SCIOS BEGINS PHYSICIAN EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR NATRECOR
In an apparent move to bolster its heart-failure treatment Natrecor, Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) Scios unit has launched a comprehensive physician education program for the embattled drug, which clinical research has linked to an increased risk of kidney malfunctions.
Scios' "recommended use initiative" for Natrecor (nesiritide recombinant) aims to inform healthcare professionals about which patients are potential candidates for treatment with Natrecor and which are not recommended to receive the drug based on currently available clinical data.
The program will be rolled out over the next several weeks and will consist of a number of activities, including creating new promotional materials for healthcare providers, adding recommended-use language in promotional speakers' programs and running awareness advertisements in top-tier medical journals. To date, Scios has disseminated letters to more than 160,000 healthcare professionals describing Natrecor's recommended uses.
In addition to educating physicians about the drug, Scios is training its entire sales force and all promotional speakers regarding the recommended uses of Natrecor.
The controversy over Natrecor arose this spring following the release of a Journal of the American Medical Association article that indicated the drug was associated with an 80 percent increase in the risk of mortality one month after treatment, compared to conventional therapies, such as vasodilators and diuretics.