MarketingRx roundup: AbbVie’s Humira TV turns focus to HS skin condition; Sanofi amps parenting policy
After years as the top spending pharma TV advertiser, AbbVie’s Humira brand finally downshifted earlier this year, ceding much of its marketing budget to up-and-coming sibling meds Skyrizi and Rinvoq. However, now Humira is back on TV with ads for another condition — Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).
The chronic and painful skin condition results in lumps and abscesses caused by inflammation or infection of sweat glands, most often in the armpits or groin. Humira was first approved to treat HS in 2015 and remains the only FDA-approved drug for the condition. Two TV ads both note more than 30,000 people with HS have been prescribed Humira.
While the ads likely won’t drop the big dollars of Humira, exact spending data on the ads was not available through national TV ad tracker iSpot.tv. That may be because the ads are only running locally or on connected TV.
Sanofi doubles down for parenting employees, upping its paid leave policy for all
Sanofi is establishing a new 14-week global parental leave policy. The 100% salary-paid for 14 weeks extends to all parents no matter gender or sexual orientation and is open to any employee welcoming a child through childbirth, adoption, surrogacy or custody, Sanofi said in its Tuesday announcement.
Sanofi’s previous parental leave policies differed around the world, and while they were seen as generous — it’s eight weeks paid and eight weeks unpaid policy in the US landed it on Working Mother’s Best 100 list last year — the new 14-week paid policy is now uniform worldwide. Employees in countries which already had longer than 14-week paid policies will continue to receive the more generous benefits.
“We are dedicated to a workplace that embraces diversity and nurtures an environment where all employees feel they belong and are supported,” Clint Wallace, Sanofi’s head of human resources in North America, said.
WHO skips two Greek alphabet letters to avoid confusion for latest Covid-19 virus variant
Omicron is jumping into global headlines as the latest and potentially more dangerous Covid-19 variant, but it also jumped over two letters before it in the Greek alphabet. The World Health Organization decided last year to use the Greek alphabet to name Covid-19 variants as not only a simple organized system, but also to avoid the confusion and stigma that casual geography tagging caused early in the pandemic, such as the UK or South African variants. The more complex number and letter combination scientific names are still used alongside the Greek letter assignments.
But now WHO has skipped over the letters Nu and Xi in naming the Omicron variant.
“‘Nu’ is too easily confounded with ‘new,’ and ‘Xi’ was not used because it is a common last name,” a spokesman told The New York Times over the weekend.
Of course, the skip drew almost as much attention as WHO was trying to avoid, with controversial tweets accusing WHO of a variety of offenses.
However, now another problem looms. With 15 of the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet already used (or skipped over) in the WHO’s current system, there’s a real possibility the alphabet will run out before the variants do. WHO is already working on a next naming convention it told several media outlets, including the potential to start using constellation names.
Up next — just in case you’re not up on the Greek alphabet — are Pi, Rho and Sigma.
Eli Lilly moves media buying and planning account to new agency
Eli Lilly awarded its massive media account to Publicis Groupe’s Zenith after an agency review that included WPP Group, Dentsu and the incumbent Omnicom’s OMD, which had the business for 20 years. Ad Age estimates Lilly spends more than $860 million every year on media spending in TV, print, radio and digital across its portfolio of brands which includes Trulicity, Emgality and Verzenio.
Lilly issued a statement about the move that said, in part, that it’s working “to create remarkable experiences within the consumer journey, fueled by both human insights and data. Lilly looks forward to working with Zenith, part of Publicis Groupe, as our new media agency of record. Together, we will partner to deliver these remarkable experiences to patients and help support the future growth of the business.”
Drug pricing advocacy group launches local ad series to thank Congresspeople
Six congresspeople who voted for the Build Back Better Act are getting thank you notes, in the form of TV ads run in their home states, from advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs Now. In each commercial, each representative is called out and pictured with the call to action “Tell Rep. (name) thank you for voting to lower drug prices for millions of Americans.”
The latest spate of local ads from P4ADNow comes on the heels of several other efforts around the Build Back Better vote. It’s running ads in West Virginia calling on Sen. Joe Manchin to support the bill while praising him for past Medicare negotiation efforts, as well as in Arizona asking Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to also support the drug pricing plans in the bill. The ads are set to run through December as the US Senate takes up the bill, which includes provisions to allow Medicare to negotiate some drug prices, cap out-of-pocket costs and limit annual drug price increases.
Boston tops list of best global cities for healthtech, ahead of New York and San Francisco
Boston ranked as the best city for healthtech out of 85 cities — 50 in the US and 35 outside — in a new evaluation from tech consulting firm Moove It. New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Minneapolis followed Boston to round out the top five cities ranked across measurements including funding, employment and number of healthtech companies.
The Healthtech Index rating put Boston first in several categories including most healthtech startups and legacy companies. The city came in second for highest levels of private funding and employment in healthtech (behind San Francisco) and third for specific R&D funding behind Taipei and Beijing.
Marketers on the move
Forma Therapeutics has hired its first chief patient officer Ifeyinwa (Ify) Osunkwo. The clinical-stage biotech is currently developing a sickle cell disease treatment called etavopivat, currently enrolling a Phase II/III trial after presenting positive Phase I results this year. The biopharma is focusing on rare hematologic diseases and cancers.
Osunkwo will oversee Forma’s patient programs and partnerships, including local community stakeholders, in its bid to improve access and care. She served previously as the medical director of the comprehensive sickle cell disease program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University.
“As a clinician, I’ve seen the devastating effects of sickle cell disease in hundreds of patients. And I’ve come to see that treatment is about so much more than a therapy that meets a particular clinical endpoint. It’s about building partnerships and trust as we strive to provide comprehensive, compassionate, and coordinated care,” she said, in an email to Endpoints News MarketingRx.
Metrion Biosciences named Rory Curtis to VP, US Commercial Operations. Curtis most recently ran his own biotech consulting firm and brings 25 years of drug development experience at companies including Regeneron, Millennium, Elixir and Cubist Pharmaceuticals.
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