Pharma and Device Blog Watch
Glaxo Pitches Unnecessary Genital Herpes Test (Pharmalot)
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is spurring criticism with its new campaign, which is aimed at promoting its genital herpes drug Valtrex and, ostensibly, raising awareness of the disease among African Americans. Critics say GSK is pushing people to get testing that most public health experts say is unwarranted, Ed Silverman writes in his blog.
Referring to a Washington Post article, Silverman writes that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which advises HHS and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, rejects Pfizer’s suggestion of routine screening because “telling people they have an incurable, sexually transmitted disease can have serious social and emotional consequences. There’s no evidence that long-term treatment of millions of asymptomatic people is worth the time, effort and anguish.”
“For their part, [GSK] officials describe the campaign as largely an educational experiment,” Silverman continues, adding that GSK said it is only trying to increase awareness and hasn’t said that any populations should be screened.
“But … there are 100,000 brochures and a [GSK] web site, Herpes411.com, a message says, ‘A simple blood test is the best way to know if you have the virus.’ It goes on to say that people who think they may have been exposed ‘should ask your healthcare provider about being tested.’”
Why Do DTC Ads — ‘Viva Viagra’ Included — Stink? (Pharma Marketing Blog)
A recent regression in the quality of direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads, such as the “Viva Viagra” ad, is a throwback to the time before Congress was serious about banning DTC advertising or imposing more restrictions, John Mack writes.
“The Viva Viagra campaign also reneges on Pfizer’s pledge back in 2005 to focus more on disease awareness in its DTC advertising,” he points out. “Not only do these ads fail to live up to promises of educating the public about medical conditions, they also STINK!”
Viagra may share the same fate as Rozerem, which is spending more on marketing than it is getting in return, he writes. While these ads are memorable and score well in focus groups, they lack at delivering return on investment. Mack presents an explanation from Lee Weinblatt, CEO of The PreTesting Company, who says, “The typical methodology for measuring DTC effectiveness … ‘is leading pharmaceutical DTC advertisers down the wrong path.’”