple of weeks before the pandemic brought the city under the spell of the lockdown. Know her story here –
Germany’s coronavirus response is a master class in science communication, says CNBC
In the midst of all the rumors and fake information circulating on coronavirus, Germany had a good number of prominent scientists at the forefront, communicating and explaining the facts to the public in the right way.
Lets look at some of their initiatives
>>> Virologist Christian Drosten, handled complex medical ideas and conveyed them into a language that was well understood by the general public. During the time of the pandemic, his podcast, “Das Coronavirus-Update” drew millions of followers.
>>> The German children got educated on the coronavirus via popular shows like “Die Sendung mit der Maus” (which is equivalent to “Sesame Street”).
>>> And the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with her own science background announced data-driven updates to the public. Sometimes also challenging the experts in the field.
She is also known to have explained, to the public – the basic reproductive number, a term that indicates how contagious a virus is.
Coronavirus Pharma Marketing News Roundup (From April – June 2020)
April Coronavirus Pharma Marketing News Roundup
10th April 2020
May Coronavirus Pharma Marketing News Roundup
18th May 2020
>> The trending Search Terms pharma companies need to use in their search ads during the COVID-19 pandemic
>> Outlook Pharma gets FDA warning letter for its misleading ad on Google
>> COVID-19, a once in a generation opportunity to reset for Pharma
June Coronavirus Pharma Marketing News Roundup
18th June 2020
>> A First-ever FDA-approved Video Game-Based digital device that treats children with ADHD
>> American Lung Association: A refreshed brand amidst coronavirus
>> WHO latest Advice to the Public: When and how to use masks
>> Public Good Projects helping brand communicators with real-time, reliable COVID-19 information
>> Bristol Meyers Squibb’s thoughtful brand launch, as things reopen after COVID-19
>> Clarus Therapeutics’ marketing agility for Jatenzo launch during COVID-19
>> Survey: Consumers scared to visit doctors office but comfortable to go to their local pharmacy
>> People want to hear about something else, as COVID-19 information fatigue sets in
>> Galderma launches an aesthetic product during COVID-19
Eli Lilly offers help to diabetes patients in the US
For diabetic patients, Eli Lilly has initiated a special diabetes help call center.
They announced this coming with ads running on social media and radio especially targeting people who may have lost their jobs or health insurance in the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Eli Lilly will be serving its existing patients with free insulin through it’ nonprofit – Lilly Cares.
And that”s not all, it is offering a special assistance program for patients who are not on their meds, for whichever brand of drugs they are currently using.
Eli Lilly’s field force call on doctors with this simple message
As companies have gotten into remote working, so have Lilly’s field force. Instead of making sales call, the company has simplified the messaging to their doctors, saying –
“What do you need and how can we help?”
The reps are trained to provide information on patient diabetes programs and help provide samples for new patients.
Merck special podcast on coronavirus
Merck, for instance, has created a podcast on the topic ‘How Merck is looking at past epidemics and science to respond to the coronavirus outbreak’. This is being hosted by Merck director of communications Patrick Ryan talking to chief patient officer Julie Gerberding, M.D., and BIO infectious disease expert Phyllis Arthur’
A virtual brand launch by Biohaven amidst COVID-19 lockdown
Fierce Pharma recently reported, Biohaven, a US-based company recently got the FDA nod for its acute migraine treatment Nurtec ODT.
With so much anxiety around the COVID-19 situation on people’s minds, it is also the time when anxiety attacks will be on the rise. Not failing to the COVID-19 lockdowns, the company decided to launch the brand through the digital route.
Here are some of their digital initiatives:
– Remote detailing for physician education
– Webinar by a panel of KOL’s, to discuss the new migraine drug
– The sales team is remotely interacting with physicians, shipping samples.
– Virtual sales training and meetings to keep the team engaged
– The company is also
– Telemedicine, DTC, and social media are some of the approaches used to educate and reach migraine patients.
The trending Search Terms pharma companies need to use in their search ads during the COVID-19 pandemic
With the COVID-19 lockdown, words like ‘savings’, ‘coverage’, and ‘how to refill prescriptions’ have seen a spike on search engines.
Google is giving priority to paid search ads which mention the words ‘savings’ and ‘coverage’. With job losses and unemployment on the rise, both these words have gained a lot of relevance.
Pharma ads with the word, ‘coverage’ and ‘savings’, have seen an average jump of 40% and 11% respectively on search engines. And mention of these words in paid search ads of certain specialties like hematology, diabetes, and respiratory have had even bigger spikes.
Pharma brands need to make note of this information when designing their search campaigns.
Outlook Pharma gets FDA warning letter for its misleading ad on Google
The paid search ad, for the ADHD med ProCentra, failed to include important risk information of its Boxed Label Warning. Safety information was not provided along with the benefits claim statement in the ad message – “Maybe the solution you’re looking for”.
The FDA also noted there was misbranding, for not including the generic term “dextroamphetamine sulfate” along with the brand name ProCentra.
COVID-19, a once in a generation opportunity to reset for Pharma
Over the years the pharma industry has gained a reputation of over-patenting and profiting from high drug prices.
As pharma companies around the globe have geared up for a solution to end COVID-19, by way of discovering new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics. Eli Lilly’s CEO Dave Ricks, said the biopharma industry has a “once in a generation opportunity to reset” its reputation.
Also a recent Harris Poll report has revealed that consumers now have a more positive impression of pharma companies and are closely following the pharma industry’s efforts to fight the virus.
A First-ever FDA-approved Video Game-Based digital device that treats children with ADHD
This innovative game-based digital therapeutic device is called EndeavorRx and is the first and only FDA-approved prescription treatment for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Indicated to improve attention function and associated symptoms, the treatment is to be delivered through a video game experience. FDA has granted the market authorization of this first-ever digital therapeutic to Akili Interactive.
American Lung Association: A refreshed brand amidst coronavirus
Guess what! After 115 long years, the American Lung Association which was built on the mission to eradicate tuberculosis now has a major brand makeover.
Adjusting to modern times, it updates its drive to fight issues like vaping, climate change, and the current COVID-19 pandemic.
At a time when the pandemic has a key role in the respiratory illness of the lungs, the new logo and colors just seem relevant and more meaningful.
The association wanted to bring in more clarity and understanding of what it stands for through its logo and colors. The red colors of its brand have been replaced with blue, that relates quite well with the clean, fresh air.
Its new mission is now, seen to be more closely associated with the brand’s logo. The crossbars on its logo stand for advocacy, education, and the vertical bar that holds it together implies its work on breakthrough research.
The COVID-19 Action Initiative will help enhance key public health measures on awareness, expand the ongoing research programs and advance future outbreak preparedness.
WHO latest Advice to the Public: When and how to use masks
WHO’s latest update is on how to use medical and non-medical fabric mask. Videos and infographics on how to use the masks safely with tips on do’s and dont’s on wearing them and more such useful resources can be found.
Public Good Projects helping brand communicators with real-time, reliable COVID-19 information
In solving the biggest health challenges of the pandemic of having reliable information and tackling misinformation, the Public Good Projects (PGP) is monitoring coronavirus-related conversations across traditional and digital media, 24/7 to provide organizations with public health expertise and messaging guidance.
The project with the acronym, RCAID stands for Rapid. Collection. Analysis. Interpretation. Dissemination. And is set to provide real-time media monitoring with daily updates and analyses from public health experts.
The site features free resources that will help communicate COVID-19 related information more effectively, as the pandemic progresses.
Bristol Meyers Squibb’s thoughtful brand launch, as things reopen after COVID-19
It was the peak of COVID-19 when Bristol Meyers Squibb decided that it was not the right time to launch its new multiple sclerosis drug, Zeposia.
But this did not deter them to think anew. Instead, it utilized this time in educating its community to ensure they understand Zeposia.
They engaged their healthcare providers through Zeposia’s website and some virtual programs.
The company had already built a strong specialty-focused sales team with neurology and immunology experience. This capability also made the transition to virtual interactions with customers much easier.
In the meanwhile, they were also revising their marketing launch strategy. For which they partnered closely with the neurology community, physician-level advisors, and patient advocacy groups, to understand the change in patient care that was happening in the MS community – the shift to telemedicine, as stated by Tina Deignan, VP of immunology at BMS.
Promotional messages were put in the digital space to make the customers familiar with Zeposia.
Now as things have started to resume back, the learnings gathered in the setback period have directed their launch strategy. Telemedicine has gathered momentum, and physicians have also quite settled with the remote way of interacting with patients.
Moreover, Zeposia’s unique benefits will help it stand apart in this period of social distancing. The drug is simple and easy to initiate. That is, it does not need a complete blood count before starting the patient’s treatment, thus removing the hurdle of a lab visit as was required with the previous drugs in its class.
Clarus Therapeutics’ marketing agility for Jatenzo launch during COVID-19
The men’s health-focused pharma company, Clarus Therapeutics, launched its testosterone replacement pill – Jatenzo. This was also the time when the pandemic struck and the company had to quickly switch its sales reps to virtual-only interactions.
“We had to quickly pivot, we literally pivoted within three days,” said Frank Jaeger, chief commercial officer at Clarus. “We pulled our reps on a Thursday and by Monday all materials were approved through medical regulatory legal and submitted to FDA for first use. On Tuesday, our reps were out there able to virtually educate doctors. Three days after pulling them from the field.”
Initially, the launch was targeted only to doctors and was all about educating them, the digital space opened up the opportunity to also educate patients of its targeted HCPs using programmatic advertising and geofencing.
The company had never explored the virtual education platform for its doctors.
Jatenzo had to be prescribed by a certain specialty of doctors that were not occupied with COVID-19 related concerns for their patients. The doctors were therefore receptive to the company’s move to virtual education programs and a virtual speaker bureau.
Survey: Consumers scared to visit doctors office but comfortable to go to their local pharmacy
A recent survey, by the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) and the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), has pointed out that COVID-19 has impacted the healthcare of 72% of consumers.
74% of people fear there will be a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall or winter. 38% say they would delay their elective procedures for another six months, and 27% won’t go to a hospital for a diagnostic test. Consumers are also very eager to try telehealth.
In the background when patients are cancelling their doctor appointments and delaying all their necessary health procedures. Interestingly, the survey results point to the fact that consumers prefer getting tested for COVID-19 at their doctor’s office.
And while consumers are hesitant to go to a doctor’s office, nearly half of the respondents mentioned they feel very comfortable going to their local pharmacy to pick up their prescription and speak to their pharmacist about their medication.
Consumers’ confidence in pharmacists has come to be quite impressive. Pharmacists can play a very important role in educating consumers and creating awareness. They can help in advocating the importance of current healthcare needs and encouraging patients to visit their doctors.
People want to hear about something else, as COVID-19 information fatigue sets in
There has been a 65% drop in global conversations around COVID-19, from 204 million weekly mentions in mid-March to just 71 million in late May, as reported in Fiercepharma.
The mood around those conversations is also shifting away from disgust, toward feelings such as anticipation which is now trending.
The trending hashtags on social media messages include #HopeFromHome and #StaySafe, rather than the previous #CoronavirusLockdown.
Which means, people are ready to hear some good news and stories of inspiration. As COVID-19 fatigue sets in, it seems to be an ideal time to start messages and content on other health topics. Communications and support to the chronic disease communities would be needed.
Galderma launches an aesthetic product during COVID-19
As things are slowly opening up after the lockdown, Galderma has launched, its newly approved lip filler, Restylane Kysse.
The company is helping out doctors by leveraging on the launch of Kysee, to motivate patients to come back to their doctor’s clinic.
As part of its creative promotions, the company had stay-at-home model shoots. And doctors are provided with digital materials to use with patients during telehealth sessions.