Author Archives: Michele Meixell

AstraZeneca Takes a New Advertising Approach to Engage & Educate Consumers

By Rod Wooten, Commercial Brand Leader, CRESTOR

Fun. Entertaining. Engaging.

These are not words typically used to describe commercials for prescription medications. In fact, some people criticize pharmaceutical advertisements, calling them boring or even inauthentic.

AstraZeneca believes responsible direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising is integral to raising disease awareness, fostering patient education, enhancing the patient/physician dialogue and encouraging medication adherence. And we also recognize that consumers today need to be engaged differently. Ads need to be both informative and compelling to make a lasting impression and to effectively raise awareness of an issue or a treatment.

We’re pleased to announce that a new DTC television advertisement for
CRESTOR® (rosuvastatin calcium) will begin airing nationwide on October 4, 2013. This new ad, called SuperFan, uses light humor as a means to gain attention to the importance of managing cholesterol. The main character takes an interest in cholesterol management and CRESTOR like some “super fans” do for their favorite team, thus illustrating the type of engagement patients should have in their own healthcare.

We recognize that the tone and style of this advertisement is different from our previous approach to DTC. This is an intentional change based on market research, which indicated that patients, particularly high-risk patients with multiple health conditions, don’t always recognize the importance of treating their high cholesterol. Because high cholesterol is an asymptomatic condition, even when they do receive treatment, patients don’t ‘feel better’ and might not appreciate the benefits that treatment can potentially bring.

Additionally, we’re proud to have recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the US approval of CRESTOR and we are confident that the brand will remain an important treatment option for appropriate patients for years to come.

In other words, we see a lot more dancing in the SuperFan’s future.

When diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to lower cholesterol, adding CRESTOR can help. In adults, CRESTOR is prescribed along with diet to lower high cholesterol and slow the buildup of plaque in arteries as part of a treatment plan to lower cholesterol to goal.

CRESTOR is not right for everyone. Do not take CRESTOR if you are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant; have liver problems; or have had an allergic reaction to CRESTOR. Your doctor should do blood tests to check your liver before starting treatment and if you have symptoms of liver problems while taking CRESTOR. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain or weakness, especially with fever; have muscle problems that do not go away even after your doctor told you to stop taking CRESTOR; feel unusually tired; or have loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark urine, or yellowing of skin or eyes. These could be signs of rare but serious side effects. Elevated blood sugar levels have been reported with statins, including CRESTOR. The most common side effects may include headache, muscle aches, abdominal pain, weakness, and nausea. Memory loss and confusion have also been reported with statins, including CRESTOR. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about other medicines you are taking. See www.CRESTOR.com.

Please see full Prescribing Information.

2902901 Last Updated 9/13

Survey: Medicare Rx program highly popular

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The Medicare prescription drug benefit is still popular after all these years. Nine in 10 seniors with Medicare prescription drug coverage are satisfied with the program, and 97 percent said their coverage works well, according to a survey released by Medicare Today.

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • 96 percent said they felt “peace of mind” by having prescription drug coverage under Medicare, known as Part D.
  • 95 percent said their plan is convenient to use.
  • 84 percent said both their premiums and co-pays are affordable.
  • 88 percent said their Part D plan is meeting their expectations.
  • 72 percent said they are better off now than before they had Part D coverage.
  • And 89 percent would recommend the program to someone considering Medicare enrollment.

“Ten years after becoming law, it is clear that seniors remain happy with their Part D coverage and that the program is meeting their healthcare needs,” said Mary R. Grealy, chairman of Medicare Today and president of the Healthcare Leadership Council.

Not only are seniors happy with the Medicare prescription drug benefit, it is a good deal for them – and the system as a whole.

2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that American seniors’ increased access to medicines via the Medicare prescription drug program led to reduced spending on post-acute care such as hospitals and nursing homes.

The study found that Medicare Part D enrollees who had inadequate prescription drug coverage or no prescription drug coverage prior to enrolling in the Part D benefit each saved an average of $1,200 per year, which resulted in savings of $12 billion in federal spending for non-drug costs in the Medicare program.

PhRMA, pharmacists file suit to block Maine importation law

AstraZeneca commends our trade association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), for joining in a lawsuit today challenging a new Maine law that allows for importation of medicines from certain foreign entities.

The law, which is to take effect Oct. 9, allows licensed retail pharmacies in Australia, Canada, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom to export prescription medicines by mail or carrier to any resident of Maine for their personal use.

PhRMA is joined in the federal lawsuit by the Maine Pharmacy Association, the Retail Association of Maine, the Maine Society of Health System Pharmacists and several individual pharmacists. The groups rightly say the pending Maine law “offers little in the way of protection for consumers. It does not require, for example, foreign pharmacies or importation facilitators to verify the validity or appropriateness of prescriptions being filled for individuals in the United States.”

Additionally, foreign pharmacies are not subject to the Food and Drug Administration’s jurisdiction, which means American customers are not protected by the agency’s gold standard safety regulations if they seek to import prescription medications from outside the country.

As John J. Castellani, President and CEO of PhRMA, said, “We seek to protect Maine’s patients by invalidating this law, which conflicts with the national prescription drug regulatory structure established by Congress and implemented by the FDA. Patient safety must come first and without Federal oversight of a tightly regulated, secure supply chain, there is a real risk of adulterated or counterfeit products infiltrating our medicine supply. If successful, we look forward to working with Maine legislators and leadership to develop a strategy that addresses their concerns, without putting their residents at unnecessary risk of harm.”

AstraZeneca agrees. We believe the importation of medicines from outside the US drug regulatory system places the public health at risk because the safety of the medicines cannot be monitored or authenticated by the FDA, US Customs, or other foreign regulatory bodies. This lack of oversight can result in mishandled, tainted, or counterfeit products entering the US drug supply.

Teens develop assets at sixth annual “Hollywood Invades Delaware” Teen Summit

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For the sixth straight year, AstraZeneca supported the Delaware Prevention Coalition’s Hollywood Invades Delaware, a teen summit dedicated to educating teens, parents and guardians on the issues facing young people today; including underage drinking, prescription drug abuse and other risky behaviors. More than 600 teens from across the state of Delaware spent the day developing skills through a series of events, resources and workshops that encourage positive and critical thinking skills that promote self-respect and self-esteem.

Paul Calistro, Executive Vice President, West End Neighborhood House expressed his gratitude for AstraZeneca and its commitment to community, saying, “AstraZeneca’s enthusiasm, excitement and passion for wanting to not only be successful, but to help other people in their community change lives, is incredible, and without the leadership of AstraZeneca this would never have happened”.

AstraZeneca’s support of programs like the Delaware Prevention Coalition’s teen summit is one example of the company’s support for Delaware’s youth. AstraZeneca is also the sponsor of the United Way’s Young Health Program: IM40; an initiative that promotes positive youth development and healthy behaviors for at-risk adolescents.

To learn about YHP: IM40, take a moment and visit the newly updated website at www.im40.org. The recent renovations to the website allow youth, parents, teachers and community leaders to navigate the site separately with customized information that is most relevant to them.

You also can get updates by liking YHP: IM40 on Facebook and following IM40YHP on Twitter.

AstraZeneca launches webisode to aid HCP-patient dialogue

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AZ’s Bridging the Gap webisode features testimonials from women living with metastatic breast cancer.

As part of our ongoing support for patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), AstraZeneca  launched an interactive, educational video portal on OncLive.com entitled Bridging the Gap. The program features testimonials from seven women living with metastatic breast cancer, communicating their personal health journeys directly to health care providers (HCPs).

To aid the dialogue between patients with MBC– the most advanced stage of breast cancer–and their HCPs, each woman has shared her own concerns and goals while living with MBC, highlighting the importance of effective doctor-patient communication as well as their experiences with what makes this relationship a success. From receiving a diagnosis of MBC to working as a team with oncologists, the women provide perspective on how key conversations have played a role in their own treatment journeys.

Tools for both HCPs and patients are also available. Visit the site and download educational resources.

 2746804 Last Updated 7/13

AstraZeneca’s ARIMIDEX® (anastrozole) tablets Direct program provides valuable resources to program enrollees

AstraZeneca has been at the forefront of innovation, looking for new avenues for patient support. Two key areas of support include financial assistance and educational resources and materials, which are now available for patients receiving ARIMIDEX® (anastrozole) tablets through ARIMIDEX Direct.

Launched in February 2012, ARIMIDEX Direct is AstraZeneca’s first-ever direct-to-patient program. It enables eligible patients to easily enroll and receive brand-name ARIMIDEX delivered directly to their home for $40 per month, including shipping. Patients who enroll in ARIMIDEX Direct now have access to added support benefits, such as health and wellness tools and education materials, links to an online community, and automatic refills or refill reminders.

Since it was launched, over 2000 patients have enrolled in ARIMIDEX Direct, and the direct-to-patient platform continues to serve as an important way for AstraZeneca to help meet the needs of patients who elect to receive and pay for the brand ARIMIDEX on their own.

See below for more information about ARIMIDEX Direct and visit the website for enrollment information.

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Celebrating 10 Years of CRESTOR in the US

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CRESTOR celebrates 10th anniversary – AstraZeneca announced FDA approval of CRESTOR on August 13, 2003

By Dr Philip de Vane, Executive Director of Medical Affairs and Strategic Development at AstraZeneca 

As we mark the 10-year anniversary of the US approval of CRESTOR® (rosuvastatin calcium), AstraZeneca has a great deal of pride in celebrating this important milestone knowing the impact the brand has made in the treatment of high cholesterol and slowing the progression of atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque in arteries).

AstraZeneca announced the US Food and Drug Administration approval of CRESTOR on August 13, 2003. Since then, CRESTOR has received regulatory approval in more than 100 countries worldwide. CRESTOR is backed by clinical research that spans 13 years, including over 120 ongoing or completed clinical trials and includes more than 67,000 patients worldwide.

Over the past decade, AstraZeneca has worked to develop patient education programs to help educate Americans about cholesterol management and atherosclerosis. However, we recognize there is still more work to be done, since an estimated 31.9 million US adults have high cholesterol, according to the 2013 update to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics.

With this in mind, we remain committed to helping increase awareness of high cholesterol and other risk factors that can contribute to the progression of atherosclerosis among adults, particularly those at increased risk.

We’re confident that CRESTOR will remain an important treatment option for appropriate patients for years to come.

When diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to lower cholesterol, adding CRESTOR can help. In adults, CRESTOR is prescribed along with diet to lower high cholesterol and slow the buildup of plaque in arteries as part of a treatment plan to lower cholesterol to goal.

CRESTOR is not right for everyone. Do not take CRESTOR if you are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant; have liver problems; or have had an allergic reaction to CRESTOR. Your doctor should do blood tests to check your liver before starting treatment and if you have symptoms of liver problems while taking CRESTOR. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain or weakness, especially with fever; have muscle problems that do not go away even after your doctor told you to stop taking CRESTOR; feel unusually tired; or have loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark urine, or yellowing of skin or eyes. These could be signs of rare but serious side effects. Elevated blood sugar levels have been reported with statins, including CRESTOR. The most common side effects may include headache, muscle aches, abdominal pain, weakness, and nausea. Memory loss and confusion have also been reported with statins, including CRESTOR. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about other medicines you are taking. See www.CRESTOR.com 

Please see full Prescribing Information.

2807303 8/13

AstraZeneca takes a personal approach to connect with patients

Nexium Channel Art Box

By Ken Graham, Commercial Business Leader, GI, AstraZeneca

For many people, disease awareness and education are critical components to managing their conditions over time. With 72% of adult internet users looking on the internet for health information in the past year, AstraZeneca believes that it is important to share information with patients by engaging with them online. To that end, AstraZeneca recently launched a NEXIUM YouTube channel.

The channel includes video content to help patients learn more about NEXIUM.  The channel also provides information on the NEXIUM savings card for qualifying patients with a valid prescription from their doctor. Weekly tips on how to manage their symptoms are also available.

In today’s digital age, technology is a compass for how we communicate and share health and wellness information. With more than one billion unique users visiting YouTube each month, this platform allows AstraZeneca to connect with patients.

Visit the NEXIUM YouTube channel to learn more.

AstraZeneca Hosts Inaugural Breast Cancer Blogger Summit

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Participants from Cancer 101, Stupid Cancer, METAvivor, Awesome Cancer Survivor, and Talk About Health joined AstraZeneca for a robust discussion on breast cancer patient needs

On June 6, 2013, a select group of members in the breast cancer community convened at AstraZeneca’s headquarters in Wilmington, DE.

A first for AstraZeneca, this was a unique opportunity to learn from a diverse group of advocates/bloggers about the evolution of patient and caregiver support in the age of social media, as well as their efforts to advance care and resources for breast cancer patients.

The event also served as a platform for peer-to-peer dialogue and collaboration.The breast cancer community has done amazing work in terms of disease awareness, education and support and we at AstraZeneca were pleased to have hosted a discussion that highlighted where we are today.

AstraZeneca has been at the forefront of oncology treatment for over 30 years and is fully committed to cancer research, treatment and community support. By hosting this summit, we hope to continue the lines of communication with the community to better understand and accommodate the evolving needs of patients, as well as those who are involved in their care.

National Council on Aging honors AstraZeneca

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Linda Palczuk, Vice President, Cornerstone and Commercial Excellence, accepted the award on behalf of AstraZeneca

In 2007, the National Council on Aging, with support from AstraZeneca, created My Medicare Matters, a community-based education and outreach initiative whose goal was to help people with Medicare and their families better understand the Medicare prescription drug benefit. Today, My Medicare Matters helps many of the more than 40 million people with Medicare, 90 percent of all beneficiaries, with comprehensive prescription drug coverage, which helps provide high-quality and high-value healthcare to America’s seniors.

To acknowledge AstraZeneca’s leadership in this area, the National Council on Aging chose to honor AstraZeneca and Linda Palczuk, with its Women of Achievement Award on Thursday, June 27, 2013.

Linda Palczuk, Vice President, Cornerstone and Commercial Excellence, accepted the award on behalf of AstraZeneca, saying, “More than seven years ago, the National Council on Aging recognized the need to support seniors as they navigated through the then new Medicare Part D benefit. Their work to make this program a success is a testament to their commitment to improving the health of seniors. We are proud to have been the founding sponsor of this program, and continue to support it to this day.”

AstraZeneca applauds all the National Council on Aging Women of Achievement Award winners who continue to devote themselves and their businesses to enhancing the lives of our nation’s seniors.

Read about all the winners in the National Council on Aging press release.

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